YFF Board of Directors
Drawn from both community members and the film and television industry the YFF board of directors oversee and steward the festival.
Keith is originally from a farm near the small town of Atwater, Saskatchewan. He is a graduate of the College of Agriculture, University of Saskatchewan and is employed by the Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation. He and his wife Debbie are happy to be residents of Yorkton and have been supporters of and volunteers with the Film Festival for many years. Keith was also on the board of the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, as it was known then, in 1997 and 1998. He lists Annie Hall as his favorite movie, but has also enjoyed many of the short films viewed at the YFF over the years.
Richard Gustin was involved in the creation of SCN, Saskatchewan’s educational broadcaster, starting out in July 1989 as Program Manager for Arts & Science and ended up the Executive Director of Programming from 1995 until his retirement in April of 2009. Since July 2010 has been involved in the rebuilding of SCN as a commercial educational broadcaster, first as the Western Canadian Project Manager for the Bluepoint Broadcasting Group, and then as a consultant following Bluepoint’s sale of SCN to Rogers Broadcasting. He has also been a member of the board of directors of ATEC (Association of Tele Education in Canada), the CTF (Canadian Television Fund) and the Regina Arts Commission. In October 2014, Richard was awarded the Saskatchewan Lt. Governor’s Arts Award for Volunteer of the Year for his work as “a tireless supporter of arts and culture” in the province.
As development manager, independent production for Bell Media, Brandice is the creative executive on projects coming through the Winnipeg office (serving producers in MB, SK & AB) that are in development or production, and also leads community engagement and outreach programs in these provinces. Brandice has worked in the film and television industry for over 20 years, most recently as senior program manager at the National Screen Institute, where she developed course curriculum, facilitated training and mentored participants as they developed their series and feature projects. She has worked on numerous award-winning projects for Bell Media, Shaw Media, CBC, HBO Canada, and City. Prior to joining NSI, Brandice negotiated license agreements for CTV, The Comedy Network, and Discovery. She also prepared compliance reports for the CRTC and liaised with independent producers on all Canadian dramatic programming developed and licensed by CTV. She began her career at Manitoba Film & Music as a programs analyst.
Brenda Pries is a retired accountant and business partner of Maple Farm Equipment in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Brenda is an avid supporter of the Arts in Saskatchewan and in past years Brenda was a volunteer for the Yorkton Film Festival. Realizing the importance and the future of the Festival Brenda became a Board Member in 2010. Brenda continues to look forward to being a contributor in making the Yorkton festival “the one of choice” for current and emerging filmmakers.
As the Executive Producer at MTS TV in Winnipeg, Cam works closely with independent Manitoba producers, overseeing intensely local content for MTS Stories From Home. Recent titles include One Gay City, A Good Madness, Controversies, and Ain’t About The Money. Prior to MTS, Cam worked in documentary & lifestyle television as a writer, producer and director. His work has aired on CBC, CTV, Discovery, History U.K., The SciFi Network, SCN and APTN. Select titles include: As Seen On TV: The K-Tel Story, Avrocar! Saucer Secrets From The Past, Recreating Eden, and Magnificent Obsessions.
After majoring in Marketing and Accounting (College of Commerce) at the University of Saskatchewan, Dana Lesiuk continued her studies at the University of Regina, which included Film and Video Production and English Honours. She is an award-winning writer, and holds a highly successful track record of building businesses within the entertainment industry. In addition to working with Hospitality Network Canada, she acted as Creative Director of one of the first digital signage networks in Canada, and founded the production company, Aristea Artists. She holds credits in producing, directing, publicity, production coordinating and script supervising on numerous international productions – from documentaries to comedy series to blockbuster movies. Her award-winning feature film, Rust (Sony Pictures), opened the 2010 Yorkton Film Festival.
Proud to call Yorkton her “home town”, Debbie is an avid supporter of the arts in the city. Debbie is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, an English major, and after a lengthy career as a writer/producer with CTV, Debbie is thrilled to be part of the team of “our amazing Film Festival”. She credits her parents and high school teachers for encouraging her first experiences with the Film Festival, which began an ardent interest that continues to this day. Debbie is an enthusiastic writer and gardener; an eager, if not skilled, artist; and a happy volunteer for many organizations in Yorkton.
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.
Joy Loewen is a passionate supporter of the production, promotion and exhibition of Canadian art and artists.
Having previously worked as a broadcast and festival programmer at WTN (Women's Television Network), CBC and the Gimli Film Festival; program manager at NSI (National Screen Institute) and On Screen Manitoba and executive director at Freeze Frame Media Arts Centre for Young People, Joy's specialty lies in developing and promoting a diverse range of media projects.
Joy is currently the manager, programs and development for the NSI Totally Television and NSI Features First courses.
Joy is also an active volunteer with leadership roles in several Winnipeg non-profit organizations. Having previously served as president of the Balmoral Hall Parent Association and co-chair of the Yes, She Can! Dinner honouring The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, she is currently board chair at Balmoral Hall School.
Her passion and commitment to supporting artists and emerging talent extends into her volunteer work as a member of the Rainbow Stage board of directors and their awards and scholarships committee as well as the Winnipeg Foundation’s strategic initiatives committee.
Ron Irvine was born and raised in Yorkton Saskatchewan, leaving to pursue education and job opportunities after graduating high school in 1995. Ron attended the University of Regina and CDI college, receiving a degree in computer networking with MCSE specialization. Ron joined Access Communications in 2001 on the Internet Helpdesk, working as a supervisor until 2007. At that time Ron accepted the Position of NE District Manager, based out of Yorkton, and moved home in the spring of 2007. In this role Ron works directly with the Access 7 Community Channel, which produces local programming, providing unique opportunities for local expression in the communities it serves.
Steve Allen is a principal partner, founding member and a Producer and Director with the Wavelength Entertainment Group and is responsible for major decisions on key issues for the Wavelength Entertainment Group of companies.
Steve has worked in the television industry as a Director and/or Director of Photography on commercials and documentary series since 2001. for History Television, Discovery Channel, Discovery Military, The Smithsonian Channel US, A&E Biography, and TLC. In 2009 he won the Showcase best Photography award In 2005 for Worksafe Saskatchewan “Hospital” commercial, He was nominated for a Canadian Society of Cinematographers C.S.C. Award for Best Cinematography for his work on the documentary Escape from Iran, which was also nominated for a Gemini Award. He was nominated for a Showcase Award for Best Cinematography in a Documentary for the series Crime Stories. He has also been nominated for a Showcase Award for Best Visual Effects.