VIFF Industry Guest Speakers
Title: VR Developer
An early adopter, Alex has been developing for VR headsets since the days of the Oculus Kickstarter, taking part in hackathons and competitions, when he wasn’t at his day job as a software engineer. Armed with a passion for photography and film, he chose to pursue VR filmmaking - developing new shooting and playback techniques for the VR short I Am You. Having realized the experience for the PC on the DK2, and mobile on the Samsung GearVR, Alex aims to streamline the VR film production workflow for future filmmakers, and experiment with new ways to view narrative storytelling in Virtual Reality.
Title: Chief Digital Officer
Ana Serrano is the Chief Digital Officer of the CFC and Founder of CFC Media Lab, the world-renowned and award-winning institute for interactive storytelling created in 1997. Serrano is driving the digital transformation of the CFC into a unique blend of talent, product and company accelerator and creative production house. Most recently, she launched Canada's first digital entertainment accelerator IDEABOOST with founding partners Shaw Media, Corus Entertainment, and Google. To date, Serrano has directed the development of over 130 digital media projects, mentored over 50 start-ups, and has received numerous awardsfrom the digital media, film, and theatre industries in both Canada and theU.S.
Title: Manager of Acquisitions
Company: Visit Films
Ania Trzebiatowska heads acquisitions at Visit Films - a worldwide film sales company based in NYC, representing some of the best in independent US and world cinema. Visit’s most recent titles include: Krisha, It Follows, People Places Things and She’s Lost Control. Ania has worked in the film industry for nearly a decade. For the last seven years she has been the Artistic Director of Off Camera IFF (Krakow, Poland). She trained in production and post-production at the BBC and the British Museum. She produced The Unspeakable Act by Dan Sallitt.
Title: Owner, Digital Media & Marketing Strategist
Company: Veria Search Media Marketing & Becoming a Storypreneur
Annelise comes from a background as an independent producer, with training at such prestigious institutions at the Canadian Film Centre (Producer’s Lab) and Banff Centre for the Arts (Electronic and Film Media). Since 1995 she has been working in the field of digital marketing and has always been an avid gamer and consumer of digital content. She works extensively with government organizations and production companies in the film, television and interactive industries in North America and Europe. Her focus is helping content creators and storytellers use the power of online language and data to define, find, attract and engage their audiences and work toward strategic and sustainable digital business models. She has sat on the Interactive Fund jury for Creative BC, the Experimental Stream jury for the CMF, and has taught on behalf of such organizations as Telefilm, Women in Film, BC Film + Media, CHRC, the Independent Production Fund and Boost HBG in Sweden. Annelise has developed and implemented marketing strategies and gathered and analyzed online data for digital and screen media products as diverse as interactive apps, transmedia experiences, webisode series, feature films, television series and production companies themselves. She is currently working on a variety of screen media projects across the country, and is about to launch the fourth cohort of her online course “Becoming a Storypreneur: Digital Marketing for Screen Media.”
Title: Executive Vice President, Original Content
As Executive Vice President, Original Content for Syfy, Bill McGoldrick is responsible for the development and production of the network’s original programming, including scripted and unscripted series. Based in Syfy’s Los Angeles office, he reports to Dave Howe, President, Syfy and Chiller.
Since joining Syfy in November 2013, McGoldrick has spearheaded a supercharged development pipeline and production slate of big, bold, boundary-pushing projects unlike any other in Syfy’s history. From bringing respected talent including Steven Spielberg and his Amblin Entertainment into the fold for BRAVE NEW WORLD, to teaming with Ben Affleck and Matt Damon for the development of new dramatic series INCORPORATED, to entering the super-hero genre with KRYPTON, a Superman prequel project from The Dark Knight writer David Goyer, McGoldrick is blazing a new trail for the network.
Highlights from McGoldrick’s high profile upcoming scripted slate include the return of acclaimed series 12 MONKEYS, the Arthur C. Clarke classic CHILDHOOD’S END, the space thriller series THE EXPANSE, the series adaptation of the bestselling Lev Grossman novels THE MAGICIANS, and HUNTERS, from The Walking Dead executive producer Gale Anne Hurd. McGoldrick’s alternative slate includes the Critic’s Choice Award-winning FACE OFF and the fast-paced Zachary Levi-hosted trivia game show GEEKS WHO DRINK.
Prior to Syfy, McGoldrick was Executive Vice President, Original Scripted Programming at USA, where he oversaw all scripted development for the network, including hit series Suits, White Collar, Royal Pains, Monk, Necessary Roughness, The 4400, Burn Notice, Psych and Covert Affairs. Since joining USA in 1998, McGoldrick served in various development roles, rising from executive assistant to Vice President, Series Development. In 2005, he joined Spike Television as Vice President, Original Series Programming. There, he led the launch of the channel’s first dramas, Kill Point and Blade, and first comedies, Factory, Blue Mountain State and Players Hut. He returned to USA in 2009 as Senior Vice President, Original Scripted Programming, overseeing all scripted development, before being promoted to Executive Vice President.
McGoldrick graduated with a B.S. from the University of Southern California.
Title: Director of Photography
Company: The Romeo Section
Brendan Uegama is a feature film and series Cinematographer honoured as a full member by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers. With many awards and nominations for his imagery, Brendan’s work has appeared in major international film festivals around the world such as Tribeca, Sitges and Toronto. In 2014, Brendan shot four feature length productions and several national commercials. Most recently, Brendan shot the series Electra Woman & Dyna Girl for Legendary Pictures, due to be released in early 2016. He brings passion to everything he does with relentless enthusiasm towards enhancing the film. Able to work in the USA and Canada, he divides his time between Los Angeles, Vancouver, and wherever the picture exists. Currently Brendan is represented by LA-based Crayton Smith Agency.
Company: I Am Chris Farley
Title: Director of Industry and Market Trends
Ms. Briceño has over 13 years of experience in the audiovisual and new media industry. Her role is to ensure that the policies for supporting the production of Canadian television and digital media content are aligned with emerging developments in Canada and internationally. Ms. Briceño provides the CMF with all the market intelligence necessary to develop effective policies. Previously, Ms. Briceño was Producer and Director of Operations at Salambo Productions, where she helped build the strategy and business model behind the internationally acclaimed, multiplatform project Têtes à claques. Ms. Briceño served as Vice Chair of the Board of the Regroupement des producteurs multimédia (RPM) and received the 2008 Prix Séville de la Relève from the Association of Women in Film, Television, and New Media.
Title: Vice President Filmmaker Relations
Company: Gravitas Ventures
Gravitas Ventures has been a leading distributor of independent films for nearly a decade and recently has become known for exceptional discoveries in the Documentary genre, including Peace Officer, All Things Must Pass, Being Evil, Big Men and many more. In the narrative world they have made everything from gritty independent thrillers like Man From Reno, to LGBTQ-themed films like Anatomy of a Love Scene, to family-friendly movies such as No Ordinary Hero. Chad Miller has been an integral part of Team Gravitas for the 5 years, helping both the business and our staff grow. He joined Gravitas after 6 productive years at AT&T U-verse Television where he helped build that telco’s then budding VOD business until it reached more than 3 million subscribers. Prior to that Chad worked at iN Demand where he supervised the scheduling of what was then known as “NVOD” (near video-on-demand) and also PPV content. His entertainment background includes extensive screenplay development work at various studios and production companies, including Phoenix Pictures. He began his career at the United Talent Agency (UTA) where he worked his way up from the ubiquitous mailroom training grounds to first a position in their famed story department and then as an agent-in-training within the literary representation division. Pursuing his strong conviction that the future of entertainment includes a strong grasp of the On-Demand arena, Chad recognized the opportunity to join Gravitas Ventures in 2011. He currently resides in Los Angeles, California.
Company: VRC: The Virtual Reality Company + The Third Floor, Inc.
After 5 years as a layout artist and character animator at Walt Disney Feature Animation, Chris Edwards joined a team of digital artists at Lucas film tasked with previsualizing Star Wars: Episode III from the "third floor" of George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch mansion. In October 2004, Chris spearheaded the founding of THE THIRD FLOOR, Inc. in Los Angeles, which has become the most prolific previs studio in the world; having contributed to hundreds of feature films, such as: Avatar, Alice in Wonderland, Gravity, Maleficent, Mad Max: Fury Road, Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, as well as Marvel’s Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Avengers franchises. For over a decade, Chris has worked to expand the art form of previs internationally, and into new markets, including: Television, Video Games and Themed Entertainment. In 2009, Chris co-founded The Previsualization Society, a non-profit trade association for previs professionals. And in 2012, he helped launch HYDRA Entertainment, a story development and IP management company. In early 2014, Chris joined an alliance of iconic filmmakers to found VRC: The Virtual Reality Company. As Chief Production Officer, Chris oversees the production of VRC’s slate of innovative, story-driven VR content.
Title: Senior Marketing Manager
Christina Yugai is the Senior Marketing Manager at FilmBuff, an NY-based award-winning full-service distribution company with a focus on delivering high quality, compelling film and video to targeted audiences. She oversees marketing, theatrical, domestic and international distribution for all of FilmBuff’s new releases and library films. FilmBuff’s recent releases include Banksy Does NY, The Internet's Own Boy, Jared Leto’s Artifact, Adam Carolla’s Road Hard, Burt's Buzz, All This Mayhem and Prince, in partnership with VICE, and SPRING, in partnership with Drafthouse. Prior to joining FilmBuff, Christina headed up digital marketing and business development at Sweetgreen, a fast casual restaurant chain. Christina holds an M.B.A. from New York University and a B.A. from the George Washington University.
Title: Co-Creator & Executive Producer
Company: Halt and Catch Fire
A Virginia native, Christopher C. Rogers began his career with the Atlantic Media Company (publisher of The Atlantic and National Journal) in Washington, D.C., before relocating to Los Angeles to work as a research editor for Conde Nast’s Architectural Digest and a bookseller at Los Feliz’s Skylight Books. Working with his writing parter, Christopher Cantwell, Rogers is a graduate of the WGA Showrunner Training Program, his 2011 feature script, The Knoll, placed on the Hollywood Black List, and in 2014 he was named one of Variety's "10 TV Scribes to Watch". Chris resides in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles with his wife, Meghan, and dog, Tilly. He is co-creator, executive producer, and co-showrunner or AMC's Halt and Catch Fire.
Title: VP, Television & Operations
Company: Rogers Media
As Vice President, Television and Operations, Colette Watson oversees programming, production and operational elements for Rogers’s suite of conventional and specialty television (non-sports) assets, including City, OMNI Television, FX, FXX, OLN, G4, and Bio.
A leader in Canada’s broadcast industry, Watson has nearly 30 years of experience in areas of programming, regulatory, and communications.
She joined Rogers Group of Companies in 1990 and remained at the company for 24 years in a variety of senior management roles with increasing responsibility. In 1995 Watson was appointed Vice President, Rogers TV, overseeing 42 local community television stations. In this role she focused her efforts on long-term strategy, and forming strategic partnerships to improve local television production.
In December 2014, Watson was appointed Vice President, Television & Operations, Rogers, where she uses her deep knowledge of the industry to set the strategic direction for non-sports conventional, specialty, and community television assets. She also oversees programming, production, and operations, while innovating the viewer experience with compelling content across multiple platforms.
Watson is also passionate about public affairs and policy work. In 2001, in addition to her role as Vice President for Rogers TV, she was appointed President and General Manager of CPAC, the Cable Public Affairs Channel dedicated to bringing Canadians politics, parliament and public affairs. Watson held this role for 13 years where she was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the bilingual channel.
Highly-respected in the broadcast industry, Watson is a past recipient of the esteemed Trailblazer of the Year award by Canadian Women in Communications.
Title: Behavioural Economist
Dan leads product and analysis at Brainsights, creating powerful visuals and actionable insights. He shepherds the processes and tools that allow Brainsights’ techniques to be relevant and relatable to the communications industry. Dan has experience in both the academic and advertising agency worlds. He has led Advanced Analytics at one of the largest media agencies in Canada, collaborated with global centers of excellence on international analytics initiatives, and provided data strategy consultancy services to a variety of brands and agencies. He also has experience performing research across social-, socio-cognitive-, cultural- and industrial-psychology disciplines.
Company: The Romeo Section
David Frazee started his career as an documentary cinematographer/director, shooting ski and snowboard films for Warren Miller and Burton. He moved into Drama in the early nineties helping set up the long running series Madson. As a cinematographer he also helped set the award wining series Da Vinci's Inquest, eventually became one of the shows lead directors. His pilot of CTV's Flashpoint was sold to CBS, and the series regularly won its time slot, and often the night, on both sides of the border. Frazee remained the lead director for the run of the series and was awarded a Gemini for his work on One Wrong Move. He also recently received a Leo award for best direction on the series Motive as well as the Gemini nominated series End Game, on which he served as the Director/Producer.
Title: CEO, Creative Director
Company: Cloudhead Games
Denny is a VR futurist/designer, with consultation credits including Oculus VR, Valve Corporation, HTC, 20th Century Fox, Sixense Entertainment, and the University of British Columbia. Denny’s work in the development of innovative solutions for hand interactions, as well as in combating vestibular/vection issues, gave rise to ‘VR Comfort Mode’, cited in Oculus’ Best Practices, and recently ‘Blink’, a unique nausea free locomotion mechanic that provides roomscale and seated users dynamic in-game traversal. Denny’s vision for VR has lead the company to develop the award-winning built-for-VR franchise, ‘The Gallery’. Already winning ‘Best Sound Design (2014) and ‘Most Transportive Experience’ (2015) from the Proto Awards. The Gallery, is set to become an iconic experience, inspired by Myst and 80’s fantasy adventure movies. As a thought leader working in VR since late 2012, Denny regularly speaks at events, sharing his experience and vision on how VR will impact all aspects of our lives.
Title: Co-Founder & President
Company: Archiact Interactive
Derek is the co-founder and president of Archiact Interactive, the fastest growing VR company in Canada.
Prior to starting the company, Derek has worked at Amazon and SAP as a senior software engineer for many years.
Title: Director Master of Digital Program and Center for Digital Media
Company: Simon Fraser University
Dr. Richard Smith has over two decades of academic and directorial experience at Simon Fraser University. A professor at the School of Communication at SFU for over fifteen years, he has also served as Director of SFU’s Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST) for the past ten years.
His active engagement with local, national and international media on issues related to his research into the contemporary world of technology, social media and public surveillance has also made him a recognized public commentator. His service to the university through public affairs and media relations earned Dr. Smith the 2009 SFU President’s Award.
In addition to research focused on social inclusion (and exclusion) brought on by the introduction of digital media, Dr. Smith keeps an ongoing interest in education technology, privacy and public surveillance, online communities, and the wireless information society. His diverse projects and creative works have explored such subjects as privacy issues in the use of mobile technology, electronic scholarly publishing, and the development of technologies for mobile media-rich, urban shared experiences.
With his graduate students, Richard Smith is also working on critical studies of "addictive" on-line games, new communication technology in the home, open source software and social activism, and information technology in support of first nations development and tele-health.
With academic training in communication and law, Dr. Smith has degrees from Carleton University (BA) and Simon Fraser University (MA and PhD). He is a member of the Canadian Communication Association, and the International Association for Management of Technology. He is also the publisher of the Canadian Journal of Communication.
Title: Chief Creative Officer
Company: Amplify Releasing
Title: Film Directors
Elli has always loved movies and knew from an early age that this was the path he wanted to follow. Armed with a strong DIY spirit, he spent time mastering the technical aspects of post-production, more specifically the art of visual effects. As a result he landed a spot on Tron Legacy, the sequel to one of his favorite childhood films. His previous short films were made both in Canada and the UK. In 2013 he completed two feature films, Living with Strangers and Personal Space. Being a big fan of tech he recently ventured into Virtual Reality and made the short film I Am You, specifically developed for the Oculus Rift. Extremely excited by the results and prospect of VR film making he is rapidly moving forward in developing his next cinematic experience.
Emily founded Seed&Spark to make a contribution to the truly independent community in which she would like to make moving pictures. In 2011, she had the great fortune of producing her first feature with a remarkable group of women. The spirit, the community and the challenges of that project, Like the Water, inspired Seed&Spark. Before producing Like the Water, Emily produced theater, worked as a vision and values strategy consultant for Best Partners, ran restaurants, studied jazz singing at the Taller de Musics, tour guided and cooked in Barcelona, and before that, was a student of Cultural Anthropology and American Studies at Haverford College. Emily was named one of the 2013 Indiewire Influencers, dedicated to 40 people and companies who are asking the big questions about what the independent film industry is today (and why) and, more importantly, what it will become. Emily is touring film and tech festivals around the world, Sundance and SXSWV2V to Sheffield and Galway, to educate filmmakers and learn their best practices in connecting with their audiences to build a sustainable career.
Title: Co-Founder & Managing Director
Company: Soda Pictures
Eve Gabereau runs the UK-based film distribution company Soda Pictures. Founded in 2002, they have a library of over 300 films, including such recent hits as Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, Oscar nominee Finding Vivian Maier and the ground-breaking Wadjda from Saudi Arabia. In 2014, they merged with the Canadian media group Thunderbird Films to expand their existing business and to build a division in Canada. Under this new partnership they have acquired such acclaimed films as Sundance Film Festival winner Slow West starring Michael Fassbender, Lone Scherfig’s The Riot Club based on the stageplay Posh, Brazilian comedy The Second Mother and the upcoming High-Rise directed by Ben Wheatley starring Tom Hiddleston and Sienna Miller. She has also been involved in a dozen films on the production side, including SoulBoy starring Felicity Jones, Brit pop documentary Pulp: A Film About Love, Death and Supermarkets, the upcoming Remainder starring Tom Sturridge and the artist project Invention by Mark Lewis that will show in VIFF 2015. Originally from Vancouver, she has lived in London since 1998.
Helen Shaver recently directed a block of episodes of THE VIKINGS (History) in Ireland and ORPHAN BLACK (BBC America), and will be returning again to direct both. For her work on Orphan Black, she has been nominated for the 2015 DGC Best Director Award. Helen was also the Producer/Director of THE FIRM (E1/NBC) and JUDGING AMY in it's last season (20th/CBS). During her illustrious career Helen has directed multiple episodes of PERSON OF INTEREST, LAW AND ORDER: SVU, THE UNIT (20th/CBS), JOAN OF ARCADIA, STANDOFF and in addition to such shows as MEDIUM, CASTLE and PRIVATE PRACTICE. Her first feature, SUMMER’S END (Showtime) starring James Earl Jones, won an Emmy and Best Picture Award from the Chicago Film Festival. Helen was an actress for several years before stepping behind the camera and recently garnered many best actress nominations and critical acclaim for her work in the independent film DOWN RIVER. That training has afforded her an incredible talent for working with actors.
From his first job as an usher at a cinema on a Canadian base in Germany, J has spent two decades working in professional media. During his undergraduate at Queen's University he started a recording group that toured with acts such as The Tragically Hip, Wilco, and Primus. After graduation he directed award-winning short films and gained experience at every level of production on film and television in Toronto. Relocating to Vancouver he founded OverInteractive Media an award winning digital agency focused on branded gamification and social strategies for clients that include CBC, Disney/ABC, Weinstein Company, and Telus. He has participated in industry panels including: Banff WMF, Digital Dialogues, Petchakucha, Prime Time and SXSW. J. sits on the board of the Vancouver International Film Festival, and as a National Advisor for the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Merging + Media & X-Summit. In May 2012 he founded the Coup Company receiving intial investment from GrowLab. The inaugural season resulted in the global cult phenom WolfCop, that was followed in 2014 by the TV comedy pilots Human Town and Depflies and for CBC ComedyCoup. And recently High School Brawl and Hellmington from second season of CineCoup. WolfCop 2 is set to go into production in fall 2015.
Title: Production Designer
Company: The Romeo Section
Production Designer James Hazell is a film veteran with over 27 years in the business. With a background in carpentry, welding, industrial design and art , James started in Set Dec work in the late 80s and 90s and then spent many years production designing over 400 commercials and numerous rock videos before the move into film. Since 2000 he has worked on features such as The Burial Society, Afghan Luke, Cruel and Unusual and most recently the Daniel Alfredson thriller Go With Me, amassing multiple awards and nominations. Other project credits include series work on three seasons of The Haunting Hour, two seasons of Cedar Cove, and Painkiller Jane to name a few, along with over twenty MOWs. Currently, James Hazell is working on The Romeo Section for CBC.
Title: Writer, Producer
Company: Motive (CTV)
Jennica Harper is currently a writer and Consulting Producer on Motive (CTV) and was recently writer/Co-Executive Producer on the teen multi-camera comedy Some Assembly Required (YTV, Netflix). Before that, she spent three seasons writing and producing the YTV/Disney XD hit Mr. Young, for which she won a Leo Award and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. She also worked as a writer and story editor on Global’s crime drama Shattered, and an animated film she wrote, Clockwork Girl, recently debuted on Superchannel.
Jennica is also an award-winning poet. She has had three books published, the most recent being Wood (Anvil Press, 2013).
Universally acknowledged as a master of his craft, Oscar-winning editor Joel Cox is best known for his on-going collaboration with Clint Eastwood, having cut more than 30 movies for the director. His countless modern classics include Unforgiven, Letters from Iwo Jima, Million Dollar Baby, Mystic River, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, The Bridges of Madison County , Bird, Every Which Way But Loose, Bird and The Outlaw Josey Wales to name but a few. Joel most recently edited American Sniper which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Editing.
Title: Executive Technical Producer
A pioneer in the realm of modern virtual reality, Joseph pursues the meaningful application of technology. One of the earliest members of Oculus, he has helped shape VR as a viable platform. Joseph served as Oculus’ Product Lead and Technical Producer from 2012 to 2015, touching nearly every major VR exhibit, and helping artists realize their ambitions in virtual reality along the way. At Vrse, Joseph focuses on the technical execution of creative vision. With a vast understanding of the technology landscape, he provides discerning feedback while honoring artistic integrity. Joseph first met the VRSE team in 2013 while preparing Beck’s Hello Again virtual reality film for the Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier exhibit. Inspired by its vast potential, he is excited to explore virtual reality as an emerging medium and continue forging this collaboration of art and technology.
Company: Whatever, Linda
Julian De Zotti is an award nominated actor, writer, and filmmaker. He is the co-creator, writer, and showrunner of Whatever, Linda — a multi award-winning, CSA-nominated, IPF/OMDC-funded digital dramedy inspired by the notorious Madoff Ponzi scheme, executive produced by Emmy Award-winning digital agency Secret Location. Julian co-wrote, co-produced and starred in the indie holiday coming of age feature film New Year which went on to win awards at the Clearwater Film Festival in Florida and played at the Montreal World Film Festival. It is released through The Orchard and Multiple Media Entertainment. You can find it on itunes, Amazon and various VOD platforms. Julian is currently developing several feature, web, and television projects. As an actor his upcoming TV appearances include Rogue (Direct TV) and 11/22/63 (Bad Robot) opposite James Franco. He is excited to be in Anton Corbjin's most recent feature film Life and Pedro Morelli's first feature Zoom (Rhombus Media). He has never been to Vancouver so feel free to make a good impression.
Title: VP, Series Development
Company: FX Networks
Kate Lambert is Vice President, Series Development for FX Networks, overseeing the development of live-action and animated original scripted series for FX Networks. In this role, Lambert has formed relationships with some of the most sought-after producers, writers and talent in the industry today. She was involved in developing pilots for numerous hit series, including Sons of Anarchy, Justified, The Americans, American Horror Story, The League and Louie. She developed and oversaw the animated series Archer – both a critical darling and audience favorite seven seasons running. Lambert also worked the pilot for The Strain from Guillermo Del Toro and Carlton Cuse, which was cable’s highest-rated new series of 2014. Most recently, Lambert has been instrumental in the development and production of pilots for Atlanta, a comedy series created by and starring Donald Glover, Cassius & Clay, an animated comedy featuring Kaitlin Olson and Lake Bell, and a road comedy starring Jenny Slate and Ari Graynor. Lambert graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Cinema/Television.