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.
With over 25 years experience in the industry, Brandice is known for her expertise in developing and nurturing talent, and finding great projects. As a development consultant Brandice works hands-on with her clients to provide feedback in development consultations on creative materials, creates a pitching game plan, helps with the design of pitch materials, and designs strategies for successful market attendance.
She has been involved with numerous award-winning projects for Bell Media, Shaw Media, CBC, Corus, HBO Canada and Rogers as a coach, mentor and production executive.
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.
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.
Cam Bennett is Executive Producer at Bell MTS TV in Winnipeg. Working with community producers, Bell MTS creates intensely local content under the banner Stories From Home. We support and license new documentary and lifestyle series that reflect the people and places of Manitoba.
Upcoming series include In The Archives, The Prairie Gourmet, Boys’ Club, How to Do (Almost) Absolutely Everything, and The Hundred Dollar Challenge.
Prior to joining MTS in 2008, Cam worked as 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.
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.
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.
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.