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.
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.
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.
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.
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 directed episodes of the Eagle Vision series Taken for APTN and CBC.
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.
Kelly was born and raised in Yorkton, Saskatchewan and directly attributes seeing “Star Wars” at the Tower Theatre in 1977 as his inspiration for pursuing a career in the film industry. He graduated from the University of Regina with a BFA in film & Video in 1993. The next year he moved to Vancouver and began working as a post production assistant on several low budget action movies.
In 1997 Kelly worked as the assistant editor on Disney’s Air Bud, and shortly afterwards began editing himself, starting with a steady stream of family movies which included several Air Bud sequels.
Kelly made the shift in recent years to the TV movie market, and has cut films for the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, and CBS. Kelly won the 2020 Leo Award for best picture editing in a made for television movie for his work on Sleeping With Danger.
Kelly has also worked as an instructor at the Vancouver Film School, and actively contributes to the post production scene in Vancouver.
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.
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.
Shelley MacDougall has a screen-based media career spanning more than two decades across Canada.
As the current manager of programming for Central Canada at APTN, Shelley oversees television projects for development and production, commissioned from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and the Northwest Territories
Ursula Lawson | Manager, Programs & Development
EAVE On Demand Access Program, TELUS STORYHIVE, NSI Business for Producers, NSI New Northern Voices, Secretary, NSI Board of Directors
Ursula has been with the National Screen Institute since 2004 and is a manager of programs and development.
She is currently working on training initiatives including EAVE On Demand Access Program, NSI Business for Producers and NSI New Northern Voices. She also oversees the mentorship, development and delivery of projects for TELUS STORYHIVE.
In 2013 Ursula was honoured to receive the YMCA-YWCA Women of Distinction Circle of Inspiration Award along with colleagues Lisa Meeches and Melissa Kajpust for their contribution to CBC New Indigenous Voices. In 2019, Ursula was nominated for the Winnipeg Arts Council Making a Difference award which celebrates contributions to the growth and development of the arts in Winnipeg.
Instrumental in helping the National Screen Institute develop and deliver culturally sensitive film and television training to emerging Indigenous content creators, Ursula previously managed CBC New Indigenous Voices, NSI IndigiDocs and NSI Aboriginal Journalism. She also coordinated NSI Global Marketing, NSI Totally Television, NSI Aboriginal Cultural Trade Initiative and NSI Pitch to Win! Ursula is secretary of the NSI Board of Directors.
Two directors who recently joined the board of the festival talk about their experience in the industry, and with the festival.
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