2020 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.
Cam Bennett is Executive Producer at Bell MTS TV in Winnipeg. Working with community producers, Bell MTS creates local content for TV1. We support and license new documentary and lifestyle series that reflect the people and places of Manitoba.
Upcoming series include How To Be a Polar Bear Guide, Sustainable Structures, and Wabunukeeg: Daybreak People.
Prior to joining Bell MTS, Cam was an independent Writer/Director in documentary and lifestyle television. Select credits include Gemini-nominated As Seen on TV/The K-Tel Story, Avrocar: Saucer Secrets from The Past, Recreating Eden, Magnificent Obsessions, and The Sharing Circle. His work has aired on CBC, CTV, Global, Discovery, History U.K., The Sci-Fi Network, and APTN.
Most recently Cam has been directing episodes of the Eagle Vision series Taken for APTN and CBC.
Executive in Charge of Production, Documentary Programming, CBC Television
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 “CBC Docs POV” (formerly “Firsthand”). In its forth year, the strand has gone on to entertain and enlighten Canadians coast to coast.
Showrunner, Producer, Writer
Cheryl Binning is a showrunner, producer and writer working in factual and documentary television. She is the showrunner of season 5 and 6 of the Discovery series Jade Fever, season 5 of History’s Yukon Gold and the AMI series Mind Set Go. She is also consulting showrunner on the new Viasat World series Ice Vikings. Cheryl has also worked as a senior story editor on Yukon Gold and Klondike Trappers (History US and History Canada), the true crime series Very Bad Men (Investigation Discovery), and story edited numerous episodes of Discovery’s long-running series Highway Thru Hell. She has also written episodes of numerous other lifestyle and factual shows including The Cupcake Girls (W Network) Million Dollar Neighborhood (Own), Dussault Inc. (CityTV) and Confessions: Animal Hoarding (Animal Planet).
Daniel Cross is co-founder of EYESTEELFILM in Montreal, named by Real Screen Magazine as a top 100 non-fiction production company in the world. He is a Professor and Concordia University Research Chair in Interactive Documentary at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Cross is also a member of the Provost’s Circle of Distinction and sits on Concordia University’s Board of Governors. Cross is a multi-disciplined award-winning documentary filmmaker with a long history of directing and producing theatrical documentaries. Cross’ CURC will host a VR public showcase at this years festival.
His latest film I AM THE BLUES won 2 Canadian Screen Awards for Best Feature Length Theatrical Documentary, and Best Cinematography, the film also opened the 70th annual Yorkton Film Festival winning 2 Golden Sheaf awards. Cross is currently looking for a production unit to film the 2019 Stanley Cup Parade in downtown Montreal – Go Habs!
Erin Mussolum is a professional in the areas of film and television, digital media, communications, public relations and project management.
For close to 20 years she has been actively working in the film and television sector in a variety of roles. Erin ran her own documentary production company for 10 years pitching and selling content to national and international broadcasters. She has been an active story producer and development producer for many of the top television and radio companies in Vancouver, and most recently helped build up the TELUS STORYHIVE program in her past role as Project Manager. For the last 10 years she has given her eyes and ears to the Leo Awards as one of their jury members, and sits on the board at The Cinematheque in Vancouver.
With a unique career that has straddled both the production and communication sectors, Erin knows first hand the importance of not only creating quality content but also communicating that content in a way that will amplify efforts and find traction in the marketplace.
Director and DP
A graduate of Ryerson University’s School of Radio and Television Arts, George Hupka has thorough, hands-on knowledge of all aspects of production. He has been a freelance director and DP since 1992, shooting several projects with the UK’s Windfall Films, including a documentary in Egypt entitled Rescuing Ramesses, Canadian portions of PBS Nova: Making North America, episodes of Rise of the Machines, and episodes of the NSA-nominated series Strip the City. He has served as cinematographer on the NFB films Gift of the Grandfathers, Donna’s Story, Two Worlds Colliding, Flight from Darkness, First Stories, and Twixt Heaven and Earth. For CBC’s Witness, he shot Quints and Quads: A New Baby Boom and The Season. George has also won a Promax Screen Award, a Gemini Award and a National Screen Award. In 2012-2013, he co-produced the Rogers Sportsnet series On the Edge with Toronto’s Fadoo Productions. Most recently, George co-produced and served as cinematographer on the award-winning feature documentary nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up.
Sometime between the invention of colour television and the first HD broadcast in Canada, 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 Citytv Saskatchewan she’s involved in all aspects of broadcasting- from operations to programming. The station is a provincial educational broadcaster and was called SCN in a former life.
Over the years she has helped bring many hours of content from Saskatchewan and beyond to screens and audiences. A number of titles have won national and international awards –and have gone on to be licensed in other markets around the world.
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 (Past President) 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 make jelly salads, 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.
NFB North West Studio - Producer
Based in Winnipeg, Jon is a producer with the National Film Board of Canada, working on a slate of documentary, animation, and interactive projects about identity, culture, and social justice. His most recent feature doc, the multi-award winning nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (dir Tasha Hubbard), opened Hot Docs 2019 where it took home the Best Canadian Feature prize and has since screened theatrically across Canada and at festivals around the world. Jon also produced the short documentary Stories Are in Our Bones (dir Janine Windolph), which premiered at San Francisco’s American Indian Film Festival in fall 2019. Other short docs include Talking at Night (dir Eric Thiessen), To Wake Up the Nakota Language (dir Louise BigEagle), and Ride (dir Kristin Catherwood), all produced through the Doc Lab Saskatchewan project. Additionally, the short docs Breaths (dir Nyla Innuksuk) and Music in the Prairie Night (dir Mike Maryniuk) were produced for the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. Prior to producing, Jon worked as associate producer with the NFB, working on the 10th and 11th editions of the Hothouse animation intensives, the feature documentary Danny (dirs Justin Simms, Bill MacGillivray), and a slate of short and long form projects. A transplanted east coaster, Jon holds an MA in Communication & Culture from York and Ryerson Universities.
Perfect Day Productions - Executive Producer
Robert Hardy is a seasoned writer and producer. He is currently showrunning the History series Big Timber and was a key part of the creation and first season of the hit Netflix/History series Rust Valley Restorers. Robert is a storyteller with extensive experience in the development & production of documentary and factual programming, scripted comedy and drama. Known for his ability to coalesce people around an idea and a shared vision, Robert helped create one of the world’s first web series in 1997, and has served as a Senior Vice President at Entertainment One, a network executive with Bell Media and a Senior Communications officer with CBC-Radio Canada. Before that he was a Communications Director, an advertising writer & director and a strategic communications consultant. Having built an extensive network within the media industry, he has worked as a consultant & collaborator with a diverse range of organizations including Corus, CBC, TELUS, Cirque du Soleil and Kew Media. He has also served as a co-founder and board member of a number of entertainment industry organizations from Field and Post and FactualWEST to national theatre companies and film festivals.
As a 20 plus year veteran of the film and television industry Scott R. Leary continues to try and make his mark in the business. Starting out on air as a sports reporter/anchor and transitioning to behind the camera his award winning work can be seen in over 100 countries. Having produced one off documentaries, feature films, documentary series, scripted drama and lifestyle television his filmography is deep, rich and varied.
Writer, Filmmaker, and Associate Professor
Dr. Tasha Hubbard is a writer, filmmaker and associate professor at the University of Alberta. She is from Peepeekisis First Nation in Treaty Four Territory and has ties to Thunderchild First Nation in Treaty Six Territory. She is also the mother of a 12-year-old son. Her academic research has focussed on Indigenous efforts to return the buffalo to the lands and Indigenous film in North America. Her first solo writing/directing project, Two Worlds Colliding (NFB), about Saskatoon’s infamous “starlight tours,” premiered at imagineNATIVE in 2004 and won the Canada Award at the Gemini Awards in 2005. In 2017, Tasha directed the NFB-produced feature documentary Birth of a Family, about a Sixties Scoop family coming together for the first time during a holiday in Banff. It premiered at Hot Docs and landed on the top-ten audience favourites list. It also won the Audience Favourite for Feature Documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival and the Moon Jury prize at imagineNATIVE. Her latest feature documentary is nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, a personal exploration of the cost of the death of Colten Boushie.