2016 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.

Canadian Film Centre

Ana Serano

Ana Serrano is the Chief Digital Officer of the CFC and Founder of CFC Media Lab, the world-renowned and award-winning institute for interactive storytelling created in 1997. Serrano is driving the digital transformation of the CFC into a unique blend of talent, product and company accelerator and creative production house. Most recently, she launched Canada’s first digital entertainment accelerator ideaBOOST with founding partners Shaw Media, Corus Entertainment and Google. To date, Serrano has directed the development of over 130 digital media projects, mentored over 50 start-ups, and has received numerous awards from the digital media, film, and theatre industries in both Canada and the U.S.

Independent Filmmaker

Brian Stockton

Brian Stockton is a filmmaker and educator who works in a variety of genres including animation, documentary and drama. He holds an MFA from York University and was a director resident at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre. His recent focus has been on humourous autobiographical films, including his acclaimed Saskatchewan Trilogy (2002-2006), and the one-hour documentary My Dinner with Generation X (2010). His latest project is the feature film comedy The Sabbatical (2015). He currently teaches film production at his alma mater, the University of Regina.

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” and series such as “Star Portraits”, “Bathroom Divas”, “Ballet Girls” and “Stripsearch”. Many of the documentaries she commissioned went on to win awards and two were short listed for the Academy Awards.

After departing Bell Media in 2011, Engel set up her own production company, Rock Yenta Productions. During this time, she was quite busy, executive producing “Fractured Land” for documentary, producing “Puffin Patrol” and “Carpe Diem: A Fishy Tale” for CBC’s “The Nature of Things” and “Mugshot” for TVO. She is currently co-producing “My Millennial Life” with Makin’ Movies for TVO.

In April 2015, Engel joined CBC’s Unscripted department, looking after a new POV documentary strand called “Firsthand”. The series debuted in October and looks for 18 hours of documentary programming annually.

Engel currently sits on the board of imagineNATIVE.

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).

Eyesteel Film

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 Chair of the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema, Concordia University, a member of the Universities Circle of Distinction and Board of Governors. Cross is a multi-disciplined award winning documentary filmmaker with a long history of directing and producing theatrical documentaries.

He made his mark directing feature length films concerning issues of homelessness, THE STREET: a film with the homeless, S.P.I.T: Squeegee Punks In Traffic. Together with 8 Inuit students he directed the award winning film; Inuuvunga: I am Inuk I am alive and Last year the EyeSteelFilm documentary Jingle Bell Rocks won Best of the Fest at Yorkton.

National Film Board

David Christensen

David Christensen an Executive Producer at the National Film Board of Canada where he oversees a slate of documentary, interactive, and animation productions made nationally and internationally. David manages the North West Centre, one of the NFB’s six English language studios located across Canada.

Recent production highlights include the NFB co-produced feature documentary “Hadwin’s Judgement”, directed by Sasha Snow that screened at the 2015 Hot Docs Film Festival, the feature film “The Forbidden Room” directed by Guy Maddin & Evan Johnson that screened at the 2015 Berlin and Sundance Film Festivals, Cordell Barker’s new animated film “If I Was God”, the aclaimed feature documentary “Everything Will Be” directed by Julia Kwan, the co-production about Indian Residential Schools “We Were Children”, the NFB production “Vanishing Point”, “Wiebo’s War”, the Oscar-nominated animated short film “Wild Life”, the FWA Site of the Year “Bear 71”, as well as emerging filmmaking and digital programmes for Nunavut filmmakers. In total, the North West Centre has about 25-30 projects in development and production at any one time.

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.

Reelworld Film Festival

Lindsey Vodarek

Lindsey has worked in the media production industry for over a decade, in film production, broadcast television, marketing & PR, events and education. Currently she is the Manager of all things communication at Reelworld Film Festival where her passion for social impact films inspires audiences to get involved. As well, she conducts research on the success of CMF-funded productions, both TV and Digital Media. She is Co-creator of the #EyeOnCanada campaign celebrating Canadian production.

Prior to Reelworld, she was Manager, Public Relations, at the Canadian Media Production Association where she managed producer development, outreach and strategic public relations initiatives. A member of WIFT-T and the YFF Programming Committee, Lindsey holds a Master of Arts in Communication & Culture.

ClearShot Entertainment Inc.

Peter Cummings

Peter Cummings is a Vancouver based film producer and one of Canada’s leading clearance and product placement experts, and in this session he will explain how filmmakers working in all budget ranges can use clearance and product placement strategies to make their films stand out.

Peter Cummings has worked as a researcher, clearance and product placement consultant on over 50 major motion pictures. He is currently working on a double feature for Universal Pictures, with projects like Big Eyes, Night at The Museum, Creed & Race recently released or in theatres with Birth of The Dragon just wrapped. As a filmmaker, he has helped to write and produce international fine arts film installations, public service announcements, shorts and feature films.  Most recently he was part of the filmmaking team who wrote and produced the award winning feature film Of Mind & Music shot in New Orleans starring Aunjanue Ellis, Joaquim deAlmeida, Sharon Lawrence, Ruth Negga & Bill Cobbs. He hopes to bring their next indie feature, set in the 1840’s upstate NY, to shoot in Eastern Canada.

Talking Dog Studios

Rob Bryanton

Rob Bryanton made his first record at twelve, and was host/music director of a 1974 CBC-TV music series at the age of twenty. Nominated ten times for Canada’s Gemini Awards, five times in the category “Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series”, and five times for “Best Sound for a Dramatic Program”, Rob supervised the sound and co-composed the music for all six seasons of the hugely successful Canadian television series “Corner Gas”

Rob is also an author, with a popular science/philosophy book about the nature of reality, called “Imagining the Tenth Dimension”. Famous science fiction author Greg Bear (winner of both the prestigious Nebula and Hugo awards) had this to say about Rob’s book: “A fascinating excursion into the multiverse—clear, elegant, personal, and provocative”. Author and research scientist David Jay Brown called Rob’s book “one of the most brilliantly conceived and mind-stretching books I have ever read”. The companion video channel for the book, found on YouTube has attracted 15 million views from around the world since its launch.

Since 2009, Rob has been diversifying his company into the exciting new worlds of AR, VR, and now Mixed Reality. With past projects for Legendary Pictures, the Mayo Clinic, SaskTel and SaskPower, current installations being created for the RCMP Heritage Centre, Saskatoon Tourism, plus other AR/VR/MR projects in development, Rob is excited to be living in a science fiction future he never thought would happen within his lifetime.

Rob lives in Regina with his wife Gail, and they have two grown sons, Todd and Mark.

Force Four Entertainment

Robert Hardy

Robert Hardy is the SVP and Head of Development of Force Four Entertainment, an Entertainment One company. Robert leads Force Four’s development team in the creation of original scripted and unscripted series and formats, including the original series Shannon & Sophie (W Network), Battle Cats (BiteTV) and Emergency (Slice), and the Canadian formats of Keeping Canada Alive (CBC), Tricked (YTV) and First Dates (Slice). Robert spent nearly a decade as a broadcaster working at CBC and CTV, including four years heading CTV’s western development office in Vancouver, where he oversaw the development and production of series, movies of the week, documentaries and alternative programming, including the science fiction series Defying Gravity (ABC/CTV/Fox TV Studios) and Playing for Keeps (CTV/Lifetime). Robert is also an experienced writer and producer of television and digital media, with a background in advertising, PR and brand development.


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 country’s most important organizations in the sector over the last thirty 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, where she owns and operates the Red Horse Ranch.

She 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.

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