New Year, New Talent! Meet the 2021 Film Program Residents

Posted: Jan 18, 2021

We’re back! After a little hiatus in 2020 in light of COVID-19, CFC programs are gearing back up, beginning with our signature film program.

We are so excited to share the incredible lineup of 18 talented and unique storytellers – five directors, five producers, four writers and four editors – who will join us virtually beginning today to participate in this renowned program, designed to inspire and empower Canadian filmmakers to become world-class storytellers.

The Film Program nurtures a creator’s artistic vision and is a vital incubator for the next generation of creators and industry leaders. An intensive, creative and collaborative professional experience, the program is a key destination for creative professionals who want to establish their voice in the screen entertainment industry.

“We are incredibly inspired by these 18 individuals and by their bold visions and need to tell stories that represent their distinct POVs,” shared Kathryn Emslie, CFC’s CPO. “We are very excited to be working with them to support their creative voices, aspirations and projects, and we’ve adapted the program to allow everyone some space and time over the next six weeks to prep for the opportunities that await them when the program starts full-time in March.”

Over the next six weeks, we will be working with the 2021 residents on an individually tailored part-time basis as they gear up for the start of the full-time component of the program, which will run from March 1 to July 31, 2021. Filmmakers will interact with best and evolving practices, establish professional and creative partnerships and gain access to key decision-makers and creative leaders through lab-specific work, one-on-one mentorship, collaborative exercises and productions, the generation of original IP and tailored project development.

Read on to meet the 2021 directors, producers, writers and editors.

a collage of five filmmakers

The 2021 Film Program Directors’ Lab (clockwise from top left): A.W. Hopkins, Cazhhmere, Mary Galloway, Hamza Bangash and V.T. Nayani.


We asked the five incoming directors: what are you excited to explore as a director?



“I want to write and direct a film in every genre, each one imbued with my own brand of renegade humour and off-beat, irredeemable characters that I throw into no-win situations.”

A.W. Hopkins is a member of the N’Quatqua First Nation. His first short film,
Shin-chi’s Canoe, was selected to be part of the Short Film Corner at Cannes in May 2019. In December 2020, his first feature film, Indian Road Trip, had its world premiere at the Whistler Film Festival, where Hopkins won the DGC Best BC Director award. Hopkins holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia.



“I am looking forward to exploring the world of drama told through the eyes of the Black-Canadian experience that is unforgiving, uncompromising and fulfilling.”

Cazhhmere is an international award-winning director. For over 17 years, she has directed artists ranging from Kardinal Offishall to the Backstreet Boys. Branching out from music videos in 2015, she teamed up with the CBC to direct the documentary
Deeply Rooted (2017). She’s currently developing a feature documentary with the NFB, while writing the script for her feature film debut.



“I get excited about exploring the trauma and horror of intersectional identity. Life is messy and cruel, and through my cinema I am interested in telling stories of underrepresented communities, of people who persevere and can find happiness in the little things.”

Hamza Bangash is an award-winning Canadian-Pakistani writer and director. An alumnus of both Locarno and Asian Filmmakers Academy, his works have been showcased in film festivals worldwide, including Locarno, BFI London and Clermont-Ferrand. Bangash is currently in development on his first feature film,
Mariam. The feature won the MPA-AFA Award at Busan 2019, was selected for Berlinale Talent Project Market 2020, and is being supported by Telefilm’s 2020 Talent to Watchprogram.



“I want to explore how I can best utilize my voice as a filmmaker to connect to audiences bringing joy and hope to my communities.”

Mary Galloway is an award-winning Cowichanfilmmaker, actor, and fierce trailblazer; paving the way for Indigi-queer content creation. Galloway bravely tells stories that represent marginalized communities in a heartfelt, entertaining, and enlightening manner. Her achievements include being a TIFF Rising Star and a WFF Talent to Watch, a recipient of WIFTV’s Newcomer Award, and being named to
The Hollywood Reporter‘s list of Breakouts Making An Impact on Hollywood. Recently, she wrapped her webseries Querencia, funded by Telefilm’s Talent to Watch, APTN, The Bell Fund, and the ISO.



“As a director, I am excited to explore how, regardless of time or space, we are always coming of age at every stage of life.”

V. T. Nayani is a proud Tamil-Torontonian director and writer for the screen. She is an alumna of the CBC’s Workshop for Diverse Creators, Hot Docs’ Doc Accelerator Lab, Reelworld Film Festival’s Emerging 20 Program, and the CTI Creators of Colour Incubator. Nayani is currently in post-production for her first dramatic feature,
This Place, produced in partnership with Telefilm Canada’s Talent to Watch Program, and is in development on her second feature, Shame.

A collage of headshots of five filmmakers

The 2021 Film Program Producers’ Lab (clockwise from top left): Abubakar Khan, Kent Donguines, Josh Clapp, Temilola Adebayo, and Christina Saliba.


We asked the five incoming producers: which films or television shows have had an impact on you and the work that you want to produce?



“Watching the haunting documentary short ‘The White Helmets’ inspired me to produce work that is authentically told by the community, while simultaneously healing the narrative.”

Abubakar Khan is the CEO of Diaspora Creative, a production company based in Vancouver, Canada. He has produced shorts such as
The Lost Empire (dir. Gary Chutai), and Pehla Qadam (dir. Danish Renzu). Khan is a member of the CMPA BC Producers Branch Council and sat on multiple festival boards across Canada. He is currently producing an episodic documentary series, Lions Rise, alongside two feature films that are in development.



“What fuels me are stories that break the patriarchal mould of storytelling and elevate the female gaze. So, it’s an absolute thrill to see audiences championing feminist pieces like ‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire,’ ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ and ‘Killing Eve’!”

Christina Saliba started a career in wildlife biology before launching into the world of cinema as a film production manager on independent short and feature films. In 2017, she joined Goldrush Entertainment as a development executive, discovering new intellectual property to produce, creating pitch materials, and providing support in pre- to post-production. Recently, Saliba produced a stage play that was showcased at Just for Laughs and Pride Montreal and is now venturing into producing more queer and feminist-driven works for the silver screen.



“Currently, I’m drawn to powerful, character-driven pieces that resonate with the audience, showcasing unique and impactful stories.”

Josh Clapp is a queer Toronto-based producer, production manager and coordinator with a strong interest in creating LGBTQ+ content. He has worked on multiple short and feature-length films, music videos and commercials, in addition to producing over 15 pieces for the Canadian Film Centre. Notably, Clapp was the production manager on the feature films
Easy Land (world premiere TIFF 2019), and Charles Officer’s Akilla’s Escape (world premiere TIFF 2020). He is drawn to powerful, personal stories that he hopes will intimately resonate with viewers.



“’On the Job,’ directed by Erik Matti – it’s a Filipino film that went deep in terms of showcasing the accurate portrayal of the underworld in the Philippines and the class system. This film inspired me to produce honest storytelling that knocks directly on an audience’s heart.”

Kent Donguines is a Filipino-Canadian filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. He produced the award-winning CBC short documentary
The Ink Runs Deep, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. He wrote, directed and produced the Telus Storyhive short, Kalinga (Care), a documentary about the sacrifices Filipina nannies make to work in Canada. He also produced award-winning short films Iridescence, Small Fish (Crazy8s film), and Grey. Donguines has worked for production companies in Canada and the Philippines, including Cedar Island Films Inc., Black Cap Pictures (Ten17p), Viva Entertainment, and Star Cinema.



“I’m interested in telling stories that center on the human experience. I’m constantly rooting for the underdog who often feels like a fish out of water and how they eventually thrive… or not. Projects like ‘And Breathe Normally’ and ‘El Patrón’ perfectly epitomize this for me.”

Temilola Adebayo is a Toronto-based Nigerian-Canadian filmmaker with years of experience in producing, TV channel management and writing. She produced and funded Nigeria’s first live-action animated film,
Dognapped, which screened across cinemas in Nigeria and won Best Animated Film at the Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival (TINFF). Her short film credits include Bridges (Official Selection, Africa International Film Festival) and The End (Official Selection, Silicon Valley African Film Festival). Adebayo is a Television & Film Business Honors graduate of Centennial College.

A collage of headshots of four filmmakers.

The 2021 Film Program Writers’ Lab (from left to right): Reeyaz Habib, Muna Deria, Andreas Vatiliotou, and Rahul Chaturvedi.


We asked the four incoming writers to answer one of two questions: what major themes are inspiring your current body of work as a writer, or, what kinds of characters, stories or themes are you drawn to?



“I’m interested in the quiet, understated stories of ordinary people making relatable mistakes with life-changing consequences.”

Andreas Vatiliotou is a Toronto-based writer. He holds an MA in Creative Writing from U of T where he completed a novel that, in retrospect, contains more dialogue than prose. He has also written for the stage and is drawn to stories that remind us, “there is nothing a person will not do to another, nothing a person will not do for another.” When the pandemic began, he was prepping for a short film that was to take place at a crowded social gathering which, looking back, was somewhat ill-timed.



“I focus on textured projects that amplify Black Muslim narratives and remind us of our connection to a common past.”

Muna Deria works on content that amplifies kindred stories at the intersection of Black Muslim and Black Diaspora communities. Her screenwriting explores ideas of siblinghood, belonging, and the present implications of a connection to a common past. She wrote and directed Muslim Writers’ Room, and is currently at work on proof of concepts for two feature projects and an episodic series.



“I’m drawn to hopeful, life-affirming, whimsical stories that highlight the issues of underrepresented groups, with a special focus on the South Asian diaspora.”

Rahul Chaturvedi is an Indian-Canadian filmmaker from Toronto. He was a Reel Asian pitch winner in 2016 and 2018, and was one of Reelworld’s E20 filmmakers for 2017. His filmForbidden Tikka Masala won seven international awards and was programmed by TIFF Film Circuit. It was digitally released by Omeleto to 165K+ views and has been licensed by the CBC. Home of the Rain Catcher, an Indian feature film he co-wrote, is currently in production.



“Passion, frustration and violence lurk beneath the surface of our everyday lives, it’s those buried and treacherous emotions that I want to explore.”

Reeyaz Habib is a recovering banker who found purpose and fulfillment in storytelling. To date, Habib’s writing has been recognized by the Nicholl Fellowship, Austin Film Festival, Page International and the Stowe Storylab Fellowship, while his films have shown at the Heartland International, Newport Beach and Cinequest Film Festivals. Habib is an alumnus of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California and the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.

A collage of headshots of four filmmakers

The 2021 Film Program Editors’ Lab (from left to right): Ashley Gilmour, Daniel Montiel, Alison MacMillan and Craig Scorgie.


We asked the four incoming editors: which notable film would you have loved to edit?



“I would have loved to edit Dolan’s ‘Mommy’ because of the great acting, music, and an energy that is so driven by rhythm and pacing.”

Alison MacMillan is a Toronto-based editor. She edited and produced the award-winning seven-part webseries Miss Misery in 2019, and produced the short documentary Billsville for CBC Docs in 2016. She has worked on a number of TV series and features as an assistant editor, including The Expanse, Ginny & Georgia, and The Retreat. MacMillan enjoys stories about odd people, and spends her spare time painting pictures and building miniature furniture.



“’Babel’ – nonlinear and interwoven storylines, complemented by poetic match cuts and smash cuts, beautifully unveil a haunting story of tragedy that transcends language and borders.”

Originally from Brazil, Ashley Gilmour has lived and travelled across Europe, Africa, and Latin America. Because of this, she is drawn to stories that explore different cultures, societies, and worldviews. As a film editor in Montreal, she edited the CBC documentary Kosher Love (nominated for a Canadian Screen Award), the PBS documentary A People’s Soundtrack, the CBC documentary Daughters of the Voice, and, most recently, she co-edited Faraway, with premieres at RIDM and Slamdance.



“’You Were Never Really Here’ covers a lot of things that I love… impressionistic filmmaking, character-centred story, Lynne Ramsay, Joaquin Phoenix, Jonny Greenwood – yes please!”

Craig Scorgie is an editor and VFX artist based in Toronto. He has edited numerous award-winning shorts and feature documentaries, and acted as assistant editor on Big Little Lies, VFX editor on The Morning Show, and as additional editor on Northern Rescue. In VFX, Scorgie was a supervisor on Vice’s The Devil You Know and artist on CBC’s Workin’ Moms. Scorgie also enjoys performing comedy. He’s won awards across North America, and was recently featured in a Just for Laughs ‘Character Showcase’.



“’You Were Never Really Here’ – the way the montage suggests and unpacks the hidden trauma of the main character, without directly addressing it, is next level.”

Daniel Montiel is a Toronto-based Mexican film editor with experience in short form fiction and documentary films, reality shows and advertising content for web and TV. He edited the award-winning short films Titanyum and Worth and has edited videos for clients like Ford, the Toronto Raptors and the Maple Leafs, which have garnered more than 500,000 views on YouTube. He has a background in the arts, film studies, communication and media.

Learn more about the Film Program here.

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