Indie Filmmakers Amplifier, 2023

I’m a filmmaker with over 30 years of experience. After graduating from York University’s Film Production program, I worked as an AC, AD, and location manager in Toronto’s production industry, did a stint in film distribution, and then founded the Mississauga-based production company Motion Picture Enterprises. 

Since then, I’ve produced, directed, and written documentaries and scripted films such as the 26-episode WORKING ANIMALS (Discovery Channel, Animal Planet), MOVING ON (CBC), and specials and limited series for Animal Planet, Superchannel, TVO, PBS, and for international broadcast and education. I’ve received grants from the Ontario Arts Council (for the documentary DE-ESCALATE), and MAC’s Microgrant for the documentary KANAKIYOST, now in post-production. About 10 years ago I added digital media to my practice, producing the digital component for THE DIVIDED BRAIN (CBC Doc Channel, Matter of Fact Media) and the award-winning digital exhibit THE LOST MUSEUM (CreativeHub 1352). 

I serve as a juror for film festivals, industry awards, and grants, am a former board member of the Oakville Film Festival, I run the Facebook group Mississauga Filmmakers, and I founded and run the non-profit filmmaker collaborative Filmhive. Which brings us to why I’m producing the Indie Filmmaker’s Amplifier. My community building and mentoring work led me to work with MAC on several filmmaker programs, including a TD Culture Lab workshop, the Inspired Film Incubator (funded by MAC’s inaugural MicroGrant round), last year’s Screen Media Maker’s Summit, and now the Indie Filmmaker’s Amplifier. 

I believe a rising tide floats all boats, and the tide starts at home. MAC shares and supports this viewpoint. We believe Mississauga and Peel Region have a distinct community of filmmakers with unique stories to tell the world.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the participants’ smiling faces. Building on the success of last year’s event, this year we’re levelling up on pitching and funding strategies and offering more networking. The roundtable session will let participants break out into discussion groups with industry leaders.

There are 3 benefits: access, access, access. Seriously though, some of the biggest challenges for independent filmmakers are access and career sustainability. There’s a somewhat misleading narrative that inexpensive equipment and hours of online tutorials enable anyone to make film content. And while that’s true for getting started and experimenting, many filmmakers hit a wall when want to level up to professional films and make a career of it. For emerging and mid-career filmmakers who want to make their own projects, the Indie Filmmaker’s Amplifier is an opportunity to a) learn from experienced professionals who will share their hard-earned strategies to make and distribute independent films and series, and b) connect with those professionals and peers. Participants will come away with information and contacts to help them move forward. And they can do this in the comfort of the Living Arts Centre with lunch and free wifi. How great is that?

To gain the most benefits from this event, participants should have some industry knowledge and experience so they can understand and use the information. That experience can be from another country or can be post-secondary film and media studies and making a student film or two. We invite emerging and mid-career filmmakers who are either creatives (writers, directors, creative producers, multi-hyphenates) or business-minded producers. Here in Mississauga and the GTA, we have filmmakers from many backgrounds and from around the world. This is a friendly inclusive event with speakers from diverse backgrounds who have navigated the Canadian industry.

This is the best part! I’m bringing in over a dozen industry leaders including indie film financing expert Shehrezade Mian, pitching expert Marina Cordoni, and the queen of indie film herself, Ingrid Veninger. Ingrid has written, directed, and produced 15 independent feature films that have been screened at major festivals globally! We can all learn from her. In the roundtable sessions, participants can meet and chat with producers, distributors, and other industry experts, including Michaelangelo Masangkay of Raven Banner Entertainment, series creator Madeleine Donohue, Carroll Chiramel of Orange Spot Productions, Isioro T Jaboro of True Sail Productions, Jason Speers of Knoll Studios, Taisa Dekker of ACTRA who will demystify their low budget programs, Gregg Rubidge of Syndicado Distribution, and many more.

Working with MAC is like working with like-minded friends. MAC’s entire team is dedicated to the arts, to developing talent in this city, and to creating an environment where talent wants to stay and work.

If you’re a filmmaker who wants to make your project, then invest in yourself and join us at the Indie Filmmaker’s Amplifier on Saturday, March 9 at the Living Arts Centre. I’ll see you there.