Posted: Jun 20, 2024

The Norman Jewison Film Program continues to shape the future of Canadian storytelling

Toronto, June 19, 2024 – The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is pleased to announce the 19 participants selected for the annual Norman Jewison Film Program. As CFC’s signature program for emerging to mid-level Canadian directors, writers, producers and editors, it has played a pivotal role in elevating the voices, stories and careers of some of the country’s most notable talent and has had a significant impact on the Canadian film & tv industry. The program is generously supported by Netflix as a lead partner for the second consecutive year. This full-time professional development program will take place from July 15 to December 13, 2024 at CFC’s campus in Toronto.

“We’re thrilled to be extending Norman Jewison’s legacy by welcoming these 19 talented creatives into the CFC. Their talent, their perspectives and their growing body of work are exciting, bold and inspiring.” said Kathryn Emslie, Executive Lead, Programs, CFC. “We were very impressed with the large number of strong applicants we received, demonstrating what a vibrant talent pool we have here in Canada.,”

With support from Netflix, the participants will have the opportunity to advance their narrative storytelling and business skills, grow their body of work while developing and producing some original new IP, expand their creative community and their career opportunities.

“The Norman Jewison Film Program continues to be a cornerstone in fostering Canadian storytelling talent,” said Stéphane Cardin, Director of Public Policy for Netflix in Canada. “We’re pleased to support this initiative that empowers emerging to mid-level creators to enrich our cultural landscape with their diverse and compelling narratives.”

The 2024 residents of the Norman Jewison Film Program (Bios below):

Directors’ Lab:
Andy Reid 
Joy Webster 
Kalainithan Kalaichelvan 
King Louie Palomo
Luvleen Hunjan

Producers’ Lab:
Alison Almeida 
Lucy McNulty
Nicholas Nyhof 
Priyanka Shailendra
Shaista Roshan

Writers’ Lab:
Brandon Hackett 
Briony Merritt
Helena Morgane 
Stephanie Fabrizi
Victoria Anderson-Gardner

Editors’ Lab:
Andrea Novoa
Ania Smolenskaia
Jake Lee
Santiago Ruiztorres

The Norman Jewison Film Program aims to elevate talented professionals to go on to become among Canada’s leading storytellers. Some of the award-winning alumni of this program include writer-directors Sarah Polley (Women Talking), Clement Virgo (Brother), Zarrar Khan (In Flames) and editor Maureen Grant (Sort Of).

Learn more about the Norman Jewison Film Program here. The Norman Jewison Film Program is generously supported by Netflix, RBC Emerging Artists and Telefilm Canada, and program partners The Norman & Margaret Jewison Charitable Foundation and the Government of Ontario.

Directors’ Lab:

Andy Reid (He/Him) is a filmmaker and actor based in Toronto. Often combining the mundane and the absurd, his work takes interest in the ways life reveals itself to be ridiculous. His most recent short, Testing, which he is currently developing as a feature, screened at festivals across the globe, including Atlantic International Film Festival, Queer Screen Sydney, and Inside Out Film Festival, where it won the Audience Award at the festival’s Ottawa iteration. He is an alumnus of Toronto Metropolitan University’s School of Image Arts, and holds a BFA in Film Studies.

Joy Webster (She/Her) is a writer, director and editor from Toronto. Her short films, In The Weeds (2015), Game (2017), Buzzard (2019), and Menace (2022), have screened at film festivals in Canada and abroad including NewFilmmakers LA, San Diego International Film Festival, Brooklyn International Film Festival and Cinéfest Sudbury. Her work has garnered numerous awards including two Best Short awards at Canadian Film Fest, the National Screen Institute’s A&E Short Filmmakers Award, and three Golden Sheaf awards from Yorkton Film Festival. Her films have been broadcast on CBC, included in the Telefilm: Not Short on Talent showcase at the Cannes Short Film Corner, and shortlisted for the Sony Future Filmmaker Awards. Joy recently completed an MFA in Scriptwriting & Story Design at Toronto Metropolitan University and is in development on multiple projects including her first feature film.  

Kalainithan Kalaichelvan (He/Him) is a Tamil-Canadian writer and director, whose films have screened at festivals such as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Palm Springs International ShortFest, and Melbourne International Film Festival. His short film credits include Junglefowl (2023), A Feller and the Tree (2021) and Petit Four (2019). He is also known for directing music videos and was nominated for a Juno Award for Music Video of the Year in 2022. Kalaichelvan was a participant in the 2022 Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices and the Rogers-BSO Script Development Fund Program. 

King Louie Palomo (He/They) is a Queer Filipino-Canadian filmmaker who has  produced an array of short films that have been showcased at both local and international film festivals. King has gained recognition for his work on Nene, which was hailed as a Standout Director in a Short Film at the 21st Reelworld Film Festival. His latest short, STAY, features Kendall Gender of Canada’s Drag Race Season 2. He has screened at over 20 film festivals, and was runner up in the Jury Award for Best Narrative Short at Out on Film: Atlanta’s LGBTQ Film Fest. He is currently developing STAY as his first feature-length film. Beyond his independent film work, King is also an accomplished production manager in the VFX industry. He works at Distillery VFX where he contributed to several productions, including THE LAST OF US on HBO, which won the 75th Emmys for Outstanding Special Visual Effects.

Luvleen Hunjan is a filmmaker born in Delhi, India and based in Brampton, Ontario. Her recent project, On the Cosmic Shore, screened at the 2023 TIFF Next Wave Festival. She was a participant of the Canadian Academy’s 2023 Women in Post Production program. Within her filmmaking, Luvleen is inspired by the interconnectedness of people, and the otherworldly threads which link individuals together. She also finds herself drawn to exploring the natural world and its connection with femininity. She enjoys the process of creating, and the ways spirituality rests between the layers of thinking, feeling, making, and waiting. She hopes to create films that evoke the soul, films that people feel more than think about.

Producers’ Lab:

Alison Almeida (She/Her) is a South Asian producer whose coordinating credits include Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla (2023), Matt Johnson’s Blackberry (2023), Clement Virgo’s Brother (2022), and many more. She line-produced the musical short Before They Were Them (2019) and produced the 39-minute musical film More Together (2023), which has won Best Musical in multiple international festivals. She is an associate producer on the following 2024 features: Amar Wala’s Shook, Hubert Davis’s The Well, Durga Chew-Bose’s Bonjour Tristesse, and Reza Dahya’s Boxcutter. Alison participated in the CMPA Production Mentorship Program with Babe Nation Films and is a participant in the 2024 Whistler Film Festival Producers Lab. She’s currently associate producing Season 4 of the TV series Children Ruin Everything

Lucy McNulty (She/Her) is a Vancouver-based filmmaker whose notable achievements include winning Jury’s Choice and the DEAI Award for Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion at the Thomas Edison Film Festival for her directorial debut Chicken, The film screened internationally and gained recognition from the Down Syndrome Resource Foundation and the Canadian Down Syndrome Society. It was also featured in 3.21: Canada’s Down Syndrome Magazine, The LowDOWN: A Down Syndrome Podcast and on AMI’s Season 2 of DisRUPT. Lucy is the founder of Strange Company Productions, a company dedicated to championing under-represented communities and telling female-centred socially conscious stories. She’s also the President of Wet Ink Collective, a writer-driven initiative for women to write, develop and produce stories for stage and screen. Lucy is a graduate of Studio 58’s acting conservatory, the recipient of the Sydney J Risk Foundation Acting Award and a Jessie Richardson Award. She is currently developing her debut feature film, It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere. 

Nicholas Nyhof (He/Him) is a Toronto-based creative producer focused on bringing gripping, character-driven genre narratives to life. He has produced numerous short films in Canada and the U.S., which have screened around the world. Currently, he works as an independent producer, supporting projects through scripted content development, business affairs, and production logistics. In 2023, Nicholas was selected to participate in the Film Independent Fast Track Finance Market and was a Sloan grant winner for his nuclear thriller, SILO, written by frequent collaborator Cole Smith. Nicholas holds an MFA in Creative Producing from Columbia University, where he was honoured with the Michael Hausman Producing Award. While at Columbia, he interned in development for Blumhouse Productions and Alaz Film, honing his skills in identifying, refining, and bringing scripted stories to life. As a producer, he takes a collaborative approach, working with talented writers and directors to develop a diverse slate of projects that aim to captivate audiences both within Canada and on the world stage.

Priyanka Shailendra (She/Her) has been an integral part of the Indian film industry (Bollywood) for over 15 years, gaining experience across production, direction, and writing. Growing up in a Bollywood family known for their contributions as writers and lyricists, Priyanka has always aspired to create magic through visuals. Priyanka’s short film, The Unnamed Crime, was nominated for the Mumbai International Women’s Film Festival in 2013. Her series, Frozen, was selected for the pitch workshop at the Canadian Film Fest 2023, earning critical acclaim from jurors. She also worked as an assistant showrunner on the acclaimed show Potluck Ladies. Recently, Priyanka produced, directed, and wrote the short film Dark Memories, which premiered at the Filmi Festival in 2023. Additionally, she serves on the board of the South Asian Canadian Film Federation, empowering South Asian voices through film and television in Canada. Priyanka’s relocation to Canada signifies her ambition to produce high-concept content and tell impactful stories.

Shaista Roshan
(She/Her) is an Indo-Arab filmmaker and producer based in Toronto and raised in the UAE.  She has spent a decade producing within the unscripted and live TV space in the Middle East, South Asia and the U.S. She worked on shows such as Sabah Al DarAndama Yatil Massa, Dirhami (ADTV), The Doctors & The Doctor Phil Show (CBS) before shifting her focus on narrative storytelling.  Since her move to Canada, she’s produced and directed several short films that are currently making festival rounds within Canada, the U.S. and the UK. Over the past year, Shaista has worked on Tokyo Vice (HBO Max), Brilliant Minds (NBC) and Witch Mountain’ Pilot (Disney+). She’s now weaving her own narrative tapestry and in post-production for a short film and in early development stages of a co-production feature. She aims to champion stories that hone a hybrid sense that blend across different cultures and its peoples.

Writers’ Lab:

Brandon Hackett (He/Him) is a Toronto-based comedian, actor and screenwriter. He served as an executive story editor on the sitcom Shelved, and as a producer on The Next Step Season 8. He has also written for the shows Made For TV, The Popularity Papers, This Hour Has 22 Minutes and The Beaverton, the latter two garnering CSA nominations for Best Writing in Variety or Sketch Comedy. His feature screenplay Toughen Up was part of the 2023 Whistler Film Festival Screenwriters’ Lab, and is currently being developed with Fae Pictures. Brandon is an alumnus of Toronto’s Second City Mainstage and was recently nominated for a Dora Award with the ensemble of Holiday! An Improvised Musical

Briony Merritt (She/Her) is a British-Canadian writer and actor with home communities in Toronto and Nova Scotia. She has previously participated in script development programs with Women in Film & Television—Atlantic, FIN Atlantic International Film Festival, and Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre to workshop scripts for both stage and screen. Briony is particularly passionate about female-centered, familial, and intergenerational stories. Across a range of genres, her work explores unlikely relationships, the nature of home, and how the impact of certain decisions transcends time and community.

Helena Morgane (She/Her) is a Black European filmmaker-actor and multidisciplinary creative who is an alumni of the The Barrow Group’s Apprentice Program, BIPOC TV & Film x Warner Bros. Episodic Writers Lab, and Black Women Film! Canada. A prolific creative and polyglot, she works globally, having collaborated with organizations such as Interscope, T.D.E., Shopify, NIA Centre for the Arts, and artists like Kendrick Lamar and Drake. Helena was the Associate Programmer for TIFF Rising Stars 2020 where she hosted mentorship sessions with David Oyelowo, Tantoo Cardinal and the Casting Society of America.

Stephanie Fabrizi (They/Them) is a Toronto-based screenwriter. Their first feature film, Below Her Mouth, which premiered at TIFF 2016, received international distribution and sold to Netflix worldwide; helping the film achieve international cult status with the queer community. Stephanie’s most recent feature film script, Light As Bones, was the official finalist for the 2022 TIFF-CBC Screenwriting Award. 

Victoria Anderson-Gardner (They/Them) is a two-spirited award-winning Anishinaabe writer, director and producer from Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation, Ontario. They most recently completed a three-month long Indigenous Youth Program in New Zealand. Before that, they were the Studio Coordinator for the Central Canada Studio at the National Film Board of Canada where they were also the Coordinator for Indigenous Relations and Community Engagement. They graduated from the Toronto Metropolitan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Film Studies. Victoria is focused on creating Indigenous content, showcasing underrepresented communities and using their skills as a filmmaker to educate. Victoria was awarded the Glenn Gould Protegé Prize for their work from Glenn Gould laureate Alanis Obomsawin. Victoria is most well known for Braided Together which won the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival; Namid which was commissioned by REEL Canada and Netflix and won the Vox Popular Media Arts Festival Audience Choice Award; Becoming Nakuset is a CBC Gem and Loud Roar Production that won the Audience Choice Award for Best Short Film at the imagineNATIVE Film Festival and the Skoden Indigenous Film Festival; and The Hurt That Binds Us which won Best Documentary, the HSBC Canada Filmmaker Award for Best Director, and the Natalie McDonald Memorial Award for Best Director at the TMU Film Festival.

Editors’ Lab:

Andrea Novoa (She/Her) is a multifaceted filmmaker based in North Bay, Ontario, with experience in writing, directing, and producing. Andrea draws from her multicultural upbringing in Bogota, Colombia, to infuse her work with a diverse perspective.Transitioning from an extensive background in dance performance and choreography, Andrea’s segway into film editing was a natural progression, influenced by her continued dedication to movement and expression.  Previously, she held the role of founder and artistic director at the World Dance Centre in Thunder Bay, Ontario where she cultivated a dynamic cultural hub in northwestern Ontario, celebrating dances from around the globe. Andrea’s editorial talent shines through in her work on numerous acclaimed and award-winning short films, including the documentary The Dance Connection (which she also wrote, directed and co-produced), and the neo-noir Bang Bang, both of which have garnered awards and recognition.

Ania Smolenskaia (She/Her) is an award-winning film editor based in Toronto. After graduating from the Ontario College of Art and Design, she worked with the independent news and documentary organization, The Real News. She’s produced pertinent social justice stories across North America and later joined a creative agency where she edited dramatic, emotion-laden mood pieces and attention-grabbing commercials. She is passionate about crafting visual stories, weaving images with music and rhythm to provoke, excite, and inspire. Her first long-form documentary won a Silver Dolphin at Cannes in 2018 and her subsequent documentary work has been broadcast on television and screened at festivals across Europe and North America. Ania’s recent credits include Ice-Breaker: The 1972 Summit Series (2022) and Plastic People: The Hidden Crisis of Microplastics (2024), which had its North American premiere at SXSW and European premiere at Sheffield DocFest.

Jake Lee (He/Him) is a Toronto-based film editor who strives to bring directors’ visions to life. He is drawn to filmmakers who are invested in telling unique, personal stories that span over topics like relationships, family and community life. Since his graduation at York University in the BFA Film Program, he has edited short films for directors including Winnifred Jong, Shaun Boyd, Bita Joudaki, Nikita Zhang and Yvette Sin. His most notable editing credit is the web series Streams Flow From a River by Christopher Yip and Fae Pictures, for which he received a CCE Award nomination. He also has a background in VFX production from having worked as a Production Coordinator at various VFX houses such as Double Negative, ILM and Toronto’s MARZ VFX.

Santiago Ruiztorres (He/Him) was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. At the age of 17 his family moved to Markham, Ontario and it was around that time he started exploring photography and video. He studied Recording Engineering and Production at Fanshawe College and after working in the music industry for a year, Santiago decided to pursue cinema. He studied Film Production at Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema of Concordia University in Montreal where he received several awards including the Arri Canada Scholarship (2005). Santiago currently lives and works in Toronto, and is a member of the DGC. His industry credits include Guest of Honour, American Gods, The Handmaid’s Tale, Billy the Kid, and Angels’ Atlas


About the CFC:

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is a charitable cultural organization that drives the future of Canadian storytelling. Our intensive, hands-on programs in film, television, and entertainment technologies empower, shape and advance opportunities for Canadian creators and entrepreneurs working in screen-based industries. Learn more at

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