David Lee

And the 2017 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Residents Are...

By Margaret DeRosia ● June 29, 2017 12:30


We are delighted to announce that the following talented individuals in the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program will be joining us on Monday, July 17, along with our new residents in the CBC Actors Conservatory and Slaight Music Residency.

"This year’s filmmakers bring an exciting breadth of experience and perspectives to the CFC,” says Kathryn Emslie, CFC’s Chief Programs Officer. “We are so looking forward to working with them over the next five and a half months and further developing their stories and storytelling opportunities."

The Cineplex Entertainment Film Program champions original voices, entrepreneurism and collaboration. It encourages filmmakers to take creative risks and develop and package original content for the global entertainment market. This full-time professional program is for directors, editors, producers and writers – so let’s meet each group below:


Directors' Lab

Connor Gaston is an award-winning filmmaker from Victoria, BC. His work has screened at film festivals around the world, including the Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals. Gaston recently completed his first feature film, The Devout, which premiered at the Busan International Film Festival, one of Asia’s premier film festivals, in 2015. The Devout also earned five Leo Awards, including Best Picture, and for Gaston himself, the BC Emerging Filmmaker Award, at the Vancouver International Film Festival in 2015. Currently, he is working on his second feature film through The Harold Greenburg Fund’s Shorts-to-Features Program.

Amy Jo Johnson is a multifaceted artist with more than 20 years of experience in the entertainment industry. Working successfully as an actress for more than two decades, Johnson stepped behind the camera in 2012 to begin her career as a filmmaker. Her debut feature, The Space Between, recently ended its festival run with a theatrical release set for August 2017. This quirky, heartfelt comedy was shepherded through the CFC with alumna producer, Jessica Adams, and through the Telefilm Canada Micro-Budget Production program. Currently, Johnson is developing her second feature film, Breaking Emma, which is set to shoot in Montreal during Winter 2018.

Blake Mawson is an award-winning filmmaker who has been working in film and television for more than 15 years. He began acting at age 16 and has appeared in projects such as Freddy vs. Jason, X-Men 2, Blade: The Series, Poison Ivy and The Strain. Mawson was awarded the RBC Award for Best Emerging Canadian Artist at Toronto's Inside Out LGBT Film Festival in 2016. He won Best Horror Short at Flickers' Rhode Island Vortex for his directorial debut, PYOTR495. The film, which can be found on Pecadello's Boy On Film 16: Possession compilation, was also nominated for the 2016 Iris Prize and Sitges International Film Festival’s Award for The Brigadoon - Paul Naschy Short Film Award.

Thyrone Tommy is an award-winning Toronto-based filmmaker. His films have been celebrated internationally at more than 30 festivals. Tommy’s most recent short, Mariner, premiered at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and was later named one of TIFF’s Canada's Top Ten Shorts of 2016. His work has been supported with grants from NBCUniversal Canada, Kodak Motion Picture Film and the Ontario Arts Council, and Tommy was also the 2017 Lindalee Tracey Award Winner. Currently, he is developing a feature version of Mariner, as well as the feature To Live and Die in Rexdale, a drama about a high school football player’s battle between playing for a rival high school or remaining loyal to his intense and aggressive coach.

D.W. Waterson is the award-winning director and creator of the popular web series, That’s My DJ. She won Best Director at the New York Television Festival in 2016, Best Canadian Web Series and Best Director at the Vancouver Web Fest in 2017, and Best Drama at T.O. WebFest 2017. A graduate of Ryerson University's School of Image Arts, Waterson has directed for bands such as Princess Century, Featurette, For Esmé and Superpoze, and founded Night is Y, to help unite the talents of filmmakers, actors and musicians to tell visually stunning, dynamic stories. A multifaceted talent signed to GERSH agency, she also moonlights as “hey! dw,” one of Toronto's most in-demand DJs known for her bouncy British beats and high-energy live drum solos.


Editors’ Lab

Teresa Lam is a Toronto-based editor with a decade of experience in broadcast television, short films and branded content. As a promo producer/editor at Bell Media, she has worked on numerous award-winning campaigns for major networks such as MTV, MUCH, CraveTV and iHeartRadio. Her independent editing credits include the feature, Ulysses, the short documentary, Confessions of a Drag Queen, and the short film, Binding Borders, directed by Tiffany Hsiung. Lam is also a graduate of the Film Program at Ryerson University and an Associate Member of Canadian Cinema Editors.

Baun Mah has been working as an editor in the film and television industry for ten years, including top reality shows such as The Amazing Race Canada and Top Chef Canada,several documentary series and numerous short films, including Rite of Spring, Gaysian and A Chink in the Armour. He recently served as a senior editor and director on Big Brother Canada. Mah has been nominated for his editing on reality competition series at both the Canadian Screen Awards and the Canadian Cinema Editors Awards.

Shaun Rykiss graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, and then attended Vancouver Film School to pursue a career in storytelling. He began editing unscripted television for Rogue Productions, where he played an instrumental role in developing two award-winning one-hour docu-series, Jim Shockey’s Uncharted and Carter’s W.A.R. (Wild Animal Response), editing 19 episodes and serving as supervising editor for more than 60 hours of content. Rykiss is excited to return to scripted content to tell new stories at the CFC.

Graham Tucker is a film, television and commercial editor with 15 years of experience in the advertising and entertainment industries. As an assistant editor, he benefitted from the mentorship of many talented Canadian, American and British editors in the cutting rooms of London, Los Angeles and faraway Hengdian (the “Hollywood of China”), including on the feature, The Art of the Steal, and the drama series, Copper. As an editor, Tucker’s credits include feature films, scripted and unscripted television (Master Chef Canada; Testees) documentaries, variety programming (WE Day), and advertising work for major multinational brands.


Producers’ Lab

Alona Metzer is an actor/entrepreneur-turned-producer. She trained at David Mamet and William H. Macy’s Atlantic Acting School in New York City, and brings her strong entrepreneurial spirit and deep understanding of character to her work as a producer. Metzer has produced multiple short films, including Thyrone Tommy’s Mariner (Canada’s Top Ten 2016, TIFF ’16, CIFF ’16) and Shervin Kermani’s Eros.In 2016, she was awarded the Deluxe Producer Mentorship at the Women in Film and Television Crystal Awards. Currently, Metzer is developing features and a comedic short film, Stranger, which was short-listed for the Kevin Spacey Artists of Choice Award and the WIFT/BravoFact Pitch Competition.

Gharrett Patrick Paon is a Métis (Mi’kmaq/Acadian) actor-producer based in Halifax. An award-nominated actor, he has appeared in Haven, AMC’s series, The Killing,and Thom Fitzgerald’s series, Forgive Me. During his Bachelor of Commerce co-op degree at Dalhousie, he associate produced the National Geographic special, Deadly Journeys of the Apostles, and the nature documentaries, Wild Wild East and Ocean Parks, for the Smithsonian Channel. Paon is founder and president of Rebel Road Films, with a slate that includes the feature, Elsinore, from writer/director Cory Bowles, and the miniseries, Lejeune, the incredible true story of Henrie Lejeune, Paon’s ancestor, who survived the Acadian expulsion and banded with the Mi’kmaq to form a resistance against the Loyalists.

Mark Sirju is a producer, line producer and production manager, with a wealth of knowledge in cutting-edge technology and creative problem-solving. He was production manager on two features, one of which was The Haunted House on Kirby Road, for Breakthrough Entertainment in 2016, along with content ranging from music videos to branded shorts to video games. Sirju’s producing and line producing credits include multiple commercials, music videos and VR content with companies such as Warner Music, Atlantic Music, Red Lion and Secret Location. The BravoFACT short, Synthetic John, on which he was a producer, is currently in post-production.

Natalie Urquhart is a producer, writer and actor from Toronto. She has her BFA in Acting from the University of Southern California, and is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory. Urquhart’s most recent work was on the series, Suits, for NBCUniversal, where she worked for six seasons, starting out as an office production assistant before becoming an associate producer. She also has produced two short films, Throwing Cotton,with the NSI Drama Prize, and We Are Here, shot in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia, both of which were recipients of the BravoFact! award. In 2016, Urquhart was a finalist with the Bell Media/National Screen Institute's Totally Television program.

Cera Ziegler is a producer, originally from Saskatoon, who has worked in the vibrant Vancouver film and television industry for more than 10 years. She possesses a wide range of experience such as casting director, associate producer on the short film, Braindamage, co-producer on the feature, The Singularity Principle, assistant to executive producers Lark Productions, and assistant to showrunner Dennis Heaton and script coordinator on the hit TV series, Motive. Ziegler’s feature project with writer/director S.B. Edwards, Fall Back Down, was recently awarded Telefilm Canada Microbudget support, and is set to be produced in early 2018.


Writers’ Lab

Anna Fahr is an award-winning Iranian-Canadian filmmaker based in Ottawa and Beirut. Her 2014 dramatic short, Transit Game, screened in more than 50 international festivals and won awards in Berlin, Florence and San Francisco. She is an alumna of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Talent Lab, Tribeca Film Festival’s All Access Lab and Reel World Film Festival’s Indie Film Lounge.Fahr recently completed her MFA in Screenwriting and Film Studies at Hollins University in the United States, and is currently in development on several feature-length scripts that explore questions of exile, migration and refugee experiences.

Joanne Sarazen is an actor, director, playwright and founding member of Sheep In Fog Theatre. She has written three plays, one musical and two short films (The Utter Disappointment and Conduit), all of which have been produced. Sarazen’s plays were produced in Toronto, Montreal, Banff and Canmore. She won the Mainline Next Stage Award at Montreal Fringe for her play, Jesus Jell-O, as well as multiple nominations for various Fringe Festival awards for her play, Nothing Never Happens in Norway.

Luke Toye is a Toronto-based screenwriter and filmmaker. He has written and co-produced four short films, including Death & Grieving Men and God & Doubting Women. Toye directed Dog Days of Summer and Last Patrol, the latter of which premiered at the 2014 New Hampshire Film Festival. Currently, Toye is developing his feature scripts, which include Stall Boy, the story of a germaphobic thirteen year-old boy struggling with being bullied as he navigates the final months of elementary school, and Koshe, the story of an observant Jew and his best friend who, when blackmailed for a large amount of money, formulate a plan to grow and sell kosher weed to the local Jewish community.

Marni Van Dyk is a writer, actor and producer. She began her career as an actor while writing and publishing short fiction in anthologies and literary journals, before moving into producing television. Her credits include associate producer on the comedy show, Match Game, and story/digital producer on the series, Hockey Wives, for Bristow Global Media. Drawn to comedy and the cutthroat world of live sketch, Van Dyk co-founded the award-winning all-female sketch comedy group, She Said What. Her first short script, I Am Not A Weird Person (directed by CFC alumna, Molly McGlynn), was released to acclaim and then selected to launch the HelloGiggles online video portal. In 2017, she received the Corus Writer's Apprenticeship at the Banff World Media Festival.


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Margaret DeRosia

Communications Specialist/Digital Writer & Editor