Taking Canadian Talent to New Levels: Introducing the 2019 Cineplex Film Program Residents

Posted: Jun 19, 2019

We are excited to share the incredible lineup of 17 talented and unique storytellers – five directors, five producers, four writers and three editors – who will take part in the five-and-a-half-month 2019
Cineplex Film Program at the CFC. The program has been recognized for launching and supporting internationally acclaimed creators producing distinctive work in film, television and digital, such as Kathleen Hepburn, Molly McGlynn, Cory Bowles, Matt Code, Mark Montefiore and Miranda de Pencier.

The Cineplex Film Program nurtures a creator’s artistic vision in an ever-changing global marketplace. An intimate, immersive and intense professional experience, the program champions original voices, entrepreneurism, self-expression and collaboration. It also delivers advanced project development and original content packaging. Films such as Closet Monster, Mary Goes Round, Never Steady, Never Still and Un Traductor were incubated in, and found their creative teams through, this program.

“We look forward to diving into the stories and perspectives these 17 individuals offer,” says Kathryn Emslie, Chief Programs Officer, CFC. “They have already proven themselves to be resilient, imaginative, prolific and curious, with something to say about the world we currently live in. These qualities are essential ingredients to not only surviving in this business, but also thriving in it!”

This year’s residents will be working and collaborating with talent from our
2019 Slaight Music Residency, announced last week, and the CBC Actors Conservatory, to be announced next week. All three programs get underway at the CFC on July 15 – and we can’t wait to see what this much talent in one spot creates!

Read on to meet our five directors, five producers, four writers and three editors.

A gallery of shots of five people's faces in close-ups.

The 2019 Cineplex Film Program’s Directors’ Lab (clockwise from top left): Tricia Hagoriles; Teyama Alkamli; Gillian McKercher; Roney; Andrew Jeffrey.


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


“I see people. Their essence, it is transparent to me. I’m interested in exposing people to themselves, in holding up a big mirror and saying, ‘Look.’”

Born in Aleppo and raised in Dubai,
Teyama Alkamli is currently a proud Torontonian. Her visually tender and deeply human work deals predominantly with issues of identity, sexuality, displacement and migration. Alkamli’s short films have screened at festivals worldwide, including Doclisboa and FECIBogotá. She is an alumna of DocNomads, the European Mobile Film School, and the Hot Docs Emerging Filmmaker Lab. Currently Alkamli is co-directing the documentary feature, Hockey Mom, which is supported by CBC Docs POV, and developing her narrative feature debut, My Name is Jala.


“I want to play in the messiness that lives in a story, and explore that through a lens that breaks from normative experiences.”

Tricia Hagoriles is an award-winning Toronto-based filmmaker whose work explores themes of connection, displacement, identity and healing. In 2015, she received the RBC Emerging Canadian Artist Award at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival for her first short film, Beat. Hagoriles is an alumna of Reel World Film Festival’s 2017 Emerging 20 Mentorship Program, and her most recent short film, The Morning After, has screened in festivals internationally.


“I’m excited to create stories that grip the audience’s imagination and ground them in their emotions.”

Andrew Jeffrey is an award-winning Canadian director whose films possess an ambitious scope and precise visual style, and are both entertaining and emotionally engaging. His short films – Hostage, The Time Traveler, Paranormal Radio and Separation – differ greatly in tone and subject matter, but are bound by their shared focus on universal themes of family, identity and love.


“I am excited to explore the actions that arise from our basest, oftentimes denied desires.”

With roots in analogue experimental film,
Gillian McKercher chose to dedicate herself to cinema after she left a career as an engineer. Most recently, she directed the feature film, Circle of Steel, which won an Audience Award at the Calgary International Film Festival and screened at festivals internationally. Her broadcast work includes music videos, documentaries and the webseries, The Calgary Collection, and she also won a Young Artist Prize from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.


“I want to fail a lot as a filmmaker. So on the days where I succeed as a director, I’ll have the confidence of a woman who earned it because she learned it.”

Roney is an award-winning actor, writer and director based in Toronto. She graduated from the Radio and Television Arts program at Ryerson University, where she won Best Actress at the 2014 Ryerson Film Festival and was nominated for Best Feature Script at the Television Arts and Radio Awards for her dark comedic script, Hey, Dad. After graduating, Roney created a semi- autobiographical webseries, Cheap Whine, and she wrote, directed and produced the short film, Glitter’s Wild Women, which screened at several film festivals in 2018, including the Toronto International Film Festival and Vancouver International Film Festival. Roney is currently developing Glitter’s Wild Women into a feature film.

A gallery of shots of five people's faces in close-ups.

The 2019 Cineplex Film Program Producers’ Lab (clockwise from top left): Julie Strifler; Erin Marie Byrnes; Brendan Whelton; Shant Joshi; Lindsay Blair Goeldner.


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


“Coming from documentary, I love the evocative and often devastating truths revealed in films such as ‘Mustang,’ ‘Rebelle,’ ‘Incendies,’ ‘Polytechnique,’ ‘Dheepan’ and ‘Café de Flore.’”

Erin Marie Byrnes is a filmmaker from Montreal. Her work is informed by her experience covering diverse stories as a foreign correspondent and managing the East Africa operations of a British production company. Byrnes got her start in Canadian film on Roméo Dallaire’s Fight Like Soldiers, Die Like Children, and more recently, worked on two 2018 Canadian Screen Award winners: RISE, about Indigenous resistance and resurgence movements; and TERROR, about the genesis of terrorist groups.


“I am interested in centring marginalized voices within the conventions of genre film. Although there are many influences for me, the recent works of Jordan Peele and Karyn Kusama embody this beautifully.”

Lindsay Blair Goeldner started line producing in Manhattan at an education-technology company before moving to Europe and travelling internationally, while making several short docu-experimental films. In 2017, she transitioned to the advertising world, working as a commercial line producer in Toronto with several top tier production companies, including Cossette and Skin and Bones. Goeldner is now turning her focus towards narrative and documentary filmmaking and music videos, and is currently in production on the documentary feature, There’s No Place Like This, Anyplace and several short narrative films.


“Watching the illegally-produced Kenyan film ‘Stories of Our Lives’ motivated me to chase and champion stories that depict the perspectives of the other.”

Shant Joshi is a queer Indo-Canadian producer based in Los Angeles and Toronto. His credits include the films, Porcupine Lake (director Ingrid Veninger), Last Car (director John Greyson) and Pink: Diss (also directed by Greyson); the hit webseries, Teenagers; Dekkoo original series, I’m Fine; and more than 15 short films that have traveled the global festival circuit. Joshi co-founded the Future of Film Showcase as a launchpad for emerging Canadian filmmakers, and he previously worked at Buchwald and Madhouse Entertainment.


“‘Short Term 12’: tough yet tender, as heartbreaking as it was heartwarming. It inspired grit and drive to tell stories that have the strength to deeply move audiences.”

Julie Strifler is a producer based in Toronto. While studying for her BA in Film at Queen’s University, she produced a short film that screened at the 2011 Cannes Short Film Corner. Since then, Strifler has worked in entertainment marketing for the Toronto International Film Festival, Mongrel Media, and the CBC, creating market and brand strategies for a number of films, TV shows, and initiatives. In 2017, she joined the production company, Wildling Pictures. Recently she worked as an associate producer on two features, co-produced two short films and produced an award-winning music video. In 2018, Strifler produced her debut feature film, Easy Land.


“I strive to make films that explore the joys and frustrations of people we don’t often consider, like Jim Jarmusch’s ‘Paterson’ and Akira Kurosawa’s ‘One Wonderful Sunday.’”

Brendan Whelton is a Toronto-based filmmaker and alumnus of the Reykjavik International Film Festival Talent Lab. His production credits include several features and short films, with his most recent feature, Sebastian, released by Wolfe Video, the world’s oldest LGBTQ+ distributor. Whelton’s extensive short film work includes Vertical Lines (Best Men’s Short, Boston Wicked Queer Film Festival) and The Indestructible (Best Canadian Short, Fright Night Theatre Film Festival).

The 2019 Cineplex Film Program Writers’ Lab (L-R): Georgina Beaty; Nick Kewin; Trevor Christie; Simon Gadke.


We asked our four incoming writers:
what kinds of characters, stories or themes are you drawn to?


“Off-kilter, darkly humorous stories about people who adapt to the extreme times in which we live in absurd ways. Big hearted characters with big blind spots.”

Originally from the Rockies,
Georgina Beaty is a writer and actor. She has co-created five plays that were presented across Canada, and she is the playwright of Extremophiles. Beaty is a Jessie Award-winning actor who has performed in theatres from the West Coast to Montreal, including most recently in Counting Sheep in London, England. Her fiction and poetry have been published in New England Review, The Fiddlehead, Plenitude, Neon and Gush. Beaty holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of British Columbia, and is drawn to absurd, darkly humorous stories about the extreme times in which we live.


“I’m interested in the outsider, the supporting player, because they have so much to say, and their story is so rarely told.”

Trevor Christie is a writer and producer based in Vancouver. He most recently finished writing an original screenplay for Warner Brothers, and has worked in the film industry for the past 10 years, primarily in production for Zack Snyder on films such as Man of Steel (2004) and 300: Rise of an Empire (2014), and as an associate producer on Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Christie is looking forward to exploring intimate stories with universal appeal, while working primarily in the genre space.


“I’m interested in stories that stick dynamite in the cracks between normalcy and the psychopathology underlying everyday life to see if there is a reaction.”

Simon Gadke is a writer from Toronto who after profligate time spent working in antiques, dedicated his life to literature and screenwriting three years ago. Gadke has written several novels. Published none. He has, however, read the major works of Henry James. Gadke’s latest screenplay, A Romantic Comedy, is in development with producer Natalie Urquhart. Currently, he is watching Michael Haneke’s entire filmography and hoping it won’t do for his screenwriting what reading James did for his fiction.


“I’m drawn to stories about ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances.”

Nick Kewin has a proven ability to breathe life into long- and short-form narrative work and client-focused branded content. His narrative work has focused on gritty settings, family dynamics and a smattering of the surreal. Kewin’s short film credits as a writer include Burn the Tapes, Welcome Stranger and Cosmo, all of which garnered online and festival interest. As a producer, he worked on the Telus STORYHIVE-funded short film, The Berg. Kewin is also a musician, writing and recording under the moniker “Old Nick,” which has yielded five albums.

A gallery of shots of three people's faces in close-ups.

The 2019 Cineplex Film Program Editors’ Lab (L-R): Rick Bartram; Agnes Dec; Xi Feng.


We asked our three incoming editors:
which notable film would you have loved to edit?


“‘The Fountain’ – I love the way one story is seamlessly told in three distinct eras and jumps between reality and fantasy. For me, it’s almost perfect.”

Rick Bartram is a film editor from Nova Scotia. After graduating from the University of King’s College (BA) in Halifax, he attended Ryerson University’s Film Studies program (BFA). Here, Bartram edited the short film, WORK, which premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival. He has edited two feature-length films and multiple short films, including Talking Heads, which premiered at the Blood in the Snow Film Festival and won Best Sci-fi/Fantasy at the Windy City Film Festival. He most recently worked as the junior editor on the series, Light Up the Night (CNN).


“‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ – It’s a perfect blend of action, humour and surprisingly intimate character moments.”

Agnes Dec is a Toronto-based film editor with a range of experience in feature films, television, commercials and music videos. She co-edited the Canadian Screen Award-nominated feature film, Full Out, and edited the award-winning short film, The End of War. Dec has also worked extensively in live and unscripted television for clients such as Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Rogers, National Geographic, Vice and Yahoo! Canada.


“‘We Need to Talk about Kevin’ – With a rare originality of storytelling and powerful editing, it weaves past and present into an intense emotional experience.”

Xi Feng is a Chinese-Canadian film editor based in Montreal. Having lived in China, Canada and France, she has cultivated a unique blend of cultures and artistic sensitivity. Feng worked as an assistant editor on several documentary films, including the Emmy Award-winning Last Train Home and the Peabody Award-winning The Apology, and as an editor on several feature-length documentary films, including China Heavyweight, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. A passionate cinephile, Feng is currently expanding her work’s focus to include narrative film editing.

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