Four Esteemed Filmmakers Selected to Participate in Revamped NFB/CFC Creative Doc Lab

Four Esteemed Filmmakers Selected to Participate in Revamped NFB/CFC Creative Doc Lab

Toronto, August 20, 2015 – The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the Canadian Film Centre (CFC) are pleased to announce that four distinguished filmmakers have been selected to participate in the NFB/CFC Creative Doc Lab: Nisha Pahuja, Josephine Anderson, Noam Gonick, and Pablo Alvarez-Mesa.

The Creative Doc Lab is an innovative high-level creative and marketplace catalyst focused on cultivating creative risk-taking and helping to further establish Canadians as world-class documentary storytellers. Building on the success of the first two documentary programs presented by the CFC and the NFB, this refreshed Lab embraces the exciting changes within the world of feature docs, reaffirming the organizations’ approach and commitment to the art of feature documentary storytelling.

“We were overwhelmed with exceptionally strong candidates this year – a testament to the growing doc talent in our country, which made the final selection very difficult for the jury,” said Anita Lee, Executive Producer, NFB and Creative Doc Lab Advisor. “My esteemed colleagues on the jury represented expertise in each key area of filmmaking and industry. Final decisions were made weighing both talent and the project’s potential to meet the aspirations of the lab.”

“We’re thrilled to be partnering with the NFB on this revised version of our Creative Doc Lab, as we support and challenge filmmakers to push the creative boundaries of the documentary form,” said Isabel Gomez-Moriana, Executive, Project Development & Packaging, CFC. “We’re very excited by the diverse creative voices of the four directors in this year’s lab and the unique stories and subjects their projects will explore.”

The artful storytellers below have been selected to engage in an inspiring and rigorous creative development process with their respective projects over the course of the next eight months:

Nisha Pahuja – Send Us Your Brother: Send Us Your Brother explores the complexity of being a man in India today; struggling between the old and the new, tradition and modernity, India’s sons are starting to question who and what they are.

Nisha Pahuja is an Emmy-nominated filmmaker based in Toronto and Bombay. Her credits include Diamond Road (2007 Gemini Award for Best Documentary Series) Bollywood Bound (2001 Gemini nominee), and the multi award-winning The World Before Her (TIFF Canada Top Ten 2012; Best Documentary Feature, 2012 Tribeca Film Festival; Best Canadian Feature, Hot Docs 2012; Sundance Film Forward 2014), a film about women's rights in India, which has screened at more than 130 film festivals worldwide, became the highest grossing documentary to release in India and was called the most important Indian film of 2014 by many Indian critics. Pahuja’s short film for Global News’ 16x9 on the Delhi Gang rape, “Indian Bus Outrage,” was the recipient of Amnesty International Canada’s 2014 Media Awards for Audio/Video Award – Short Form. Most recently, she was invited to be a Resident Fellow at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Centre where she began developing her long-term project, a series on global fundamentalisms.

Josephine Anderson – The Third Movement: The Third Movement is a feature documentary that follows world-renowned classical pianist Sara Davis Buechner as she sets out to prove to the world that she is still worth its attention. Sara, born David, was 37 years old when she transitioned from male to female. Within a year, Sara’s slate of more than 50 concert bookings diminished to two. Now 55 and living in Canada, with a career that has never quite reached its full potential, Sara is determined to establish her artistic legacy.

Josephine Anderson is an award-winning documentary filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the University of British Columbia, Anderson graduated from Capilano University’s Documentary Film program. Her first interactive documentary, The Sticking Place (2012), was recognized as an official Webby Award Honoree, won two Pixel Awards, and was nominated for a Digi Award. In 2013, she was awarded the One to Watch alumni award from Capilano University, honouring alumni who have distinguished themselves early in their careers. Anderson is an alumna of Berlinale Talent Campus 2011 and DOXA Connexions 2010. She currently sits on the Board of Directors for the Documentary Organization of Canada and is the board’s youngest representative.

Noam Gonick – Amber: Incorporating a hybrid of drama and documentary, Amber is the story of a complex double kidnapping that examines gender, race, consent and culpability on the Canadian prairies.

Working in scripted and documentary film/television and contemporary art, Noam Gonick has explored diverse scenarios from Olympic athletes meeting Russian activists to Utopian hippie cults in geodesic domes, Aboriginal street gangs, labour uprisings, stockbroker meltdowns, and the semaphore of prison architecture. Gonick’s work has premiered at TIFF, Venice, Berlin, and Sundance; is in the collections of MoMA, the National Gallery of Canada, the UBC Belkin Gallery; and is available to stream on Netflix. His credits include the GLAAD-nominated To Russia with Love and the Hot Docs award-winning Guy Maddin: Waiting for Twilight; the short doc 1919; the feature-length narrative films Hey, Happy! and Stryker; and the shopping mall kiosk comedy pilot Retail (Showcase).

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa – Chrononauts: Chrononauts is a feature-length creative documentary that observes the every day of four living time travellers as they deal with the challenges of being stuck in our shared present. Chrononauts is equal parts character study, sociopolitical reflection of contemporary society as seen through the lens of time travellers, and cinematic sci-fi non-fiction.

Born in Medellin, Colombia, Pablo Alvarez-Mesa moved to Vancouver, BC in 2001 to pursue a BFA in Film Production at Simon Fraser University. His films have since played at international film festivals including Rotterdam, Sheffield, Hot Docs, AFI Silverdocs, and RIDM. His credits include Presidio Modelo (Best Experimental Student Film Award, 2009 Montreal Film Festival); Jelena’s Song (Prix Pierre et Yolande Perrault, Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois), which he created with the National Film Board of Canada; and the short documentaries Cuando Suena el Clarín (Hot Docs 2012) and Speaking into the Air (International Film Festival Rotterdam 2015). Most recently, Alvarez-Mesa completed his first feature-length documentary, Nuestro Monte Luna (Hot Docs 2015), which follows a group of Colombian at-risk teens who choose the controversial sport of bullfighting as a way to escape the violence that surrounds their society. Alvarez-Mesa holds an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University.

The 2015 NFB/CFC Creative Doc Lab participants were selected by a jury of renowned filmmakers and industry professionals comprised of Ricardo Acosta, Genie, Gemini and CSA nominated and Emmy-Award winning editor; Christina Rogers, Head of Worldwide Sales for Magnolia Pictures; Laura Michalchyshyn, Executive Producer and Co-Founder of Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions; Jennifer Baichwal, co-founder of Mercury Films and award-winning documentary filmmaker; and Anita Lee, Executive Producer, NFB and Creative Doc Lab Advisor. The Lab officially begins in Toronto in early September and will be comprised of group sessions, peer-to-peer collaboration, and individual project mentorship from some of Canada’s and the world’s top documentary filmmaking professionals and industry leaders.

The first two editions of the CFC NFB documentary programs were hugely successful. Eight projects were developed through the programs, including Sarah Polley’s critically acclaimed Stories We Tell, which TIFF named one of the top ten Canadian films of all time in 2015; Yung Chang’s The Fruit Hunters, which won the 2010 Shaw Media-Hot Docs Forum Pitch Prize; and Su Rynard’s The Messenger, which saw its world premiere at the 2015 Hot Docs and was a runner up for the 2015 Vimeo On Demand Audience Award.

For more information on the NFB/CFC Creative Doc Lab, please visit:

Social media links:


CFC Website:
Twitter: @cfccreates
Instagram: cfccreates


NFB Website:
Twitter: @thenfb

About CFC
CFC accelerates the careers of the brightest talent in film, television, screen acting, music and digital media. A charitable organization, CFC is committed to promoting and investing in Canada's diverse talent; providing exhibition, financial, and distribution opportunities, industry collaborations and creative partnerships for top creative content leaders. CFC makes a significant cultural and economic contribution to Canada by launching the country's most creative ideas and voices to the world. For more details, visit

About the NFB

The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) creates groundbreaking interactive works, social-issue documentaries and auteur animation. The NFB has produced over 13,000 productions and won over 5,000 awards, including 14 Canadian Screen Awards, 11 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access acclaimed NFB content, visit or download its apps for smartphones, tablets and connected TV.


For media inquiries, please contact:

Cory Angeletti-Szasz
Manager, Communications, CFC
416.445.1446 x463

Jennifer Mair
Publicist, National Film Board of Canada
(t) 416.954.2045 (m) 416-436-0105