ALFF and ALFF Industry Guests

Photo of Jennifer Abbott

Jennifer Abbott

Director, The Magnitude of All Things

Jennifer Abbott is a Sundance and Genie award-winning filmmaker who has been making films about urgent social, political and environmental issues for 25 years. She is best known as the co-director and editor of The Corporation. She also co-directed, co-wrote and edited Us & Them; and co-wrote and edited Sea Blind, among other films. VIFF is presenting both Abbott’s two new feature docs: The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel and The Magnitude of All Things.

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Jolene Banning

Audrey's Niece & Contributor to the short doc, Audrey's Story

Jolene Banning is Audrey’s niece. She’s also an Anishinaabe-kwe journalist, writer and storyteller whose documentary, podcasting and written work highlights Anishinaabe resilience and culture, and how these intersect with colonialism.

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Lesley Birchard

Executive in Charge of Production, CBC Docs

As Executive in Charge of Production for CBC Docs at Canada’s public broadcaster, Lesley spearheaded CBC’s digital-first strand CBC Short Docs, commissioning documentary content from emerging Canadian filmmakers. Under Lesley’s leadership, commissions including Oscar-shortlisted ‘Frame 394’, Sundance-winner ‘Fast Horse’ and audience favourite ‘Finding Fukue’ have resonated with audiences worldwide and made Short Docs one of CBC’s most successful online properties.

For television, Lesley has overseen high-impact projects including four seasons of the award-winning comedy series Still Standing, feature documentary Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind, Gord Downie’s Secret Path, Peter Mansbridge: In Search of a Perfect World, the Canadian Screen Awards and k.d. Lang’s Balletlujah.

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Rod Butler

DIRECTOR, PROGRAMS AND POLICY, Canada Media Fund

As Director, Programs and Policy at the Canada Media Fund, Rod is responsible for developing CMF policy and analyzing and advising on legal and regulatory issues that impact the CMF. Prior to joining the CMF, Rod worked at the Writers Guild of Canada and Entertainment One.

A trained lawyer, Rod obtained his Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from Queen’s University and his Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) degree in Media, Information and Technoculture from Western University.

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Suzanne Crocker

Director, First We Eat

Suzanne Crocker is a documentary filmmaker living in Dawson City, Yukon. Suzanne’s first feature film, All The Time In The World (2014), won 22 Festival Awards from around the world including Top 20 Audience Picks at Hot Docs and Most Popular Canadian Documentary at the Vancouver International Film Festival. With national and international theatrical and broadcast distribution, All The Time In The World has screened in 25 countries, on all continents, and been translated into 12 languages. It aired on Super Channel in Canada and continues to air on NHK in Japan. All The Time In the World was recommended by Yukon Film Society for the Telefilm’s Talent to Watch Program and became the first Yukon film to be selected for the program. Allthetimeintheworld.ca

Suzanne turns her camera on herself and her family once again in her new POV documentary First We Eat: Food Security North of 60. Putting food security to the test, Suzanne banned all grocery store food from her house and spent one year feeding her family of five only on food that can be hunted, gathered, fished, grown or raised in her small remote community of Dawson City, Yukon. Add three skeptical teenagers, one reluctant husband, no salt, no caffeine, no sugar, no nuts and minimal grains.

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Lauren Davis

Regional Feature Film Executive for the Western Region, Telefilm Canada

As Telefilm Canada’s Regional Feature Film Executive for the Western Region, Lauren Davis is responsible for supporting talent through production and post-production investments in lower-budget feature films. Lauren joined Telefilm in 1998 after having worked as an independent producer. Over the years, she has held a number of management positions within the television, feature film and business-process management teams. Lauren is based in Telefilm’s Vancouver office.

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Tracey Deer

Writer/director, Beans

Tracey Deer led the acclaimed dramedy Mohawk Girls to five award-winning seasons as its co-creator, director, and co-showrunner. She recently returned from Los Angeles, where she was a writing co-EP on the Netflix/CBC series Anne with an E. She’s currently working on Inner City Girl, a feature about Aboriginal gang life, with Original Pictures. Tracey’s work has been honoured with two Gemini Awards and numerous awards from film festivals.

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Michelle Derosier

Director, Audrey's Story

Michelle Derosier is Anishinaabe from Migisi Sahgaigan First Nation in Treaty 3 Territory in Northern Ontario, who uses the art of storytelling to create social change. She is a mother, grandmother, artist, activist and filmmaker who is deeply rooted in her Anishinaabek philosophies and world-views. Michelle has always lived and practiced in the north and has been making films for 15 years. Michelle’s art practice has focused on creating stories of healing and power for her family, communities and ancestral land. She has screened internationally at Sundance, MaoriLand, Traverse City, INDIANER INUIT: Das Nordamerika and ImagineNATIVE, to name a few. Her first short animation, the Grandfather Drum, was selected to screen at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In 2017, Michelle completed her first dramatic feature film, Angelique’s Isle, co-directed with Montreal filmmaker Marie-Helene Cousineau. Angelique’s Isle has screened at festivals internationally and aired on CBC. Her recent works include directing the episode “Amplify: the Fire” for a new APTN 13-part documentary music series that aired in October 2020 and directed the short documentary “Audrey’s Story”, which is now screening internationally. Most recently, Michelle’s practice has expanded into creating works with birchbark and also performance art.

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Adam Garnet Jones

Lead of Indigenous Initiatives at Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund

Prior to his current role as Lead of Indigenous Initiatives at Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund, Adam Garnet Jones (Cree/Metis) worked as an independent writer/director in film and TV. Now, Adam lends direct support to Indigenous screen professionals by consulting on applications, working with the CMF and Telefilm on program review and evolution, moderating external jury processes, performing content analysis and review, liaising with Industry working groups, and engaging in community/industry development and outreach.

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Mike Gravitis

Manager, Northwestel Community Television

Mike manages Northwestel Community TV, the only CRTC licensed broadcaster stationed in Yukon and NWT, to issue broadcast licenses to filmmakers in the north.

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Monica Keen

Canada Media Fund, Business Analyst

Monica Keen has worked at Telefilm Canada since 1991 in various capacities and funds.  She began as a development analyst, has also worked as a feature film analyst and is currently a CMFPA business analyst.  For the past 14 years she has worked primarily for the Canada Media Fund’s Program Administration team helping to administer a number of funds including the Indigenous, POV, Diverse Languages, Digital Linear Series and Performance Envelope Programs.

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Niki Little

Artistic Director, imagineNATIVE

Niki Little is an artist/observer, arts administrator, and a founding member of The Ephemerals. She is Anishininew (Oji-cree) / English from Kistiganwacheeng (Garden Hill, FN). Little has over ten years of experience in the arts and cultural sector focusing on Indigenous arts and intermedia art. She is the Artistic Director for imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival. imagineNATIVE is located in Toronto Canada and is an Indigenous-led arts organization that was established 21 years ago. imagineNATIVE works to inspire and connect communities through original, Indigenous film and media arts by presenting innovative film, video, audio, and digital media works made by Indigenous artists. They present an annual Festival every October, year-round initiatives, and professional development opportunities for artists/filmmakers through Industry programming. The upcoming Festival will be October 19-24, 2021 and submissions open March 2021.

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Naomi Mark

Host, Tracey Deer artist talk

Naomi spent the majority of her twenties crafting stories for screen in both drama and documentary. Influenced by her upbringing in Northern Canada Naomi has produced and directed a wide variety of content including music videos, commercials, short films, experimental films and short and long form documentaries. Naomi has produced and directed films for CBC, Knowledge Network and Northwestel Community TV. Her recent work includes co-directing and producing the short fiction film Grey Mountain, the short documentary Underdog and producing the critically acclaimed feature documentary Aim For The Roses. How To Bee is Naomi’s feature debut.

Michelle McCree

Executive In Charge of Production Unscripted Digital and Linear Content

Michelle McCree is a Production Executive with CBC’s Unscripted department. She oversees a slate of programming including You Can’t Ask That, Family Feud Canada, Back In For Winter and Still Standing.

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Michele McMahon

Production Executive, Original Programming, BC and Territories, Bell Media

Michele McMahon is a Production Executive, Original Programming for B.C. and the Territories for Bell Media. In this role, Michele is the point of contact for the local television production community (producers, directors, writers) and acts as the creative executive on projects in development and production. Michele is currently a production Executive on the feature documentary The Inconvenient Indian (CRAVE) and the drama series Transplant (CTV) and Cardinal (CTV). Michele was also an executive on 19-2 (BRAVO) and Motive (CTV). Cardinal, 19-2, and Motive received multiple Canadian Screen Awards and 19-2 was nominated for an International Emmy.

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Charles Officer

Director, Akilla's Escape

A citizen of both Canada and the United Kingdom, Charles Officer studied at Cambridge University and graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design. He worked as a graphic designer and creative director in Toronto before attending the Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York. Charles’ debut feature, NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY, premiered at TIFF in 2008, screened in Berlin and at MoMA, and garnered 10 Genie nominations, including for Best Picture and Best Director. His debut feature documentary, MIGHTY JEROME, won four Leo Awards and a 2012 Regional Emmy Award. He was the recipient of Hot Docs’ Don Haig Award of Merit in 2012 and went on to direct an episode of the ENGRAVED ON A NATION documentary series, which won a 2014 Canadian Screen Award. Charles has also directed episodes of the acclaimed television series ROOKIE BLUE, SAVING HOPE and PRIVATE EYES, starring Jason Priestly. He released his second feature documentary, UNARMED VERSES, produced by the National Film Board of Canada, and released THE SKIN WE’RE IN, a documentary that follows celebrated journalist Desmond Cole as he pulls back the curtain on racism in Canada. Charles returns to fiction filmmaking with the animated feature AFRICVILLE and the just-released crime drama AKILLA’S ESCAPE.

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Teri Snelgrove

Producer, National Film Board of Canada, BC & Yukon Studio

Teri Snelgrove is a Producer at the BC & Yukon Studio of the National Film Board of Canada. Prior to being appointed Producer, Teri was Associate Producer at the studio for seven years and was instrumental in the development and production of documentary and animation projects, including the short docs Highway to Heaven: A Mosaic in One Mile by Sandra Ignagni, Now Is the Time by Christopher Auchter and The Way of the Hunter by Robert Moberg. Her credits also include Marie Clements’ musical documentary The Road Forward and Baljit Sangra’s feature doc, Because We Are Girls, as well as the animated shorts The Zoo by Julia Kwan, Shop Class by Hart Snider and The Mountain of SGaana by Christopher Auchter. 

Originally from Newfoundland, Teri is a graduate of the film/video program at Emily Carr University and she has lived and worked in the cultural community in Vancouver for over 30 years.

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Amanda Strong

Director, Spirit Bear and Children Make History

Amanda Strong is a Michif (Metis) interdisciplinary artist with a focus on filmmaking, stop-motion animations and media art, currently based on unceded Coast Salish territories also known as Vancouver, BC, Canada. Strong’s work is fiercely process-driven and includes virtual reality, stop-motion, 2D/3D animation, gallery/museum installations, published books and community-activated projects. Reclamation of Indigenous histories, lineage, language and culture are common themes of her work. Her films have screened across the globe, most notably at Cannes, TIFF, VIFF, and Ottawa International Animation Festival. Amanda Strong founded Spotted Fawn Productions in 2010 and has managed the company as the Owner, Director and Executive Producer since 2014. Under her direction, SFP utilizes a multi-layered approach and unconventional methods that are centered in collaboration on all aspects of their work. Amanda has also formed the collectives Media Creatorz, Indigenous Roots, and most recently Frame Sovereignty Collective which are all driven to build sustainable production skills and training to participants with the hopes of helping with access, visibility and digital literacy for Indigenous artists. Most recently, Amanda was selected as the First Canadian Director and first Animated Project for the Sundance Institute Indigenous Filmmaking Lab.

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Kerry Swanson

Managing Director, Indigenous Screen Office

Kerry Swanson is an arts administrator and fundraiser who has been dedicated to creating opportunities for Indigenous artists in Canada for over sixteen years.  She is Managing Director of the Indigenous Screen Office, a new funding and advocacy organization promoting Indigenous narrative sovereignty on screen.  She has served as both Board Chair and Executive Director of the imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival, the world’s largest presenter of Indigenous screen content.  She is a co-founder of Indigenous Fashion Week Toronto (IFWTO), a biennial festival at Harbourfront Centre.  Kerry was Associate Director of Granting at the Ontario Arts Council, where she launched the Indigenous Culture Fund, a $5 million annual program. She launched a number of innovative arts funding programs at the Toronto Arts Council, including the TAC Cultural Leaders Lab at the Banff Centre, Indigenous Arts Program, and the Open Door Fund. 

Kerry has a Masters in Communication and Culture from Ryerson University.  She was born and raised in northern Ontario in a family of Cree/Ojibwe, Irish and French heritage.  She is a band member of Michipicoten First Nation with familial ties to Chapleau Cree First Nation. 

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Shirley Vercruysse

Executive Producer, National Film Board of Canada, Pacific & Yukon Studio

Shirley is the Executive Producer of the National Film Board of Canada’s BC & Yukon Studio, where she leads the team producing documentary and animation projects. The studio’s latest projects include the feature-length documentaries The Magnitude of All Things, Sovereign Soil, The Whale and the Raven and Because We Are Girls; the musical documentary The Road Forward; the animated shorts Shop Class and The Zoo; the short documentaries Highway to Heaven and Now Is the Time; and the Webby Award-winning documentary series True North: Inside the Rise of Toronto Basketball. Prior to joining the NFB in 2014 Shirley was based in Calgary where she produced independent Canadian feature films, fiction and documentary,  including the award winning titles, waydowntown and Radiant City, and Fubar II.

ALFF Industry and Workshops Sponsors

Canada Goose logo Sponsors Government of Yukon Canada Council for the Arts Lotteries Yukon Northwestel Telefilm Canada Canada Media Fund Yukon Aboriginal Women's Council City of Whitehorse What's Up Yukon Yukon Energy Yukon, North of Ordinary Northern Vision Development Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre Music Yukon Winterlong Brewing Director's Guild of Canada Chinook Bookkeeping Council of Yukon First Nations AFY