DANNY NOWAK csc
Danny started his career as a maverick young cinematographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia. After making a dozen of his own short films, he excelled behind the camera, shooting various projects around the world. In recent years, he has served as Director of Photography on many TV movies and over 20 feature films, including Tristar’s The Big Hit, Neil Simon’s The Goodbye Girl and Bruce McDonald’s Hard Core Logo. Awards for his work include a Gemini (Canada’s Emmy) and top prize from the Canadian Society of Cinematographers.
He is a full member of the Canadian Society of Cinematographers, a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, and a member of the International Photographers Union (IATSE 669). A patriot of Canadian Cinema, Danny is devoted to the development of the local and international film art.
Since 1984, Penny Bruitenhuis has been directing and producing films throughout Europe and North America. She started in Berlin’s super-8 community with aesthetically gritty films that challenged Hollywood’s glossy veneer. Penelope has since directed 18 features and numerous short films. A self-made female director, her recent feature A Wake has won numerous awards around the world.
Penelope encourages new directors to develop and produce their own work, as waiting for funding or support from bureaucratic systems can be disillusioning and often pointless. Make it, show it, be proud of it. Anyone with the passion can be a filmmaker, you just have to do it.
MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY ORIENTATION
Mel Siteman is one of Vancouver’s top 1st Assistant Directors. With nearly 30 years of experience, she’s a veteran of the film industry with credits including Ninja Turtles, The New Addams Family, Air Bud, many other feature films, and over 150 commercials. A member of the Director’s Guild of Canada, she is also a director, producer, and teacher, certified by Actsafe to instruct the Motion Picture Industry Orientation courses. Mel serves on InFocus Film School Program Advisory Council and has been instrumental in developing the curriculum for the Film Production Program.
ENTREPRENEURSHIP + ADVERTISING
A strong business ethic and a passion for storytelling led Clayton to form Georgia Street Media in 2008. Clayton’s educational background and past experiences nurtured both his creative skills and his business skills and have ultimately enabled him to grow a dedicated team of skilled videographers, directors and editors at GSM. After earning his BA in sociology from UBC, Clayton studied Documentary Film Production at Langara College. Clayton has worked with major tech firms and produced and supervised hundreds of film projects in his years of experience of working in the industry.
FILM PRODUCTION INSTRUCTORS
FILM PRODUCTION LEAD INSTRUCTOR
David Michán is an award-winning Mexican director with multiple feature film credits and more in production. He is an alumnus of the reknowned Centro de Capacitacion Cinematografica and has more than fifteen years of experience in the direction and production of films, commercials, music videos and advertising campaigns for both cinemas and television. He is also an accomplished visual effects artist with VFX and other post-production credits on a dozen films.
Prior to his feature film projects, he completed several short films, including Mexican Dream which was the winner of three international prizes in Brussels, Germany and Austin TX for best fiction short film, and also for having been selected in more than twenty-five international festivals and A True Story, winner of short-film competition Radioactivo 2003 (Radioactive 2003) as judged by recognized filmmakers such as Alejandro G. Inarritu, Alfonso Cuaron, Guillermo del Toro, Roger Avary, Alejandro Jodorowky, and more.
Jonathan Tammuz is an award winning British/Canadian director who has worked in Canada, the US, UK, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Jonathan has directed a wide variety of projects including feature films, 1 hour episodic TV, documentaries and shorts. His work has been screened in major international film festivals as well as theatrically, and on Channel 4 (UK), NHK (Japan), HBO, CBC and Showtime.
Jonathan’s theatrical feature Minotaur opened in LA and NY to critical acclaim, and RUPERT’S LAND won 6 Leo Awards including Best Picture and Best Director. It also received 5 Genie nominations including Best Picture and Best Director. His short, The Childeater received an Academy Award nomination for Best Live Action Short.
Jonathan has recently directed a short: Heard From Above, and co-produced Red Snow, an Aboriginal theatrical feature. He is currently developing several projects: REBECCA’S RING, a rom-com set in Dublin, MINER, a comedic drama set in Wales and FROM INDIA WITH LOVE a comedic drama set in BC.
Jonathan lives in Vancouver, with his wife Lib Stephen, a children’s books illustrator and screenwriter.
Sean Embury has been creating innovative broadcast and interactive media for 20 years. As a producer he has been a key player in the creation of some of the Canada’s most acclaimed digital properties, including NFB/Interactive, CBC Radio 3, and CBC Television’s ZeD and Exposure. As a an agency creative director and strategist he has led interactive work over 100 high-profile clients including Nike, United Airlines, H20+, and the Chicago Stock Exchange.
Since 2010 his studio, Denman, has worked with a wide range of leading cultural and commercial brands to design award-winning digital tools and interactive experiences.
His work has been recognized with multiple Webby, FWA, Applied Arts, and Communications Arts Awards, a Canadian Online Publishing Award, a New York Festivals Grand Award, an Art Director’s Club Gold Medal, and a Canadian Screen Award.
As a former Contemporary Writing and Production Major at Berklee College of Music and a graduate of InFocus Film School, Sam Steele has spent several years finding a way to combine his areas of expertise by specializing in creative live event videography. With clients ranging from large non-profit cultural organizations such as Vancouver Mural Festival and Public Disco, to record labels and corporate franchises, to renowned nightlife institutions like Gorg-O-Mish Afterhours, the breadth of his work includes multi-camera live performances, music videos, and dozens of promotional pieces for advertising and marketing teams. The threads that tie all of his work together are a love for collaboration and compelling visual storytelling through dynamic camera technique.
Julia Ivanova has received many accolades for her compelling films, including the award for Best Canadian Feature for Family Portrait in Black and White at Hot Docs 2011. Her films include From Russia, for Love (2000); Fatherhood Dreams (2007); and Limit Is the Sky (2016), which won the Colin Low Best Canadian Documentary Award at DOXA 2017. Her documentaries have screened at Sundance, IDFA, and the Chicago and LA film festivals, among many others; she is currently working on the feature Pipeline in Paradise, about two opposite human forces in Canada that are connected by the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
Born and raised in Moscow, Ivanova immigrated to Vancouver in the 1990s; since then, she’s established herself as a balanced and empathetic cinematic voice, digging into the dilemmas perpetuated by the search for a place, love, family and meaning by those who have two homes and two identities. With a focus on capturing the complexities of human nature, Ivanova brings her signature non-judgmental style to the telling of unique Canadian stories.
She has made a number of intimate films on the topics of love, adoption, cultural differences and family, partnering with CBC, Global TV, Knowledge Network, PBS and Discovery. Ivanova has been actively involved in the documentary filmmaking community by organizing professional development workshops for DOC BC, co-chairing DOC BC, being on the Board of Hot Docs Festival and mentoring emerging filmmakers through “Giving Voice” DOC program. Being a director/editor/cinematographer and an avid fan of international documentaries, she believes in the emotional power of visual storytelling and poetic cinema.
Robert Chomiak is co-writer of the award-winning zombie-comedy cult feature Fido. He has written English adaptations for three animated theatrical features (Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade, Escaflowne – The Movie) and 207 episodes on seven animated series (Gundam Seed, Zoids, Inuyasha) which have aired on Cartoon Network and Teletoon.
Other television work includes the sitcom Alienated and the Gemini-nominated children’s special Twisteeria. Robert’s pilot script “Slaughter Landing” has been optioned to Frantic Films and MarVista and is currently out to broadcasters.
His screenplays have received development funding from Telefilm, Harold Greenberg, and BC Film. He is co-writer of the R-rated comedy screenplay “My A**hole Neighbour” which was selected for the Comedy Exchange program sponsored by the Canadian Film Centre. Most recently his comedy feature project “ex-gf’s” was awarded $50,000 in development from the NSI/Corus Script to Screen program.
Robert graduated with a BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Lethbridge and studied for two years in the Simon Fraser University film program.
With over fifteen years of experience working on film and video productions, Jeremy Klassen has accumulated a diverse and practical knowledge of many intricate aspects of filmmaking. He has worked on productions ranging from corporate videos and commercials to documentaries, music videos, television series and narrative films. He’s edited several televised films including Hunted By My Ex, Secret Crush, Fatal Mistakes, Psycho Wedding Crasher, and The Murderer Upstairs, to name a few.
Todd Leblanc is a sound and video editor based in East Vancouver. He has worked on everything from feature-length narratives and documentaries to animated shorts, live events, music videos, promotional packages, and even video-game trailers. He is a frequent collaborator with many names in the Vancouver film industry.
Michael Khazen, founder of High Deaf Productions, started his career in film ten years ago making music videos and short films. He has since gone on to produce award-winning feature and television content that’s been screened on multiple platforms the world over. He has recently finished a slate of feature films being released in 2018-2019. All of which have received distribution; the metaphysical horror Welcome to the Circle, the edgy art house film The Age of Adulting, and the hard-hitting documentary Ken Foster. He also has one more hot off his post-production pipeline for planned release in 2020, the coming of age teenage comedy Last Night in Suburbia. Michael has a keen eye for strong projects with great distribution potential. With over 30 producing credits under his belt, he has earned the reputation of being one of Western Canada’s most sought after independent producers.
Diego Lara is an award-winning Latino director and post-production supervisor based in Vancouver. Over the past fifteen years, Diego has created, produced and directed a dozen award-winning TV shows, documentaries and animated series broadcasted by major streaming platforms and networks like Amazon Prime, History Channel, H2, Futura TV, CinebrasilTV, ZooMoo Kids, and Off TV.
He is well known for his work creating and directing syndicated shows like Faces of the Future/A Cara do Futuro, Pieces of Brazil/Meu Pedaço de Brasil, the animated show Animazoo, the outstanding surf documentary Restrito, and the multi-award-winning short Three Golden Teeth.
Jackie Blackmore is a professional Film & TV Actor, Director, Sketch Comedian, Improviser, Award-winning Playwright & Comedy Writer with over 30 years of experience.
She has a BFA in Media Arts from Emily Carr University. As an Instructor, Jackie has taught at InFocus Film School, Vancouver Film School, Instant Theatre, Carousel Theatre, and Arts Umbrella. During the 11 years she taught Sketch Comedy Writing at Vancouver Film School she also directed up to 6-9 sketch comedy shows a year with the VFS Sketch Company. As a writer, Jackie has written sketches, plays & short films, was a comedy TV writer for Off Centre Television, and is currently developing two feature film screenplays. Jackie is extremely passionate about comedy & storytelling and she loves to inspire new writers to use comedy to entertain & incite change!
PRODUCTION DESIGN/ART DEPARTMENT
Shawn Major is a Vancouver-based Producer / Production Designer. He has produced/co-produced features Such as: Daughter, Box of Freedom, Time Helmet, This Island, And Outrunners.
As Production Designer for feature films and Hallmark TV shows, Major designs film sets, mood boards, and leads a team to make films look amazing. His years of experience coming up from Set Dresser, to Set Decorator on IATSE and ACFC shows and Hallmark, as well as Art Director And Production Designer for both film and TV have taught Major all aspects of the art department. Being able to be flexible, inventive, and budget aware has allowed him to work in many genres as well. From horror to Christmas, drama to comedy, sci-fi and all in between delivering sets beyond clients’ expectations and dreams.
Brishkay Ahmed (DGC/WGC) is an Afghan – Canadian filmmaker.
She studied film at New York University and the Iranian Young Cinema Society. She holds a degree in Communication from Simon Fraser University.
As a documentary filmmaker, she’s drawn to social issues and investigative topics. Brishkay’s films include the award-winning features Unveiled: The Kohistan Video Scandal and In The Rumbling Belly of Motherland.
Her 2022 web documentary, Fatima In Kabul, was nominated for the 2022 Canadian Screen Awards and a 2022 Banff Rockie Awards.
Throughout her career, Brishkay Ahmed has collaborated with the CBC, Super Channel, NFB, Bravo TV, Java Films, Women Make Movies, Telefilm, Cinema Politica and RTA on projects.
I acknowledge, I live and work on the unceded Indigenous land belonging to the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō (Stolo), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Dolores Drake has been working in Theatre, Film and TV for 35 years.
In feature film she has worked with world-renowned directors Joel Schumacher, Bill Forsythe, Anne Wheeler and Alan Rudolph. Most recent film credits include, The Professor, Always Be My Maybe (for Netflix) Cop and a Half, and Starstruck A Cinderalla Story (HBO).
For TV she has played Principal and Supporting Lead Roles in numerous TV Movies: Coyote Creek Christmas, Love Stuck Café, Love Once and Always, A Carousal Christmas and Love In Action. Check out her full list on IMDB. Roles in TV series include The Mighty Ducks and Turner and Hooch.
In Theatre she has worked for numerous companies across the country, Theatre North West, Arts Club, The Belfry, The Citadel, and Richmond Gateway. Dolores has also written, produced and performed in three of her own ONE WOMAN PLAYS. Randall’s Wake, From Away and The Distance Between Newfoundland and Toronto.
As a Writer/Director she has created several plays for youth, and is in in high demand as a Private Coach.
She has been teaching and coaching for 20 years and Created her own Professional Development Program for Youth and who want to act. She also teaches a Beginner TV and Film class at Langara College.
She is a graduate of Studio 58.
Jess Seymour is a live action, animation and event producer currently working in Vancouver, BC. Presently she is the Development Producer for Wasabi Entertainment, leading the creation of all IP content including novel series, TV shows, feature films and digital apps.
She studied Film Production and Philosophy at Simon Fraser University where she specialized in Cinematography. In 2007, she started ‘Focus Pull Productions’ – a media company focused on creating commercial and short form content both in Canada and overseas. She is a founding member of OK Social, an after-work event for people in the creative industries. She has been a keynote speaker on the creation of high-quality video for your brand and enjoys experimenting with new technologies as a means of storytelling.
Sergio Grandolfo started his career in the audio field as an independent musician and also worked as an artist manager for more than ten years. He has a BA in Musicology from the University of Milan and has worked as an Audio Post Production Specialist and Sound Designer for video games. He has also completed certification at the Seattle Recording arts college.
Additionally, Grandolfo has worked as Head of Sound for the movie “Miles Away”(directed by S.C Willson), where he was taking care of the entire sound from production to post. In the same year he took on another indie feature project directed by Orion Radies called Ouroboros. He is currently working as Sound Designer for an independent video game developer based in Canada, as well as several other independent projects.
Robert McDonagh has been involved in sound recording since 1991 with his first feature that won at TIFF.
As a Sound Mixer and Boom Op his films include “This Means War”, “Underworld: Awakening”, “The Company you Keep” directed by Robert Redford and “Blackwood” starring Anthony Hopkins. He has worked in the industry for over 30 years.
A filmmaker himself he has directed and produced sixteen films that have played on CBC, Bravo! and international festivals and TV.
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