Introducing the 2018 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Residents
By Cory Angeletti-Szasz ● June 21, 2018 11:00
The 2018 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Residents.
Directors (L to R): Kim Albright, Joseph Amenta, Isa Benn, Karen Chapman, Julia Hart.
Writers (L to R): Brooke Banning, Laurel Brady, Sina Gilani, Julia Rowland, Murry Peeters.
Producers (L to R): Evren Boisjoli, Samantha Kaine, Elizabeth Melanson, Alexandra Roberts, Danny Sedore.
Editors (L to R): Ben Allan, Orlee Buium, Christopher John Malanchen, Lee Walker.
The CFC is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, which also means the 30th anniversary of the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program – our longest running and signature film program. At its core, this program champions original voices, entrepreneurism and collaboration.
Throughout its 30 years, the program has helped launch and/or accelerate the careers of hundreds of remarkable directors, producers, writers and editors, and has developed and packaged a significant number of projects, many of which go on to receive awards and critical acclaim, including recent features Never Steady, Never Still; Mary Goes Round; Closet Monster and Un Traductor.
We are excited to welcome 19 new Cineplex Entertainment Film Program residents into the 2018 program on Monday, July 16, 2018. This incoming group of filmmakers represents an incredibly exciting mix of diverse voices, viewpoints and perspectives. Their previous work includes visual art installations, acting, blogging, poetry, documentaries, music videos, commercials, theatre, sketch comedy, webseries, short films and features. What’s more – for the first time ever, the residents of the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program will be comprised of predominantly female talent; 13 out of the 19 residents are women.
“We are extremely moved and inspired by this year’s talent,” shared Kathryn Emslie, CFC’s Chief Programs Officer. “The stories they’re tackling traverse the world and range from the fantastical to magical realist, from the absurd and existential to dark comedies and social realism – they’re about love, family, identity, loss, community, displacement, race, gender and sexual politics. What a rich and exciting sandbox they’ll be working in this year."
Read more about this year’s Cineplex Entertainment Film Program residents below.
Meet our five 2018 Directors’ Lab residents and learn what is at the heart of the stories they’re currently drawn to:
“I’m drawn to stories which subvert the familiar and everyday, and force audiences ask themselves those ‘what if?’ questions about their daily lives.”
Kim Albright is an award-winning Canadian-British-Filipino director. Her shorts, Dragonfly, Edward’s Turmoil, Albatross and The Purple Plain, were all supported by Film London and the British Film Institute (BFI). Her films have won awards and competed at festivals worldwide, including Encounters Film Festival, British Independent Film Festival, Oscar-qualifying Atlanta Film Festival and the BFI London Film Festival. Albright has been featured on BFI’s Upshot Program, which showcases “the most exciting emerging U.K. filmmaking talent.”
“I wish to diversify the characters and stories we see in film through authentic representation of women, LGBTQ, and people of colour.”
Since graduating with honours from Ryerson University’s Schools of Image Arts’ Film Studies Program in 2013, Joseph Amenta has written, directed and produced three short films. His first two shorts, Wild Youth and Cherry Cola, have both screened at festivals internationally, with the latter premiering at the Vancouver International Film Festival (2017) and screening at the Inside Out Film Festival (2018) in Toronto. Amenta's most recent short, Haus, was fully funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, and will begin its festival run in June 2018.
“I can no longer do without filling stories. I need my stories free and frank, forceful and wrought with the healing pitch of timelessness.”
An award-winning screenwriter, playwright, filmmaker and multi-media/disciplinary creator, Isa Benn is a first-generation Torontonian of African and Caribbean descent. Her stylistically introspective work deals predominantly with experiential culturalism, colour, class, sexuality, spirituality, "alternative" history, gender, mutiny and magical realism. Currently, Benn is in development on two features, the dark comedy, Two Girl Act Play, and the fantasy/drama/comedy, Catch Red Bird, Hit Red Wall.
“I'm drawn to the after – after the dramatic event, after the loss –how everything shifts, how people are transformed, their choices, the beauty in resilience.”
Born to Guyanese parents, award-winning filmmaker Karen Chapman has screened her work everywhere from subway displays, airplanes and hospital lounges to international festivals, classrooms, living rooms and mobile devices. A graduate of Emily Carr University, she is also an alumna of the Banff Centre and a Hot Docs/Documentary Channel Channel Doc Accelerator Fellow. In 2017, Chapman was named one of CBC’s “great Canadian filmmakers of the future.”
“I find myself telling a lot of female-driven stories. At the heart of all stories I have explored, there is always hope and a bit of humour, even when the characters feel alienated or menaced by those around them.”
Julia Hart is a writer/director who began her film career working for Stephen Fry at Sprout Pictures in the U.K. Her first short film as a director, Emma, Change The Locks, premiered at the Raindance Film Festival in 2015 and won a New Talent Award at the British Film Institute’s 10th BFI Future Film Festival in 2017. Hart’s work has screened at festivals around the world, including the Toronto International Film Festival. She is currently developing her first feature, The One Hundred Nights of Hero, based on the acclaimed graphic novel of the same title by Isabel Greenberg.
Get to know our five incoming Writers’ Lab residents and what major themes are inspiring their current body of work as writers:
“My work features female leads who, consciously or unconsciously, dismantle the toxic myths and value systems underlying contemporary life.”
Brooke Banning is a Toronto-based screenwriter and playwright. Some of her theatre credits include Wolf Sounds (The Box Toronto), Swell Broad (Storefront Theatre) and Joyful Noise (Helen Gardiner Phelan Playhouse), as well as film credits The Return and The Brooke Banning Show. She has also presented at Cahoots Lift Off! Festival and the 2014 Accessing the Arts Symposium. Banning engages with and prioritizes abilities in the arts, and is one of the founders of ActingWorks, a conservatory-style acting program for individuals with special needs.
“I am endlessly exploring how characters react to loss and disaster because then my writing can ride the line between heartbreaking and hilarious, yet still feel truthful.”
Laurel Brady is a Toronto-based screenwriter, playwright and performer. She studied theatre at York University, screenwriting at George Brown College, and sketch writing at Second City Toronto. Brady has written and produced two short films, Pop the Question and Billable Hours, and her plays have been featured onstage at Theatre Passe Muraille, The London Fringe and various theatres across Ontario. She is also the recipient of the Theatre Creators Reserve Grant, by recommendation of Theatre Passe Muraille.
“Me, myth, mother and metaphor. I'd say these are the major themes inspiring my current body of work.”
An award-winning Iranian-Canadian actor/writer at home in Toronto via Tehran, Sina Gilani started his journey as an audience member and a volunteer before pursuing his passion professionally. Invited to the National Theatre School as a guest playwright in 2009, he then trained at Humber College and York University. A poet himself, Gilani finds his work is often inspired by world mythology, classical texts and folklore stories. He is an alumnus of the Buddies in Bad Times Emerging Creators Unit (2013-2014) and a playwright member of the Soulpepper Academy (2016-2018).
“Identity & subverting expectations.”
Murry Peeters is an actor and screenwriter. Her screen credits include guest starring on NBC’s Taken, as well as lending her voice to beloved characters in Far Cry 5 and My Little Pony. One of the 2018 recipients of the Magee TV Diverse Screenwriters Award, Peeters and her past acting experience enable her to write material populated by richly diverse and layered characters. She is currently in development on two feature films, Black White Blue and Woman Meets Girl.
“I am exploring the beauty and fragility of life; how to piece your life back together when it gets sidetracked, and how to build a place for yourself in this world.”
Julia Rowland is an award-winning writer, director and producer. Her short films have appeared at various film festivals internationally, and recently she was selected to participate in the inaugural IndieVue Female Film Festival. Passionate about inclusive storytelling and creative collaboration, Rowland has also worked as a producer for various television and commercial production companies, and her writing has appeared in Toronto Life, Reel Honey, and other online and print publications.
Which film(s) or TV show(s) has/have greatly influenced our incoming Producers’ Lab residents’ sense of storytelling? Find out below:
“'La Haine'; strong in storytelling as it included the director’s personal interests while also discussing current issues without forgetting its chief goal of entertainment!”
Evren Boisjoli is a film producer, executive and entrepreneur. He is the founder and CEO of Achromatic Media Inc. and a founder of post-production house, Outpost. His filmography includes titles such as Fauve (Sundance Special Jury Prize, 2018) and We’re Still Together (Karlovy Vary, 2016). Boisjoli holds a Bachelor’s degree in Film Production from the renowned Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema.
“JS Baca’s raw, poetic depiction of his cultural truths in 'Blood In Blood Out'; my first influence into how I intertwine cultural truths in my storytelling.”
Samantha Kaine is a film, television and theatre producer, writer and actor. Her producer credits include Offbeat Roads (2013), a television series with Blue Ant Media that has sold internationally; the Toronto mainstage theatrical play Sheets (2017), by Salvatore Antonio; and two short films, Willing to Lie (2017) and The Women of Alpine Road (2017). Kaine is currently in development on her first feature film and a webseries, and she is a strong advocate for unique, boundary-breaking stories that empower women.
“I have been inspired by Shonda Rhimes’ success in creating compelling stories that captivate the audience, with strong female characters, in 'Grey’s Anatomy' and 'Scandal.'”
Elizabeth Melanson is an actor and producer, and a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. In 2013, she co-founded the production company, The Mini Films, with Mouna Traoré. Their first short film, All of Me, was selected by CBC’s Canadian Reflections in 2015, and their second film, Adorn, won Best Narrative Short at the 2016 Montreal International Black Film Festival. Melanson was also the assistant production manager on Mary Goes Round and the production coordinator on Firecrackers.
“I was raised on 'I Love Lucy.' It allowed me to move through the world with the assumption that female characters could be fearless, hilarious, challenging, and frankly – anything they want.”
Alexandra Roberts is a Toronto-based producer specializing in ambitious and forward-thinking television, film and documentary content. She received her BA in Cultural Studies from McGill University and an MA in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Roberts cut her teeth in the industry working on the first season of VICE’s Emmy-winning newsmagazine series for HBO, and since then, her work has aired globally on networks such as Al Jazeera English, A&E, VICELAND and CGTN.
“Matt Johnson's 'The Dirties', with its scrappy shooting style and effortless blending of comedy and suspense, inspired me to create unapologetically bold films.”
Danny Sedore has produced countless music videos, commercials and short films. He has established connections and lasting relationships with directors, directors of photography, and other experienced producers at various levels in the Canadian film industry. Sedore has a demonstrated ability to approach any project with a focus on the artistry, while improving efficiency and reducing costs. Working at POV 3rd Street, he is passionate about collaborating with and supporting the stories of marginalized communities onscreen.
We asked our four incoming Editors’ Lab residents which notable film they would have loved to edit and why. Check out their answers and bios below:
“I would love to have cut 'Magnolia.' Some great performances and a challenge to shorten such a tightly woven story into a more digestible film.”
Ben Allan is an editor originally from Hertfordshire, U.K. and currently based in Toronto. With more than 10 years of experience, he began by editing small documentaries for BBC News. Since then, Allan has assisted on The Magic School Bus Reboot, edited episodes of Fraud Squad on Discovery Channel Canada, and cut more than 20 Much Fact music videos. He has also edited seven shorts and two feature films, including Bigfoot and the Burtons, which was seen in 13 countries and recently premiered on Showtime.
“'Fight Club.' I loved how the editing kept the audience in the dark about what was really going on in the story, mirroring the psyche of the main character.”
Orlee Buium is a Toronto-based film editor who balances her love of film with her passion for the outdoors. She completed a BFA in Film Production and Screenwriting at York University, where she edited several short films, one of which won a CCE Student Merit Award. Since graduating, Buium has worked as an assistant editor on feature films and television series, and as an editor on various short films, commercials, and behind-the-scenes content.
Christopher John Malanchen
“'The Departed' – my favourite part is the opening sequence; the editing and music really set the tone while bringing all the main players into the fold.”
Christopher John Malanchen is a film, television and web editor, and a graduate of the Alberta College of Art and Design (BFA) and Sheridan College (Advanced Television and Film Program). Since 2006, he has been making films and working professionally as an editor, including for Bitchin’ Kitchen (Cooking Channel), Million Dollar Genius (History Channel), and the award-winning independent documentary, The Weekend Sailor.
“Terrence Malick’s The 'Thin Red Line.' Not only would I love to have cut the incredible battle scenes, but the pacing and rhythm was perfectly matched with the raw emotion of this film.”
Lee Walker has more than a decade of editing experience in scripted and unscripted television, shorts, webseries and promos. Working between Vancouver and Toronto, Walker’s work has aired on the CBC, NBC, HGTV, City TV and YTV. She edited three seasons of the History TV series Yukon Gold and recently assisted on the AMC series Into The Badlands at Take 5 Productions. A graduate of Ryerson University’s Film Studies Program, Walker is also a member of the Directors Guild of Canada and an associate member of the Canadian Cinema Editors.
Learn more about the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program HERE.