2020 Jury

Grand Jury

Kathleen Finch
Chief Lifestyle Brands Officer
Discovery, Inc.

Kathleen Finch is Chief Lifestyle Brands Officer at Discovery, where she oversees the management oversight of HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, Travel Channel, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, Discovery Life, American Heroes Channel, Destination America, Great American Country and the company’s Digital Studios Group in the U.S. Previously, Finch was Chief Programming, Content & Brand Officer for all six Scripps Networks including all linear and digital media brands. She was promoted to this position in August of 2015 after serving as President of HGTV, DIY Network and Great American Country.

During her tenure as President of the three Home Category brands, Finch led the networks to record ratings and revenues. She launched such notable talent-driven series as Fixer Upper, Flip or Flop, Ellen’s Design Challenge featuring Ellen DeGeneres, The Property Brothers, Love It or List It, The Vanilla Ice Project and DIY Network's Blog Cabin, the first-ever interactive home renovation series produced on-air and online. Before joining HGTV, Finch spent seven years at the Food Network as Senior Vice President of Primetime Programming where she introduced long-running series such as Unwrapped, Food Network Challenge and Ace of Cakes.

Prior to joining Scripps Networks in 1999, Finch was a journalist working in both broadcast and print. She spent 12 years as a CBS Network News producer, traveling the world to cover breaking news and events in locations such as Cuba and the UK. A graduate of Stanford University, Finch also participated in the CTAM Executive Management Program, WICT’s Betsy Magness Leadership Institute and the Scripps Leadership Institute and is a WICT and Multichannel News “Woman to Watch.” She’s also been named one of TIME’s “100 Industry Innovators to Watch” and featured in Broadcasting & Cable’s “The Next Wave: B&C’s Annual Salute to Women Who Make a Difference.” Most recently, Finch was named Adweek’s Television Executive of the Year for 2018. She was an Alliance of Women in Media 2017 honoree and named WICT’s Woman of the Year in 2016. Finch is a member of The Committee of 200 and serves on the boards of The International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the National Association of Television Program Executives.

Lisa Godfrey
VP, Original Programming
Corus Entertainment Inc

Lisa Godfrey has over 25 years experience in the television industry both in production and broadcasting. As VP of Original Content at Corus Entertainment, Lisa oversees Original Content development and production for Drama, Lifestyle and Factual for Corus’s portfolio of channels including, Global, HGTV Canada, FOOD Network Canada, W Network, Slice and History. In addition to Corus Originals, Lisa is growing the portfolio of content for Corus Studios which is the leader in the development, production and distribution of Unscripted Content with a focus on Lifestyle and Factual Series.

Lisa’s career in television began working on Canada’s first daytime talk show, The Shirley Show. Following that she spent several years working in the United States producing Universal Television’s Sally Jesse Raphael, Paramount Pictures’ The Montel Williams Show and was development producer for Telepictures and Pearson Television.

In 2001 Lisa transitioned to broadcasting, joining Specialty broadcaster Alliance Atlantis as Director of Original Content for a number of their specialty channels including HGTV Canada, Food Network Canada, Slice, History Television, and National Geographic Channel. In 2010 her focus shifted when she took on the role of Director of Programming and Scheduling at Shaw Media, developing programming and scheduling strategies for some of the country’s biggest specialty services including HGTV Canada, Slice, History Channel, Lifetime Canada, DIY Canada, FYI Canada and more.

As a mother, wife, television executive and TV enthusiast, Lisa approaches her personal and professional life with passion, vigor and unwavering commitment.

Devin Griffin
General Manager BET+
BET Networks

Devin Griffin is the General Manager, BET+. The subscription video-on-demand service focused on the African American audience, BET+, will feature more than 1,000 hours of premium content including exclusive new original programming and fan-favorite series, movies, and specials from BET Networks, world-renowned creator Tyler Perry, and a host of leading African American content creators. Griffin reports to Scott Mills, President of BET Networks. Griffin is based in Los Angeles. In his role, Griffin manages the BET+ P&L and oversee business strategy & operations, including original programming, content acquisitions, marketing, distribution, planning and analysis.

Prior to BET+, Devin was a Producer and Executive Vice President of Story Lab US, where he co-founded and led the company’s foray into premium long-form content development. In less than a year, he developed original series with Anonymous Content, ITV, Stephen David Entertainment, and the NBA Players Association.
Previously, Devin served in various senior content roles at Netflix. He formed and led the company’s unscripted group, commissioning and/or executive producing over 40 series, including the Emmy Award-winning Queer Eye, The Confession Tapes, Michael Jordan: The Last Dance, the Peabody-winning Hip-Hop Evolution, Shot in the Dark, and The Toys That Made Us. During his tenure at Netflix, Devin also worked extensively on scripted drama, comedy, sci-fi, and anime. Devin brought a distinctive curatorial lens to the service, programming global hits such as the Emmy Award-winning Black Mirror, Designated Survivor, Chewing Gum, Z Nation, Wentworth, Van Helsing, Danger 5, Seven Deadly Sins and original stand-up specials from Tom Segura, Chelsea Peretti, and Wyatt Cenac, among others.

Earlier in his career, Devin served as Head of Business Development at Broadway Video, the production company of legendary producer Lorne Michaels. There, Devin conceptualized, co-founded, and oversaw Above Average, a premium comedy network and studio. He has also held key roles at the National Basketball Association and at Silver Chalice Ventures.

Devin holds a BA from Stanford and an MBA from Wharton. He resides in Los Angeles with his wife, Sarah, and two young children.

Paul Mortimer
Head of Digital Channels and Acquisitions
ITV

ITV is the largest commercial broadcaster in the UK, operating six linear channels in the territory as well as online services. It spends over £1 billion on content annually.

Paul is responsible for programming and managing all of the broadcast channels outside of the main ITV service- these include ITV2 which is ranked number one for younger audiences and is the originator of series such as Love Island and Celebrity Juice.

In 2014, ItvBe became the newest of ITV’s linear channels, the programming proposal having been conceived and drafted by Paul to meet advertiser needs to reach more younger women. ITV4, a channel primarily aimed at men and carries a mix of live sport and original programming is also managed by Paul and his team as is CITV, the network’s kids channel and ITV3 which offers quality drama and factual content. In 2019, Paul commissioned almost 1000 hours of UK-produced television.

Paul’s extensive remit also includes managing ITV’s Programme and Film Acquisitions team that sources content from suppliers across the UK and the world.

Originally from Yorkshire, Paul is based in London at ITV’s headquarters where he has been with the broadcaster for over seven years. Prior to this, he spent five years at Channel 4, rising to Head of E4 before leaving in 2012. A spell as Director of Programming at Discovery Channel UK and a period at Channel 5 that included the launch of the channel round out a 26 year career in television that started back in 1993, also within ITV.

Linda Simensky
Head of PBS KIDS Content
PBS KIDS

As the Head of PBS KIDS Content, Linda Simensky collaborates with producers, co-production partners, PBS station programmers, and distributors throughout the development, production, post-production, broadcast and digital phases for PBS KIDS content. She leads the development of a multi-platform video content strategy, designed to respond to the quickly evolving media environment and meet the needs of current and future viewers. She spearheads new, experimental approaches for emerging platforms to engage kids and support their learning, developing a slate of content that represents the next generation of children.

Linda’s efforts in transforming PBS KIDS’ lineup for children over the past several years have brought PBS to the forefront of the children’s media space. The American public rates PBS KIDS as the most trusted educational media brand for children and PBS KIDS programs consistently rank highly with moms and preschoolers. PBS KIDS has been named Channel of the Year in Kidscreen’s broadcasting awards for five out of the past seven years.

Since joining PBS in 2003, Linda has worked with renowned producers to develop hit shows that now reach 72% of all kids ages 2-8 in the U.S. – from Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood and Dinosaur Train, to Wild Kratts and Odd Squad.

Before joining PBS, Linda was Senior Vice President of Original Animation for Cartoon Network, where she oversaw development and series production of The Powerpuff Girls among others. She began her career working for nine years at Nickelodeon, where she helped build the animation department and launch the popular series Rugrats, Doug and The Ren & Stimpy Show. Linda is a frequent speaker and writer on the topic of children’s programming; she has presented at numerous animation and television conferences and her work has appeared in several books on animation and children’s media. She also teaches a course on “Contemporary Issues in Animation” at the University of Pennsylvania.

Jury

Noora Abu Eitah
VP, Product Operations-Innovation Lab
Secret Location

As the first employee of Secret Location, an award-winning VR content and distribution studio, Noora produced high profile interactive projects for ad agencies, entertainment producers and broadcasters that tap into the latest web, mobile, 360 video and immersive technology.

In 2017, Noora took her experience in content production and moved into Secret Location’s product team that specializes in premium VR distribution and led the development of its product, Vusr Publisher. She currently leads the operations for the innovation lab, working on a variety of projects that use XR, and AI technology to tell stories in new ways.

Aletta Maria Alberts
Executive Head of Content Strategy and Third-Party Channels for Africa
Multichoice South Africa

Aletta Alberts is a media content strategist and innovator. Currently, Executive Head of Content Strategy and Third-Party channels for Africa’s giant pay-television business MultiChoice, she has over 30 years’ experience in the competitive African television market. She combines her proficiency in the business of television, Production, Content, Marketing and Technology with a strong drive for innovation and management. This enables her to create both quality output and commercial value for the business. As demonstrated during her time at MultiChoice she has created six best-selling products and its subscriber base double.

She has a gift for scouting television talent and has groomed many successful television executives during her 27-year career.

She is respected as a visionary leader which she combines with a strong intuition and a drive to challenge existing paradigms. To this end, she can anticipate the future of media and television because she understands its past. She relentlessly researches the industry, its technologies, content trends, global corporate movements and influencers.

Navigating rapid media and television shifts, she is able to turn threats into opportunities and effortlessly translates new technologies into commercial ideas. Her ability to position the business ahead of the technology curve is an invaluable attribute for any media business today.

Suzan Aledin
Founder
Moilo

Suzan has produced and commissioned hundreds of projects for children and youth in Finland. She is now Co-founder and head of the board at Moilo (moilo.fi), a production company specialized in children and youth content (digital, live-action, animation, and games). Her way of working is based on the Finnish educational system, coupled with a sensitivity towards children and their needs in different contexts.

Avi Armoza
CEO
Armoza Formats

The pioneer of the Israeli formats industry internationally, and the CEO of Armoza Formats, Avi Armoza is one of Israel's leading film and television producers.
 
Avi has been working in television and film business for more than 20 years. He began his tenure when he founded JCS Productions, which has grown to be Israel largest independent production house. Prior to Armoza, Avi was the VP of Content and Business Development at Israel’s leading Media Company, the Jerusalem Capital Studios.
 
In 2005, he founded Armoza Formats, and under his leadership it has become a key player in the international formats market, successfully establishing it as a leading independent format development and distribution company that aims to innovate in distribution methods and format creation. In addition to driving the company forward, Avi has served as Executive Producer on several of Armoza’s hit shows, including prime-time entertainment show I Can Do That!, which has become a well-known brand aired in over 85 territories, including in the US on NBC and the recently-launched prime time singing competition The Four, which has now had two hit seasons on FOX.
 
In 2019, Avi propelled Armoza Formats to the next stage in its evolution, with the company becoming part of ITV Studios under his continued leadership.

Kenny Bae
Senior Producer, Marketing Manager
KBS Korean Broadcasting System

Kenny Kihyung Bae has extensive experiences of television production since he joined KBS in 1991. He has produced a lot of documentaries, cultural programs as well as entertainments. He has been involved most of significant international co-productions initiated by KBS. He worked as a Head and Executive Director at KBS international Relations. He launched ABU Song Festival and CARE documentary co-production initiatives when he worked as an Expert Project Manager at the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union. Currently, he is in charge of KBS World channel marketing and content business with overseas partners at KBS.

He received the Presidential Award and the Best Program Award from the Korean Government. He is an internationally renowned expert in the field of co-production and global Producing of Korean Wave content. He served as jury for International Emmy, Banff, Hotdocs, Sunnyside of the Doc, DMZ Doc, Busan, Jeonju and many more film festivals. His publications include “CONTENT will set you Free,” “MCN,” “Understanding OTT Service,” “Documentary Pitching,” “International Co-production,” “Television beyond Borders, Programs in Competition” and “Television Content Market & Global Producing.”

Karen Bailey
SVP, Original Programming
Starz Media LLC

Karen Bailey is Senior Vice President of Original Programming for Starz.

Based in the company’s Santa Monica office, Bailey oversees creative development and production on a number of programs for the network including the critically-acclaimed Outlander, The Spanish Princess, the third in the series of adaptations based on the popular Philippa Gregory novels, American Gods, the popular fantasy series based on Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel of the same name, and the newly announced Becoming Elizabeth, which is slated to begin filing in the UK in the Spring of 2020.

Bailey joined Starz in 2006 as an executive producer, overseeing development, production and post-production for the company’s studio slate of television movies and mini-series. She was promoted to Vice President of Production in 2007, overseeing the physical production for the company’s newly launched original programming department.

In 2011 she transitioned to creative development and was promoted to Senior Vice President of Original Programming in 2012. Since then she has worked on a number of international co-productions including Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated STARZ Original Miniseries The White Queen and the critically acclaimed STARZ Original Limited Series The White Princess; Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated limited series The Missing and its sequel; Howard’s End, a 4-part TV adaptation written by Academy Award winner Kenneth Lonergan and Starz’ first movie for television, The Dresser, starring Ian McKellen and Anthony Hopkins.

Zia Bales
Senior Acquisitions Manager Kids EMEA
Warner Media


Zia Bales is Senior Acquisitions Manager, Kids, Turner EMEA, working across Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Boing, Cartoonito, Toonami, Toonix and HBO Kids.

In this role, Zia oversees and negotiates shared acquisitions for the EMEA kids’ business, working closely with the local heads of programming and acquisitions of each of the channels and the content heads within EMEA. In addition, Zia works closely with production and coproduction partners to provide creative consultation throughout the development and production of select series, including Taffy, an original series for Boomerang with Cyber Group and Mush Mush and the Mushables.

Zia joined Turner in 2013. Prior to this she held an Acquisitions role at Disney. Zia has a background in Television Production having held various positions in Production Management.

Kerry Ball
Literary Agent and Head of Development
Meridian Artists Inc

Kerry Ball is a Literary Agent and Head of Development at Meridian Artists. Kerry joined the Meridian team in 2010 as an Associate where she worked closely with the Agents and roster to facilitate employment opportunities and project sales in both Canada and the USA. She transitioned to the role of Agent in 2014 and represents literary clients for youth, animation and primetime production and development in Canada. Kerry also manages Meridian's internal development slate to maximize sales opportunities for original IP. Prior to Meridian, Kerry worked at Achilles Media as a Content Producer for television production and programming events such as the Banff World Media Festival, Just Comedy at Just for Laughs in Montreal, and History Makers in New York City. In 2013 Kerry was awarded the CBC Business of Broadcasting mentorship through Women in Film and Television Toronto (WIFT-T). Kerry is an active member of WIFT-T and in 2016 completed their inaugural Shaw Media Management Accelerator program through Ryerson University. Kerry is a graduate from Ryerson University, earning at Honors BA in Radio and Television Arts with a minor in English. 

Phil Barnsdall-Thompson
SVP Acquisitions, UK, Europe & North America - FACTUAL ONLY
Flame Distribution

Flame Media is an internationally focused media organisation offering a suite of fully integrated services to content producers and buyers across all platforms.

Flame specialises in high end factual entertainment and documentary programming, representing over 3,000 hours of content from more than 180 independent producers from around the world.

Flame has offices in London, Sydney, Singapore and the USA as well as UK-based production arm Wildflame, Flame GmbH in Munich and Flame Productions in Australia; a footage library and clipping service; channel sales; a multifunctional, sound-controlled studio facility in Sydney and a project finance, mergers and acquisitions advisory service.

Flame works to maximise the audience and financial returns on completed content, assist its producers find co-production opportunities, seek presales and advise on project financing.

Philip is a seasoned TV professional, having worked for many years acquiring factual content for BSKYB in the UK.

He is attending Banff World Media Festival with the aim of sourcing high end factual content in multiple genres for Flame Distribution to assist with marketing internationally. Flame's experienced sales team are also able to assist our producers with pre-buys. Philip would also be happy to discuss co-production opportunities on the right content, in addition to how Flame might assist in maximising back end revenue internationally on existing content.

Emily Baustien
Development Manager, Discovery & Science
Discovery Channel

Emily Baustien serves as Manager of Development for Discovery Channel and Science Channel. In this role, she is based in Los Angeles and works with producers to develop prime-time series and specials for both networks.

Before joining Discovery, Emily worked at Netflix and Authentic Entertainment. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Barnard College, where she majored in Religious Studies.

Erica Benson
Creative Consultant/Executive Producer
Erica Benson

Erica Benson is a content and business consultant/producer in digital and conventional media. She is currently consulting on and developing a number of scripted properties.

Erica has extensive experience working with international and domestic partners. As a senior broadcast executive with Corus Entertainment, she was a key member of the teams that brought both HBO and Sundance Channel to Canada, and was responsible for negotiating long-term supply deals and acquiring titles from all major studios for PAY-TV. At Astral Media, she oversaw the Canadian programming activities at The Movie Network which included finding international partners and securing domestic second-window partners, and at Alliance Atlantis she was Showcase’s first Director of Original Production and, then, as VP, Programming, Erica oversaw the launch of Discovery Health Canada. With Discovery Health US, she oversaw the Canada/US co-production of numerous series under the twinning provision of the CRTC allowing these series to count as Canadian content.

As a production executive, Ms. Benson was responsible for developing and greenlighting 100s of hours of scripted, documentary, factual, and lifestyle programs and feature films. Award-winning and critically-acclaimed titles include Trailer Park Boys, KINK, ReGenesis, Durham County, Call Me Fitz, Living in your Car, The Surgeons, Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel, and One Week.

Ms. Benson began her career as a researcher with CBC Drama, Movies and Mini-Series.

Camille Bernier-Green
Development Coordinator, Facebook Watch Originals
Facebook

Shannon Bishop
Manager, Creative Affairs
Entertainment One Ltd.

Shannon Bishop works as part of the Entertainment One, Family & Brands team as Manager, Creative Affairs. She is responsible for acquiring new content and managing projects in active development. eOne Family's current slate of programs include Peppa Pig, PJ Masks, Ricky Zoom and Cupcake and Dino.

Brenda Bisner
Chief Content Officer
Kidoodle.TV

BRENDA BISNER is the Chief Content Officer for A Parent Media Co Inc. the creators of the SAFE STREAMING™ Platform: Kidoodle.TV®. She is an integral force behind the successful acquisition of top children’s media content from around the world, as well as a future caster for all new business development on behalf of the company. Brenda has a proven expertise in the navigation of an ever-shifting children’s digital media landscape. She has the rare talent to spot trends and recognize brand potential along with an innate ability to optimize for their success. Brenda’s work with Kidoodle.TV will set a standard for a more safe and reliable online space to relieve parents, and help protect and entertain kids from over 140 countries as they learn and grow into the best versions of themselves.

Over her 20+ year career in the children’s media space, Brenda has developed, produced and sold live action, animation and reality series across multiple channel worldwide and executed on numerous Licensing & Merchandising deals. Working with companies such as Scholastic, Cookie Jar Entertainment, Tom Lynch Company, and more, Brenda has helped these major brands develop precise and thoughtful plans for today, while anticipating the future of the business for tomorrow. Discovering novel ways to bring great content to children in a SAFE way all around the globe is her goal, and she pursues it with passion.

Marco Bresaz
SVP, Non-Fiction & Alternative Programming
AMC Network Entertainment LLC

As senior vice president of non-fiction and alternative programming for AMC, BBC America, and SundanceTV, Marco Bresaz oversees each networks’ original non-fiction programming development and their current portfolio of non-fiction programming. He first joined AMC Networks in 2010 as vice president of original programming and development for SundanceTV, and in 2013, moved to sister network AMC to join its non-fiction and alternative programming team. He once again added SundanceTV to his purview in 2015 and added BBC America in 2019.

At AMC, Bresaz leads the team that develops and oversees production of the network’s non-fiction series that explore authentic worlds and discussion, including Talking Dead, the live after-show hosted by Chris Hardwick that recaps and discusses the latest episode of The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead; and Ride with Norman Reedus, the series hosted by The Walking Dead star which explores motorcycle culture. Bresaz also oversees special programming events such as AMC’s docuseries Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America, from executive producers Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and docudramas The Making of the Mob: New York and The American West, as well as Imagine: John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert, an all-star musical celebration in honor of what would have been John Lennon’s 75th birthday.

At SundanceTV, Bresaz oversees non-fiction series such as Close Up with the Hollywood Reporter and the true crime documentary series, Cold Blooded: The Clutter Family Murders, based on the landmark crime and the acclaimed The Preppy Murder: Death In Central Park. These projects represent a continued commitment by the network toward non-fiction storytelling that reflects and observes the state of intelligent, innovative pop culture today.

Bresaz also oversees BBC America’s slate of natural history and unscripted programming, including the long-running hit series, Top Gear, the world’s biggest motoring show.

Before joining AMC Networks, Bresaz was vice president of development and original programming for TV Land from 2008 to 2010, responsible for hit series such as Hot in Cleveland, She’s Got the Look and High School Reunion. Prior to that, he was director of development and original production at TV Land / Nick at Nite from 2004 to 2008, overseeing Nick at Nite’s Search for the Funniest Mom in America and TV Land Confidential. From 2002 to 2004, Bresaz was executive in charge of production, current series and sports, at Spike TV, and before that, he spent a decade as a production executive for ABC Daytime, supervising Emmy®-winning daytime dramas such as One Life to Live and All my Children.

Bresaz graduated magna cum laude from Syracuse University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in television, radio and film management.

Todd Brian
Director of Development, Animation
WildBrain

Currently, as Director of Development, Animation, at WildBrain based in Toronto-Canada, Todd works collaboratively with the extended WildBrain divisions, including the very talented animation team at WildBrain Studios (Vancouver), WildBrain Television (Toronto) and digital platform WildBrain Spark (London, UK).

Previously he held senior creative positions including time as a Production Executive at Corus Entertainment, Corus Kids (YTV; Teletoon; Treehouse), where he oversaw a robust slate of development and current series, working with internal divisions and external international co-pro partners. While at Corus, he contributed to numerous projects including the animated short film adaptation of Ashley Spire’s beloved book The Most Magnificent Thing (narrated by Whoopi Goldberg), several feature length films L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew, L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: The Good Stars, Bruno & Boots: The Wizzle War and Bruno & Boots: This Can’t Be Happening at Macdonald Hall as well animated and live-action series including Esme & Roy, Go Away Unicorn, Star Falls and Ride.

A few other notable past positions include: Director of Development at Alibi-Pivotal Kids (APK); Development Executive at marblemedia; Senior Writer at CBC and numerous credits as a Story Editor/Writer on both animation and live-action series, including Caillou, Turbo Dogs, My Big, Big Friend, Jimmy Two-Shoes and Majority Rules.

Todd is a graduate of Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre (Television Writing Residency) and Ryerson University’s Film Studies program.

Bettina Brinkmann
Executive Consultant and Board Member
EBU European Broadcasting Union

Dr Bettina Brinkmann brings in over twenty years of experience in the media sector. She has held positions with various international companies, multi-national corporations like Bertelsmann, with national German broadcasters ZDF and the EBU, a large broadcasting association. She has a proven track record in media production, format development, content acquisition and film production, and was decisive in closing international deals and major projects. She holds a PhD and has continued advanced studies at the IMD in Lausanne. She is an animal activist and on the board of several associations and is currently involved in the development of an international digital venture.

Tessa Bryson
Producer
Al Jazeera Media Network

A graduate of the Falmouth School of Arts, Tessa Bryson has over a decade of experience in broadcasting. She has worked exclusively with international broadcaster Al Jazeera since 2007. Her career began at Al Jazeera English in London, later joining Al Jazeera's award-winning Investigative Unit in Qatar whose mission is to not report the news, but to make the news. She is currently the Unit Manager for the Investigative Journalism Department. In 2011 Bryson was a Trustee for the Arab British Centre, a cultural organisation that promotes understanding between the United Kingdom and the Arab world through arts and culture.

Matthew Campagna
Co-Founder/Director of Acquisitions
Highball TV

After Matt's first no-budget independent feature sold in a quarter-million dollar bidding war, he went down to Hollywood, where his indie film sensibilities were put to work for companies like Universal and Sony.

But as much fun as LA was, he loves Canada and loves indie film, so he set his next two features and a comedy series in Canada, and Matt has been making film, TV, and digital originals back home in Canada and selling them to the whole world ever since.

He loves innovating and has embraced the way the Internet has allowed film-going to become a worldwide conversation; as a storyteller and as a film curator on HighballTV.com, the audience is right there with him, reacting, talking to him, and becoming a part of the story.

Melissa Campbell
Owner
Contentum Consulting & Management

Experienced in production, marketing, and PR, Melissa started into the representation business at Plum Productions, helping to pioneer their branded and short-form entertainment division. She made the move to agency life in 2005, joining the Gersh Agency, and quickly gravitated to reality television. She brought her varied client list to the Kaplan Stahler Alternative department in 2009, and packages shows for broadcast, cable, and emerging networks. In 2015 she became the Head of Unscripted Television with a varied client list of U.S. and international production companies, showrunners, and producers.

Vanessa Case
SVP Studio
Vice Canada

Vanessa Case is SVP Studio Canada at VICE Media, the world’s leading youth media company. Vanessa heads all of VICE Studios’ productions in Canada including development, production, financing, sales and licensing, as well as overseeing VICE’s production and post-production facilities in Toronto.

A senior media executive with a career spanning two decades, Vanessa has deep expertise in content strategy, delivering business growth and development and execution for global companies, including owned intellectual property (IP), co-productions and international financing.

Prior to joining VICE, Vanessa was EVP Content at Blue Ant Media. She was a critical player in the launch and development of several world-renowned brands landing in Canada and abroad, including BBC Earth, Smithsonian Canada and Love Nature. Prior to her role at Blue Ant, Vanessa held positions at Shaw, CanWest and Alliance Atlantis, where she launched new services, commissioned hundreds of hours of original content, developed original production slates and led scheduling and acquisition strategies for some of Canada's top specialty channels.

Vanessa is a member of WIFT and a WIFT Connect Mentor, Women Against MS (WAMS), Cabinet, sits on the Banff World Media Festival’s Advisory Board and has sat on the CWC Board of Directors.

Nick Catliff
Managing Director & Co-Founder
Lion Television

Nick is the co-founder of Lion Television. He works as EP on many Lion shows, these include Access Documentaries, British Army Girls (Channel 4), Her Majesty’s Cavalry (ITV1), A Very British Airline (BBC Two); Factual Formats, We Are British Jews (BBC2); Arts, Victorian House of Arts and Crafts (BBC2) and Rebuilding The World Trade Center (Channel 4, BAFTA and RTS Awards); History, RAF 100 with Ewan McGregor (BBC1) and Events, Eddie Izzard Marathon Man (BBC1, 3). Nick has overall responsibility for Lion USA which makes Cash Cab (Bravo, 5 Emmys), America Revealed (PBS) and is also a major supplier to Discovery ID.

Nick is chairman of the Indie Training Fund which provides technical and professional training to the TV industry, a board member of Screen Skills and a trustee of The Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company. He recently completed an MBA at The Berlin School of Creative Leadership, keeps bees and has a very small flock of sheep.

Wissam Chahine
Producer/Director, Head of Production
Orbit Productions, Orbit TV Network

Wissam Chahine has a proven track record with more than 25 years in Lebanese and Arab world media broadcast, including television and journalism.

An accomplished writer, director and producer, Chahine has created more than 17,000 hours of broadcast television. As a journalist, columnist and author, he has been a fixture in Arab media for over 20 years.

Chahine is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and an Emmy Awards juror since 2010. He is also a production consultant for IREX MENA Media ME/USA and Community Media Network/Jordan.

Candice Chambers
Senior Director, Distribution and Brands
9 Story Media Group

Candice Chambers is a seasoned television executive with over 15 years of experience in distribution, acquisitions, brand building, sales and production. As Senior Director of Distribution and Brand Development, Candice oversees 9 Story’s brand development strategy, and handles content acquisitions with third party producers. Prior to joining 9 Story in 2011, Candice held various positions at Warner Bros International Television Distribution across sales and business administration. Candice also held prior positions at Corus Entertainment within programming (W Network) and production (CMT).

Ryan Chanatry
General Manager
Topic

Ryan Chanatry is the General Manager of Topic, First Look Media’s video streaming service where he oversees business strategy and operations, P&L, as well as original programming, content acquisitions & sales, marketing, and distribution. Previously, Ryan oversaw First Look’s Audience Development efforts, including acquisition strategy, partnerships, newsletter growth, and paid media.

Before joining First Look Media, Ryan was Director, Global Marketing Insights at Netflix where he led the team responsible for consumer intelligence and tracking across brand, advertising and social media as well as strategic creative planning and development. In addition he worked extensively on Netflix’s international market launches across Europe and Japan.

He joined Netflix in 2013 from Mediacom in Singapore where he was Director, Asia-Pacific Insights & Decisions. Before that he was a Senior Brand Strategy Consultant at Interbrand in the US, Japan, and Singapore. Ryan holds a B.S. with honors in Marketing and Human Resources from The Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.

Aubrey Clarke
Senior Programme Executive
BBC Children's

Aubrey has worked for the BBC Children’s Animation and Acquisitions team for 7 years. As Senior Programme Executive, he is editorially across co-productions, pre-buys and ‘Off the Shelf' acquisitions for Cbeebies and CBBC.

He is the channel executive on The Next Step, Scream Street, My Perfect Landing, The Zoo & Tee & Mo plus brand manages shows such as Holly Hobbie, The Deep & Mustangs FC.

Rachel Clements
Producer
Brindle Films Pty Ltd

Alice Springs-based Rachel Clements is a leading Australian producer of documentary and drama. Rachel has produced or executive produced 30 broadcast documentary films, 10 hours of television drama (children’s and comedy), and over 65 hours of factual television. She has produced from remote Aboriginal communities to international locations. Recent feature documentaries include the cinema-released Finke: There and Back (Sydney Film Festival) and The Song Keepers (MIFF Premiere Fund). Rachel has produced television drama series including 8MMM Aboriginal Radio for ABC, and Double Trouble for Channel 9 and Disney Australasia. Rachel has produced award winning documentaries Occupation: Native, Big Name No Blanket, Blown Away and Ochre and Ink. Rachel’s films have won AACTA, ATOM and AWGIE awards and have been screened at festivals including Sundance and Berlin.

Sydney Clover
Senior Director, Development
National Geographic

Based in New York, Sydney Clover is the Senior Director of Development for National Geographic. In this role, she works alongside the global production community to develop original premium content for the brand.

Prior to National Geographic, Clover served as the Director of Development at Discovery Channel in New York where she lead development for the motor team and worked as a producer for the Street Outlaws franchise. This was her second experience at Discovery. The first was as an Associate Producer in Los Angeles where she played an instrumental role on the team that produced such hits as Naked and Afraid and Shark After Dark.

Before Discovery Channel, Clover spent three years at ITV America where she developed and packaged projects for Leftfield Pictures, Riot and Sirens Media.

Clover holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from New York University where she majored in Film and Television.

Sumi Connock
Creative Director of Formats, International Production and Formats
BBC Studios Distribution Limited

Sumi has responsibility for an extensive formats catalogue of more than 200 titles, including popular entertainment brands such as Dancing with the Stars, The Great Bake Off and Top Gear, alongside scripted formats Luther, Doctor Foster and The Office. She works closely with all our IP creators to identify potential global formats of the future and is also responsible for the annual DWTS, Bake Off and International Production Development Creative Exchanges.

Prior to joining BBC Studios, Sumi worked as Head of Entertainment at ITV Studios in Manchester, where she was responsible for multiple formats including Countdown, University Challenge and You've Been Framed!, as well as creating and developing new formats including the hidden-camera magic show and Broadcast Digital Award winning Tricked (ITV2), returning daytime cookery format, Yes Chef and children's quiz, Top Class(CBBC).

Sumi has an extensive background in Entertainment, having previously spent three years as Commissioning Editor for Entertainment at BBC Daytime, where she oversaw output including Eggheads, Are You an Egghead?, Strictly It Takes Two and Through the Keyhole; and also as an Executive Producer in BBC Entertainment with credits including Just the Two of Us, The Big Finish with Graham Norton and Dear Father Christmas.

Further credits include: Streetmate, The Big Breakfast, MTV Europe Music Awards, Dirty Sanchez, An Audience with the Spice Girls, Animals Do The Funniest Things and Blind Date.

Stuart Coxe
President
Antica Productions

Stuart has been producing TV and film for more than 30 years. His best-known projects include launching Dragons' Den, Shark Tank and, more recently, Gord Downie's last 3 films including Secret Path and Secret Path in Concert. In 2015 he launched the Antica Podcast network, which was subsequently sold to eOne, and included hit shows like Sickboy and Our Fake History. Antica Productions has continued to produce podcasts for the past four years and highlights include best new Canadian podcast nominee (2018), Ask Mr. Wonderful and best Canadian tech podcast (2018) The AI Effect. Antica currently has more than 14 shows in production with a variety of partners, including NBC, Audible, CBC and Bell Media. Recent highlights include Attention Control with Kevin Newman and Pivot to the Future with Will.i.am and Omar Abbosh. Other creators producing shows with Antica and Stuart include Michele Romanow, Tanya Talaga, Melissa Fung, Meredith Erickson, and Snoop Dogg. Brand partners include Accenture, Boston Pizza, Royal Bank, and McGill University. 

Gregory Crompton
Producer
Artaban Productions

Greg directs, produces, and writes award-winning short films, documentaries, and TV shows around the globe. His second feature documentary Eddy's Kingdom is currently on its festival run. Other recent credits include the TV shows BC Was Awesome - Season Three (producer/director) and Android Employed - Season Two (producer). His forays into directing have won awards for Guns to Mics (feature documentary), Listening to a Sense of Place (short documentary) and Dial Y for Yesterday (short film).

Elyse Delmore
VP, Unscripted Development
MGM Studios, Inc

Elyse Delmore is the Vice President of unscripted development at MGM Studios, the studio that produces CBS’s Survivor, ABC’s Shark Tank, and NBC’s The Voice plus many more. She develops and produces game shows, competition formats, variety shows and everything in between for broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. Elyse started her career on the buying side at VH1 working in creative development on hit shows including VH1’s longest running and highest rated docu-series: TI and Tiny: the Family Hustle. She then transitioned to 51 Minds Entertainment where she worked in the current department and created, staffed and produced on projects for MTV, BET, CMT, VH1, Oxygen, E!, Lifetime and The History Channel.

Connie Dercho
Vice President
Jaxx-A Creative House

SVP, Executive Producer
JAXX a creative house 

Connie is a creative executive invested in guiding outstanding work with the best business practices.

Her career in Advertising and Marketing began with the passion to see great ideas evolve from concept through to their final execution. Soon, producing award-winning 3D animation was her calling, including show openers for TSN and FOX; and for ABC, CBS and CBC; plus visuals for both Winter and Summer Olympics, to name a few.

Post production has been Connie’s passion for the past decade, as she brings together the best creative and technical talent – all the way from the front lines of a concept, culling together top-notch production teams, through to flawless post work in the documentary, film and commercial domains.

Thomas Drachkovitch
Creative Development Executive
Amazon Studios

Thomas Drachkovitch is an international executive at Amazon Studios based in London. In his role, Drachkovitch focuses on developing television series and amplifying the Amazon Studios original series initiative in the United Kingdom.

Most recently, Drachkovitch spent two years in Mumbai, India, where he guided the development and launch of Amazon Studios and the company's initial offering of original series programming, which received the country's first-ever Emmy nominations.

Before shifting his focus outside of the U.S., Drachkovitch was one of the initial development team members hired at Amazon Studios in Los Angeles. Prior to that, he worked as an agent trainee at United Talent Agency and in production and development at 44 Blue Productions. He initially launched his career at Allied Integrated Marketing in Denver, where he provided publicity and marketing support for Warner Bros. and Fox Searchlight films in the Rocky Mountain and Southwest regions.

Drachkovitch holds a B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he studied Communications and Technology, Arts and Media. He was born and raised in Los Angeles.

Lauren Evans
Co-Founder & Producer
Cherrydale Productions

Lauren has a passion for creating diverse, and engaging stories. As an award-winning producer with Cherrydale Productions Ltd. Lauren has built a wide set of skills specialized for digital content creation. In true indie creator fashion, Lauren has guided her projects from development and grant applications, crowdfunding through production, distribution, and social media marketing. Her recent credits include executive producing alongside the team at BOSS & CO LTD. on the second season of the hit series Barbelle.

Lauren has been featured in the CMPA’s Indiescreen magazine as one of Canada’s “Next Wave” of creators to watch and was selected as the 2018 WIFT & William F. White Production Manager Mentorship delegate. Lauren recently finished her term as President for the Independent Web Creators of Canada, a volunteer-run non-profit organization focused on elevating Canadian digital creators and hosts of the annual T.O. Webfest.

Lisa Fahrenholt
VP, International Development, Scripted
Endemol Shine North America

Lisa Fahrenholt was named Vice President, International Development, Scripted, Endemol Shine North America, in March 2018.

Fahrenholt is charged with identifying, facilitating and packaging programming opportunities with a key focus on adapting Endemol Shine Group-owned global formats for the U.S. market.
Most recently, she helped develop Fox’s new drama series Almost Family, which is based on the hit Endemol Shine Australia program Sisters.

Fahrenholt has also been involved in the development of upcoming drama Utopia for Amazon Prime, a scripted thriller based on the British series of the same name. Gillian Flynn, the best-selling author and screenwriter of Golden Globe-nominated Gone Girl, is behind the nine-episode adaptation.

And she’s currently helping oversee the development and launch of Endemol Shine North America’s upcoming drama Ripley for Showtime. The series is being written and directed by Oscar-winner Steve Zaillian Schindler’s List ) and stars Andrew Scott (Fleabag ).

Fahrenholt, who formerly served as Director, North American Acquisitions for Endemol Shine International, continues to also oversee finished program acquisitions and co-financing opportunities for the company’s international sales division.

Prior to the Endemol Shine merger, Fahrenholt served as Manager, Acquisitions, for Endemol Worldwide Distribution and previously was on the Endemol Studios programming team in Los Angeles, working across such series as Red Widow, Low Winter Sun and Kingdom.

Stephen Finney
Executive
Finney Films

Stephen Finney is a development executive, story editor and script consultant known for boundary pushing dramas and comedies. As a broadcast production executive at Global, Showcase, and History, he oversaw the hit series Lost Girl and Continuum, international co-productions The Firm and Julian Fellow’s Titanic miniseries, comedies Almost Heroes, Pure Pwnage and Kenny Hotz’s Triumph of the Will, and the digital properties Howie Mandel’s The Family Business and But I’m Chris Jericho. He is currently consulting on and developing scripted dramas with production companies in Toronto and Vancouver.

Catherine Fogarty
President & Executive Producer
Big Coat Media

Catherine Fogarty is the founder and president of Big Coat Media, a Toronto based production company with offices also in Vancouver and North Carolina. An accomplished producer, writer and director, Catherine began her career in television with Armstrong Casting, where she wrote and co-produced the documentary series Flower Power for HGTV Canada.

With the launch of Big Coat Productions in 2000, Catherine began producing her own hit television series including Breathing Space Yoga, My Parents' House and the Gemini Award-winning documentary series, Animal Magnetism.

In 2005, Catherine re-teamed with Maria Armstrong, where together they co-produced the critically acclaimed, Gemini nominated series Love It or List It. Now in it’s ninth successful season on HGTV US, the series ranks as one of Canada’s most successful international formats. The series is also produced in England, Australia and French speaking Quebec.

Catherine is also Executive Producer of Love it or List it Vancouver, which recently wrapped after its fifth season on HGTV Canada and Love It or List It Vacation Homes.

In addition to the Love It or List It franchise, Catherine has produced several other lifestyle reality series including Jillian and Justin (W Network), Chef Worthy (W Network) and Paranormal Home Inspectors (Investigative Discovery Canada). Catherine also produced and directed I Don’t Have Time for This, an intimate documentary about young women with breast cancer (W Network).

In addition to her television work, Catherine has just finished writing her first book called Murder on the Inside: The true story of the 1971 Kingston Penitentiary riot and its deadly aftermath. The book will be published in 2021.

Catherine holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Non-Fiction from Kings College, Dalhousie University, a Master of Arts in Social Work from the University of Sydney and a Master of Business Administration from the University of New England. She has attended Harvard University’s School of Business and has recently completed the Certificate in Creative Writing from the University of Toronto.

In 2016 Catherine was nominated for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Catherine is a member of The Canadian Media Producers Association, Toronto Women in Film, and the Canadian Women's Foundation.

Julie Fox
International Distribution Market Expert/IP Development
Serendipity Animation

With over 25 years experience in the International Distribution business starting with roles in indie and major structures, later creating her own award winning distribution entity, Julie’s skills include IP Scouting and Acquisitions, Content Evaluation/Curation, Content Development, Business Affairs, Brand Management and Exec Producer (Creative/Marketing) roles.

A regularly invited speaker and Jury member at industry events globally, Julie also leads training courses and mentoring sessions for creatives and producers worldwide, combining her Creative and Market expertise to bring fit for purpose IP to the international marketplace.

Zara Frankel
Director, Programming & Development
PBS

Zara Frankel works in PBS Programming as the Director of Programming and Development. She collaborates extensively with filmmakers, production companies, and new talent to develop interesting and innovative content across genres for PBS. Prior to her current role, Zara served as the Development Manager for PBS Programming, evaluating submissions and providing editorial feedback, and worked as a Project Coordinator in digital content and online games with PBS KIDS.  
 
Prior joining PBS, Zara worked for digital ad agency, AKQA. She is a graduate of Florida State University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Communications and Film and a Master’s degree in Education.

Hitoshi Furukawa
Director, Children's Program Division
NHK

Hitoshi entered the public broadcaster of Japan called NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) in 1990. As a program director, he was involved in producing a wide variety of programs from documentary to drama, mainly for young adults and children, and has been a producer for preschoolers’ programs for nearly 20 years. He has served as a nominator for several international prizes such as Prix Jeunesse International, Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award, and Japan Prize of NHK. Now he is in charge of content development for preschoolers in NHK Educational Corporation.

Viola Gabrielli
Media Event Curator & Consultant

Viola Gabrielli is an experienced international consultant specialising in project sourcing, producing, programming, and promoting children's media with an emphasis on designing forward-looking initiatives that are focussed on international co-production, exchange and network expansion. Her recent projects include The Warsaw Kids Film Forum in Poland where, among other things, she produced the Forum’s Inspiration Day and has been integral to the consolidation of the Forums positioning within the international media industry. Furthermore Viola is an appointed member of the Advisory Board at Cinekid Festival / Cinekid for Professional (Netherlands) and works as a consulting delegate for the Chinese Shanghai Film & TV Festival 2020 for the section Animation Feature.

Previously, she was driving the European lobby initiative KIDS Regio and organised Germany’s Academy for Children’s Media, a writer’s lab for professionals developing children’s film, series and story worlds. She started her career by working for the German Children’s Media Festival Golden Sparrow: Cinema-TV-Online.

Colby Gaines
Founder
Back Roads Entertainment

Colby Gaines is an executive producer and founder of Back Roads Entertainment, a New York and Austin-based content creator specializing in comedy and lifestyle programming.
 
In his role, Gaines is responsible for the company's programming, development and day-to-day operations. Back Roads Entertainment develops, sells and produces across all genres for broadcast and cable networks, both domestically and internationally, as well as digital platforms. 
 
Since establishing the company in 2011, Gaines has created, sold and produced over 30 series, specials and pilots for networks such as such as A&E, Lifetime, Discovery, Food, Travel Channel, TLC and E! among others.  The company’s credits include 50 Central (BET) starring music icon, actor and entrepreneur 50 Cent, Big Bad BBQ Brawl (Cooking), Joking Off (MTV), Lake Life (DIY) and Culinary Beats (Yahoo) among many more.
 
Previously, he was the co-founder and owner of Leftfield Pictures, a production company best known for producing hundreds of hours of reality-based programming including juggernaut hits such as Pawn Stars (History), American Restoration (History) and the Oddities franchise (Discovery). 
 
Additional executive producer credits include The Bachelor (ABC), JUNKies (Science), Door Knockers (DIY), Moving In (MTV), Setup Squad (LOGO), What the Sell?! (TLC), The Principal's Office (truTV), Bridal Bootcamp (vh1), Happily Ever Faster (TLC), Hallmark Heroes with Regis Philbin (Hallmark Channel) and InTurn (CBS/CBS.com), among dozens more. 
 
Gaines began his career in non-fiction television, news and new media. Throughout his career he has worked with a wide variety of agencies and Fortune 500 companies.

Anna Gecan
Original Content Sr. Manager, Canada
Audible Inc.

Anna Gecan joined Audible in 2019 to lead the original content strategy for Canada. Audible, which launched its dedicated Canadian offering at Audible.ca in 2017, is investing in original Canadian fiction, drama, comedy, documentaries and lifestyle content, created exclusively for audio.  Anna is working with writers, dramatists, producers and directors to build a slate of vibrant and distinctive Canadian audio content that entertains and informs.

Prior to joining Audible.ca, Anna Gecan was a content consultant specializing in international programs and brands.  She revamped Fine Living Italy in Milan, launched HGTV Asia and redefined the Food Network Asia brands. She has also consulted on numerous UK and Canadian networks. Prior to starting her consultancy Ms. Gecan was VP of Original Programming for HGTV in New York where she developed, green-lit and managed the production of dozens of hit series.  Prior to joining HGTV in New York she was VP of Content and Scheduling for HGTV Canada where she increased ratings by double digits annually. Additionally, she was VP of BBC Canada for a year. Ms. Gecan also headed development and production of original programming for Food Network Canada. Overall, she has developed, commissioned and executive-produced more than one hundred original series that are broadcast worldwide. Ms. Gecan started her career as a television producer/director for CBC News and Current Affairs.  

Tommy Gillespie
Director, Children's Programming
PBS

As Director of Children’s Programming, Tommy leads the strategic rollout of video content for PBS KIDS, including scheduling and content planning for the U.S. public broadcaster’s national children’s service and the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and livestream. He is also the production executive on several PBS KIDS series, including the Emmy-winning Arthur, now in its 23rd season, and the new series Molly of Denali. Tommy developed, launched, and programs the top-rated PBS KIDS Family Night, a destination block for kids and parents that airs every weekend on PBS stations, pbskids.org, and the PBS KIDS Video apps for mobile and OTT platforms. Originally from eastern Kentucky, Tommy joined PBS in 2009 after stints at the U.S. Senate and NPR.

Gustavo Gontijo
Content Development Manager
Globo TV International

Gustavo Gontijo has been with Globo Studios (Latin America´s biggest studio) since 2000 when he was hired as a writer in a long-term contract for many of the company´s shows and series. In 2014, with the creation of Drama Weekly division, dedicated only to drama and comedy series, he was named Head of Development. During his tenure, he helped to conceive and develop audience and critic hits like Under Pressure (the number 1 series in Brazil), Supermax, Mister Brau, Fernando Meirelles´ The Wise Ones, the 2017 MIPtv Grand Jury Prize Jailers and Iron Island (one of 2018 Variety´s picks for best international series). Since the beginning of 2019, he is the Content Manager for the company´s feature division, Globo Filmes.

Helene Goujet
VP Acquisitions & Editorial
HBO Europe

Helene Goujet has been working for HBO Europe since 2016. She is in charge of the editorial choice of content on the acquisition and pre-buy side. HBO Europe is in several different territories in Europe (Nordic, Iberia, CEE) and their aim is to find the best content possible for their subscribers, always trying to have the next series that people will talk about no matter where it comes from.

Before joining HBO, Helene was at French public broadcaster France Television for 13 years in the acquisition department for both movies and series.

Stevenson Greene
Senior Manager of Acquisitions and Co Productions
Viacom

Stevenson Greene is currently the Senior Manager of Acquisitions, Co-productions and Original Programming (Development and Production) at MTV, VH1, CMT and the LGBTQ focused Logo network. He has been a part of Viacom for 10 years and has executive produced projects such as Finding Prince Charming (Logo), Food to Get You Laid (Logo) and Straight Out Report (Logo). He has also worked on projects such as the multi-Emmy award winning RuPaul's Drag Race, The A-List: New York, Noah's Arc and many others.

Originally from Boston, MA and graduating college from Suffolk University, Stevenson attended Chapman University as a graduate student where he received his MFA in Film and Television Producing. After graduation, he landed a job working as the assistant to two television literary agents at Innovative Artists. After a year at Innovative, he moved to another agency, Agency of the Performing Arts (APA). While at APA, he landed an opportunity at Logo / MTV Networks as the assistant to the Head of Original Programming and the Vice President at the time and has been with Viacom ever since.

Andrew Gregory
Executive Producer
ABC - Australian Broadcasting Corporation

Andrew Gregory is an EP in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Drama, Comedy & Indigenous team. He has worked in TV and feature film development and business affairs roles, including at broadcasters the ABC, SBS and the UK's Channel 4.

Andrew graduated from the Australian Film, Television and Radio School in 2004 and has a LLB/BEc from the Australian National University.

Olaf Grunert
Vice Director
ZDF Digital

Olaf Grunert began working for German public broadcaster ZDF in 1986 after finishing his studies of History and German and Scandinavian philology in Kiel, Reykjavík and Tampere.

Since 1991, he has been working for the German-French Cultural channel Arte in different positions. From 2004 to 2013, he worked at Arte headquarters in Strasbourg as head of theme nights. Since then, he has been responsible for fiction programs and feature-length documentaries. Films he commissioned have won numerous awards, including the Prix Italia, the Golden Nymph (Monte Carlo), the Rockie Award and the prestigious German Grimme Award.

Dylan Haskins
Commissioning Executive, Podcasts
BBC British Broadcasting Corp

Dylan Haskins is Commissioning Executive for Podcasts at BBC Sounds. He looks after an exciting slate of new podcast commissions aimed at 16-34 year olds, as well as content partnerships. His commissions range across genres from several upcoming international investigative series to the genre-defying Have You Heard George’s Podcast? from George the Poet.

BBC Sounds is the BBC’s new app and website for music, radio and podcast listening. Launched in November 2018, it has grown quickly in its first year with over 3 million weekly users in the UK and BBC podcasts also being listened to by millions internationally through the BBC Sounds website and other platforms.

Dylan joined the BBC in 2016, working first as a producer developing and launching short-form video platform BBC Ideas, which won Best Public Service Video channel at the 23rd Webby Awards. He joined BBC Sounds in 2018 as an executive producer and became commissioning executive in July 2019.

He made his first podcast in 2010 for the Irish music series Other Voices and from 2013 produced and co-hosted the Soundings podcast with Lisa Hannigan, which regularly topped the iTunes charts and sold out live shows in the UK and Ireland. He has worked as a producer and presenter with Other Voices, the Guardian online, RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Two.

Dylan is also a trustee of Rich Mix, one of the most diverse arts centres in the UK, and of the Festival of Writing & Ideas in Ireland. In 2015-16 he was awarded the Jerome Hynes Fellowship by the Arts Council of Ireland on the prestigious Clore Leadership Programme.

Justina Hemperek
Head of Acquisitions
Beyond Distribution

Justina Hemperek is Head of Acquisitions at Beyond Distribution and leads the company’s acquisition and pre-sales activity. She has extensive experience in factual programming and was previously Director of Acquisitions - UK, Europe and Australia, International Distribution at entertainment One (eOne).

Prior to eOne, Hemperek held a similar role at ITV Studios Global Entertainment and has also spent time at All3Media International and RDF Rights in the UK. In her native Australia, she worked for Nickelodeon Australia as well as Fox World Australia (a subsidiary of Fox International).

Krista Hovsepian
Actor/Content Creator
Feelings Monster Films

Krista Hovsepian is an award-winning actress/content creator whose hit comedy series - about a neurotic yoga teacher who sets out in search of love at her favourite organic market - was recently compared to The Mindy Project by the Toronto Star.

Hovsepian, a Canadian living in LA, created, wrote, produced, and starred in the 4-time award winning (and 25+-time nominated) series that has screened at numerous international festivals in Seoul, Sicily, Bogotá, New York City, Miami, Puglia, and Santa Monica, among others.

After completing her BFA at Ryerson University in Toronto, she went on to pursue an MA in Visual & Media Anthropology in Berlin, Germany. Krista serves as an active member of both Women in Film LA and Women in Film Toronto, is a member of the Toronto Women’s Actra Committee and the Young Emerging Actors Assembly, and has been involved in countless fundraisers championing women in the arts including the annual She Speaks showcasing new work created by women in Kitchener-Waterloo. She is currently working closely with Sarah Finn (Casting @ Marvel) and Melanie Donkers (Development @ Mermade/Merman) as part of the WIF 2019/20 mentorship circle in Hollywood. Additional Credits: The Date (CBC), fête, The Listener (NBC/FOX INT’L).

Alex Hryniewicz
Head of Owned Channels
Little Dot Studios

Alex is Head of Owned Channels at Little Dot Studios, a next generation broadcaster and producer. Alex oversees a team of 20 staff working across more than 25 channel brands, overseeing the strategic development of the channels as they expand onto new platforms, syndicate content to 3rd party VoD services and expand their commissioning, production and brand partnership opportunities. In 2019 he Executive-Produced the BAFTA-winning Missed Call for Real Stories.

Nikolas Huelbusch
Director, ZDFE.Unscripted
ZDF Enterprises GmbH

Born in Mainz in 1968, Nikolas Hülbusch studied Theatre, Film and Television, as well as Slavic studies, at Bochum (Germany) and Katowice (Poland) Universities from 1989 to 1995. He published several articles and two books on documentary and feature film history.

After first experiences in various TV companies, he joined the Documentary Co-Production & Development team at ZDF Enterprises in 1997. In 2001, he took over a new position as project manager for documentary co-production. In this capacity, Nikolas Hülbusch negotiated numerous wildlife, history and science documentary co-productions with partners including the BBC, Discovery, National Geographic, The History Channel, RTI, Channel 4, France 5, as well as distribution mandate deals with numerous international factual production companies such as Pixcom, ITN Factual, Wild Fury, Essential Media, Stornoway etc.

In 2013, he became the director of ZDFE.unscripted within the restructured ZDFE.unscripted genre team. His remit still includes international co-productions and distribution agreements, as well as the licensing of VoD rights in Germany and abroad.

Jimmy Humphrey
Head of Acquisitions & Co-Productions
TCB Media Rights

Jimmy has worked in international distribution for 15 years, with experience in acquisitions & sales across a range of companies from FremantleMedia, Banijay International & Passion Distribution.

In his current role, Jimmy manages the overall acquisition process for TCB Media Rights, identifying, sourcing and evaluating factual programming to acquire and licence around the world. He works closely with broadcasters and producers alike to raise deficit finance and attach co-production and pre-sale partners.

Kirsten Hurd
Acquisitions, TVO Kids
TVO

Working in Acquisitions for TVO, the technological extension of Ontario’s public education system, Kirsten is responsible for sourcing a wide range of kids programming. She is also the Production Executive for TVO on 5 co-productions each year. In her previous positions she spent 15 years in international sales and acquisitions of finished programming, most recently as Director of Acquisitions and Canada Sales at Distribution360. Prior to D360, Kirsten served as Director of Sales for factual distributor BuzzTaxi Communications, and has held sales and management positions at Cookie Jar Entertainment, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Decode/DHX Media. As a specialist in program sales, Kirsten worked within territories across the globe including North America, Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, New Zealand and Australia. She has attended international markets extensively including Kidscreen, MIPCOM, MIPTV, Banff Media Festival, Hot Docs, AIDC, TIFF, Realscreen and NATPE.

Henrietta Hurford-Jones
Director of Children's Content Partnerships
BBC Studios Distribution Limited

Henrietta is responsible for managing the Children’s original programming portfolio for BBC Studios globally. Henrietta joined BBC Studios in July 2010 as part of the company’s on-going strategy to work with the UK and international production community to source, develop and executive produce global and locally relevant content for the global CBeebies branded services and the wider commercial and brand businesses.

Henrietta works closely with all of the company’s operating divisions. In addition to having editorial oversight of all new productions she also leads commercial negotiations and works to extract maximum value from BBC Studios children’s intellectual property. Henrietta actively seeks returnable global content which can run in all markets. Original productions for BBC Studios so far include Bluey, Hey Duggee, Sarah & Duck, Go Jetters, Andy’s Adventures and Dinopaws.

With a focus on pre-school programming Henrietta is also tasked with strengthening the overall Children’s catalogue for the business covering older children, tween and teen groups.

Before joining BBC Studios, Henrietta worked in programming and sales for RDF Kids & Family, as director of programming Europe and Latin America at Disney and Fox Kids. Prior to that she was Head of Sales at HIT Entertainment plc.

Beth Iley
Director of Development
New Metric Media

As the Director of Development for New Metric Media, Beth Iley manages an extensive and diverse slate of drama and comedy projects - working closely with creators to craft and sell their series. She serves as Producer on New Metric’s upcoming primetime comedy series, Children Ruin Everything for CTV.

Beth was a Producer on Killjoys (Space, Syfy/NBC Universal) following her involvement in its development at Temple Street where she spent five years on the scripted programming team. Series developed during her time there include The Next Step (Family Channel, Hulu, BBC Worldwide), Orphan Black (Space, BBC America, BBC Worldwide), Lost & Found Music Studios (Family Channel, Netflix), and X Company (CBC, History Channel, Sony International). Beth also has a passion for music, and extensive knowledge of music licensing, credited as the music coordinator on all four seasons of Being Erica (CBC, SoapNet, BBC Worldwide).

Katie Isaacson
Senior Manager of Development, CNN Original Series
CNN

Katie Isaacson is Senior Manager of Development for CNN Original Series at CNN, based in New York City. In this position, she is responsible for cultivating relationships within the creative community and developing original programming across a variety of CNN platforms. She is responsible for the development of show concepts for CNN Original Series and HLN Original Series.

Maria Ishak
SVP, Sales North America
All3media International

Maria Ishak is Senior Vice President North America Sales at all3media International and manages the licensing of rights of over 11,000 hours of programming including Midsomer Murders, Undercover Boss and the award-winning Fleabag. Moreover, Ishak is charged with growing the North American business by managing factual co-production between the UK and US, working closely with producers to identify, pitch and sell their projects at development stage.

Philip Jackson
Co-Founder, Co-Executive Producer, Creative
Starfield Independent Studios Inc

Driving the creative and commercial fusion of new content, helping Starfield Indie’s digital team develop new platform implementation of content outreach and effective transmedia, particularly in relation to its TV and film productions.

Phil Jackson is an owner-Manager of Starfield Indie, a Toronto -London with a diversity of producing, finance and legal talent heading the management team. His company’s motto is “Imagination Works”. Philip and his Starfield Indie team are in an ongoing mission to keep that vision at the tip of both creative and commercial realms. This means investing in risk, as outstanding entertainment product has rarely, if ever, come from invention-adverse management.

Philip embraces producing work with an imaginative and challenging edge. So far – audiences embrace Starfield Indie in return.

Properties headlining 2019-20 include the just completed sci-fi series Starhunter: REDUX (44 eps) and heading into Season 3 Starhunter: Transformation (22 eps), the features Captain Reggie, The Odds, Prison Moon IO and the first season of the sci-fi drama FATman at Lightspeed.


Angela Jain
Managing Director
ITV Studios Global Entertainment

Angela Jain is Managing Director, of the multi-award-winning label, ITV Studios Entertainment, the UK's largest entertainment producer. ITV Studios Entertainment created the world's fastest-growing entertainment format, Love Island and are the producers of the successful show in the UK. The company is also responsible for creating I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, which is successfully produced in 10 other territories and producers of The Voice, in the UK. For the UK they produce amongst many shows Dancing On Ice, University Challenge and Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway. Hot Drop is the label's first commission for Quibi, the major SVOD platform launching in the States in a few months.

Prior to this role, Angela worked in broadcast commissioning. Whilst Controller of ITV2 (and the family of digital channels) she acquired Family Guy and commissioned the award-winning shows: Plebs, The Big Reunion and the phenomenon which is Love Island. Under her leadership ITV2 won numerous awards including Broadcast Digital Channel of the Year.

During her tenure at Channel 4 she oversaw seven series of Big Brother, commissioned Space Cadets, Misfits and The Inbetweeners. Whilst in charge of E4 the channel received both the Broadcast and EITF Channel of the Year, achieving its biggest ratings ever. She also had a commissioning stint at Channel 5. Angela's career started in television production as a music researcher. She went on to direct and produce shows for all the major channels.

Angela currently sits on the boards of London First and The Edinburgh International TV Festival. She was previously on the boards of Film London and Creative Access. Last year she featured in the Hospital Club 100, a list celebrating the UK’s most innovative and influential talent working across the creative industries. When not working she is cooking and seeing the world.

J C Jao
Program Manager
HAKKA TV

J C Jao has been in Hakka's TV Program Division since January 2004, initially producing Hakka Opera, and since then has been working on a number of programming projects such as Hakka mother tongue learning, cultural, documentary and drama content. He has been the Program Manager of the Program Division since 2018.

Founded in July 2003 as one of 3 national public channels, Hakka TV network is the voice of the Hakka people in Taiwan and overseas as well. The programs offered for broadcast let Hakka and non-Hakka viewers better appreciate and understand Hakka culture.

Among the shows Hakka TV produced are dramas, children and teenagers programs, lifestyle features, music shows, news and variety. Hakka TV also acquires various programs from international content markets as well.

In recent years, Hakka TV has been working to bring Hakka culture to the young generation through Hakka TV programs, and connecting Hakka contents with international mainstream.

Andrew Johnson
Executive in Charge of Production, Original Content, Factual
Corus Entertainment

Andrew Johnson helps develop and commission factual and documentary programming for Corus channels HISTORY and Global in Canada. He has overseen current and past programs like Rust Valley Restorers, Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust, History Erased, D-Day in 14 Stories, 100 Days to Victory, Border Security, Hunting Nazi Treasure, Yukon Gold, Real Vikings and Ice Pilots. Previously, he was Commissioning Editor of the award-winning CBC News Network documentary series The Lens/Rough Cuts and Senior Producer of The Passionate Eye. He began his career in independent production and has won numerous prizes as a Producer and Director, including a Peabody Award and several Geminis, plus a BANFF Rockie Award and an International Emmy nomination.

Gary Jones
Writer, Actor, Host

Gary's a Jessie Award-winning playwright and Leo Award-nominated writer & actor. His thirty-six year career spans more than thirty-five years! During that time he’s appeared in countless features (films not magazine articles) (actually, yeah, some magazine articles), MOW’s and TV episodics. His comedic work with Toronto’s fabled Second City Improv Theatre brought him out to Expo '86 and the rest, as they say, is super boring but he has to write a bio so, whatever. Gary appeared for 10 years and over 100 episodes on the sci-fi smash (Smash, I tell you, smash!) Stargate SG:1. He acted alongside screen icons Mickey Rooney, Nick Nolte and Andre the Seal (one of whom ate a bucket of fish a day). He’s performed improv in the home of Bill and Melinda Gates and is currently writing on his 14th season of CBC Radio’s The Debaters. He and his writing partner, Diana Frances, are in a development deal with CBC Television and Toronto’s Pier 21 Productions for GIVEN UP, a single-cam comedy based on Diana's life of adoption. Gary has one Oscar to his name: his 19 year-old son, Oscar Jones.

Gwen Jones McCauley
Director, Content Sales & Consumer Products
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

With over 20 years experience in distribution, Gwen Jones McCauley has had a hand in launching and expanding several successful content sales operations, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s recently re-launched international content sales department, CBC & Radio-Canada Distribution. She continues to serve as the Director of Content Sales and Consumer Products, overseeing the department’s acquisitions and sales initiatives, while managing a sales remit of her own which includes North and South America, Oceania and much of Europe, while leading CBC's Archive Sales and the Merchandising & Licensing teams.

Prior to CBC, Gwen held a senior level position at Blue Ant Media where she was instrumental in the build of the company’s global distribution business, and the expansion of their premium content library through acquisition of content as well as through sales across several global territories.

Gwen has also served as VP Sales and Coproductions at BBC Worldwide Canada. While with the BBC, she was responsible for the year-on-year growth of the program sales division including spearheading some of their largest Canadian presale and format deals. Over her 13 years with the company, she also held primary responsibility for BBCWW’s Canadian news and current affairs business, children’s business as well as playing a key role in the launch of BBCWW’s Canadian digital business and domestic channels.

Jana Kaun
Executive Producer
ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland

Jana Kaun studied German, Journalism and English at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität in Bamberg. After her studies she decided to follow her passion for films and series and started working in the television business. In 2008 she began working as a trainee at SKY Germany, where she was part of the editorial team.

In 2009, she became Commissioning Executive in the department for International Co-Production & Documentaries at ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland. Within the team she developed and co-produced international projects and was responsible for the German dubbing. Past projects include Pillars of the Earth, World Without End, Labyrinth, Primeval, Crossing Lines.

In 2018, Jana started working as Executive Producer for the German Fiction department at ProSiebenSat.1 TV Deutschland. Most recently she has overseen the half hour comedies Die Läusemutter (adaptation of the successful Dutch format Lice Mother) and Think Big, which both will be aired in spring 2020 on SAT.1

Jana is currently working on several projects and co-productions - adaptations as well as originals. She is very excited to co-produce the bestselling book Blackout by Marc Elsberg together with the recently launched platform Joyn Plus.

ProSiebenSat.1 is a leading player in the German entertainment market. We want to offer great entertainment – whenever, wherever and on any device. Every day, 45 million TV households in Germany, Austria and Switzerland enjoy our 15 free and pay TV channels.

Anthony Kimble
CEO
Fugitive Content

Anthony is a highly-skilled international TV executive, with more than 20 years’ experience in program strategy, co-production, sales and acquisitions, gained from working in senior management positions at businesses such as National Geographic, Cineflix Rights and Channel 5.

His extensive network of global contacts, and ability to spot a hit property, has seen him raise in excess of £30m in co-production finance over the years and bring hundreds of hours of content to greenlight.

Anthony is a member of BAFTA and the RTS and is a graduate of the National Film and Television School, where he studied script development.

His three favourite TV shows of 2019 are Chernobyl, Fleabag and Pose.

Matt King
Co-President
LaRue Entertainment

Matt King is Founder & Co-President of LaRue Entertainment, the most prolific digital facing production company in Canada. Matt’s slate includes multiple TV series, feature length films, short films, and digital series in various stages of production and distribution.

King has won a number of awards for his work as a producer including a Canadian Screen Award. Projects at LaRue have earned a strong reputation and attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Academy Award winning Director Jonathan Demme, creator of The Simpsons Matt Groening, and Mad Men's Jon Hamm.

In 2018, The New York Times agreed to back an Oscar campaign for LaRue’s short film entitled My Dead Dad's Porno Tapes, which originally premiered at Sundance, screened at Tribeca, and won SXSW.

King recently made headlines after producing and releasing the grindhouse style feature film Filth City – a satire inspired by the rise and fall of late Toronto Mayor, Rob Ford. The film, also released as a digital series, went on to garner over 50 awards and nominations internationally, and was picked up by Canal+ (Studio+) worldwide, and Hollywood Suite in Canada.  

Matt was born in Toronto and moved to Los Angeles in 2019. He is a member of the PGA, CMPA, WIFT, IWCC, and a director of CAFDE. King is driven to create a new wave of iconic original content for audiences around the world to enjoy.

Joana Klaus
Original Content Coordinator, Gloob and Gloobinho
Grupo Globo

Based in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Joana Klaus is the Original Content Coordinator at Gloob, Grupo Globo kids hub.

In the broadcasting business for more than 10 years, she oversees content development from sourcing ideas, approval of outlines, scripts and casting, to broadcasting version green light. Currently managing international co-productions, Joana has also integrated Gloob’s Acquisitions and Programming team as curator of animation and live-action shows for children.

Prior to moving to Gloob, she was responsible for content supervision of Grupo Globo’s over-the-top products in the company’s digital department.

Tim Krubsack
EVP & Head of Programming
Z Living

A seasoned programmer and innovator of unscripted television, Tim Krubsack was most recently the executive vice president and head of programming at cable network Z Living, the leading health-entertainment media destination. There he oversaw all original programming, development, scheduling and acquisitions for the network, including original series such as the award-winning Altar’d, Finding Fido, The Big Fat Truth and Yoga Girls.



Krubsack previously served as senior vice president, alternative programming for Syfy/NBCUniversal, where he was responsible for the development of the network’s unscripted programming line-up, including such hit series as Face Off, Paranormal Witness, Heroes of Cosplay, Total Blackout, Hollywood Treasure and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop Challenge.



Prior to Syfy, Krubsack founded and ran digital post-production company iO Film, and served as VP, alternative programming for USA and Sci Fi networks. Krubsack also produced series including Road Rules and Real World/Road Rules Challenge for MTV, and Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction? for FOX. He is currently developing and producing premium doc projects and unscripted formats for various networks.

Els Kuiper
Senior Buyer
NPO Netherlands Public Broadcasting

Els Kuiper received her Master’s degree in Art and Culture Studies from the University of Amsterdam in 1986. For the past 30 years she has been working for the Dutch public broadcaster VPRO TV as a buyer and creative producer of local children’s television programmes.

She is also the buyer and programmer of children’s films and programmes for the Dutch public children’s channel NPO Zapp (having about 200 film slots per year) and was an advisor for the Dutch National Board of Culture (2006) and a committee member for the Holland Film Fund, specializing in youth film production and distribution.

Els has been part of several industry juries over the years and is currently a board member with the Taartrovers film festival in Holland.

Jarmo Lampela
Head of Drama
YLE Finnish Broadcasting Company

Jarmo Lampela is currently the Head of Drama at YLE and has been since 2015, with the aim to increase the international co-productions before 2020. At current, YLE has over 11 different series that have been produced or in production with 9 different countries.

He has worked as scriptwriter and directed numerous productions for cinema, television and theatre since 1992 and received multiple awards for his films The River (2001) and Eila (2003). His recent mini- series for YLE Ihan Sama (Whatever) was nominated for Best Children and Youth Programme at the 2015 national Venla TV awards.

Jarmo’s background includes working as the Professor of Film Directing and Head of the Department of Film, Television and Scenography at Aalto University, Helsinki (2008 – 2015) whilst simultaneously running his own production companies Lasihelmi Filmi (1994 – 2013) and Vegetarian Films (2010 – 2015).

Jarmo has over 40 productions in film, television and theatre, serving as the director, writer or producer.

Su Lei
Director
SMG DOCUCHINA

Su Lei has been the Director of Shanghai Media Group (SMG)’s Documentary Channel since 2002. She has a deep understanding of documentary films both, foreign and domestic. Recently, she was the chief director for Fruit Stories, where she implemented new shooting methods with artistic breakthroughs.

Since 2002, Su Lei has been responsible for more than 50 documentary program productions. She has received several awards in China for her programs and a Rockie Award in 2015 for Endless Love.

Julien Leroux
SVP Global Scripted Coproductions
Cineflix Rights

Julien Leroux leads Cineflix’s scripted co-production initiatives, setting up creative partnerships with producers, talent, and networks to deliver hit drama for the global market. Based in London, he also works closely with the sales and acquisitions team at Cineflix Rights to acquire and license scripted content for distribution to all media platforms.

Prior to joining Cineflix, Leroux was EVP, content development & sales at the UK arm of France’s Newen Group, the company behind Osmosis, Ouro, Emmy®-award winning Spiral, and Witnesses. Previously, he was deputy managing director, international sales, acquisitions & marketing of Paris-based Newen Distribution where he worked with broadcasters and platforms including Netflix, Disney, BBC, Channel4, National Geographic Channels, Discovery, ZDF, Mediaset, AMC Networks, and NBC. Leroux also served as VP, international sales & acquisitions at AB International Distribution.

Liz Levenson
President
Cactus Tree Entertainment

Liz Levenson is an international television executive who works with global networks, platforms, and producers to develop and distribute top-quality content around the world. With extensive experience in creative development and global business, Liz works closely with content generators and expanding digital and linear platforms to create content and opportunities that engage, inspire, and drive viewership.

Liz has shared her experience on panels and at conferences around the globe, including MIPTV, MIPCOM, Realscreen, NATPE, the Banff Television Festival, ATF, Discop Africa, and more. After recognizing the rapid shift in the television industry and evolving landscape of the international distribution business, she co-founded Cactus Tree Entertainment, an international consulting company aimed at working alongside producers and broadcasters to find alternative means of developing and financing content with a global appeal.

Liz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Hillary Levi
Creative Executive
Crunchyroll

Hillary Levi is a creative executive at Crunchyroll, the world’s most popular anime brand with 60 million registered users and two million subscribers, and VRV, the fandom-focused video platform. In this role, Levi is responsible for the development, production, and launch of animated series for both platforms. While at Crunchyroll and VRV, Levi has driven the development and production for a number of series including HarmonQuest season three, Cyanide & Happiness season four, and the first season of Bigfoot.

Prior to Crunchyroll and VRV, Levi worked in development at Disney ABC Television Group. She brings with her deep experience across Hollywood, having also spent time at BOOM! Studios, The Gersh Agency, and Village Roadshow Pictures.

Levi has a B.A. of Cinematic Arts in Film and TV Production from the University of Southern California.

David Levine
Vice President, Kids Programming, Europe & Africa/UK & Ireland
The Walt Disney Company (EMEA)

David Levine is Vice President, Kids Programming, Disney Channels Europe and Africa/UK & Ireland. In this role, he is responsible for all strategic and operational aspects of kids programming including the development of the linear and multi-platform programming strategy. Additionally, he is responsible for determining the direction of original production and commissions all originally produced content, acquisitions and co-productions for Disney kids platforms. He has developed and commissioned Emmy-nominated Evermoor, First Class Chefs, The Lodge and 101 Dalmatian Street.

David oversees programming strategy for pan-regional Disney Junior and Disney XD, reaching over 110 countries and 70 million households. David has operational responsibility for UK & Ireland kids programming, and regional responsibility for kids channel performance across the region. David also serves as an Executive Sponsor of the Pride UK&I business resource group for Disney’s LGBT+ employees.

A 15+ year Disney veteran, David has served in a variety of roles, including GM UK/Nordics Disney Channels; VP/GM, Disney XD Worldwide; VP, Worldwide Programming Strategy, Acquisitions and Co-Productions. David has been an OUTStanding/Financial Times Top 100 LGBT+ Executive for the past three years, and serves as a Trustee for anti-bullying charity ‘Ditch the Label.’

Betsy Lippitt
Content Acquisitions and Partnerships Manager
Tubi

Betsy Lippitt is a worldwide acquisitions executive for Tubi, the largest and fastest growing free streaming service. In her role, Betsy manages relationships with a wide-range of content holders including all of the major Hollywood studios and major broadcast networks. Prior to joining Tubi, Betsy managed digital, home entertainment, and worldwide non-theatrical sales for Miramax, most notably the digital release of Oscar winning director Kevin Macdonald's 2018 documentary, Whitney.

Felicia Litovitz
VP, Acquisitions, North America
Cineflix Productions Inc.

Felicia Litovitz is a seasoned acquisitions executive, with more than 15 years of experience in various roles across the TV and film industry. As VP, Acquisitions, North America, Felicia is responsible for building Cineflix Rights’ catalogue of factual and scripted content from US and Canadian producer partners. She also focuses on securing distribution rights through setting up first-look, development and output deals, pre-sales, and co-productions.

Prior to joining Cineflix Rights in May 2019, Felicia was Director, Distribution at Fremantle representing globally successful brands including Jamie Oliver, Grand Designs, Project Runway, and Family Feud. She was previously Manager, Content Acquisitions at Corus Entertainment, acquiring TV series and feature films for all Corus channels including History, National Geographic, Showcase, W, and HGTV.

Andrew Lutin
Director Original Programming & Development
Pop

Christine Maestracci
Vice President Acquisitions & International Distribution
Quebecor Content

Christine Maestracci is Vice President Acquisitions & International Distribution at Quebecor Content.

In this role, she is responsible for devising content acquisition strategy for all the platforms of the group, developing partnerships with studios and distributors, and growing the distribution of original productions abroad. She leads a team that scouts and acquires content across all major genres (films, series, documentaries, variety show and youth), to provide fresh, original, and exclusive content for Quebecor's platforms.

Recognized by her peers, Christine is also acting president of FCTMN, the Quebec affiliate of Women in Film & Television International Women (WFTI), which ensures a better visibility of women in the entertainment industry.

Marney Malabar
Director, KidsTV
TVO

As Director of TVOkids, Marney Malabar has created excellent children’s educational content in an ever-evolving digital space - helping kids to be successful both inside and outside the classroom.

Over more than two decades at TVO, Marney has been nominated for numerous awards: winning an International Emmy Award, as well as four Gemini Awards. Today, Marney oversees internationally recognized co-productions, original content and an acquisition slate that drives diversified content and immersive worlds on TVOkids.

In June 2017 Marney completed her graduate studies and received a Masters of Education from the University of Toronto. Marney continues to weave her love of learning and engaging children into every production she works on.

Sandy Marshall
Partner
Norman Howard

Sandy Marshall is an Emmy-nominated producer, actor, director, and speaker. He created the Workish series for Rogers Media, appeared in Ron Howard's The Dilemma, and is a former director for the legendary Second City. A longtime space enthusiast, he's a 2x NASA Social alum, and is an alum of Drake University's Board of Trustees (his alma mater).

Jennifer Mason
Marketing and Communications Executive

Jennifer is an accomplished marketing and communications executive with over 15 years’ experience in the broadcast entertainment industry working at CBC, Alliance Atlantis, Canwest, Shaw, Blue Ant and TableRock Media. She has extensive experience developing and executing channel and program launches through strategic marketing and PR campaigns that build awareness and deliver on audience and revenue targets.

Throughout her career, Jennifer has overseen marketing and communications for some of Canada’s most popular media brands including CBC, History Television National Geographic, Showcase, HGTV, Cottage Life and the launch the Smithsonian Channel in Canada. Jennifer is currently VP Strategy at Lamb Creative Group, where she manages a diverse group of clients from media and packaged goods industries to sports APPs and athletic apparel.

Jennifer Mason
President

Tom McGillis
President, Executive Producer
Fresh TV Inc.

An Emmy® Award-winning executive producer, series creator and writer of YA entertainment, McGillis is the co-creator of such international hits as the Total Drama franchise, My Babysitter’s a Vampire and 6teen. As President of Fresh TV, McGillis is at the helm of the company’s expansion into prime time and is responsible for leading the Fresh development team in its collaboration with American and Canadian networks and talent.

Early 2018 saw Fresh TV acquire the rights to Lucas The Spider, the friendly critter that gained the viral popularity among fans of all ages, while amassing over 300 million views on YouTube. Retaining the authenticity and running alongside Fresh TV’s ongoing production of original YouTube shorts, the new Lucas the Spider series will focus on Lucas and his innocent and endearing perspective of the world, while introducing longer narratives, new characters and an expanded universe. The series, in collaboration with CAKE, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, and WexWorks Media, is currently in the midst of development.

Craig McGillivray
Vice President, Distribution
Breakthrough Entertainment

Craig joined Breakthrough Entertainment from Peacock Alley Entertainment, an international production house and distributor where he served as Vice President, Distribution. He previously worked with DHX Media as Territory Manager handling program sales for Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Canada. Previous to DHX, Craig served with Breakthrough Entertainment as Sales Executive, where he handled sales to Eastern and Central Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America and Canada.

Craig began his career in television distribution and programming at Ironstar Communications Inc., the television programming sales and distribution company founded by his father, Derek McGillivray. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from University of Western Ontario. While attending Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville Alabama, Craig was recruited by the Atlanta Braves Major League baseball team after playing NCAA Division 1 Baseball for the Gamecocks.

Alastair McKinnon
Managing Director
Matchbox Pictures

Alastair McKinnon is the Managing Director of Matchbox Pictures, the multi-award winning Australian production company responsible for a diverse slate of programs including acclaimed dramas 7 Types of Ambiguity, Safe Harbour, Glitch and Secret City and the forthcoming Stateless and Clickbait. Matchbox Pictures is owned by NBCU.
 
Prior to this Alastair was the Head of Content Investment and Planning at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) where he was responsible for overseeing content production, business and planning activities across all genres and platforms for ABC’s entertainment and specialist division. Whilst at the ABC, Alastair also served as the Deputy Head of Production for ABC TV, executive producing popular drama Harrow, starring Ioan Gruffudd and the supernatural drama Glitch. Alastair also oversaw production on the TV version of Indigenous thriller Mystery Road.

Carolyn Meland
President & Executive Producer
HeartHat Entertainment

A CSA, Realscreen, and Banff Rockie award nominated producer, Carolyn has created, directed and series produced a wide scope of internationally successful shows and formats.

In 2018 HeartHat Inc., the company that she started, garnered four nominations including best lifestyle series for Great Canadian Homes, and was winner of the International Prix Jeunesse award for Canadoodaday, an animated short series produced for CBC Kids.

Carolyn is the creator and producer of the internationally distributed makeover format Style by Jury as well as co-creator of Brides of Beverly Hills, Chef off!, Arresting Design, and the Gemini nominated docu-reality series, Totally Tracked Down.

Carolyn is currently producing and directing a feature documentary, Rebel Dad, based on the memoir of Canada’s first openly gay man to legally adopt. She is also working on her first feature film, an animated musical titled Princess Up! In addition, she is producing several short form series for CBC Life.

A passionate storyteller who cut her chops on shows like Canada AM, The Journal, and SCTV, Carolyn is dedicated to producing engaging projects that appeal to the head and heart.

Tony Moulsdale
Global Director of Programming
Motion Content Group

Tony Moulsdale oversees programming for Motion’s global business. From sourcing ideas, through development and production, to marketing and exploitation, Tony works closely with Motion’s local teams to ensure a cohesive commercial approach across markets which makes the most of content opportunities and partnerships. Tony also manages Motion’s international scripted slate, working with writers, producers and broadcasters to bring premium quality drama into production.

Tony divides his time between LA , London and Toronto, where he leads Motion’s rapidly developing Canadian content business.

Prior to Motion’s launch, Tony was Head of Programming for GroupM Entertainment UK where he oversaw more than 200 primetime series including The Jump, Love Island, Cilla and Ben Fogle: New Lives in the Wild. He joined GME in 2008 from MediaCom, the UK’s largest media agency where, as Head of Programming, he ran the branded content business. Before that Tony was a freelance Producer and Director working predominantly for the BBC and Channel 4.

Carrie Mudd
President
Peacock Alley Entertainment

President Carrie Mudd oversees development and production across Peacock Alley Entertainment’s scripted and factual divisions. Mudd has a track record of producing successful, critically acclaimed film, television and digital content for channels around the globe.

Mudd executive produces the award-winning series Travelers (Netflix) staring Eric McCormack, the original Crave comedy series New Eden and the much anticipated drama series Tiny Pretty Things (Netflix) based on the book by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton.

Unscripted productions include the women’s health and sexuality series Jensplaining (CBC), the award-winning blue chip science documentary series A User’s Guide to Cheating Death (Netflix/Zoomer), the North American adaptation of the Emmy Award-winning Channel 4 format 50 Ways to Kill Your Mama (BYU/Zoomer), Tower of Song: Leonard Cohen (CBC & PBS), Taste Testers (Food Network), Unusually Thicke (Pop), Brave New Girls (E!), Illusions of Grandeur (OLN) and Money Moron (Slice).

Before Peacock Alley, Carrie Mudd spent a decade at Tricon Films & Television focused on development and international co-productions. She executive produced four seasons of Sanctuary (Syfy), the award-winning comedy Cock’d Gunns (IFC), and developed hundreds of hours of unscripted content including Restaurant Makeover, Marriage Under Construction, Catfight, E! True Hollywood Stories, Ad Persuasion and Bitchin’ Kitchen.

Malin Nevander
Head of Development
SVT Swedish Television

Arif Noorani
Executive Producer, CBC Podcasts
CBC

Arif Noorani is the Executive Producer and co-founder of CBC Podcasts, the top podcast publisher in Canada. The slate includes over 20 series with millions of listeners around the world such as Uncover, Someone Knows Something, Party Lines, Front Burner, Tai Asks Why, Love Me and Personal Best. He has helped launch flagship shows The Current and Day 6, and spearheaded multi-platform initiatives in radio, podcasting and digital video.

Alison Norrington
Chief Creative Officer
Storycentral Ltd.

Alison Norrington is a writer/producer, Founder & Chief Creative Director of storycentral, a London-based entertainment studio that incubates and develops ground-breaking transmedia properties with global partners in film, television, animation, publishing, advertising, branding, theme parks, Virtual Reality and gaming.

As CEO/CCO of storycentral, Alison has worked on a range of intellectual properties that are founded on robust story worlds with strong core themes and have genuine and relevant touch points across a host of media channels. She specializes in storytelling that amplifies fan incubation and engagement, experience design, extending IP & franchises, community build through story and storyworld strategy, incubation & development – all centered around a strong robust core of story architecture, theme, awareness of audience and experience design.

Alison is a best-selling novelist, playwright and journalist, a PhD researcher with an MA in Creative Writing & New Media. Alison is Conference Chair for StoryWorld Conference & Expo in Los Angeles, Exec Producer of the Virtual Reality Thread for Children’s Media Conference, a two-time TEDx speaker and a CMF juror. She is featured on the BAFTA Guru series and is a member of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, The Writers Guild of Great Britain and Women in Film & TV.

Jeff Norton
Founder
AWESOME

Jeff Norton is an award-winning author, writer-producer, and the founder of Awesome, a creatively driven IP and production company with bases in the UK and Canada.

Jeff recently optioned, packaged, and executive produced Susan Hill’s supernatural novel The Small Hand: A Ghost Story as a feature drama for Viacom’s Channel 5 in the UK, which aired in late December, 2019, to strong ratings.

He is currently commissioned to write a new six-part drama called Eternal for a UK broadcaster and is adapting his novel, Star Pressed, for an OTT platform.

His latest novel, Dino Knights is in development with OmniFilm Entertainment & The Jim Henson Company as a four-quadrant family adventure series. His next book is Looking Glass, a Victorian-era revenge thriller about the search for a kidnapped girl in London’s seedy underworld.

Jeff’s debut novel, MetaWars: Fight For The Future is published by Hachette around the world and spurred three sequels. He has also written Alienated: Grounded At Groom Lake, the Memoirs of a Neurotic Zombie novels, and co-authored Keeping The Beat. Jeff is also the creator of the global best-selling book franchise, Princess Ponies (co-writing as “Chloe Ryder”) published by Bloomsbury.

Previously, Jeff was Senior Vice President of Chorion Ltd., which managed the literary estates of Enid Blyton, Agatha Christie, and where he acquired and developed new intellectual property, including the The Octonauts. Jeff also developed and executive produced 80 episodes of pre-school animation called Trucktown (based on the NYT best-selling books) with Nelvana.

Before moving to London from Los Angeles, Jeff optioned, developed and produced Choose Your Own Adventure as an award-winning, interactive DVD movie. He also worked in various roles in Hollywood, including The Jim Henson Company, Regent Entertainment, and Silver Pictures. Jeff’s first role in the industry was pushing a mail cart at the agency ICM.

Before entertainment, Jeff was a marketing executive at Procter & Gamble, in Toronto, Ontario and Cincinnati, Ohio. He is a graduate of Queen’s University and Harvard Business School.

Originally from Canada, Jeff lives in the UK with his wife and two sons where he coaches Brits to play baseball.

Paul Nunn
Chief Strategy Officer
SuperAwesome

Paul Nunn (@Nunnone) is Chief Strategy Officer at SuperAwesome, the kids digital engagement platform which reaches 300m kids every month. Paul has global responsibility for PopJam, the industry's leading safe-social content platform for kids as well as heading strategic initiatives in mobile and video.

An active consultant, Paul is digital advisor to companies including the The Roald Dahl Literary Estate and Halfbrick Studios. Previously Paul was Managing Director of Outfit7 Brit Limited, the family entertainment powerhouse behind the smash hit mobile success Talking Tom & Friends. There he initiated and led their highly successful YouTube strategy, turning the Talking Tom & Friends channels into one of the best-performing family franchises on the platform.

Jennevie Olivieri
Manager, TV Co-Productions
Gaumont

Since joining Gaumont Television Jennevie has been part of their growing Co-Production team, where she helped launch their first major international co-production, El Presidente, coming out on Amazon in 2020. Jennevie works with writers and producers through the development process, and searches for new and unique projects that will grow the company's slate. Jennevie's diverse industry experience spans comedy development at ABC Network and a stint in talent management at Principal Entertainment LA, before she landed in the international co-production space where she is currently thriving.

Katie Parkes
Producer
Shopify

Senior producer with experience on set around the world: Katie is passionate about movies, new media, and the future. She currently leads the global Shopify Plus media team, producing compelling stories about the intersection of commerce and culture.

She has co-produced 3 short films that have screened at festivals across Canada, and assistant directed independent Scottish feature film, Dark Sense, which was picked up by Amazon Prime Video for international distribution in 2019. Katie is also a TEDx speaker and published film scholar.

Follow her: @katiejanebrain

Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy
VP, Scripted Development
marblemedia

Carrie Paupst Shaughnessy champions marblemedia’s scripted slate. Working with showrunners, writers, agents and producing partners, Carrie will source, develop and oversee the scripted projects for marblemedia while building on the company’s relationship with broadcasters and producing partners.

Carrie is an experienced Creative Executive, having led the scripted divisions of several companies. Most recently, she worked as a Production Executive at Bell Media overseeing top shows Saving Hope, Bitten and the development of CTV’s drama Cardinal.

Previously, Carrie spent over seven years on the feature film team at Telefilm Canada, where she oversaw dozens of produced films and supported the careers of many filmmakers. She has also worked on the Experimental Team for the Canada Media Fund, where she selected highly innovative digital projects for funding.

Earlier, Carrie founded and ran an independent development company, The Development House, that had a roster of independent story consultants and development executives who worked on scripted and unscripted projects across the country.

Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos
Co-Founder and Producer
ROCKET LAUNCH MEDIA

Sandrine is a 20-plus year vet with an illustrative career in entertainment, production, co-production and distribution with impressive global relationships and deep experience in deals & negotiations in children's programming. She is currently handling disruption and platform distribution at Groupe Media TFO, a Franco-Ontarian public broadcaster in Canada. In this position, Sandrine is in charge of acquisitions, pre-buy, co-production, programmation, TFO's platform distribution and digital efforts.

Most recently, Sandrine spent 9-years with Bejuba Entertainment as EVP of Sales & Acquisitions putting together an impressive list of acquisitions and WW show sales to build a catalogue of over 600 half-hours of kids’ TV. In addition and while at Bejuba, Sandrine secured co-development and co-production deals. Prior to Bejuba, Sandrine spent 12-years in NYC working for an array of major entertainment companies in creative development, production and distribution for Sunbow Entertainment (Transformers, My Little Pony, Gi Joe, etc), Sony Wonder / Sony Music, TV-Loonland, Hallmark and Classic Media/ Dreamworks. While at Classic Media /Dreamworks, Sandrine spearheaded WW sales and co-productions on Casper, George of the Jungle and other titles. She became lately an expert in new media rights establishing strong digital strategies. Sandrine is also very much involved in the industry as she participates regularly in various festivals and organizations as a juror, panelist and research adviser.

Troels Branth Pedersen
Acquisitions Executive
TV2 Denmark

Having worked as a writer for Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit, Troels Branth Pedersen joined the Acquisitions team with Danish state broadcaster TV 2 in 2007. Three years later he took on the role as Acquisitions Executive within the genres of documentary, factual entertainment and lifestyle procuring programming for Denmark’s leading broadcaster. In addition to the buying role Pedersen has worked with developing and defining individual channel brands of the secondary channels in TV 2 Denmark’s portfolio, not least partaking in building and developing lifestyle channel TV 2 FRI.

Pedersen holds a Master’s degree in Art History and Rhetoric.

Dea Perez
Senior Manager, Acquisitions
Topic

Dea has extensive experience in acquisitions, programming, operations and media planning with over 20+ years in both linear television and OTT services, as well as re-branding, channel and block launch expertise. She has launched 12+ networks, blocks and re-brands.
Dea's current and past experiences include executive positions with Topic OTT, Akili Kids Channel Kenya, Universal Kids (formerly Sprout), QUBO and ION Life, Discovery Kids/Ready, Set, Learn on TLC, Cartoon Network/Boomerang/Adult Swim, Nickelodeon/Nick at Nite/TV Land.

Dea has deep international and domestic relationships and is also a creative executive with a keen eye for what works in general entertainment, features, documentary, true crime, drama, kids, lifestyle, OTT/SVOD/AVOD and international television and media.

Silvia Perez Chavarria
General Director of Media and Audiovisual Content Analysis
Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones

With over 20 years of on-going experience in the audio-visual industry, Silvia has performed and developed in the public television broadcasting sector (Canal 11), as well as for the private sector (HBO Latam) in the following areas: Programming, Production and Content Purchasing aimed at child and adult audiences, specifically in planning, coordination management of financial and human resources, as well as in programming strategies.

Silvia got her BA in Communications from Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana. She has taken several workshops and earned certificates in TV Executive Production, Script, and most recently in several regulations on advertisement in TV and radio, children's content and content consumption habits of different kinds of audiences.

She has participated in different domestic and international markets, such as NATPE, Mipcom,
Mipcom Jr., Mipc Cancún, BBC Showcase, Mercadoc, Kidscreen and others, which have provided her with a wide scope of international trends of TV contents' offer and consumption.

She has collaborated with the Media and Audio-Visual Content Area since 2015, in her position as General Director of Media and Audio-Visual Contents at the Federal Telecommunications Institute where the main activities are: observe the compliant of rules for advertising spaces in private and public television and radio, develop different research of audiences behavior, and promote media literacy among content consumers.

Moritz Polter
Executive Producer International TV Series
Bavaria Fiction GmbH

As Executive Producer International Television Series, Moritz Polter is responsible for Bavaria Fiction’s international co-production slate. Named among Variety’s Top 10 Global Creatives to Watch, Moritz leads the creation, development and funding for series such as Das Boot (Sky), Arctic Circle (Elisa Viihde/ZDF) and Freud (Netflix/ORF).

Previously, Moritz Polter spent nine years with Tandem Productions (formerly Tandem Communications), ultimately as Vice President of Production. In this capacity, he supervised numerous outstanding productions, including the internationally successful TV series Crossing Lines, starring Donald Sutherland and William Fichtner, and the critically acclaimed Spotless, a CANAL+ Création Originale series.

Moritz Polter graduated from King Alfred’s College in Winchester, England in Business, Media and Film Studies.

Christine Ponzevera
Producer
Nectarious Films

Christine Ponzevera is a producer and founder of Nectarious Films, a Paris-based content creator specializing in youth and animation. With more than 20 years of experience, she develops and produces/co-produces films and programs across all genres and platforms, domestically and internationally. She also collaborates with other producers and offers her
services in content development, talent scouting and script editing.

Previously, she started out at the Walt Disney Feature Animation studio of Montreuil on the films Hercules and Tarzan, then worked for various renowned companies in France and the UK such as Alphanim, Aardman Animation and Nexus Productions where she developed and produced several TV Series, commercials and short films.

Her producer credits include the feature film My Family and the Wolf (2019 - Nectarious Films, Folivari), the death sequence in Khalil Gibran's Prophet (2015 - Participant Media), the animated TV show Chop Socky Chooks (2008 - Cartoon Network, Aardman Animation, Decode Entertainment) and the animated short This Way Up (2008 - Nexus Productions, BBC Films)

Christine also is a lecturer at PENNINGHEN Graphic Design School in Paris and EMCA Animation School in Angouleme, France.

Paul Pope
President
Pope Productions Ltd

St. John’s producer Paul Pope is a dynamic force in the Canadian media industry, having produced or worked on hundreds of films. A founding member of the Newfoundland Filmmakers Cooperative (NIFCO), where he served as president for over twenty years, he has been instrumental in the development of a vibrant production industry. A generous mentor, he is a passionate voice for independent production at a regional and national level with a long-standing tradition of supporting Canadian artists and ensuring that Canadian stories are brought to the screen.

Paul serves as a board member on the Canadian Media Producers Association, Resource Centre for the Arts, NIFCO and was Vice-Chair (2008-2010) of the Canadian Media Fund. In addition to his awards and nominations for his projects with Pope Productions, he has also received the Arts Achievement Award from ArtsNL, the Douglas James Dales Industry Builder Award, and an honorary Doctorate from Memorial University. Paul has a BAA in Film and Photography from Ryerson.

Steve Pratt
Co-Founder
Pacific Content (Rogers Media)

Steve Pratt is the Vice President and co-founder of Pacific Content, a company of 25 passionate podcast nerds that focuses exclusively on creating original podcasts with brands. Pacific Content was named one of Entrepreneur’s 100 Brilliant Companies and their shows have won Webby Awards, Digiday Branded Content Awards, MarCom awards, and Shorty Awards. Their podcast partners include Facebook, Dell Technologies, Mozilla, Slack, Red Hat, NYT T Brand Studio, BMW, CBS, and Charles Schwab. The Pacific Content team writes regularly about podcasting at http://blog.pacific-content.com.

Diane Rankin
SVP, Rights/Executive Producer
Distribution360

As SVP International, Diane Rankin oversees all of D360's commercial activity. Working with sister company marblemedia and a host of first-class international content creators, D360 brings engaging programming to buyers and audiences around the World. Diane's 16+ years in the media industry have been centred around content monetisation; including IP rights exploitation, TV programme investment and co-finance, sponsorship, publishing, events, digital and home entertainment.


Prior to D360, Diane was SVP Acquisitions at DRG, overseeing all factual and factual entertainment programme investments for international distribution, partnering with companies like Channel 5, TV3 Ireland, STV Productions, CBC, Renegade Pictures, Sky, UKTV, and A&E Networks UK to build a highly marketable and successful catalogue. Prior to that she was responsible for Cineflix International's slate of third party programming, overseeing programme investment and representation agreements with leading independent producers and content creators, including companies like Frantic Films, Force Four Entertainment, Seven Network Australia, Windfall Films and UKTV.


Before joining Cineflix, Diane spent 13 years at Brunico Communications Inc. of Toronto, Canada, managing their business at the top-level and spearheading development of business-to-business products for the international production, broadcast and marketing sectors. She launched and oversaw many of Brunico's market-leading events like Realscreen Summit and KidScreen Summit and was responsible for leading print titles Realscreen, KidScreen, Playback, Strategy and Boards.

Marly Reed
Vice President, Development
NESHAMA Entertainment

Based in Toronto, Marly oversees creative at CCI Entertainment and Neshama Entertainment, as Vice President of Development for both companies.
 
With over thirty years of experience in television, film production and international distribution, CCI works in all genres, including family, lifestyle, drama and factual.
 
Neshama Entertainment is a new Canadian entity from producer Arnie Zipursky and LA’s MarVista Entertainment. Neshama focuses on sourcing Canadian creative content for development, production and distribution, as well as seeking Canadian partners and talent for TV movies, features and TV co-productions.

Jillianne Reinseth
Sr. Vice President Creative Affairs
Entertainment One Television International

As Senior Vice President of Creative Affairs, Jillianne Reinseth is responsible for overseeing the creative elements of all projects in development and production for eOne Family & Brands. Since joining the company in 2015, the eOne Family production slate has included PJ Masks, Cupcake & Dino: General Services, Ricky Zoom, Alien TV, and Ninja Express as well as several unannounced productions with partners around the world.
Jillianne’s 30 year career in entertainment spans children’s animation, primetime comedy and drama in the U.S., Europe and Canada. She has worked with the top creative talent in the industry for companies including Disney, Nickelodeon, DHX, ABC, and CBS with credits on top series such as Kate & Mim-Mim, Johnny Test, Chuck’s Choice, Kid vs. Kat, Martha Speaks, Kim Possible, Lilo & Stitch, The Fairly OddParents and My So-Called Life. She started her career as a television publicity assistant for Rachel McCallister & Associates working on In Living Color, Charles in Charge and It’s Garry Shandling’s Show.

Khaled Sabbour
Founder/President
East Liberty Entertainment

An industry executive, Sabbour has been involved in all facets of production, most recently creating and producing ground breaking, innovative television programs for broadcast networks and global OTTs. During his tenure at Entertainment One Group, Marblemedia, Saloon Media and Architect Films, Sabbour managed multiple outside production partners while simultaneously serving as the primary point of contact for all projects to ensure clarity in communication and high-level oversight.

He has executive produced shows such as Just Like Mom & Dad for BYUtv, Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip for Food Network and Netflix, Tornado Hunters for CMT and oversaw brand integration on Mom Vs Matchmaker for MYX TV .

Additionally, Sabbour has supervised the entire creative process for new series development from the ground up to find new ways of talking to viewers – from treatment review to final delivery on original, co- production and reversion projects.

Shaleen Sangha
Vice President, Development and Production
Boat Rocker Studios

Shaleen Sangha has been a part of the Boat Rocker team since 2017. As Vice President of Boat Rocker Studios, Kids and Family, Shaleen oversees the day-to-day operations of its Toronto division with a focus on creative development and production. Shaleen has a passion for content and focuses on building meaningful heartfelt stories that resonate with todays youth.

Shaleen was a CSA nominee as Supervising Producer of the The Next Step Season 6, and was Creative Executive on series such as The Strange Chores, Polly Pocket, Chip and Potato, Chuck’s Choice, Doozers, Looped and many more. Shaleen was instrumental in building online content for many of the series on her slate including the Chuck’s Choice: Choose Your Own Pet Adventure and the Addison: The Invention Detective app. In addition to her roles in development and production, Shaleen has been a writer, director and producer of award-winning short films, including Nayan and the Evil Eye which garnered 14 awards worldwide. Shaleen also has experience in sales and contracts administration in her prior roles at Cinemavault Releasing and Microsoft Canada.

Joseph Schneier
VP, Production & Development
Discovery Channel

Joseph Schneier is Discovery Channel’s Vice President of Development and Production, heading the West Coast Development team, based at the Discovery Channel offices in Los Angeles.

Schneier first joined Discovery in 2012. He has Executive Produced multiple hours for Shark Week and oversaw the hit series Alaskan Bush People and Moonshiners. He also oversaw the network’s successful true crime series Killing Fields, which returned for a third season on January 4, 2018.

Prior to Discovery, Schneier worked as showrunner and executive producer in New York and Washington DC, producing for Discovery, Animal Planet, Science Channel, A&E and Scripps Networks, among others.

Schneier is a graduate of Tufts University.

Heidi Schorn
Director of Development
Alibi Entertainment Inc.

Heidi is a seasoned unscripted content development executive with a decade of expertise creating and executing top-tier content across all genres, and for a variety of platforms. As Director of Development for Alibi Entertainment, she applies her diverse background in development and production to masterfully cultivate and manage relationships with a range of partners, creators and talent in territories all over the world. Heidi has had a hand in several hit series and format adaptations and continues to demonstrate a deep understanding of the evolving marketplace.

Phil Sequeira
Vice President, Scripted Co-Productions
BBC Studios

Phil Sequeira is the Vice President, Scripted Co-Productions for BBC Studios Americas, based in Los Angeles.

Sequeira has extensive experience in developing and executing sales content strategies for the European and U.S. media markets, working closely with Platforms and Broadcasters across both regions to determine and fulfil their programming needs. Since moving to the U.S. in 2016, Phil has managed relationships with BBC Studios and indie producers to identify and negotiate co-production opportunities in the U.S Media Market, ensuring the best possible product to prospective buyers and securing programming deals for content from BBC Studio’s award-winning catalog. In the three years since Sequeira joined BBC Studios in North America, he has closed significant content deals with major industry players such as Netflix, Amazon, Disney/Disney+, HULU, HBO, HBO Max, Showtime and PBS/MASTERPIECE.

Prior to his role at BBC Studios, Sequeira established himself as an expert in international television working across sales, format sales and television co-productions for both BBC Worldwide and ITV Studios across Europe.

Aditya Seth
Filmmaker/Academic/Consultant
The Indian Academy of Shorts

Based out of Mumbai & Delhi, India, Aditya Seth is an internationally-acclaimed independent award winning Documentary, Short & Corporate Film Maker & Academic with a sound grounding in Theatre & Music and has been involved in the making of Short Films, Documentaries & TV programmes in all genres for national as well as international audiences. He is an Academic & Professor of Film & teaches Filmmaking & related media at the undergraduate & post-graduate level. He is a Certified Master Trainer & Master Assessor for Media & Entertainment Skills Council, Skill India. Aditya is a founding member of Vikalp: Films For Freedom, was the Treasurer of the Indian Documentary Producers Association (IDPA) from 2004 -’08 & is currently the Vice President of IDPA. Having trained under the guidance of internationally-acclaimed filmmaker Shri Prakash Jha, Aditya’s versatility of talent is clearly visible in the over 500 projects he has designed and shaped as Producer/ Writer/ Director / Editor/ Consultant/ Film Critic/ Voice Over artist. His portfolio is defined by Documentaries, Corporate Films, News Magazines, TV shows, Tele- Serials, Public Service Announcements, Audio Visuals, Television Commercials, Live Events, CD Roms & Radio Production. He is an Academic Consultant for University of South Wales, Cardiff, Wales (UK).

Christin Simms
Writer, Executive Producer
Sinking Ship Entertainment

Christin Simms is an Emmy Award-winning producer and Emmy nominated writer who joined Sinking Ship in 2008. She has written and executive produced multiple live-action and CGI blended projects for the ship including Annedroids, Dino Dana, Endlings and Ghostwriter. Christin has worked with a slew of international broadcasters such as CBC, Hulu, SRC, BBC, NDR, Amazon, KIKA, TVO, DHX, Nickelodeon and, most recently, Apple on a number of exceptional kids and family programs. Christin is a recipient of a Canadian Screen Award, a Canadian Screenwriting Award and the Youth Media Alliance’s Emerging Talent Award. She was also named one of Playback Magazine’s Top Ten to Watch and is a proud member of the Writer’s Guild of Canada’s Diversity Committee.

Martin Soudan
Director of Development, Fiction
SND Groupe M6

Martin Soudan is in charge of the development and production of TV scripted content at SND (Groupe M6). He is working with agents, writers and producing partners to source, develop and oversee the scripted projects for Groupe M6 TV channels as well as third-party broadcasters.
Prior to joining SND, he had experiences in independent production and international distribution of feature films and TV at Pathé and Wild Bunch.

Sabrina Spence
Interim General Manager, Ouat Media Inc.
Channel Zero Inc

Sabrina Spence is currently the Interim General Manager of Ouat Media Inc., an international sales and distribution company specializing in short film. Prior to Ouat Media, she produced two seasons of Tiny Talent Time, one of Canada’s longest running television shows.

In addition to her production experience, Sabrina has an extensive background in broadcast programming, with over 8 years of programming both conventional and specialty television channels.

Jessie Springer
Associate Manager
National Geographic Channel

Jessie Springer is an Associate Manager of Development for the National Geographic WILD creative team. She helps manage the development and production of wildlife and animal content for three major platforms: Nat Geo WILD, National Geographic Channel and Disney Plus. In this role, she is responsible for idea generation for all three platforms with an emphasis on Sharkfest, Big Cat Week and character-led series for Nat Geo WILD. Jessie is the point person on internal show development and relationship management with Nat Geo Photographers and Explorers.

Previously, Jessie worked in Development and Production for Red Rock Films and in career services at Hamilton College. She is a graduate of Hamilton College and has conducted research on political ecology and biology in Tanzania.

Carlyn Staudt
EVP Love Nature Programming & Development
Love Nature

Carlyn Staudt is EVP, Love Nature programming and development at Blue Ant Media. She is responsible for leading the global programming strategy of Love Nature’s linear and streaming video platforms internationally, with the exception of North America. Her role also includes commissioning original content to grow the brand’s extensive library of 4K natural history programming. Working out of Washington, D.C., Staudt is building and leading a team in the areas of development and production to support Love Nature’s expansion.
Prior to joining Blue Ant Media, Staudt worked at National Geographic Partners as SVP, global content partnerships and strategic development. In this role, she was responsible for managing the company’s relationship with Fox Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Film & Television Distribution. In addition, she managed Cinema Ventures, National Geographic’s large-format film business and digital content syndication opportunities. Staudt also held numerous leadership roles within the company, notably SVP, global programming and managing director, National Geographic Channels, International Operations.

Adam Steinman
VP, Creative, Format, Development & Sales
Warner Bros. International Television Production

Adam Steinman served as Vice President, Non-Scripted International Development & Sales from October 2010 until October 2016 and in November 2016 was promoted to Vice President, Creative, Format, Development & Sales at Warner Bros. International Television Production (WBITVP), where scripted formats have been added to his remit.
 
In this position, Steinman is charged with overseeing the adaptation, development, and sale of programming based on formats and original concepts developed from within the International Television Production Group and international third-party producers. He is also responsible for helping WBITVP identify producers and broadcasters to partner with, as well as acquiring formats to be exploited internationally.
 
During his WB tenure, Steinman has played an integral role in the development, acquisition, and international roll out of Impractical Jokers, The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, Hello Goodbye, America’s Best Dance Crew, Who Do You Think You Are?, First Dates, Back In Time For Dinner, The Gift, Ellen's Game Of Games, and Little Big Shots.

In 2018, he was instrumental in identifying and setting-up the New Zealand scripted hit series Fresh Eggs with Ellen Degeneres and AVGP along with Warner Television. In 2019, the record-breaking Korean hit series, Sky Castle, was identified, acquired, and placed with WBTV and Berlanti Productions as a US adaptation.
 
For WB, he oversees the successful WB/CBC Canada Format Incubator which produced the ratings hit, Under New Management, with a second season launching March 2019. He was instrumental in managing the multi-year TV Asahi co-development deal, and also helped develop and adapt the RTE Format Farm winner, The Hit, which sold to seven territories including Ireland, Norway, Netherlands, China, and Russia.
 
Established in 2009, WBITVP has a mandate to acquire or build production companies in major territories around the world, to develop original local programming and to adapt output from the Studio on a market-by-market Basis. In those territories where WBITVP establishes a production base, it operates by developing and producing original programming and also producing local versions of formats owned and controlled by the group. Where WBITVP has no local production capability it licenses Warner Bros. formats to 3rd parties.
 
In 2010, WBITVP acquired Shed Media, one of the leading production companies in the UK, and in 2011, BlazHoffski in Netherlands and Belgium. 2014 marked a historic deal with the acquisition of Eyeworks in 15 countries across Europe, South America, Australia, and New Zealand, adding 13 new territories to its international network of production companies. This acquisition further strengthens Warner Bros. International Television Production's capabilities and sees Warner Bros. take over all of Eyeworks international distribution activities for both formats and finished product.

Igal Svet
VP, Production & Development
Discovery

Igal Svet is Vice President of Production and Development for documentaries and specials. In this role, Svet is part of the team that oversees development and production strategies for event programming, documentaries, and specials. He also is responsible for the ideation and creation of a range of projects and oversee acquisition of content from filmmakers around the globe.

Most recently, Svet served as Senior Director, Development National Geographic Channel. In his role, Svet was the main point of contact in New York for development of original premium content for the global channel. Since joining the network in 2014, he was part of the team developing a sweeping slate of the original programs including One Strange Rock, Mars and The Story of God with Morgan Freeman, and live specials such as Earth Live and Yellowstone Live

Prior to joining National Geographic, Svet served as the Head of Development at 2C Media, the Miami-based production company behind Swamp Wars Airport 24/7: MIA. On the production side, Svet served as both field and post producer on several hit cable network series including History Channel’s Top Gear and truTV’s Full Throttle Saloon. Svet also played an integral role at BBC Worldwide and Reveille LLC, in Los Angeles, where he developed, packaged and sold non-fiction projects.

Elisabeth Tangen
Executive Producer
NRK

Elizabeth Trojian
Chief Creative Officer
YAP Films Inc

Elizabeth Trojian is an executive producer at yap films, as well as an award-winning producer, writer and director. She has worked on, and created many television documentaries and series for North American and international broadcasters including - Unabomber: in his own words, The Genetic Revolution, Mosquito, Made by Destruction and My Trans Journey.

Currently, she is producing and executive-producing a 16-part series about engineering for Discovery Channel; The State of the Planet documentary about climate change for CBC’s The Nature Of Things; two PBS documentaries – How it Feels to be Free, an American Masters episode on civil rights and cultural change; and Gangster Gold a Secrets of the Dead episode on Dutch Schultz. Along with Queer Crime a true crime series and Translating Beauty an hour-long documentary both for OUT TV and CBC.

Most recently, Elizabeth was the executive producer and producer on D-Day in 14 Stories, a feature-length docudrama for History and BBC, and executive producer and producer on the CSA winning Ice Bridge for CBC’s The Nature of Things, Smithsonian Channel, France 5, UKTV and SBS, about a group of archaeologists who set out to prove their theory of a cross-Atlantic migration 20,000 years ago.

Gordon Weiske
Co-Founder
Canwood Entertainment Inc

Gordon Weiske is a film and entertainment producer born in Toronto, Canada. Gordon’s first job in the film industry began in 1997 while assisting Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Robin Williams on the Academy Award winning movie, Good Will Hunting.

A career that now spans two decades, Gordon has continued to work on some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbuster feature film productions, including: X-Men, X-Men-2, How Too Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Cheaper by The Dozen, Shoot ‘Em Up, Hairspray, Repo Men, and RED.

He has also worked alongside such luminaries as: Steve Martin, Jude Law, Hugh Jackman, Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti, John Travolta, Charlize Theron, Ray Romano, Gene Hackman, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dennis Hopper, Queen Latifah, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whittaker, Lauren Bacall, and Bruce Willis.

In 2011-2013, Gordon was asked to join the DreamWorks development team and worked alongside Steven Spielberg on the sci-fi television series, Falling Skies.

In addition to feature films and television, Gordon
 has produced over 50 music videos and several documentaries, most recently having his environmental film, The Last Straw premiere at the United Nations on World Oceans Day on June 8th, 2017.

Always in search of exceptional entertainment projects with mass audience appeal, Gordon continues to
 work as a producer for feature films, documentaries and television productions for both domestic and international audiences.

Penny Wheelwright
Executive Vice President, Head of Development, Thomas Howe Associates Inc.
Thomas Howe Associates Inc

Penny Wheelwright is an award-winning documentary producer and writer. As co-founder of Starry Night Productions Inc., Penny brought to television The Other Side of The Picture, Under Wraps, A Rough Crossing and Teen Rebel/Teen Mom. Her films have been broadcast around the world and extensively in Canada.

Wheelwright Ink Ltd., formed in 1988, went on to produce The Orkney Lad: The Story of Isabel Gunn, Hair, There and Everywhere, A Spy's Life: Kitty Harris and Captive: The Story of Esther. Her films have won many festival awards including the National Educational Film and Video Gold Apple, the Houston Worldfest Gold, the NY Festival Silver and the Columbus International “The Chris”. In addition, Under Wraps was nominated for a Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award by the I.D.A. and has been screened at the prestigious Margaret Mead Festival in New York, the Barcelona Film Festival, the Singapore Film Festival, the Hot Docs in Toronto and the Vancouver Film Festival.

Penny was the head of corporate casting on the series Undercover Boss Canada, Be The Boss Canada, and most recently, been an Executive Producer and head of corporate casting of the Canadian documentary series Employable Me, now in its third season, which won at Banff last year.

Lauren Whitelaw
Head of Programming and Acquisitions
OUTtv Network Inc

Lauren is the Head of Programming for OUTtv, currently in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. With services in multiple territories, she has successfully negotiated contracts with companies worldwide. Lauren recently joined the development team at the network and continues to work closely with producers globally to find the best LGBTQ+ programming.

Before joining OUTtv in 2006, Lauren helped launched the service PrideVision TV in 2001. Prior to 2001, she worked for companies including The Movie Network, CBC and Vision TV.

In 2016, for OUTtv, Lauren co-created the OUTtv Original series Knock Knock Ghost which went on to have two nominations for a Canadian Screen Award in the category of Best Reality Series.

Liz Whitmere
Producer/Director
Liz Whitmere

Liz Whitmere worked as a producer on the Canadian Screen Award-winning The Neddeaus of Duqesne Island (CBC), one of the most-viewed series on the CBC digital comedy platform. She also produced on the award winning series That’s My DJ (Neon Panther). She developed the original series Hit On Me with Marvin Kaye, which won the Just For Laughs ComedyPRO pitch contest and is currently in development. She has produced short films that have premiered at festivals around the world including TIFF and Cannes. She continues to work in front of the camera, with recent appearances including Titans, Designated Survivor and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Andrea Whyte
Director, Commercial Content Strategy
Spafax Ltd

Andrea Whyte is the Director, Commercial Content Strategy at Spafax in London, where she oversees Spafax’s film programming and acquisitions team, develops global content and brand partnerships, and works with airline clients to create innovative, data-driven inflight entertainment strategies that both delight passengers and demonstrate commercial return. She works closely with media companies including Warner Brothers, Paramount, Sony, HBO and the BBC to deliver the best entertainment deals for her clients.

Prior to moving to London, Andrea was based in Toronto as the IFE Programming and Account Manager at Spafax Canada, managing film and television acquisitions and partnerships for Air Canada. She also directed the Air Canada enRoute Film Festival, a unique short film festival that supported the next generation of Canadian filmmakers.

After receiving her Master of Arts from the University of Toronto, Andrea worked for several years in the programming department of TIFF Bell Lightbox, the Toronto International Film Festival’s year round film centre.

Donna Wiffen
CEO
Duchess Street Productions

Donna has worked in TV for over 25 years. She is CEO for Duchess Street and MD for Long StoryTV which she runs with Paul Marquess.

She set up Duchess Street Productions after leaving FremantleMedia, where she was Head of Worldwide Drama overseeing drama development and production in 22 territories. Prior to this Donna ran Cliffhanger Productions – an independent TV drama company developing over 30 international projects in collaboration with BBC Worldwide. Donna has also held the position of Head of Drama Production at both Endemol and Talkback Thames, where she spent five years overseeing over 200 hours of TV per annum with a budget in excess of £60 million. She started her career working in theatre, both in the UK and internationally, most notably as company manager for the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Joel Williams
Head of Kids and Family
Fremantlemedia (Australia)

Joel Williams is a television executive with over 20+ years’ expertise in building and developing TV networks, platforms and content slates that are serviced by a broad range of original and acquired programming. He has successfully delivered ratings, views and consumer engagement that has driven franchises and commercial outcomes by connecting content with targeted audiences.

Joel’s extensive experience in international media content and entertainment companies extends across broadcast & pay TV networks, video on demand platforms and production, having held key leadership roles at Fremantle and The Walt Disney Company.

At present Joel is the Head of Kids & Family at Fremantle Australia where he is responsible for leading the youth-focused entertainment division with an objective to build an editorial vision and content strategy across scripted and unscripted programming, which includes original concepts, licensed formats and co-productions. Joel also oversees current series in production and is the Executive Producer for Fremantle.

Prior to Fremantle, Joel was the Head of Programming at Walt Disney Television, where he oversaw the editorial direction, content strategy and scheduling of Disney branded TV networks and VOD platforms.

Weslei Yassue
Marketing Analyst
Record TV

Weslei Yassue is in charge of the development and coordination of marketing strategies in the International Sales department at Record TV. With extensive experience in various segments of the Brazilian and Australian market, such as beverages, e-commerce and tech companies, Weslei kicked off his journey at Record TV in 2017 by implementing new concepts and strategies to internationalize Record TV's products worldwide.