Nicole Hilliard-Forde is an Emmy-nominated, Toronto-based casting director, talent development programmer and producer with a background in performance. Nicole has worked in casting for over 20 years and is known for her work internationally as an industry programmer at Toronto International Film Festival in her previous role of Producer, TIFF Rising Stars, a talent accelerator which identifies six actors annually who are poised to break out. Alumnae include Charlie Carrick (Reign), Megan Park (The F Word), Evelyne Brochu (Orphan Black), Johnathan Sousa (Kidnap Capital), Cara Gee (The Expanse), Alexandre Landry (Gabrielle), Julia Sarah Stone (A Worthy Companion), Shannon Kook (The Conjuring), Sophie Desmarais (Sarah Prefers to Run), Aliocha Schneider (Ville Marie), Deragh Campbell (I Used to be Darker), Karelle Tremblay (Les Etres Chers), Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk, Race, Selma), Jared Abrahamson (Travelers), Sophie Nelisse (The Book Thief), Somkele Iyaham-Idhalama (93 Days), Grace Glowicki (Her Friend Adam), Mylene McKay (Nelly), and OC Ukeje (The Arbitration).
A strong, creative head of department with a demonstrated ability to manage strict budgets, source talent, employ best practices of the casting industry, negotiate on behalf of producers with agents, managers, solicitors, guilds, collective bargaining units, studio/broadcast partners, and effectively deliver ACTRA administration compliance, within specific, tight deadlines and according to federal and provincial Canadian content rules, in an ever-changing environment.
Her company values workplace inclusivity, uncovering unconscious bias, promoting positive mental health, gendered intelligence and best practices for nudity and intimacy on-set.
Recently, she produced the feature film The Other Half starring Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black) and Tom Cullen (Downton Abbey) which had its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival 2016 in Narrative Competition and was released theatrically by Mongrel Media in Canada, Brainstorm Media in the US and AMBI Distribution, internationally. The film garnered nominations for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role for Maslany and Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for Henry Czerny at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards, with Maslany taking home the best film actress prize.
Her driving force is to increase opportunities for inclusion in on-screen media. To that end, she is always on the look out for fresh faces and up-and-coming talent, as well as authentic storytelling. Nicole is part of the generation of children born to one African Canadian parent and one Caucasian parent just before — and after — the Supreme Court's 1967 Loving vs. Virginia decision, which overturned all remaining anti-miscegenation laws in the United States, dubbed the “Loving Generation”.
Nicole is an Honours, BA graduate of Trinity College, University of Toronto and alumna of Norman Jewison’s CFC Producer’s Residency. Nicole is a member of the Casting Society of America, Television Academy of Arts & Sciences, and sits on various talent juries. She regularly participates in the activities of the Equity in Entertainment Committee and sits on the Working BIPOC Group, Casting Society of America. For a full list of casting credits, please visit her IMDb page.
Some things people don’t know about Nicole… favourite films: A Chorus Line, The Piano, True Romance, Three Colours; Blue, Team America, Hunger, The Lobster, Incendies, Safe, Brokeback Mountain, The Ice Storm, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, There Will Be Blood, Of Gods and Men… favourite pastime: laughing……favourite colour: grey….. happiest place: the Desert.