2017 Presenters and Panelists

Each year, the Yorkton Film Festival brings in some of the best and brightest in Canada’s film and cultural industries. From producers to cultural advocates, here’s a look at some of the individuals coming to this year’s festival.

Veria Marketing

Annelise Larson

Annelise comes from a background as an independent producer, with training at such prestigious institutions at the Canadian Film Centre (Producer’s Lab) and Banff Centre for the Arts (Electronic and Film Media). Since 1995 she has been working in the field of online marketing and has always been an avid gamer and consumer of digital content. She works extensively with government organizations and production companies in the film, television and interactive industries in North America. Her focus is helping content creators and storytellers to use the power of online language and data to define, find, attract and engage their audiences and work toward strategic and sustainable digital business models. Her online course Becoming a Storypreneur has been taught to media storytellers across Canada and in conjunction with Boost Hbg in Sweden.

Mozilla Foundation

Brett Gaylor

Brett Gaylor is a documentary filmmaker and the Commissioning Editor for Advocacy Media at the Mozilla Foundation. His most recent project, Do Not Track, is a co-production of Upian, the National Film Board of Canada, Arte France and Bayerischer Rundfunk, in association with Radio-Canada, Radio Télévision Suisse and Al Jazeera’s AJ+ network. It is the recipient of the International Documentary Association award for best nonfiction series, the 2016 Peabody Award, and the Prix Gemaux for Best Interactive Series, the International Association of Broadcasters Online Factual Prize, the Deutscher Prize for online communications, and the 2016 Peabody award. His 2008 feature documentary Rip! A Remix Manifesto is an official honoree of the Webby Awards, was the recipient of Audience Choice prizes at festivals from Amsterdam to South Africa, was broadcast in 20 countries, and seen by millions of people worldwide.

Executive in Charge of Production, Documentary Programming, CBC Television

Charlotte Engel

Based in Toronto, Charlotte Engel has spent over 25 years working in the film and television industry. She cut her teeth working in the Indie Canadian film industry, working on the films like “Highway 61” and “The Adjuster”.

She moved onto a career in broadcasting, working as a production executive for CHUM Television, CTV and Bell Media for 10 years. Specializing in documentary and factual programming, she oversaw successful documentaries such as “Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould” and “Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey”.

After departing Bell Media, Engel set up her own production company, Rock Yenta Productions. During this time, she produced many documentaries for CBC and TVO including “Puffin Patrol”, “Carpe Diem: A Fishy Tale” “Mugshot” for TVO.

In 2015, Engel joined CBC’s Unscripted department to oversee CBC’s new documentary strand called “Firsthand”. In its second year, the strand has gone on to entertain and enlighten Canadians coast to coast.

Film Commissioner and Chair of the National Film Board

Claude Joli-Cœur

Claude Joli-Cœur – an influential figure in the film and audiovisual industry for over 30 years – is the 16th Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson of the National Film Board of Canada.

Mr. Joli-Cœur has been at the NFB for over twelve years. As Assistant Commissioner (2007 to 2014), he headed Government Relations and Strategic Planning as well as Business Affairs and Legal Services. Until recently, he served as Acting Commissioner, a position he had previously held in 2007.

Mr.Joli-Cœur earned a law degree from the Université de Montréal and has been a member of the Quebec Bar since 1979. He practiced law with the firms of Langlois Drouin and Lafleur Brown in Montreal from 1979 to 1985 and was legal counsel at Telefilm Canada from 1985 to 1987.

As an entertainment law specialist in the private sector, Mr. Joli-Cœur signed several international co-production agreements between Canada and a number of European countries, including France, the United Kingdom and Germany. From 1987 to 1995, he worked for Astral Entertainment Group, a film financing and distribution company, first as Director of Business Affairs and subsequently as Vice President of Legal and Business Affairs. In 1995, he was appointed Vice President, Legal and International Affairs, at Coscient Group (Motion International), a position he held for five years. From 2000 to 2002, he served as Vice President, Legal and Business Affairs, and Secretary at TVA International Inc., as well as Vice President, Business Affairs, at Zone 3 Inc. before joining the NFB.

Claude Joli-Cœur is recognized for his ability to mobilize, his leadership style focused on results and integrity, and his strong commitment to Canadian communities. That commitment, combined with his interest in Canadian culture, has inspired him to undertake numerous initiatives, particularly with major national museums as well as with Inuit and French- speaking Canadian communities.

During his career, Mr. Joli-Coeur was an Executive Committee member and treasurer of the Alliance for Children and Television and serves on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Retransmission Collective (CRC).


Daniel Cross

Daniel Cross is co-founder of EYESTEELFILM in Montreal, named by RealScreen Magazine as a top 100 non-fiction production company in the world. He is Associate Professor, and Concordia University Research Chair in Interactive Documentary at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University. Cross is also a member of the Provost's Circle of Distinction and sits on the University's Board of Governors and Senate. Cross is a multi-disciplined award winning documentary filmmaker with a long history of directing and producing theatrical documentaries.

His newest film I AM THE BLUES is currently nominated for 2 Canadian Screen Awards including Best Feature Length Theatrical Documentary, the film will open the 70th annual Yorkton Film Festival. Cross is currently looking for a production unit to film the 2017 Stanley Cup Parade in downtown Montreal – Go Habs!

Filmmaker / Assistant Director

Daniel Redenbach

Daniel Redenbach is a Toronto-based filmmaker and assistant director. Holding a BFA in Film Production and Studies from the University of Regina, Redenbach’s thesis short Close to Here went on to screen at the Montreal World and Toronto International Film Festivals. His collaborative debut feature film, The Land of Rock and Gold premiered at imagineNative in 2016 and will be released theatrically this fall. Currently in development for his next feature, Daniel can still sometimes be found AD’ing film sets large and small across Canada.

City Saskatchewan

Joanne McDonald

For the last decade and a half Joanne McDonald’s world has mostly been filled with screen-based media (which until recently was better known as film and television) and lots of coffee.

As the General Manager for City Saskatchewan she’s involved in all aspects of broadcasting- from operations to programming. Over the years she has helped bring many hours of content from Saskatchewan and beyond to screens and audiences. Many titles have won national and international awards and have been licensed in other markets.

When she’s not running a TV station, you can find her volunteering for arts and cultural organizations- at present she sits on two Boards of Directors: SaskCulture and the Yorkton Film Festival. She also gets to vote as a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and belongs to Women in Communications and Technology. In the past she was on the board of the Saskatchewan Media Producers Industry Association and was a member of the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s Creative Industries Advisory Committee. In her other spare time she likes to cook, pull weeds in the garden and travel. And watch TV- of course.

Although her dad remains skeptical to this day, there is proof that someone with a philosophy degree can get a real job.

MIT Open Documentary Lab

Katerina Cizek

Katerina Cizek is a two-time Emmy winner and a pioneer in digital media. Her work has documented the Digital Revolution, and has itself become part of the movement. She has been called the “Godmother of Interactive Documentary” on the international circuit. She is currently leading a new initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Open Documentary Lab, while based in Toronto. At the National Film Board of Canada, she helped redefine the organization as one of the world’s leading digital content hubs. She was the director and creative force behind the NFB’s award-winning 7-year digital documentary project HIGHRISE, and she realized the acclaimed NFB Filmmaker-in-Residence program. Cizek has built collaborations with a diverse range of community, academic and media partners to co-create media, including The New York Times, Wired Magazine, City of Toronto, United Way and most recently, Canada’s top YouTube stars. She has been recognized with 2 Emmys, a Peabody Award, World Press Photo Prize, 3 Canadian Screen Awards, 2 Webbys, amongst others. Her work has been seen by millions around the globe, through TV broadcasts and publishing on the web. She has travelled the world with her projects, teaching and advising on her innovative approaches to digital media and co-creation models.

Director / Producer

Kelly-Anne Riess

Originally from Saskatchewan, Kelly-Anne Riess produced and directed the documentary, Finding Al, while living in Winnipeg, MB. Finding Al is about notorious gangster Al Capone’s connections to Canada, which aired nationally on CBC in 2016. As part of her work on the project, she was one of only 15 Canadians to receive a grant from the Telefilm Micro-Budget Production Fund for Emerging Filmmakers in 2014. Riess worked as a writer, director and researcher on the TV show Crime Stories, which aired on A&E Biography, Investigation Discovery and History Television. In 2013, Riess won the MTS Stories from Home $20,000 Pitch Competition at the Gimli Film Festival for the documentary Artists by Night, which Riess produced and directed. The film premiered at the Gimli Film Festival a year later. Riess was a CTV National Fellow at the Banff World Media Festival in 2011.

Writer / Director / Producer

Kevin McMahon

Kevin McMahon has directed more than 20 documentaries, including nine features, and produced dozens of hours of non-fiction television. His work focuses on environmental themes, viewed explicitly – in subjects like Niagara Falls, the cod fishery and nuclear weapons – and obliquely – in stories about the guru Marshall McLuhan; Haida and Inuit communities; or the nature of human intelligence. Known for bringing unusual perspectives and personalities to documentary, Kevin has collaborated with cellist Yo Yo Ma, rock musician Gord Downie, performance artist Laurie Anderson, comedian Mary Walsh and actress Sarah Polley. He has filmed in some of the world’s wildest places, including the Sahara, the deserts of Jordan and Iran, the north Atlantic, Canada’s maritime coasts, the boreal forest and the high Arctic. Kevin’s current project is co-producing and co-directing the 12 hour documentary series Equator 360, a Canada-German co-production that looks at climate change in the tropics. Kevin’s latest feature documentary is Spaceship Earth, a collaboration with Japan’s NHK and ARTE/ZDF. He also recently wrote and co-directed The Polar Sea, a 10-hour multimedia adventure for ARTE/ZDF and TVO. Among many awards, Kevin is the recipient of the Earth Prize from the Tokyo Film Festival and the designation of Canadian Eco Hero by the Planet in Focus film festival.

Director / Producer

Lucas Frison

Lucas Frison is a 2014 graduate of the University of Regina with a BFA in Film Production. After finishing film school he founded Prairie Cat Productions, a Regina based film production company that is currently producing the feature film Talent. Talent was a selection for the 2016/2017 Telefilm Micro-Budget production program and is slated for release in later 2017. In 2016, he was the cooperating artist for a Sask Arts Board Arts Smarts grant, where he taught a film unit to students at William Derby School. Lucas has also worked with CTV Regina since 2015 and is known to many in Regina as a dodgeball legend.


Marco Luna

Born in Lima, Peru, Marco is a social engaged documentary filmmaker who believes on the power of filmmaking as a tool for social change. He participated on the first editions of the Peruvian Documentary Caravan (Caravana Documental) as well as the Independent Documentary Film Exhibitions (Muestra de Documental Independiente Peruano), venues that promote human rights and social engagement of documentary films in the Peruvian culture.

In 2007 he moved to Montreal to pursue a master’s degree on film production at Concordia University and since then he has worked in different social film projects. From 2008 to 2010 he trained homeless people in the use of digital cameras and new media tools for the project HOMELESSNATION.org, the first website by and for the street community in Canada. In 2011 he joined the WAPIKONI MOBILE team and traveled to several First Nation communities teaching filmmaking as a form self expression to at-risk youth. He currently works at EyeSteelFilm, a documentary film and interactive media production company dedicated to the use of cinematic expression as a catalyst for social and political change, and he is also the research associate of the recently established Concordia Research Chair in Interactive Documentary filmmaking.

Director / Cinematographer / Photographer

Tom Davidson

Tom Davidson has more than 300 hours of Network television director credits. He has filmed in 68 countries and circling the globe three times. Over the last 38 years, he has directed or photographed more than one thousand commercials and corporate videos. His client list includes Saskatchewan Roughriders Football Club, British Columbia Lottery Corporation, General Motors, Labatt’s, Global National News, SaskTel, SaskPower, The Government of China, SaskEnergy, SaskTourism, Manitoba Telephone System, Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Tourism, The Governments of Canada, Manitoba and Saskatchewan and countless others. Tom was part of the Pilot / Cinematographer team that filmed all the UAV aerials for Corner Gas: The Movie.

Canada Media Fund

Valerie Creighton

Valerie Creighton is an industry leader in arts, culture and media, recognized for reenergizing some of the some of the country’s most important organizations in the sector over the last thirty five years. An expert in organizational change, Valerie has been recognized as a visionary in promoting Canada’s cultural wealth.

Currently serving as President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund, Valerie positions Canadian programming at the forefront in world markets advocating successful, innovative Canadian content and software applications for current and emerging digital platforms. Valerie has taken part in foreign trade missions, and is regularly called upon to present the CMF model internationally. She has been recognized with numerous awards nationally and from her home province of Saskatchewan. She was awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit (SOM) in 2016.

Valerie holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan, has served on a variety of regional, national and international juries and boards and has produced radio dramas for the CBC in Saskatchewan where she owns and operates the Red Horse Ranch.

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