Board of Directors
Paul Gratton is the former Vice-President of Entertainment Specialty Channels for CHUM, where he oversaw the development of such successful specialty channels as Bravo!, Space and Drive-In Classics. . Previously, he was a Vice-President of Programming for both Superchannel and FIrst CHoice during Canadian Pay television's first decade on air, and served as CEO of the Ontario Film Development Corporation. He has also served as Chair of the Canadian Television Fund and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, and on the boards of the Independent Production Fund, the National Screen Institute, BravoFact and MAXfact. Mr. Gratton currently sits as Chair of the First Weekend Club, and as Director of Programming for the Whistler Film Festival. His consulting activities include work done for Telefilm Canada, the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association, Bell Media, the Directors' Guild of Canada and Television Quatre Saisons. An avid film buff, he has detailed notes on over 19,000 feature films that he has screened, and closely tracks the ever evolving North American distribution and film production sectors.
As Executive Vice President, Filmed Entertainment for Cineplex Entertainment, Mr. Kennedy oversees all aspects of film programming, corporate sales and alternative programming for the company. Prior to joining Cineplex, Mr. Kennedy held senior management positions at Famous Players, Cineplex Odeon, Norstar Releasing and Astral FIlms. He is an industry veteran whose carrer has included roles in film and video distribution, theatre operations, advertising and film programming.
Mr. Kennedy currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Film Centre, the First Weekend Club and the Motion Picture Pioneers Association. He also serves on the Telefilm Advisory panel and is a member of the Hot Docs Film Festival Advisory committee.
Marc Séguin joined the Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA) in 2004. In his role as Senior Vice-President of Policy, Marc oversees all the organization's policy initiatives, including all issues related to feature film. Additional responsibilities include government relations, membership services, communications, the general operations of the CMPA's Ottawa office as well as the CMPA's annual Prime Time in Ottawa conference.
Before joining the CMPA, Marc held a number of increasingly senior positions in the Public Service of Canada between the late 1980s and 2001. While working as a civil servant, Marc was recruited to a ministerial task force that helped support the Charlottetown Accord initiative of 1992, which was a package of proposed amendments to the Constitution of Canada. Later, he was assigned to another ministerial task force mandated to contribute to the amalgamation of number of federal departments into the Department of Canadian Heritage, which was inaugurated in 1993. Further to this accomplishment, he played an instrumental role in developing and implementing the Government of Canada's Feature Film Policy of 2000 and its various initiatives, including the Canada Feature Film Fund. Following a short assignment in Vancouver with Telefilm Canada, Seguin was recruited by a former Executive Director of Telefilm Canada to assist with a national review of the federal government's Canadian content definitions in 2002.
Marc is a graduate of Concordia University in Montreal, where he earned a BA with a Specialization in Communication Studies.
Since 2010, Emily Alden has been Vice-President of Vancouver, BC based Pacific Northwest Pictures (PNP), an entertainment company specializing in the development, financing, production and distribution of feature films for the domestic and international marketplace.
Prior to her position with PNP, Emily worked for Raven West Films where she coproduced Carl Bessai’s feature drama UNNATURAL & ACCIDENTAL. Following her time at Raven West, Emily formed her own production company, All Done Productions, where she developed and produced content for a number of platforms. Reuniting with Carl Bessai in 2011, Emily produced SISTERS & BROTHERS, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the 2012 Leo Award for Best Feature Length Drama.
Alden is currently Executive Producer on Michael Melski’s Halifax based thriller CHARLIE ZONE, as well as Gia Milani’s upcoming ALL THE WRONG REASONS starring Cory Monteith (“Glee”) and Karine Vanesse (Polytechnique) and Jason Priestley’s feature film directorial debut CAS & DYLAN starring Academy Award® Winner Richard Dryfuss and Tatiana Maslany.
Actively involved in the Canadian film community, Emily currently serves as the Vice-President on the First Weekend Club Board of Directors, and has been a panelist for the Vancouver International Film Festival, Film Nova Scotia, and the Available Light Film Festival. Since 2004 Emily has volunteered her time to work with the Whistler Film Festival and the Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature Film. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts (Art History and History) from the University of British Columbia.
At the age of 10, Tim Brown screened JAWS and knew from that point forward his life was going to be dedicated to film in one way or another. In July 2009 Tim founded Joker Films from the basement of his home in North Vancouver. Although the company was new to the global production/distribution landscape Tim was not. Tim has spent the past 20 years in all aspects of film.
Tim started working for Rene Malo (DECLINE OF THE AMERICAN EMPIRE) in the distribution of STV films in Canada. Malofilm at the time distributed approx 15-20 movies/month. After three years at Malofilm Tim moved to Astral where he was National Sales Manager. In the 6 years spent at Astral (later known as, Motion) he was responsible for evaluating thousands of scripts and feature films. By travelling the world looking for films and releasing them into the Canadian market place Tim developed a keen sense of what films worked in the marketplace and what films did not.
After 6 years at Motion, Tim moved West to Vancouver to explore new opportunities in the world of West coast production. Tim spent a year working with an independent production company, Highwire, learning the ropes of production and financing of feature films.
Tim went on to become head of worldwide sales and distribution for Keystone Entertainment. Tim was in charge of marketing and releasing all internal productions to the global marketplace. He learned what films not only worked in the Canadian marketplace but the international and US marketplace as well. He had the opportunity to garner important relationships with all the major studios and mini-majors.
After his time at Keystone, Tim decided to fulfill his lifelong dream to direct his first feature film. He directed THE CRADLE starring Lukas Haas. Once Tim had the chance to write and direct his own feature film it gave him the ability to fully appreciate the process of writing, producing and directing.
After Tim directed THE CRADLE, he went on to become President of Insight Film Studios and in just over two years was involved in the financing, creation, packaging, marketing and sales of over 40 films including PERSONAL EFFECTS (Ashton Kutchar and Michelle Pfeiffer), NUMB (Mathew Perry), and WHILE SHE WAS OUT (Kim Bassinger).
In his first 24 months since founding Joker Films Tim has Executive Produced over 11 films. In addition, Tim is currently producing 2 feature films.
Cornel Fota is a technology leader with 16 years experience in software development, enterprise software architecture and technology management and consulting and currently is Consulting Manager for Western Canada at Alma Consulting Group and Chief Technology Officer at Good Life Networks Inc. He has held senior management roles with a number of technology companies, more recently serving as CTO for startups Xool Labs and Itiva Digital Media, leading the development and implementation of cloud based video content management platforms and video streaming platforms. Prior to that, Cornel was Vice President of Engineering at AlarmPoint Systems and CTO at NASDAQ listed Semotus Solutions, building and leading software organizations developing enterprise software products in wireless data services and notification management systems through periods of high growth and major technological redesign of the software platforms. Cornel holds an M.Sc. in Computer Engineering from the Technical University in Bucharest, as well as a post graduate management degree from École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées in Paris, and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)®
Jan entered the entertainment industry as an actor and clown. Her theatre company, Small Change, toured internationally (Paris, Tokyo, London, New York, Singapore, Adelaide...) for 8 years and became a Canadian cultural calling card. Moving into film and television, Jan was instrumental in starting Canada's first film school, the National Screen Institute and served as its Executive Director designing and implementing its first programs including the NSI's Features First and Drama Prize. She also founded and ran the Local Heroes International Screen Festival for 13 years. With her move to Halifax in 1997, Jan joined forces with the Atlantic Film Festival Association to research and design Strategic Partners, Canada's premier international co-production market where she continues as its Director. In 2009, working with the Eric Pommer Institut on behalf of SP, Jan co-designed Trans Atlantic Partners, an international co-production training programme for producers from across Europe and Canada and now the US, working with IFP, NY. From 1999-01, Jan was VP, Development for imX Communications responsible for moving forward numerous features, television and animation projects including the children's animation series, Crafty Cow. In 2003 Jan also designed and presented Telefilm Canada's first SPARK PLUG training program for mid-level diverse television producers of drama and comedy.
Over the past 20 years, Jan has developed and honed one of the top Pitching and Content Development Workshops in the world. She's presented her workshops coast to coast in Canada - at the Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, the Banff Television Festival, the Atlantic Film Festival, as well as for most of Canada's provincial agencies and major training facilities. Internationally she's presented from Cartagena to the Amazon, South Africa's Sithengi, Australia's AIDC, China's GZDoc, Mexico's Guadalajara Film Festival, Berlin's Talent Campus, Poland's ScriptEast, Cannes' Producers' Network to Cuba's International Film School.
Jan's very popular pitching workshops have now expanded to the Music Industry and are presented as Export Ready workshops for both artists and managers for the East Coast Music Association and the West Coast Music Association.
Jan has won numerous awards for her achievements including ITV's Woman of Vision Award and WIFT-Toronto's first Chrystal Award for Excellence in Training/Professional Development and most recently, the WIFT-AT Wave Award for her remarkable contribution and support of the Atlantic screen industry. She served 3 years on the Atlantic Film Festival Board, 9 years on the Canadian Conference of the Arts Board including 2 years as national president, served on the inaugural Cultural Human Resources Council Board, the CFCN Production Fund Board for 5 years and the Shaw Broadcast Fund Board. Presently Jan sits on the Board of First Weekend Club and is the Founding Chair for WIFT-Atlantic.
Cheryl Nex, President of EP Canada Limited Partnership, a Rainmaker Company, has worked in the motion picture industry since 1989. Ms. Nex completed her Executive MBA, from Simon Fraser University in 2006 and her Certified General Accountants (CGA) designation in 1998. She shares her first-hand knowledge with clients and colleagues and has instructed production accounting workshops and participated in panel discussions across western Canada and the United States. She serves on the Ethics Committee of the Certified General Accountants Association of British Columbia.
Ms. Nex has participated in numerous advisory roles including developing regulations for the employment of children in the motion picture and television industry in British Columbia. She is a Director of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of British Columbia (MPPIA), an incorporated society whose mission it is to facilitate constructive interaction among production companies, industry infrastructure, communities and individuals to promote orderly growth of the film and television industry in British Columbia. Cheryl is also on the Board of the First Weekend Club, a non-profit organization that strives to build audiences for great Canadian films through grassroots initiatives.
Cheryl Nex trained with the Whistler Ski Team and at age 14 won the Shell Cup Canadian Juvenile Ski Championship for the combined disciplines of downhill, giant slalom and slalom. She joined the Vancouver Ski Team, an elite group of ten athletes who traveled and competed throughout Western Canada. Having won many competitions including the gold medal for the combined downhill, giant slalom and slalom at the 1983 BC Winter Games, she unfortunately experienced a career-ending accident.
Cheryl volunteers her time as a member of Beta Sigma Phi and is actively involved in Junior Achievement providing advice and support to high school students.
Born in Bratislava and raised in Canada, Ingrid Veninger formed pUNK Films Inc. in 2003 with a 'nothing is impossible' manifesto. An award-winning creative producer, Ingrid has made numerous films, including: GAMBLING, GODS AND LSD, (TIFF 2002, Genie Award for Best Documentary), THE LIMB SALESMAN (TIFF 2004), ONLY (TIFF 2008), NURSE.FIGHTER.BOY (TIFF 2008, nominated for 10 Genie Awards including Best Motion Picture), and MODRA (TIFF 2010, official selection Canada's TOP TEN). Currently, Ingrid is co-producing Peter Mettler's TIME BEING with the NFB, and releasing her latest feature as director/writer/producer/actor, shot in the UK, Paris and Berlin, entitled i am a good person/i am a bad person, and she is teaching at York University.