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Centre for Social Innovation

192 Spadina Avenue, Toronto

Tuesday March 7th – Friday March 10th

9am – 5pm (Tues – Thurs) 9am – 6pm (Friday)

Complimentary Breakfast, Lunch, and Cocktail Hour

FREE for Members of the Academy, DGC and CMPA

Membership ID Required at the Door

$25 per day for Non-Members (payable at the door by credit card or cash only)

No Registration Required, First Come First Serve

Tuesday, March 7

11:00AM – 12:00PM

Presented with the support of FACTOR & SOCAN FOUNDATION

The Music is the Message: Original Composition, Licensing and your Creative Vision

How important is original music in executing your storytelling vision? Top practitioners discuss the use of music that is composed specifically for your project to create a powerful cinematic message that resonates artistically and commercially. From selecting the right artist to the licensing process, this panel will address a variety of practical and creative concerns. 


Featuring a spotlight on the extraordinary SickKids Hospital Campaign “SickKids Vs. Undeniable


Catherine Jones – Music and Media Rights Specialist



David Braid – Jazz Pianist/Composer

Carlos Moreno – Chief Creative Officer, COSSETTE

Peter Ignazi – Chief Creative Officer, COSSETTE

Daniel Pellerin  – Sound Designer/Music Supervisor at Daniel Pellerin Digital Sound Production


2:30PM – 3:30PM

The Music Video Merge

Many of today’s top filmmakers launched their careers in the world of music videos. Meet music video vets who have transitioned to working in a longer narrative form, who will discuss their unique insights cultivated by their past work translating a musician’s vision into film.



Louis Calabro – Director of Awards and Special Events at the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television / Founder and Director of Prism Prize



Emma Higgins – Director, Currency, God Hates a Coward

Peter Huang – Director, Now That I’ve Found You, 5 Films About Technology

Samir Rehem – Director, Skins, Degrassi, Open Heart, Invitation

Randall Thorne (RT!) – Director, Backstage, Degrassi, Make it Pop, The Time Traveler

Wednesday, March 8

10:30AM – 12:00PM

Presented with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation

Switching Screens – Spotlight on “Whatever, Linda”

Critically praised Canadian web series “Whatever, Linda” recently announced a development deal with The Mark Gordon Company to bring the series to network television. An increasingly common experience for Canadian creators, hear this unique story of transitioning from the frontiers into the establishment. 

Andra Sheffer – CEO, IPF


Mackenzie DonaldsonExecutive Producer

Matt Eastman – Director

Kevin Saffer – Executive Producer


2:30PM – 4:00PM

Alias Grace Case Study – From Book to Screen 

The dynamic team behind this 2017 production discusses the process and approaches of adapting this Giller Prize Winning Canadian novel into a mini-series for CBC & Netflix. What drew creator/screenwriter Sarah Polley to this story? What did it take to get the green light? How will the director’s vision appeal to new audiences? What challenges did the cast face in bringing these characters to life?



Johanna Schneller – The Globe and Mail and Toronto Star Columnist



Sally Catto – General Manager, CBC English Programming

Sarah Gadon – Lead Actor, Alias Grace

Noreen Halpern CEO, Halfire Entertainment, Executive Producer, Alias Grace

Mary Harron – Director, Executive Producer, Alias Grace

Sarah Polley – Executive Producer, Writer, Producer, Alias Grace

Thursday, March 9

10:00AM – 11:00AM

Presented by the Directors Guild of Canada Ontario, with the support of Royal Bank of Canada

Being Yourself – Women in the Director’s Chair

There is definitely an industry buzz around putting more Women in the Directors Chair. With diversity initiatives and quotas to promote gender equity in storytelling, there are more opportunities for female filmmakers then ever before. But…is this true, and what are the challenges?This resilient group of CSA Nominees and DGC Members discuss their various levels of experiences in developing their craft, and how they strive to meet the demands for career sustainability in an everchanging system.



Annie Bradley – Director, Writer, Blowback, The WBI, Close Encounters



Lara Azzopardi – Director, Creator, Show Runner, Backstage

Tracey Deer – Director, Creator, Mohawk Girls

Rama Rau – Director, Writer, League of Exotic Dancers, Aftermath, The Market

Alison ReidDirector, Saving Hope, Heartland

Kari Skogland – Director, Vikings, The Walking Dead, House of Cards

Aleysa Young – Director, Workin’ Moms, Baroness Von Sketch

*RBC Mentorship Award Announcement to follow.


11:30AM – 12:30PM

Designing Narrative Worlds

As the demand for quality creative content expands, there is increasing pressure to create rich, compelling visuals that support the story and expand the characters. Join DGC Production Designers in a candid conversation about the principles and processes employed in designing narrative worlds.



Matt Middleton – Production Designer, Man Seeking Woman; Art Director, Annedroids

Gordon Barnes – Production Designer, Hemlock Grove, Frontier
Nazgol Goshtasbpour – Production Designer, Baroness Von Sketch Show, Backstage 
Armando Sgrignulio – Art Director, Murdoch Mysteries 

Friday, March 10

10:00AM – 11:00AM

Presented by the Canadian Media Producers Association

The Authentic Opportunity: Branded Content

In the shifting Canadian mediascape, brands are becoming an increasingly important place for storytellers to work. What are the opportunities in this space and where does a more traditional filmmaker start? Hear from this panel of content strategists who work with some of the world’s leading brands, seeking out authentic voices for their clients.



Jody Sugrue – Director of the Digital Studio at Toronto International Film Festival



Jason Ford – Creative Lead & Executive Producer Branded Content & Branded Entertainment, Bell Media

Rick Matthews – Managing Director, Kin Community

Tal Riff – Director, Content & Brand Strategy, shift2


11:00AM – 12:00PM

Presented by Manitoba Music & Film and On Screen Manitoba

Case Study: Lovesick and Trench 11

Between recreating the front lines of war town 1918 France, and shedding a romantic light on the soulful beauty of lonely cobblestone streets at night; Winnipeg can contribute more to your Universal Story than often imagined. Learn about the benefits of partnering with Manitoba through case studies on Canadian features Trench 11 and Lovesick.



Martin Katz – President, Prospero Pictures



Tyson Caron – Manitoba Writer, Director, Lovesick

Kyle Irving – Manitoba Producer, Lovesick

Phyllis Laing – Manitoba Producer, Trench 11

Tyler Levine – Producer, Trench 11

2:30PM – 4:00PM

Presented by John Dunning Foundation

In Memory of Movie Mentor John Dunning – Nurturing Young Canadian Storytellers

A “major unsung hero of Canadian Cinema”, John Dunning was one of this County’s most successful film pioneers and mentors, who helped to propel the careers of many successful Canadian filmmakers. Some of John Dunning’s most intimate colleagues reflect on his involvement in jump-starting their notable careers, and speak to the importance of mentorship in the industry.



Brian D. Johnson – Contributing Editor, Maclean’s



Don Carmody – Producer, Don Carmody Productions, Inc.

George Mihalka – Director, My Bloody Valentine

Donna Noonan – Production Designer

Jeff Sackman – Producer, American Psycho, Love, Sex, and Eating the Bones

Kathy Wolf – Producer, Howlin’ Blue Productions


* Following the discussion, join us for the Presentation of the John Dunning Discovery Award to Randall Okita, The Lockpicker


Members Lounge Closing Cocktail Reception to immediately follow


Download the Panel Outline