Meet Our Judges

Jury

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.

Marie-Eve Arseneault
Content Manager
Ubisoft

Marie-Eve Arseneault is a Marketing and Content professional with more than 13 years of experience in the Entertainment industry, in both Television and Video games. Inspired by pop and geek cultures, she is working on the development of digital and interactive content.

Kenny Bae
Senior Producer, Marketing Manager
KBS Korean Broadcasting System

Kenny, Kihyung Bae joined KBS in 1991 and has been involved with most of the significant international co-productions initiated by the broadcaster since joining the company. His focus is on documentaries and cultural programs. Currently, he is in charge of KBS World channel marketing and content business with overseas partners at KBS.

Bae has 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 content industry.

Zia Bales
Senior Acquisitions Manager EMEA
Turner Broadcasting System EMEA Limited

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

In this role, Zia oversees and negotiates shared acquisitions for Turner EMEA’s 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 of select series, including the recently-announced Taffy, an original series for Boomerang with Cyber Group Studios.

Zia has been at Turner since 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 covers primetime production and development in Canada.  Kerry also  manages Meridian's internal development slate to maximize opportunities for the client's original  material.  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. 

Justine Bannister
Founder
Just B

Justine is a trilingual children’s media consultant with 25 years’ experience accrued most notably at 20th Century Fox, Disney Channels France and Lagardère France. Her skillset spans animation production, development, post-production, distribution, acquisitions, co-productions, marketing, brand and community management and project evaluation. Justine set up JUST B to provide Producers, Creatives, Distributors, Festivals and Media Conglomerates with bespoke services whereby each project is nurtured from inception through development, production, delivery, commercialization and building the brand.

JUST B services cover market readiness, pitching, commercial strategy, financing, funding, project sourcing and evaluation, co-producing, adaptations, casting, dubbing & post-production, International sales, marketing, communication and press.

JUST B clients include Animation from Spain, NHK Japan, TFO Canada, Reed Midem, Shanghai Media Group China, Animation South Africa, Pro-Chile, Go-N Productions France, Shanghai TV & Film Festival, Cinekid Festival, Telefilm Canada & SODEC Quebec, Spider Eye UK and Tinker Group.

Justine sits on International Festival juries, panels and advisory boards and works as an expert on project evaluation for numerous national and pan-regional funding organisations.

Philip Barnsdall Thompson
VP Acquisitions, UK, Europe & North America
Flame Distribution

Flame Media is a content production and distribution company specialising in high end factual entertainment and documentary programming. Flame represents over 3,500 hours of content across all factual genres and works with over 180 independent producers from all over the world.

Flame has offices in London, Sydney, Singapore and the USA, and Flame has its UK production office based in Cardiff.

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

Having joined Flame four years ago, Philip 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.

Erica Benson
Media Executive & Producer
Erica Benson

Brenda Bisner
SVP Content and Business Development
Kidoodle.TV (A Parent Media Co. Inc.)

BRENDA BISNER is the Senior Vice President of Content and Business Development 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 18+ 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.

Heather Brewster
VP Development, Digital
Keshet Studios

Rachel Brill
SVP, Head of Unscripted Programming
Epix

Rachel Brill serves as the SVP, Head of Unscripted Programming for EPIX where she is responsible for growing the network’s slate of unscripted content and overseeing the development and production of all unscripted series for the network.

Rachel has held posts at Turner (TNT & tbs), where she worked under EPIX President Michael Wright leading their unscripted efforts, ZOO Productions (an All3Media/Discovery Communications company) and Lloyd Braun’s Whalerock Industries. Her credit list of production partners includes A-listers: Dwayne Johnson, Dick Wolf, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Jerry Bruckheimer, Joan Rivers, Kim Kardashian West, Howard Stern, with original content created for Disney Channel, NBC, CMT, SiriusXM, TV Land, Margaritaville, Viceland, YouTube, Facebook and Discovery Science, among others.

Most recently, Rachel co-created and Executive Produced RITUAL, a doc series in partnership with ACE Media/NFLPA, streamed in 224 countries as an Amazon Prime Original before NFL's Thursday Night Football franchise; Nuts + Bolts, the maker series on Viceland driven by Tyler the Creator; and the Simone Giertz project, Simone's Got Problems.

Rachel started her career with ten years at ZOO Productions where she led all development and branded content efforts, and was instrumental in the global hit, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? and the hidden camera series Girls Behaving Badly, starring Chelsea Handler.

Tessa Bryson
Producer
Al Jazeera Media Network

Tessa has been in broadcasting since graduating from Falmouth College of Arts in 2003. In 2007 she joined Al Jazeera English in London and later in 2013 she moved to Qatar to join Al Jazeera's award winning Investigative Unit. In 2011 she became a trustee for the Arab British Centre for four years, a cultural organistation that promotes understanding between the UK and the Arab world through arts and culture.

Mitch Burman
Producer/Director

After spending the first 20 years of his life watching way too much TV, Mitch decided that he might as well make a career out of it.
The Gemini, CSA and International Emmy® Award nominated Producer/Director got his start in television working in Los Angeles on NBC’s popular daytime drama “Santa Barbara”. After a brief stay in Hollywood, he returned to Canada and has spent the past 25 years honing his talents all across the Canadian broadcast map.
Known for his creativity and expertise as a show runner, Mitch has been able to bring his talents to some of this country’s most popular and critically acclaimed programs. Having spent a large portion of his early career in sports television, his more recent years have focused primarily on the Unscripted and Kids genres where he produced and/or directed shows such as “Style By Jury”, “The Second City’s Next Comedy Legend”, “Conviction Kitchen” and “The Adrenaline Project” just to name a few. Mitch is also regarded as one of Canada’s leading producers of hidden camera prank shows, having created the hit YTV series “Extreme Babysitting” and “Undercover High”.
Since 2016 Mitch has been serving as the Head of Production for Toronto-based HeartHat Entertainment where he jumped feet first into the world of Animation by creating and producing the critically acclaimed “CANAdooDAday” for CBC Kids.

Steve Burns
Chief Content Officer
CuriosityStream

Steve Burns is Chief Programming Officer for CuriosityStream, the award-winning streaming and on demand destination for world-class documentary features and series exploring science, space, technology, history, nature, health and more. 

CuriosityStream, founded by John Hendricks, founder of Discovery Communications, premiered in March 2015, and Burns has been in this role since launch. He is responsible for CuriosityStream’s entire library of original productions and acquisitions including award-winning titles and series such as Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places and David Attenborough’s Light On Earth. Burns’ career in documentary and non-fiction filmmaking spans more than 25 years from National Geographic cinematographer/producer to senior executive positions at Discovery Communications, including Executive Vice President and Chief Science Editor at Discovery Networks, as well as General Manager of Science Channel. In 2007, he returned to National Geographic as Executive Vice President of Global Content for NGC Worldwide. Burns was also recently a freelance Executive Producer for 5 seasons of WNET/ NY's long-running series Secrets of the Dead for PBS in the U.S.

Burns has won multiple industry awards, including two Emmys® for 5 Years on Mars and Spirit of the Rainforest. His teams have been nominated for two Academy Awards, over 250 Emmy® nominations, including dozens of wins, and two Peabody Awards.

Melissa Campbell
Owner
Contentum Consulting & Management

Melissa Campbell launched Contentum Consulting & Management in 2018 after over a decade in the Unscripted Television agency world. Previously Head of Unscripted Content at the Kaplan Stahler Agency, Campbell works with a varied client list of U.S. and International production companies, producers, and talent. Her background in radio, production, marketing, and PR led her into the representation business at commercial prodco, Plum Productions, helping to pioneer their branded and short-form entertainment division, with agency life starting in 2005 at the Gersh Agency. She is based in Los Angeles with a core group of clients, working strategically with other reps, managers and entities worldwide.

Juliana Capelini
Producer
GLOOB

Juliana Capelini has been working as a producer in the Brazilian TV and film market for more than 10 years. As executive producer, she worked for the main Brazilian production companies in TV series, documentaries and feature films, such as “Julie and The Phantoms”, kids live action series for Nickelodeon and TV Band, Emmy Nominee in 2012; “Sitio do Picapau Amarelo – 1th season”, animation series for TV Globo and Cartoon; “Doggy Day School” a Brazilian Canadian coproduction animation series for Nickelodeon LA, TV Cultura and TV Ontario; “DPA- Detetives do Predio Azul” kids live-action series for TV Gloob, “Terra Prometida” a documentary series for TV Cultura and the movies “DPA- Detetives do Predio Azul - The Movie” and “DPA2- Detetives do Predio Azul - The Italian Mystery”.

Jan Caruana
Writer, Comedian, Performer

Jan is a multiple Canadian Comedy Award-winning actor and has performed across North America in a variety of comedy shows. She has appeared in films and television shows including Baroness Von Sketch, Rookie Blue, Mean Girls and Kim’s Convenience.

As a writer, Jan is a Gemini/Canadian Screen Nominated writer for her work on City TV's Sunnyside and the YTV youth sketch show That’s So Weird, creating some of the series most memorable and colourful characters. She is a writer for CBC's Because News with Gavin Crawford and Just For Laughs All Access and CBC’s Baroness Von Sketch Show. Jan is also very proud to have written for the Nickelodeon shows Make it Pop and The Other Kingdom and the international sensation The Next Step on NBC Universal.

Vanessa Case
SVP, Head of Studio
Vice Canada

Vanessa Case is SVP Studio Canada at VICE Media Canada, the country’s leading youth media company and digital studio. 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, including BBC Earth, HGTV Canada and National Geographic. Prior to her role at Blue Ant, Vanessa held positions at Shaw, CanWest and Alliance Atlantis, where she commissioned hundreds of hours of original content, developed original production slates and led scheduling and acquisition strategies for some of Canada's top speciality channels.

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

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

Candice Chambers is a seasoned television executive with over 12 years of experience in digital distribution, acquisitions, sales, and production. As Senior Director of Distribution and Acquisitions, Candice oversees 9 Story’s digital business, 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 business administration and sales. Candice also held prior positions at Corus Entertainment within programming (W Network) and production (CMT).

Aubrey Clarke
Senior Programme Executive
BBC Children's

Aubrey has been with the BBC Children’s Animation and Acquisitions team for the last six years and as Senior Programme Executive he is editorially across co-productions, pre-buys and ‘Off the Shelf' acquisitions for Cbeebies and CBBC.C.

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

In her role at BBC Studios, 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.

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.

Richard Cook
CCO
Tough Cookie

Richard is an International Emmy and Rose d’Or-Nominated Executive Producer. His career has spanned genres including documentaries, factual entertainment, music, chat shows and live events. In the UK he has produced and directed for BBC, ITV, CH4, SKY, and in the US; Showtime, E!, HGTV, VICE and CNN. He has worked with an array of A-List talent including; Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Simon Cowell, Will Smith, Spike Jonze and Madonna amongst many others. His credits include Queen: Days of Our Lives (BBC), The Cruise Ship (ITV), T4, Popworld and Transmission (Channel 4), and in the branded world iTunes Music Festival, Red Bull Rivals and Nike Supersonic. Richard is a voting member of BAFTA and the International Emmy Awards. He is currently Chief Creative Officer at Tough Cookie Productions in NYC, part of the Argonon Group.

Connie Dercho
Vice President
Triangle Post

Connie’s Post Production career began in the 3-D world where she produced short films, commercials and show openings. She moved into Live Action where she quickly developed a reputation for her collaborative approach to material. Thanks to her commitment to all aspects of storytelling – from initial concept to the final delivery of a realized vision – Connie has worked with some of the city’s most talented creators and technical teams. She’s produced several award-winning documentaries, factual shows over the years and continues to be actively involved in the whole of each project.

Nate DuFort
Creative Producer
The Second City

Nate DuFort is a writer, producer and director who splits his time between Detroit and Chicago. Nate currently serves as the Creative Producer for Local Legend Films, having previously served as the Producer for Second City Theatricals, Producing Director for The Second City Touring Companies and the Producing Artistic Director for The Second City Detroit. Highlights include producing The Second City Guide to Opera in partnership with Lyric Opera of Chicago, leading the producing team for The Second City's collaboration with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, managing the partnership at sea between Second City and Norwegian Cruise Line. Nate served on the Board of Directors for Planet Ant Theatre in Hamtramck, Michigan and from 2005 to 2007 served as the Director of the Planet Ant Film & Video Festival as well as segment produced for festivals around the United States. He currently produces the podcasts My Neighbors Are Dead and Unspookable both available wherever you get your podcasts.

Sarah Eichenlaub
Director ZDFE.drama
ZDF Enterprises GmbH

After graduating from the HFI (Heidelberger Fremdsprachen- Institut) in 2003, Sarah Eichenlaub started her career from the ground up, beginning as an assistant at ZDF Enterprises co-productions and development for drama content. Soon after, she added assistance for co-productions in drama and kids content to her responsibilities. Sarah went to get a second university degree in education in 2006, which she finalized in 2011.

From 2008 she worked as an executive in the ZDF Enterprises coproduction and development department for drama and junior, where she worked on series such as THE BRIDGE, THE KILLING, THE FALL and JACK IRISH on the drama side, as well as kids shows such as Dance Academy, H2O and the Jungle Book Animation Series, which were made to travel the international markets.

Since 2013, Sarah has been the director of ZDFE drama, where she oversees various territories in terms of sales and acquisitions including international co-productions for ZDF Enterprises in cooperation with ZDF German Television Network but also independently on the scripted drama side.

Helga Eike
President
Authentic Entertainment

Lauren Evans
Co-Founder & Producer
Cherrydale Productions

Lauren is an award winning producer, content creator, and co-owner of Cherrydale Productions Ltd. Lauren has had a passion for all things Film and Television for as long as she can remember and being able to create and share engaging stories with the Cherrydale team has been a dream come true.
Since moving to Toronto she has had the opportunity to work in various aspects of the media industry from production through to distribution & marketing. Her experience includes coordinating and managing for productions and companies as well as many years of being on set. With Cherrydale Lauren has produced two critically acclaimed web series "The March Family Letters" and "All for One".

Lisa Fahrenholt
VP, International Development
Endemol Shine North America

Lisa Fahrenholt was named Vice President, International Development, Scripted, Endemol Shine North America, in March 2018. Fahrenholt, who had served as Director, North American Acquisitions for Endemol Shine International since March 2015, continues to also oversee finished program acquisitions and co-financing opportunities for the company’s international sales division. In her new role, 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. 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.

Sarah Fowlie
Director, Comedy Original Programming
Bell Media

Sarah Fowlie leads the development of comedic productions to air across Bell Media's family of channels, including CTV, The Comedy Network, SPACE, MUCH, Bravo, TMN and CraveTV.

Fowlie began her career at Bell Media in 1997 at The Comedy Network and has developed strong relationships with the Canadian and International comedy community. She has held a range of positions in Acquisitions, Original Development and In-House Production, and has acted as Production Executive on many original independent productions for Bell Media, notably, The Indian Detective, The Beaverton and Letterkenny.

Michael Fukushima
Executive Producer, Animation Studio
NFB The National Film Board of Canada

Michael Fukushima is an award-winning filmmaker and producer at the National Film Board of Canada’s world-renowned Animation Studio. He has been making films since 1984, which is a lot of water under the bridge. Fukushima joined the NFB Animation Studio in 1990 where he’s been a filmmaker, producer, and now executive producer. He now mostly produces the producers and offers up sagacity and wise-cracking bon mots.

Colby Gaines
Founder
Back Roads Entertainment

Colby Gaines is an executive producer and founder of Back Roads Entertainment, a New York 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. He oversees and manages a production slate that includes Big Bad BBQ Brawl (Cooking) and the upcoming variety format 50 Central (BET) starring music icon, actor and entrepreneur 50 Cent. Other credits include Joking Off (MTV), Lake Life (DIY) as well as Culinary Beats (Yahoo).

Cathy Galeota
SVP, Preschool Content
Nickelodeon

Cathy Galeota is Senior Vice President of Preschool
Cathy Galeota is Senior Vice President of Preschool Content, Nickelodeon Group. In this role, Galeota oversees the production and development of all Nickelodeon preschool series. This includes current shows--both co-productions and originals--such as the newly launched Butterbean’s Café, top-ranked PAW Patrol and upcoming Blue’s Clues & You reboot of the iconic series. She also maintains creative and business oversight of the preschool production and development executives on both the east and west coasts.

A 21-year Nickelodeon veteran, Galeota has served in several positions at the network She began her career at the company in the Nick’s production management group, handling long-form projects in development for Nick Jr. and on-air promos. She went on to become a producer on both Dora the Explorer and Go, Diego, Go!, and later, Director of Preschool Current Series as an EIC for Dora, Diego and Team Umizoomi, before taking on the role of Senior Vice President of Preschool Current Series.

Prior to joining Nickelodeon, Galeota worked at Disney Channel and The WB in Los Angeles in a production capacity on short-form projects and on-air creative promotions for the networks.

Galeota lives with her family in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Athena Georgaklis
Head of Development
Nelvana Enterprises

Athena Georgaklis is the newly appointed Head of Content for Nelvana. Georgaklis, a highly respected animation executive, leads the acquisition of rights and the development of all original content for Nelvana, working with the studio’s producers, creators, and talent around the world.
Georgaklis has worked in Canadian broadcast and production for more than 19 years. In her most recent role, Georgaklis oversaw all original productions for Corus Entertainment’s TELETOON network, supervising the development and production of Canadian content in both English and French. During her time with TELETOON, she led the production and development of hit shows like Johnny Test, Camp Lakebottom, Mysticons, Cournterfeit Cat, Atomic Puppet, Rocket Monkeys, and the Total Drama Island franchise.

Gustavo Gontijo
Content Development Manager
Globo TV International

Gustavo Gontijo has been with Globo Studios (Brazil´s biggest) 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 the period, he was essential in the creation and development of hits like “Under Pressure” (the number 1 series in Brazil), “Supermax”, Mister Brau”, “The Wise Ones” and the 2017 MIPtv Grand Jury Prize “Jailers”.lers”.

Larry Grimaldi
VP, Production & Development
MarVista Entertainment

Larry Grimaldi is Vice President of Development & Production at MarVista Entertainment, where he helps create, develop and produce entertainment programming in the television movie, scripted and unscripted series and digital spaces. Before joining MVE, Larry spent considerable time as an independent producer. His career includes work for CBS, Disney, Hallmark, Lifetime, Bravo, MTV/VH1, USA, TLC, Freeform, Style, Animal Planet, Oprah and E Entertainment. He most recently served as an executive producer on the Hallmark movie, “My Christmas Love,” and the Disney XD film, “Mark & Russell’s Wild Ride.” Larry also oversaw the hit Hallmark film, “Summer Villa,” which is being developed into a sequel.

Peter Hartogs
CEO & Executive Producer
Landmark Media Productions

Peter Hartogs is the CEO and Executive Producer at Landmark Media Productions, a Washington, DC-based production company. Hartogs has over 20 years of production and development experience and served as Co-Creator and Production Executive of Smithsonian Channel’s critically acclaimed series, Boomtowners. Hartogs comes from a journalism background, beginning his career at CNN, where he produced daily news, features, long form and medical news. He also was a nationally recognized public relations director at a children’s hospital in Washington DC, developing stories that garnered worldwide attention.

Hartogs and LMP’s mission is to make programs of the highest quality that are enjoyable, innovative, and if you're not careful you might learn something, or feel an emotion or two. We tell stories, and tell them well. LMP specializes in high quality docu-series and documentaries and working with select corporate clients.

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).

Holly Hines
SVP, Content
Dynamic Television

Holly Hines is the SVP of Content for Dynamic Television, where she oversees developing and selling new scripted series and mini-series to commissioning networks in the U.S., UK, Canada and Australia. In addition, Hines oversees Dynamic’s produced television series. Hines has committed to building strong relationships with buyers and content creators across Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand leading to a plethora of International programming opportunities with various business models represented.

Holly Hines previously served as the SVP of Scripted Programming for Pivot TV, the cable network for Millennials owned by Participant Media. There, Hines oversaw the production and development of several original series including Please Like Me and Fortitude. Prior to Pivot, Hines served at Fremantle, Fuse and TLC where she oversaw over 100 hours of programming. Hines got her start in the format and international co-production business when she served as a development executive at Reveille, working on the scripted series The Office, The Tudors, and Ugly Betty.

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

Jimmy has worked in international distribution for over 12 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, Children's Media
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.

Beth Iley
Director of Development
New Metric Media

BETH ILEY spent five years on the scripted team at Temple Street (a division of Boatrocker Media) where she helped secure funding and worked closely with writers story editing and shepherding projects through development at CBC, Rogers, Bell Media, Shaw, BBC America, NBC Universal and ABC. During her time there, she was involved in both the development, pre- and post-production of “The Next Step” (Family Channel, Hulu, BBC Worldwide), “Orphan Black” (Space, BBC America, BBC Worldwide), “Lost & Found Music Studios” (Family Channel, Netflix), “X Company” (CBC, History Channel, Sony International), and “Killjoys” (Space, Syfy, NBCUniversal).

Following her involvement in the development of Killjoys, she boarded the production in 2015 for the subsequent four seasons producing alongside EPs Karen Troubetzkoy and Michelle Lovretta, assuming the role of Producer on the fifth and final season of the series.

Iley also has extensive knowledge of music licensing, credited as the music coordinator on all four seasons of “Being Erica” (CBC, SoapNet, BBC Worldwide), and provided story editing services to Carmel Creek Productions on the feature film “Full Out” (DHX Media, Netflix).

Maria Ishak
VP, Sales North America
All3media International

Maria Ishak is Vice President Sales North America at all3media International and works closely
with the company’s factual producers in finding co-production opportunities between the UK and
US on premium unscripted projects. Ishak also heads up all tape and format sales of all3media’s
growing 11, 000 hours of content, which includes shows such as Midsomer Murders, Undercover
Boss and the award-winning Fleabag.
Having worked in the television industry for more than 15 years, Ishak began her career within
the marketing department of Fremantle and Sony Pictures Television International, before
moving over to programme sales and acquisitions.
In 2010, she joined Passion Distribution and quickly became a key member of the team that
helped grow the company from a $7 million start up to a $35 million business.  Three years later
she was promoted to VP Sales and Acquisitions North America, and moved to New York City to
launch and head up Passion Distribution USA. 
She then switched over to production and worked as the Vice President Business Development
at Blue Chalk Media, where she doubled the company’s turnover in one year and secured
financing for a range of productions.
Ishak was born in Lebanon, grew up in London, and graduated from Bristol University with a
Bachelor of Science in Economics and Sociology; she sits on the board of BAFTA New York, and
splits her time between New York City and London.

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

Andrew Johnson helps develop & commission factual & documentary programming for Corus channels, mainly HISTORY and Global. He has overseen current & recent programs like 100 Days to Victory, Hunting Nazi Treasure, I Am War, Yukon Gold, Real Vikings, Black Watch Snipers, War Story and Ice Pilots. Previously, he was Commissioning Editor of CBC News Network’s award-winning documentary series The Lens, and Senior Producer at The Passionate Eye. He began his career in independent television production, and has won numerous prizes including a Peabody Award, 3 Geminis, and an International Emmy nomination.

Gary Jones
Writer, Actor, Host

Gary’s thirty-year career has spanned over two decades! During that time he’s appeared in countless features, MOW’s and TV episodics.
Gary’s 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. He’s a Jessie Award-winning playwright and an award-winning improviser. 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 currently writes for 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 a ‘GIVEN UP,’ a single-cam comedy based on Diana's life of adoption. Gary has one Oscar to his name: his 18 year-old son, Oscar Jones.

Michael Katz
President
Michael Katz Media Consultancy

Michael E. Katz is the principal driving force behind an innovative international media consultancy that leverages a breadth of experience in both domestic US and global linear and digital channel building, programming strategy and planning, IP development, production, sales and distribution. His inaugural clients include an international production company and a global cross-media thought-leadership conference.
Michael brings to this consultancy a long and distinguished history as an innovator in broadcasting, from pioneering the boom in factual entertainment to translating parochial TV networks into global media brands. His reputation for recognizing industry trends and anticipating their business opportunities makes him a favorite with trade journalists and at media conferences around the world.
As Vice President, Programming and Production for A+E Networks International, he led international channel development, program strategy and planning for the Disney/Hearst joint venture. He worked closely with many of the world’s major media companies in North and South America, Europe, The Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Rim to develop channel propositions across all delivery platforms.  These included A&E, History, Lifetime, H2, BIO, CI, and FYI plus digital and free-to-air channel brands.  During his tenure, A+E Networks International built 84 branded international TV channels and program services in 39 languages reaching more than 330 million users with over 12,000 hours of IP across more than 200 territories.
Along with expanding its international channel business, Michael built from scratch and managed A+E Networks International’s content sales and distribution business.   From that launch, he supervised a sales and distribution staff based in New York, London, Singapore and Montreal increasing sales more than 10 fold from start-up to hand-off and built its client base to over 100 of the globe’s premiere broadcasters. That business now generates $125 million in revenue a year.
Prior to his role in A+E’s international expansion, he served as Head of Daytime, Comedy and Specials Programming for A&E Network in the US where he worked with likes of John Stewart, Steve Carell and Louis CK, overseeing late night and daytime program development, execution and scheduling. He was also responsible for the acquisition, development and scheduling of the network's special event programming with a concentration on world premiere documentary mini-series and crime-based reality.
In pioneering the area of premium unscripted programming events, Michael served as Executive Producer for A&E Network on a number of the channel’s highest-rated specials and groundbreaking documentary mini-series. He has received a CableAce, a SIVA Educational Award, a National Educational Media Award, Sons of The American Revolution Citation, a Banff Rockie Award and two national Primetime Emmy nominations.
Before joining A&E in 1989 as Director of Development for A&E Network, he was Executive Producer of WABC-TV, Disney-owned ABC’s O&O in New York.  In that capacity, he was responsible for The Morning Show's entry into national syndication as Live With Regis and Kathie Lee and received an Emmy for the local show in 1983 and an Emmy nomination for the national show in 1989.  Michael also served as Line Executive for New York Style,New York Hot Tracks, and Joel Siegel's Road to the Academy Awards. His television credits also include such projects as The Tony Awards Telecasts,The CBS 50th Anniversary Shows, David Frost's Headliners, We Interrupt This Week and The Robert Klein Show.
Michael Katz is a member of the Television Academy and served on the Board of Directors of the Banff World Media Festival and as chair of the Advisory Board for History Makers. He was a principal at A+E Networks for 26 years.
A native of New Orleans, Louisiana, Michael graduated cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Tulane University with a BA degree in English.  He and his wife live in New Rochelle. Their two sons, A.J. and Oliver are also in the media business.

Anthony Kimble
CEO/Founder
Cineflix Rights

Anthony has worked in international sales, acquisitions and distribution for over 12 years – With experience garnered from the distribution, production and broadcast sectors.

Prior to Cineflix Rights, Anthony was Head Of Co-productions at UK terrestrial Five, VP of Sales, Acquisitions and Co-productions at National Geographic Television International and also ran the Fugitive Consultancy specializing in helping production companies negotiate pre-sale and co-production financing for programming in all genres.

Matt King
Co-President
LaRue Entertainment

MATT KING is an International and Canadian Screen Award winning creator/producer. King, together with life-long friend and business partner, Andrew Ferguson run LaRue which has recently emerged as one of the hottest content producers and short form distributors in the country. Delivering high-end motion pictures at a competitive cost for both foreign and domestic partners, Matt leads a network of highly capable talent behind the scenes, and remains focused on producing great stories for the screen and living up to the motto excellence behind the scenes. To date, LaRue's projects have attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Academy Award Winning Director Jonathan Demme, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. Matt is a member of the PGA, CMPA, WIFT, IWCC, and is a director of CAFDE. Matt was recently nominated for an International Emmy for his work on the Amazing Gayl Pile (NBCUniversal’s Seeso/CBC/Amazon/LaRue).

Jim Kiriakakis
Head of Unscripted Content & Development
Buck Productions

Jim Kiriakakis has been a part of the Buck landscape for nearly two decades, with the majority of that time spent as Head of Television and Development. He has created, directed, and produced some of the most successful properties in the company’s diverse unscripted portfolio
including six seasons of Rich Bride Poor Bride (WE tv and Slice); Keys to the VIP (Comedy); Project Guatemala (Citytv); McMorris & McMorris (MTV); Saw Dogs (Velocity and OLN), and Deals from the Dark Side (Syfy and OLN).
He’s also spearheaded several branded digital properties, including Canada’s Best Beauty Talent with Coco Rocha; travel series Like a Tourist for Hilton Hotels; and entrepreneurial-focused Young Money for Infiniti.

However, Jim’s last year has been his busiest yet, acting as executive producer on four series for Reelz Channel as part of that network’s largest output deal to date. Stalker Files, It Happened Here, Cashed Out, and Irreconcilable Differences will all air in 2018. All four series were produced simultaneously.

Tania Koenig-Gauchier
Manager, Programming-Western Region
APTN Aboriginal People's Television Network

Tim Krubsack
EVP & Head of Programming
Z Living

Tim Krubsack is executive vice president and head of programming at Z Living, the leading health-entertainment media destination offering programming with real-world information and take-aways for viewers and catering to the rising focus and fascination with living well. Krubsack oversees all original programming, development, scheduling and acquisitions for the network, including for such original series as award-winning Altar’d, Finding Fido, The Big Fat Truth and Yoga Girls as well as the acquisitions of Emmy award-winning talk shows The Doctors and The Dr. Oz Show.

A seasoned programmer and innovator of unscripted television, Krubsack previously served as senior vice president, alternative programming for Syfy/NBCUniversal, 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? and Encounters: The Hidden Truth for FOX.

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.

Alyssa Landry
Narrative Director
Incarna

An "American in Paris" for many years, Alyssa Landry is a storyteller and director who writes and designs immersive and interactive audience experiences. She is a free-lance show writer and director for Disneyland Paris whose credits include The Jedi Training Academy, Frozen Sing-Along, and The Forest of Enchantment, among others. She is a producer and narrative designer for Double Eye Productions, spearheading an augmented reality experience for the premiere of Cardboard City at the 2016 New York Film Festival and developing Metropoles, a multi-player virtual reality experience on the subject of gentrification. Her musical theater writing credits include Élémentaire, mon cher, Énooormes (co-author), Bons Baisers de Broadway and #Hashtags!, her first transmedia project. She is currently Narrative Director for Incarna, a new location based virtual reality game.

Marie-Sylvie Lefebvre
Director of Acquisitions
Groupe V Media Inc.

Marie-Sylvie Lefebvre is Director of Acquisitions of Groupe V Média, a Quebec-based entertainment and content delivery company. In this role, Marie-Sylvie’s mandate is to acquire the best content while developing and coordinating partnerships with international distributors for the entire group and its properties, including V, Max, MusiquePlus and Noovo.ca. Marie-Sylvie has more than 30 years of experience in the media industry. Her background has led her to work in large organizations, both in production and broadcasting. She has worked for L'Équipe Spectra as Senior Director, International Distribution, for TVA Films as Director, International Sales, and for ICI Radio-Canada Télé as Senior Director, Content Acquisition and Programming, before providing consulting services to Encore TV and Datsit TV.

Su Lei
Director
SMG DOCUCHINA

Su Lei is the Director of Shanghai Media Group (SMG)’s Documentary Channel since 2002. She has deep understanding of documentary films both in foreign and domestic aspect. Recently, she is chief director for “Fruit stories” and implement new shooting method with artistic breakthroughs.

Since 2002, Sulei has responsible for more than 50 documentary program productions. She received several awards in China with her programs and “Rockie Awards” in 2015 with “Endless Love”.

Liz Levenson
VP Development & Co-Productions
Visland Media

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 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. She currently serves as the Vice President of International Development and Co-Productions with Visland Media.
Liz holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Christine Maestracci
Senior Director of Acquisitions
Quebecor Content

Christine Maestracci is Senior Director Acquisitions 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 a board member 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

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 a Chicago Emmy-nominated producer, actor, and speaker. He develops content for television, brands and publishers with Norman Howard, his Toronto-based firm, and Silent Crow Arts in NYC. A NASA Social alum, Sandy writes the "Workish" humor series for Rogers Media, is a Director / Faculty Member at the legendary Second City, and can be seen in Ron Howard's The Dilemma and on the Comedy Central special Still Hungry.

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.

Kristen McGregor
Creative Executive
Apple

Kristen is a creative development executive for Apple's Children's Programming division. Before joining Apple, Kristen worked as a children's media producer, director and writer - most notably for Sunny Side Up (Sprout/NBCUniversal) where she oversaw over 500 hours of preschool children's television content and directed talent such as First Lady Michelle Obama, and Giver (TVOntario) where she helped build 36 playgrounds across Ontario for the Emmy Award-Winning construction series she co-developed, produced and directed. Kristen completed her Master's Degree from Teachers College, Columbia University focusing on the cognitive development of children in relation to screen-based media, and was the recipient of the Youth Media Alliance Emerging Talent Award in 2013.

James Mills
Senior Marketing Manager
Nimble Collective Inc.

Darren Nartey
Programme Acquisitions Executive
ITV

Darren is responsible for leading negotiations on a range of Acquired Series, Films and Kids deals across the ITV portfolio (ITV1, ITV2, ITVBe, ITV3, ITV4, CITV and littleBe).

For CITV & littleBe, Darren has acquired a range of live action and animated comedies such as Sooty, Pip Ahoy, Massive Monster Mayhem, Mr Bean and Mr Magoo.

Darren's previous role was at Channel 5, as an Acquisitions Executive for Channel 5, Five USA and Five Star.

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. Over her 25-year career she has worked with and consulted to SundanceTV, CBS Interactive, Walt Disney Imagineering, FOX International, AMC Networks, BBC, DR (Denmark), Harlequin Mills & Boon, McCann, Coca Cola, DeBeers Group of Companies, UK Police Force, Schleich GmbH, F&W Media, Eurovision Broadcasting Union, Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre. Alison is Conference Chair for StoryWorld Conference & Expo in Los Angeles, Exec Producer of the Virtual Reality Thread for Children’s Media Conference and a two-time TEDx speaker. 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.

Sarah North
Head of Television and Long-form Content
SoulPancake

Sarah North is the Head of Television and Long-form Content at SoulPancake, the award-winning media
and entertainment company founded by actor Rainn Wilson. SoulPancake, which was acquired by Participant Media in October 2016, spreads joy and celebrates the human experience by producing and curating uplifting, thought-provoking content that is distributed on television, online as well as through live events and branded engagements.

Prior to joining SoulPancake in June 2013, Sarah was a partner at Mad Cow Productions, the production company that created “The Daily Show.” She has developed and executive-produced series for networks including ABC, [adult swim], MTV, and Showtime. She specializes in creating inspiring content that seamlessly travels between digital, OTT, and linear platforms.

Sarah is a graduate of New York University, and resides in Los Angeles with her husband and three children.

Jeff Norton
Founder
AWESOME

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.

Dan Odendaal
CEO
Ahoy Films

Dan is a producer based out of South Africa and spends most of his time shooting across the African Continent. He has a passion for wildlife and the outdoors. He recently conceptualised, executive produced and produced a docu-reality series on the people of the famed Kruger National Park in South Africa which aired on Animal Planet late 2017.

Jennevie Olivieri
Manager, TV Acquisitions & Co-Productions
Gaumont

Since joining Gaumont Television Jennevie has been part of growing the Acquisitions & Co-Productions department, where she reports directly to Vanessa Shapiro, President of WW TV Distribution & Co-Productions. She has been a key member in growing Gaumont’s presence in Canada and LATAM, by finding content and forming strong relationships with producers and creators.

Katie Parkes
Producer
Shopify

Budding filmmaker and producer with experience on set in Canada and Scotland: Katie is passionate about movies, new media, and the future. A TEDx speaker and published film scholar, she's co-produced 3 short films that have screened at festivals across Canada, and assistant directed independent Scottish feature film, "Dark Sense", which has been picked up by London based sales agency, 7&7, for international distribution. Katie currently works full time creating video and media content at Shopify, telling compelling stories about technology and inspiring entrepreneurs from around the world.

Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos
Director, Disruption and Multiplatform Distribution
TFO

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.

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.

Kathleen Prefontaine
Distribution & Development Coordinator
Aetios Productions Inc.

Kathleen holds a BAC in Design Art from Concordia University and a Certificate in Marketing Management from HEC Montréal. In 2006, she began her television distribution career with Distraction Formats as Director of Marketing. She then migrated to various Quebec production companies (La Presse Télé, Attraction Média and Trio Orange) where she established the new distribution department.
She has participated in international sales of programs: Les Parent (France, Greece, Israel, Poland, Russia and Air Transat) and Live from the universe (France and Lebanon). At Aetios, she coordinates all aspects of distribution and collaborates in the development of new series.

Marly Reed
Director, Development and Production
CCI Entertainment Ltd.

Based in Toronto, Marly currently oversees production and development for CCI Entertainment and the newly formed Neshama Entertainment.

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-based producer/distributor 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.

Gary Rideout
Producer / Actor / Writer
Comedy Bar

Gary Rideout Jr. is the creator and producer of the Canadian Comedy Award-nominated webseries But I’m Chris Jericho! He also created, wrote, executive produced and performed in SketchersonsTV (Rogers), and wrote, performed in and produced Comedy Bar (Bite TV). His numerous film and TV credits include Hotbox (Comedy Network), Air Farce Live (CBC), Hockey: A People’s History (CBC) and Monster Warriors (YTV). Gary is a founding member and executive producer of The Sketchersons, which has been nominated for eight Canadian Comedy Awards (Best Sketch Troupe) and won in 2007. He was the 2014 recipient of the Roger Abbott Award at the Canadian Comedy Awards. Gary is co-owner and artistic director at Toronto’s premiere comedy club, Comedy Bar, which is dedicated to the development of new and established comedic talent; cited for providing the best Improv, Stand Up & Sketch performances in the city.

Khaled Sabbour
Founder
East Liberty Entertainment

Khaled Sabbour is the founder and principal of East Liberty Entertainment, a multiplatform production company.
Currently serving as an Executive Producer at marblemedia where he works alongside global agency partners to create strategic financing models to license newly commissioned series for broadcast.
Prior to marblemedia, Sabbour Executive Produced and co-developed with Entertainment One Group (Force Four Ent) Chuck and Danny’s Road Trip a Food Network Canada series.
As of late Sabbour’s focus has been on facilitating branded partnerships and integration models and has been involved in a number of roles within various television and feature productions. He facilitated sponsorship deals for Tornado Hunters on CMT Canada, winner of the Digital and Branded Content - Multi-Platform Project award at 2015 Realscreen Summit West. Prior to this, he also served as a development producer at Architect Films spearheading the company’s development slate.

Aaron Schneeberger
Director of TV Development
Mustache

Aaron Schneeberger is a TV & content development executive with a penchant for the absurd. He helped launch truTV into scripted comedy by developing the single camera sitcom Those Who Can't. While there, he also produced other series and built bridges with comedy talent for the fledgling comedy channel. He now runs development for Mustache in Brooklyn, NY, aspiring to ever more ridiculous heights. Recently, he spearheaded VICELAND's newly greenlit variety talk show, Danny's House, starring rapper Danny Brown. He also creatively consults on VICELAND's Most Expensivest and on numerous branded content projects including Netflix is a Joke.

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.

Phil Sequeira
VP Scripted Sales & Co-Productions
BBC Studios Americas Inc.

Phil Sequeira is the Vice President, Scripted Sales and Co-Productions for BBC Studios, North America, and is based in the New York office.

Sequeira develops and executes television sales strategies for the U.S. media market, working closely with clients to determine and fulfill their programming needs. Sequeira also manages relationships with BBC Studios and indie producers to identify and negotiate co-production opportunities for U.S. broadcast partners ensuring the best possible product to prospective buyers, and securing programming deals for content from BBC Studio’s award-winning catalog. In the two years since Sequeira joined BBC Studios in North America, he has closed significant content deals with major industry players such as Netflix, Amazon, HULU, HBO, 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.

Hila Sharif
Development Manager
DHX Media Ltd.-Toronto

As Development Manager for DHX Media’s content group, Hila Sharif manages the development slate across all original animated and live-action series for the company. Notable development credits include award-winning series Degrassi: Next Class Season 3 & 4, Space Ranger Roger and 2017 Kidscreen Award winner The Deep. Previously Hila worked with Family Channel Canada’s original programming team on Raising Expectations and Justin Time. Hila holds a B.A in English from the University of Toronto and is a graduate of the Centennial College Children’s Media program.

Linda Simensky
VP, Children’s Programming
PBS KIDS

Vice President, Children’s Programming, PBS
As Vice President of Children’s Programming at PBS, Linda Simensky collaborates with producers, co-production partners, PBS station programmers, and distributors throughout the development, production, post-production, and broadcast phases for PBS KIDS programming.
Since joining PBS in 2003, Linda has worked with renowned producers to develop hit shows ranging from DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD and WILD KRATTS to ODD SQUAD and NATURE CAT. Linda is currently working on the PBS KIDS creativity-themed series, PINKALICIOUS & PETERRIFIC with WGBH, LUNA AROUND THE WORLD with Joe Murray, and several pilots.
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 also teaches Animation History at the University of Pennsylvania.

Christin Simms
Writer, Executive Producer, Head of Development
Sinking Ship Entertainment

Christin Simms is an Emmy award-winning producer and Emmy nominated writer. She is an Executive Producer and Writer on Annedroids, Dino Dana and Endlings, which just wrapped production Fall 2018. Christin has worked with CBC, TVO, DHX, Hulu, Amazon, KIKA, SRC, and Nickelodeon on a variety of different children’s programs. Christin is a recipient of a Canadian Screenwriting Award, was named one of Playback Magazine’s Top Ten to Watch, received the Youth Media Alliance’s Emerging Talent Award and is on the Writer’s Guild of Canada’s Diversity Committee.

Lara Singer
Development Producer
Big Talk Productions

Lara has spent the last eight years working in development and production across comedy radio, television and film, previously working for BBC development, BBC Radio 1, Kudos Film and TV, Origin Pictures, Tempesta Film and ARG at Avalon TV.

Alongside her development work she has produced and directed short films with BAFTA-nominated talent. Lara has a keen interest in supporting new talent and is on the judging panel for writing programmes, working with both LOCO Film Festival, CTBF, The Smalls Film Festival and on the jury for BAFTA Rocliffe New Writing 2018. She has also helped set up and manage a storytelling charity for schools across London.

Most recently Lara has developed and produced an award-winning comedy drama series for BBC Three, Just A Couple and helped develop the BAFTA-nominated ITV2 comedy Timewasters, BBC2 comedy drama series Defending The Guilty, Sky Pilot Peacock (Starring Dominic Cooper), C4 series Back (Starring David Mitchell, Robert Webb and written by Simon Blackwell.)

Sam Sniderman
EVP Global Production
Blue Ant Media

Sam Sniderman, EVP, Global Production, Blue Ant Media oversees the production, finance and business affairs teams at Blue Ant Media, which include Saloon Media (Toronto), NHNZ (New Zealand), Beach House Pictures (Singapore), Antenna Pictures (London), Blue Ant Digital Studios (Los Angeles), Look Mom! Productions (Toronto) and Northern Pictures (Sydney). Sniderman is formerly the Global Chief Operating Officer and MD, Film and Entertainment at Pulse Films (a Vice Media company). In these roles, he was responsible for the commercial performance of Pulse’s TV, film and branded content output and helped to guide Pulse through rapid growth, with including scripted and unscripted commissions from Channel 4, Sky Atlantic and ITV. He also spearheaded the financing and distribution of award winning theatrical feature films like 20,000 Days on Earth (Nick Cave), Who Is Dayani Cristal (Gael Garcia Bernal) and Shut Up and Play the Hits (LCD Soundsystem).

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

James Stewart
President
Geneva Film Co

JAMES STEWART is an award-winning writer, director, digital innovator and multi-platform visual designer. His credits have crossed genres from cinema commercials (Lexus) to drama series (Chateau Laurier) to digital (Samsung) and stereoscopic 3D (Sprint). James has directed over 300 commercials and created stories in live action, 3D, 4D, VR, AR, gesture control, animation and immersive environments.

James recently created and directed Season 1 of the award-winning drama series Chateau Laurier staring Fiona Reid, Bruce Gray, Kate Ross (6 awards, 15 nominations, 5 million views, 70,000 followers on Facebook). His stop-motion 3D film Foxed! has played in Official Selection at over 50 international film festivals winning 10 awards and opening at #1 on iTunes. James’ feature screenplay for Foxed is shortlisted for the 2019 Sundance Screenwriters Lab.

His silhouette film, Béatrice Coron’s Daily Battles premiered at TED2013 and has played at over 20 film festivals and museums in the US and Europe. His work on Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams was called “the reinvention of the cinema medium” by The Guardian and received the prestigious Lumiere Award from the International 3D Society. James has directed cinema commercials for brands such as Samsung, Toyota, Lexus, and Sprint and Ontario 4D, produced for the Vancouver Olympics.

Igal Svet
Senior Director, Development
National Geographic

Svet is the main point of contact with the production community in New York and has been at the forefront of National Geographic’s pivot to premium content. National Geographic’s slate of sweeping original programs includes Mars, Story of God with Morgan Freeman and One Strange Rock — three of the highest-launching series in the history of the network. Since the pivot towards premium the National Geographic has released a robust slate of feature documentaries including the Oscar short-listed LA 92 and Jane as well as Before the Flood, which was watched by 63 million people in the first two weeks of its release.

Prior to National Geographic, he served as Vice President, Development at the Miami-based production company, 2C Media and as 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.

Paula Taborda dos Guaranys
Head of Content & Programming
GLOOB

Senior TV and entertainment executive for over 23 years, Paula Taborda dos Guaranys is the creative mind behind Globo Group's kids content hub, with channels Gloob and Gloobinho. With extensive experience on children's content, Paula launched Gloob in 2012 and preschool recent venture, Gloobinho, in 2017. As Head of Content & Programming, Paula is in charge of the channels' original and international production and coproduction. She also manages deal-making partnerships, programming strategy and content sales. Under her leadership, Gloob has experienced remarkable growth in ratings since its debut, becoming the 3rd biggest Pay TV channel amongst Brazilian kids in less than 5 years of existence. Taborda dos Guaranys has also contributed with her work in channels such as Multishow, Bis and Off, having taken an active part in the conception and launch of the latter; TV Globo; Canal Futura; TV Brasil and RioFilm, besides acting as a consultant on projects such as the Brazilian Kids Film Festival, and as jury member on festivals and awards like Banff World Media, Anima Mundi and lnternational Emmy Awards. In 2017, Paula was granted the World Screen Kids Trendsetter Award, which recognized her as one of the prominent voices in international children’s content.

Lucie Veillet
EVP & Producer
Telefiction Inc

Claude Veillet’s accomplice and associate for almost 25 years, Lucie Veillet is the executive vice-president of Téléfiction and producer of all the company’s projects. She works actively at developing and conceiving series and films for Téléfiction. A real specialist in content destined for young viewers, she is the co-creator and producer of the popular series Salmigondis, 1,2,3…Géant !, Toc Toc Toc. She also produced the popular series Cornemuse and Pin-Pon, as well as many full-length films such as Le journal d’Aurélie Laflamme, Les pieds dans le vide, La mystérieuse Mademoiselle C., and L’incomparable Mademoiselle C. For the web, she participates in the conceptualization of all the young viewer websites, such as www.salmigondis.tv, www.toctoctoc.tv, and www.123geant.com. Lucie Veillet has also been the editor of Imagine, a publishing house that published more than 85 illustrated albums destined for kids, all printed in Québec.

Lindsay Watson
International Animation Producer & Consultant
CANUK Productions

Lindsay is a Canadian/British children’s animation producer based in London. She is an entrepreneur, academic and lobbyist whose papers on British animation funding and girls animation have been published by Animation UK and Nordicom’s International Clearing House on Children, Youth & Media.
Her consultancy firm CANUK Productions has aided the development and co-production of over 20 children’s and family projects. Her experience includes original IP, books, series, specials, games, apps, film and digital projects for the international market. She has worked on budgeted projects up to £10M.
She launched Animated Women UK in 2013 and has run it with a board for 5 years, and also obtained a Masters in Professional Media Practice specialising in animation management from Bournemouth University in 2015.
Lindsay regularly provides support to international film boards and funding bodies on assessing new projects and has appeared at festivals worldwide. She was diagnosed with dyslexia in 2015 and is passionate about 2 things: living somewhere warm and sunny with a dog named Rusty…and seeing more positive versions of women and girls in media.

Lauren Whitelaw
Head of Programming and Acquisitions
OUTtv Network Inc

Lauren is the Head of Programming and Acquisitions for OUTtv, currently with services in Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. With servicing multiple territories, she has successfully negotiated contracts with companies worldwide.

Before becoming 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 a nomination for a Canadian Screen Award in the category of Best Reality Series.

Elizabeth Whitmere
Actor, Writer, Producer

Liz Whitmere has more than a decade of on camera experience. Her first project as a producer was the critically acclaimed short film This Is Not What You Had Planned starring Kristian Bruun and CSA winner Natalie Lisinska. Since then, she has gone on to produce several short films including Steven McCarthy’s bloody love story O Negative (a TIFF Top Ten film) and Meghan Heffern’s romantic NYC romp Flung. Other credits include the Canadian Screen Award winning The Neddeaus of Duquesne Island, the most-watched series on CBC’s digital platform. She is currently developing Hit On Me, a black comedy about crushes and contract killing, which won the 2017 Just For Laughs ComedyPRO pitch contest.

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.

Bryn Wiebe
Original Programming Coordinator
Rogers Media Inc.

Bryn is a TV & film professional hailing from the flatlands of Winnipeg, Manitoba and educated at Ryerson University's film studies program. She began her career developing projects for Hallmark and Lifetime television, and has since collaborated with writers, directors, and independent producers in all facets of production, mostly recently coordinating the sales of top tier Canadian content in the international market. She is currently the Original Programming Coordinator for Rogers Media, facilitating scripted and unscripted production, development, and submissions. She is an avid storyteller and consumer, and believes in the power of representation as liberation.

Joel Williams
TV Executive and VOD Specialist

Joel Williams is a television executive with over 20 years’ expertise in building & developing platforms and curating & acquiring content with a focus on delivering ratings/views, driven by in-depth knowledge and proven editorial judgement with experiences across Free-to-Air Networks, Pay TV, Video On Demand and Social Video Platforms.

Recently, Joel was the Head of Programming for The Walt Disney Company Australia where he oversaw all aspects of the programming strategy for Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney XD television channels and platforms in Australia and New Zealand. Prior to joining Disney, Joel held key leadership positions with the National Indigenous Television Network (NITV) and Viacom Australia. He is also a member of the International Emmys® and has a passion for emerging TV platforms.