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Producer, Showrunner, Writer, Director, Actor

Moderator & Award-winning Content Creator

Melissa DiMarco


She is the face and force behind Out There with Melissa DiMarco, which is one of the country's longest-running comedy/variety series, also syndicated in international markets.  For over 15 years, Melissa has produced ground-breaking television with a trademark for innovative shows. She has created hundreds of hours of content for networks including Rogers Media, Global, CHCH, FOX, and OUTtv

As an experienced content creator from all sides: writing, directing, showrunning, editing and on-camera. Highlights include: An Evening with Oliver Stone, Out There with Melissa DiMarco, Dreamseekers, Confessions of a Go-To-Girl, and Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. As an actor/host, Melissa has also interviewed hundreds of A-list celebrities from Brad Pitt and George Clooney to Julia Roberts and Lady Gaga. Melissa has long acted in a number of North America’s most memorable productions. She starred in the Emmy-winning drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation, CBC's Riverdale, as well as films like Red Green’s Duct Tape Forever and Hustle: The Pete Rose Story.

​Melissa and her production company Out There Productions Inc. has won the U.S. International Film and Video Festival’s Outstanding Achievement in Creative Excellence Award, and has been nominated for 2 Banff Rockie Awards for Best TV and Variety Show and 2 Canadian Comedy Awards for Best Writing and Best TV Series. 

Past Speakers and Networking Guests


Joel H. Cohen


Joel H. Cohen is an Emmy-winning screenwriter and producer. 

He currently serves as a writer and co-executive producer for The Simpsons- the longest-running American sitcom and the longest-running American animated program in history. Joel has been working on the show for over 23 years

Joel has won three Emmy Awards and three Writers Guild Awards.


Sergio Navarretta



Sergio Navarretta is an internationally award-winning director who is fiercely passionate about bringing meaningful content to the screen.

Notably, Navarretta helmed The Cuban, starring Ana Golja (Degrassi Next Class), Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. (Watchmen), Oscar nominee Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse), Lauren Holly (Tiny Pretty Things), and Giacomo Gianniotti (Grey's Anatomy). The Cuban was shot in Canada and Havana, Cuba and won Best Narrative Feature and Audience Awards at the L.A. Pan African Film Festival, has
been featured at several film festivals, and was nominated for three 2021 Canadian Screen Awards. The film tells the story of a naïve pre-med student named Mina (Golja) who develops an unlikely friendship with Luis, an elderly Cuban musician with dementia (Gossett Jr.) and features the music of Grammy-nominated piano virtuoso, Hilario Durán. The Cuban was nominated for three Canadian Screen Awards, ran an Oscar nomination campaign in 2020 and has been featured in Time Magazine (Top 17 films to see this summer), Variety (Top 50 Oscar contenders), Hollywood Reporter, and NPR to name a few. The screenplay is now featured in the Core Collection at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Margaret Herrick Library.

Most recently, Navarretta directed the dark comedy Yuppie starring Lauren Holly and Brennan Clost (Tiny Pretty Things), currently in post-production. He also directed Looking For Angelina, the poignant true-crime story of Angelina Napitano and The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship, starring
Enrico Colantoni (Just Shoot Me) and David Cubitt (Medium) as well as several shorts and documentaries.

Navarretta is the executive producer of Lamborghini (the movie) starring Gabriel Byrne and Frank Grillo and is proud to have executive produced the animated theatrical feature Arctic Dogs, now on Netflix, featuring Jeremy Renner, James Franco, Anjelica Huston, Alec Baldwin, John Cleese, and Heidi Klum. He is the co-founder of S.N.A.P Films Inc and sits on several charity boards including the Ethnic Mosaic Alliance and served as a mentor for Being Black in Canada and Reel Works in New York. He splits his time between Toronto and Los Angeles.

Roderick Deogrades

Picture Editor

Roderick has worked as an award-winning Picture Editor and Sound Editor for over 25 years. His extensive knowledge of both sides of the post equation has proven invaluable. He has become one of the industry’s most sought-after collaborators and has worked with many acclaimed filmmakers including Jeremy Podeswa, Michael McGowan, Breck Eisner, Donald De Line, Clea DuVall, David Wiener and Naren Shankar.


Some of Rod’s past credits include picture editing the sci-fi series THE EXPANSE (seasons 3-6), the acclaimed series HIGH SCHOOL (based on Tegan and Sara's best-selling memoir), CHAPELWAITE, starring Adrien Brody and BILLY THE KID. His feature film work includes Michael McGowan’s ONE WEEK and STILL MINE, for which he won the Canadian Cinema Editors Award for Best Editing in a Feature Film. 


His documentary work includes Michael McNamara's 100 FILMS & A FUNERAL, a film chronicling the rise and fall of UK's PolyGram Films – for which he received the Gemini for Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program. He also edited Liz Marshall’s critically acclaimed THE GHOSTS IN OUR MACHINE and Ray Klonsky & Marc Lamy’s DAVID & ME, a documentary about David McCallum who was wrongfully convicted of murder at the age of 16 at the height of New York City’s crime epidemic in the mid-80s. The film was instrumental in McCallum’s eventual release in 2014. In 2018, he won the Directors Guild of Canada Award for editing the documentary SILAS.


Rod also co-directed FOX TALES for PBS Nature and CBC and produced MIDIAN FARM, both of which he also edited.

His recent awards include the CCE Award for Best Picture Editing on the series HIGH SCHOOL and the animated feature CHARLOTTE.

He has recently wrapped editing the second season of HALO for Showtime/Paramount+ and is currently working on MOTORHEADS, a 1-hour coming-of-age series for Amazon.

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Shamso Bihi

Assistant Director


Shamso Bihi is a 3rd and 4th Assistant Director based in Toronto. A member of the DGC, Shamso has been working on TV and film sets for over 13 years.

Working her way up from a production assistant, early in her career, she PA'd on projects like NBC's Hannibal, Sony Pictures' Carrie, multiple seasons of USA Network's Suits, Warner Brothers' Suicide Squad, Netflix's The Umbrella Academy, and was a personal assistant to Jessica Chastain on Oscar-nominated film Molly's Game.

As an assistant director, Shamso has worked on Guillermo Del Toro's Cabinet Of Curiosities, Paramount+'s Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Prime Video/Syfys's The Expanse, Apple TV+'s See, CBC's Murdoch Mysteries, and more.

Director of Photography

Kristin’s work is lush and cinematic, yet intimate. Her recent credits include four episodes of the new AMC TV series ORPHAN BLACK: ECHOES, five episodes of the CBS TV series GOOD SAM staring Sophia Bush and Jason Isaacs, and two episodes of the HBO TV series RUN, executive produced and staring Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Kristin also lensed Season 1 & 2 of the CBC / Netflix series PRETTY HARD CASES, Season 2 of the CBC / ITV series LITTLE DOG, Season 4 of the popular Netflix series WORKIN’ MOMS, and four episodes of FRANKIE DRAKE MYSTERIES, a 1920's period show.


Feature film credits include SUGAR DADDY with Director Wendy Morgan, SHADOWTOWN with Director Jon Gustafsson, THE SPACE BETWEEN with Director Amy Jo Johnson and PALM SWINGS with Director Sean Hoessli.


Her work regularly screens at festivals around the world. Kristin is also a graduate of the prestigious American Film Institute.

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Sound Editor

Dashen 'Dash' Naidoo is a Sound Editor born and raised in Yellowknife, NT. After graduating high school, he spent a year at the University of Alberta studying Film Theory. In 2003, he moved to Oakville to attend Sheridan College. It was during his first year of college that he found his passion in Sound for Film and spent the rest of his time at Sheridan focused on that field.  


Shortly after graduating in 2006, he started his career with Sound Dogs Toronto. His transition from an Intern to Assistant to Sound Editor and Designer has all been with the Sound Dogs group.


He works in both television and feature film with credits that include The Expanse, Foundation, The Shape of Water, Resident Evil and Nightmare Alley.


Bryce Zimmerman is an award winning Canadian cinematographer and filmmaker working out of Toronto & Vancouver. Originally hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, he started taking photos on film at the age of 12. This led to a fascination with tableau photography storytelling and eventually narrative cinematography. Bryce works mainly in narrative, documentary, commercials, and has a special affinity for projects shot on film.

Bryce's cinematography work has been screened at festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, Whistler Film Festival, and Slamdance Film Festival and more. He has worked on projects for CBC, the National Film Board (NFB). His commercial work includes commercials for SickKids, Gucci Beauty, University of Windsor, and more.

His accolades include: 

2023 Berlin Commercial Shortlist - Best Cinematography in a Music Video
2023 Canada Council for the Arts Grant Recipient - Explore & Create: Research & Creation
2022 Whistler Film Festival Borsos Nominee - Best Cinematography in a Borsos Film
2021 CSC Nominee - Robert Brooks Award for Documentary Cinematography
2021 LEO Nominee - Best Cinematography Short Documentary
2021 LEO Nominee - Best Short Drama
2021 LEO Winner - Best Music Video
2020 Berlin Commercial Shortlist - New Generation Award
2019 CSC Award - Docudrama Cinematography
2019 AMPIA Nomination - Best Documentary over 30 Minutes
2019 AMPIA Nomination - Best Commercial over 50k
2018 AMPIA Nomination - Best Commercial over 50k
2018 Anvil Awards Merit - Broadcast TV/Cinema

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Marni Banack made her television directing debut in the late 90’s with episodes of Disney’s SciFi , So Weird. While getting to re-live her teen years is a lot of fun (directing for Disney, Nickelodeon, Family Channel, Discovery Kids), Marni also swaps hats to helm dramatic projects including an adaptation of a Margaret Atwood short story Betty, CTV’s Bliss, the feature coming of age indie Winter Break and directed alongside Steve Guttenberg as he starred in P.S. Your Cat is Dead.

She recently completed several Hallmark films.

A graduate of both The American Film Institute and York University, Marni’s work has garnered several awards and been recognized at festivals around the world including the DGC, DGA, AFI, and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Student Academy Award for her short film, John.

In addition to her TV work, Marni is developing several original projects for both film and TV.


MANU CHOPRA is a screenwriter and producer. He has lived and worked in Canada, India and Indonesia.

Manu grew up in Juhu, Mumbai – the heart of Bollywood; the place where most A-list movie stars lived. But he dreamed of making movies in North America and people laughed at him when he said he’d make it happen one day. He’s here now and already has two Canadian No. 1 movies under his belt.

In 2014, Manu co-wrote his first Canadian movie, DR. CABBIE, starring Kunal Nayyar (The Big Bang Theory) , Adrienne Palicki (G.I. Joe – Retaliation) and Vinay Virmani (Breakaway) in 2014. Despite being released in just 55 theatres Canada-wide, Dr. Cabbie broke the record for the box office opening for a Canadian movie and went on to become the second highest grossing movie in Canada.

As Associate Producer of LITTLE ITALY (released August 24, 2018), Manu was actively engaged in every aspect of the movie—from being heavily involved in the scripting to dealing with the director, cast, production crew, food stylists and chefs during the shoot, and later on, with the edit, ADR and marketing. Little Italy is directed by Donald Petrie, best known for movies like Miss Congeniality and Grumpy Old Men, and stars Hayden Christensen, Emma Roberts, Jane Seymour, Alyssa Milano and Andrea Martin.

Manu has also been a panellist on the Whistler Film Festival and has been a judge and board member of the Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival (VISAFF) since 2015.

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Director, Writer, Producer

Twenty-five years ago, Adam Pal was coined, ‘a small-town boy with worldwide gusto’ doing live shows from Toronto to China, Las Vegas to Israel. Pal was willing to do anything in the business. “If all the world’s a stage, I am the best boy key grip” -Pal

Pal is the owner/operator of Glass Ceiling Productions, producer, and creator of 4 short union films, producer of digital content, online radio shows, national tv, theatre content and social media.

Pal has taken time to create short stories and is reviewing publishers for a partnership to promote his Novella, Novelette, and said short stories.

Yoann Amzallag


Production Assistant

Yoann Amzallag is a Toronto-based Production Assistant who began his career on season one of Prime Video's Reacher. 

Since then, he has worked on the sets of Hulu's Hardy Boys, Prime Video's Gen V, Comedy Central's Fairview, Eli Roth's Thanksgiving, Prime Video's Chimp, Natasha Rothwell's How To Die Alone, Apple TV+'s Pachinko, and M. Night Shyamalan's upcoming film Good Grades.

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