ALFF Industry Guests

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Karina Bedkowska
Director, My Place Ozerna

She graduated with honours in Documentary Filmmaking from Goldsmith University in London and Photography from the Academy of Fine Arts in Pozna?. She participated in the international film workshops Film Spring Open in Krakow and INTERDOC in Serbia as well as the Doc Development and DOC LAB Poland . Her short film Tutka was screened at the international festivals Benicia FF in California and Short to the Point in Romania in 2017. Her documentary film debut My Place Ozerna premiered at 62th Krakow Film Festival and Canadian Hot Docs Film Festival. She has had photographic exhibitions in England, Denmark and Poland. Her latest solo photography exhibition took place at the opening of the 62th Krakow Film Festival.

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Michelle van Beusekom
CEO, Knowledge Network

Michelle van Beusekom is a skilled cultural sector leader with over 25 years of experience in broadcasting and production.

Michelle is the President & CEO at Knowledge Network, BC’s free and commercial free public educational broadcaster and streamer and has worked in Canada’s broadcast and production sector for the past 25 years. Michelle previously served as the Executive Director of the National Film Board’s Canada-wide network of English language production studios. She was Senior Broadcast Advisor for Uvagut TV, Canada’s first national Indigenous language television network; and Executive Director of the Documentary Organization of Canada. Michelle has held production/development executive roles at the CBC and WTN (now W Network) and is a former programmer at Planet In Focus, Canada’s first environmental film festival

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Sue Biely
Media Consultant, Educator, and Facilitator

Sue Biely is a trailblazer in Canadian independent media, designing and facilitating innovative initiatives to enable the sector to adapt to and utilize ever changing forces. With a history in content, policy, business models, conference design, workshop delivery, partnerships and campaigns—Sue continually works to bring a diversity of voices and mediums to story telling for the common good. For the past 5 years she has been the Executive Director of Story Money Impact, a Canadian charity dedicated to supporting social justice and environmental documentary films being used as tools for positive change in the issue areas they explore. Sue has had the fortune to collaborate with many partners and clients during her career which include: Telefilm Canada, REEL Canada, Canadian Media Producers Association, Creative BC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Film Board of Canada, City of Vancouver, BC Alliance for Arts & Culture, Canada Council, and many provincial agencies in the media-sphere.

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Ian Daffern
Director - A Bullet Pulling Thread

Ian Daffern is a filmmaker known for the feature A Bullet Pulling Thread and the award winning short film Stitched Glass. Ian’s work explores the intricacies and passions behind arts and crafts. Before working in film, Ian worked in development for network TV and as story editor making series for channels such as Hulu, History Network and Oxygen. His most recent films explore the intersection of art and social justice, in particular how art can be used to create positive change. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Lauren Davis
Director, Program Modernization, Telefilm Canada

Lauren Davis has held a number of management positions within the television, feature film, business affairs and process management teams. As the Director of Program Modernization, Lauren uses her industry knowledge and experience across departments to work with internal and external industry stakeholders to improve program performance.

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Hans Engel
Director of the National Directors Division, DGC National

Hans Engel is the Director of the National Directors Division (NDD) at the Directors Guild of Canada (DGC) National office in Toronto. Hans has been with the DGC since 2006. The DGC is a National labour union representing more than 7000 creative and logistical personnel in the screen-based industry. Hans’ primary focus are the more than 1000 Director members nationally, spanning all genres and budget levels. With a focus on advancement and engagement, the NDD elevates, celebrates and connects DGC Directors to assist them in reaching their full creative and professional potential.

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Avi Federgreen
President/Founder, Federgreen Entertainment & Indiecan Entertainment

Avi Federgreen’s over twenty-five years of experience in the Canadian film industry includes over producing credits on over seventy films, including: Home Free, One Week, Still Mine, Motherly, For The Sake of Vicious, Clapboard Jungle, Things I Do For Money, Kiss and Cry, Prisoner X, Score: A Hockey Musical, Relative Happiness, How To Plan An Orgy in A Small Town, Moon Point, I’m Yours, Hungry Hills, High Life, Leslie, My Name Is Evil, Lifechanger, Man Running, and Altered Skin to name a few.

Recently, Federgreen produced and directed his DREAM Feature film Home Free which will be completed Fall of 2023.

In November 2011, Federgreen opened his own film distribution and sales company INDIECAN ENTERTAINMENT. In the Summer of 2022 Federgreen then launched a Genre Distribution Company RED WATER ENTERTAINMENT servicing Horror, Sci Fi, Action and Thriller titles. Indiecan and Red Water has now released over 200 films in Canada, and over 100 films in the US. Federgreen recently launched an international sales division Indiecan Entertainment International which is currently handling a number of feature films for sales internationally.

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Max Fraser
Producer, Hootalinqua Motion Pictures Inc.

Max Fraser is a veteran Yukon filmmaker and screen industry builder. Now the Yukon’s first member of the Canadian Media Producers’ Association, Max serves on the board of Screen Production Yukon, is a production member of the Yukon Film Society and a member of the Documentary Organization of Canada. The Whitehorse-based filmmaker has several projects in development through his company Hootalinqua Motion Pictures Inc. He is available to share his expertise as mentor, consultant or executive producer to other northern filmmakers His most recent work is the eco-action fantasy Polaris, an inter-provincial co-production that was filmed in the Yukon; it premiered at the Fantasia Film Festival in July 2022 and was the best attended film at ALFF 2023. Following a successful festival and Canadian theatrical run, Polaris now is available on Crave TV and many VOD platforms in both Canada and the United States.

His lengthy career in the Yukon includes marketing and communications, book publishing, printing, politics, indigenous relations and as editor/reporter/photographer for the Whitehorse Star.

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Tracey Friesen
Managing VP, Canadian Media Producers Association

With over 30 years experience in the creative industry. Tracey is currently Managing VP of the Canadian Media Producers Association, BC branch and national lead on sustainability and climate action. She spent 12 years as producer and exec at the National Film Board of Canada and is also author and founder of Story Money Impact.

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Carol Geddes
Director, Picturing a People

Born in Teslin, Yukon, of the Inland Tlingit people, Carol Geddes’ first film, Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief, won a Silver Medal for Educational Documentary in San Francisco. Since then
Geddes has produced 25 films and television programs, including 2 seasons of the APTN seriesAnash. Her film, Picturing A People, was nominated for a Gemini for Best Canadian Documentary.
Whether writing, producing or directing, her prolific output has highlighted the stories and struggles of Aboriginal life in Canada.

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Mike Gravitis
Manager, Northwestel Community Television

As manager of Northwestel Community TV, which oversees both Yukon and NWT, Mike works to elevate northern film projects and to strengthen pan-northern partnerships in film and television to help grow the industry in exciting new ways.

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Sandy Hudson
Co-executive producer, Black Life: Untold Stories

Sandy Hudson is a producer, activist, public speaker, award-winning author, lawyer, and the co-founder of production company Above the Palace and Black Lives Matter movement in Canada. Using an inspiring leadership style, she can simplify complex ideas. By finding common ground, she speaks out about issues such as anti-Black racism, diversity, equity, and inclusion in production and in the workplace.

Above the Palace’s (ATP) first project, a short film titled Aftercare, made its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 13. The film tells the story of an emotionally charged reunion between a woman and the person she used to babysit. In a joint statement the founders Diverlus, Momin and Hudson said they believe they have the ability to tap into the zeitgeist to understand what the younger, more diverse audiences of today are craving.

Through her community work, Hudson helped found the Black Legal Action Centre, a Black community-based legal aid clinic providing direct legal services and test case litigation in Ontario, and she also co-founded Wildseed Centre for Art & Activism a Black-owned community centre that seeks to nurture Black creativity and experimentation. Sandy’s passion lies with the BIPOC community and she challenges and inspires society through cultural change and social justice.

Among Maclean’s 2021 Power List, Hudson is recognized as one of the most influential people in Canada. Among her many accolades, she has been named on Refinery29’s list of “29 Power Houses”, Toronto Life’s list of “50 Most Influential Torontonians”, and the list of “100 Black Women to Watch” by Canada International Black Women. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, NPR, the Toronto Star, CTV News, CP24, Global News, Buzzfeed, and KTLA.

Hudson is co-author of the best-selling anthology, Until We Are Free: Reflections on Black Lives Matter in Canada. Her writing appears in Maclean’s magazine, Chatelaine, FLARE magazine, Washington Post, Toronto Star, and Huffington Post. Hudson is the co-executive producer of Black Life: A Canadian History, an eight-part documentary series about Black Canadian History which aired on CBC Fall 2023.

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Kathleen Jayme
Director - I'm Just Here For The Riot

Kathleen Jayme is an award-winning Filipina-Canadian filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. She recently finished her first feature film The Grizzlie Truth (winner of the 2019 TIFF Pitch This! Competition), which won the VIFF 2022 Audience Award for its World Premiere and is a Crave Original, executive produced by Uninterrupted Canada. Her sophomore feature (co-directed with Asia Youngman), I’m Just Here for the Riot, is an ESPN 30/30 that had its World Premiere at Hot Docs 2023. Her breakthrough documentary Finding Big Country has screened to sold out theatres and been met with critical acclaim. It was the winner of the 2018 VIFF People’s Choice Award and has been programmed by Telus, ESPN, ABC, Amazon, Rogers Sportsnet, NBA TV, and Air Canada. In 2021, her short film Born Identities premiered at TIFF and in 2022 she received a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Writing in a Web Program or Series for Invasion of the Murder Hornets, an episode of the CBC GEM documentary web series Farm Crime.

She is the winner of the 2019 TIFF Pitch This! competition and an alumni of the 2019 Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative, the 2017 Hot Docs Documentary Channel Doc Accelerator program, and the 2017 Telus Storyhive Banff World Media Festival program. Kathleen is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Film Production Program and has gone on to direct for the NBA, CBC, NFB, and ESPN.

Kathleen is also a member of the Executive team of Surfrider Vancouver, a non-profit environmental organization, dedicated to protecting our oceans and beaches. She is a motivational speaker, a high school basketball coach, and passionate about bringing the Grizzlies back to Vancouver.

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Jules Koostachin
Director - WaaPaKe

Dr. Jules Arita Koostachin (Attawapiskat) is an award-winning filmmaker, mother, writer, performance artist and academic. With her background in community work, social justice themes emerge in her films, alongside bravery, healing, connection and humour. Jules honours her Cree-speaking grandparents who raised her, and her mother, a residential school Survivor/warrior. Relying on a creative eye, keen mind and strong heart, Jules’ accomplishments include raising four sons while pursuing academics and artistry. Graduating from Concordia University’s Theatre program, Jules went on to Ryerson University’s Documentary Media master’s program, receiving early recognition with an Award of Distinction and an Academic Gold Medal for her thesis documentary film, Remembering Inninimowin. Jules went on to do her Ph.D. in Indigenous documentary and protocols and processes, through the Institute of Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice program at the University of British Columbia. Jules is represented by The Characters Talent (acting) and Lucas Talent (writing, directing).

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Chandler Levack

Chandler Levack lives in Toronto, where she studied cinema at the University of Toronto and screenwriting at the Canadian Film Centre. She has directed numerous music videos, earning two JUNO nominations, and is a film critic for the Globe & Mail. In 2022, her debut feature I Like Movies premiered at TIFF, was selected for Canada’s Top Ten and won prizes around the world. She is currently working on her second feature Anglophone, a portrait of the 2011 Montreal music scene, with Zapruder Films.

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Neil Macdonald
Manager, Yukon Media Development

Born and raised in the Yukon, Neil began making movies as a young boy. He is an alumnus of the UBC Film Program and the National Screen Institute. With a varied career in the film and television industry Neil has worked as a Producer, Director, Cinematographer, and Gaffer. His credits include A.R.C.H.I.E. 2, GOLD RUSH, SKYMASTER DOWN, NANCY DREW, TRON LEGACY, and the TWILIGHT SAGA to name a few. In 2022 Neil stepped away from production to take on the role of Manager, Media Development for the Yukon Government.

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Asher Penn
Writer, Director, Producer - Physician, Heal Thyself

Known for his work on ‘Maggy Lee’s Mommy’ ‘A Family Finds Entertainment’ and ‘Whats the Love Making Babies For,’ Canadian filmmaker Asher Penn debuts his directing career with “Physician, Heal Thyself,” a documentary Following the life of renowned speaker and writer on addiction, stress and trauma, Gabor Mate.

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Kelvin Redvers
Director - Cold Road

Kelvin Redvers is a multiple award-winning Aboriginal filmmaker and actor. Born and raised in the small town of Hay River, Northwest Territories, Canada, at the age of 15 he started a video production company called Crosscurrent Productions. In high school, he made short films with his classmates that soon went on to win national and international awards at film festivals around the world. Sheep, a 35 minute long movie Redvers made at the age 16, went on to win a Golden Starfish Award at the Hamptons International Film Festival in New York.

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Teri Snelgrove
Producer, National Film Board of Canada, BC & Yukon Studio

Teri Snelgrove is a producer at the BC & Yukon Studio.?Most recently, she produced WaaPaKe (Tomorrow) (Jules Arita Koostachin), A Motorcycle Saved My Life (Lori Lozinski) and Into Light (Sheona McDonald). With Shirley Vercruysse, Teri co-produced?Someone Like Me?by Steve J. Adams and Sean Horlor, and the animated projects Two Apples (Bahram Javahery) and Zeb’s Spider (Alicia Eisen and Sophie Jarvis). She is currently working with Brishkay Ahmed on the feature doc In the Room, and she’s excited to be in development on two Yukon-based projects: Alexandra Knowles’ My Knitting Circle and Jessica Hall’s Saturday. She is also the co-producer on Lyana Patrick’s feature doc, Nechako and she has a number of other excellent documentary projects in development. Teri is a Newfoundlander, and a graduate of the film/video program at Emily Carr University. She holds a Master’s Degree from the GLS program at Simon Fraser University

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Dan Sokolowski
Producer, Dawson City International Short Film Festival

Dan Sokolowski has produced over 30 short films and 1 feature film, blending documentary and animation. Tourist Town is his latest and it’s a ALFF ‘24 selection.

Dan lives in blissful obscurity in the Yukon in Canada’s north on the traditional territory of the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in and is currently the producer of the Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

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Christian Sparkes
Director, The King Tide + Sweetland

Christian Sparkes is an award winning writer and director of film and television hailing from Newfoundland, Canada. He has directed numerous episodes of television and his films have screened at the world’s top festivals including TIFF, Fantastic Fest and Busan. An alumnus of the prestigious Canadian Film Centre in Toronto, Christian’s debut feature Cast No Shadow was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards including Best Picture, at which point Telefilm Canada named him one of Canada’s top directors alongside Xavier Dolan and David Cronenberg. His sophomore feature Hammer starring Will Patton and Mark O’Brien debuted in 2020 and received widespread acclaim from Roger Ebert, The Hollywood Reporter, and Variety magazine, amongst others. His third and fourth feature films, Sweetland and The King Tide, are currently touring the festival circuit, with the latter premiering as part of TIFF’s prestigious Platform Program.

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Robin Summerfield
CBC: Producer, Creator Network Senior Producer, Absolutely Manitoba

Robin Summerfield is an experienced Digital Producer with a demonstrated history of working in the broadcast media, digital and print industry. Skilled in journalism, interviewing, writing, producing current affairs radio, producing digital content including short films and videos for web, TV, streaming and social media. Strong media and communication professional with a Journalism Diploma focused in Print media from Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Author of award-winning and best selling book, and one-time voice performer for Corner Gas Animated (friend of cast).

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Jon Taylor
CEO, Independent Production Fund

Jon Taylor is a media executive, content producer and entrepreneur based in Toronto, Canada. Jon is the CEO of the Independent Production Fund, one of Canada’s oldest funding agencies and a pioneer in digital series development and production financing. Prior to joining the IPF, Jon was VP of Digital Content & Strategy at Bell Media where he led the launch of Crave TV in Canada. Jon was Executive Producer of CTV Network and has worked as producer for Discovery, ESPN, MTV, the United Nations, the Academy Awards and the Olympics Games.

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Shirley Vercruysse
Executive Producer, National Film Board of Canada, BC & Yukon Studio

Shirley Vercruysse is the Executive Producer of the National Film Board’s BC & Yukon Studio, where she leads the team producing documentary and animation projects. The studio’s latest feature documentary releases include Marie Clements’ Lay Down Your Heart, Elad Tzadok and Haley Gray’s Unarchived, Fritz Mueller’s Voices Across the Water, as well as the stop motion animation from Alicia Eisen and Sophie Jarvis Zeb’s Spider and the short documentary, A Motorcycle Saved My Life from Lori Lozinski. Coming soon is Tyler Funks’ feature doc Anything for Fame.

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Kaayla Wachell
Cinematographer - I'm Just Here For The Riot

Kaayla Whachell is a cinematographer living on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations (Vancouver, Canada). She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Film Production Program and an Associate Member of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. She is also co-chair of the CSC’s Diversity Committee.

Kaayla’s first feature film, Portraits from a Fire, directed by Trevor Mack and funded by Telefilm, went on to win her “Best Cinematography” at the 2022 Leo Awards. Whether it be a narrative film, commercial, or music video, Kaayla believes that the cinematography must represent the director’s vision and accurately showcase the individuals depicted on screen.

As a woman of mixed descent (Okinawan, Red River Metis, Czech), Kaayla continues to ally BIPOC filmmakers by showcasing their stories. She strives to produce a diverse film set for all people to thrive and create within

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