Our Staff

 

ANITA ADAMS 

Executive Director

Anita Adams has over 20 years experience working in film and television. She got her start in the film industry as an actor and has also worked as development officer for Orca Productions, has produced her own short films, was an associate producer for the acclaimed Crazy8s Filmmaking project, and the coordinator for the CBC Television & British Columbia Film Signature Shorts Screenwriting Competition. In 1998, Anita launched the Alibi Unplugged Script Reading Series, a monthly forum that brought provocative screenplays to life in front of a live audience. In a short time, the script series had become an integral part of the Vancouver film community serving writers, directors, producers and actors.

In February 2003, Anita launched the First Weekend Club, an initiative designed to build audiences for Canadian films and to support a film's critical first weekend in theatres. What started as a Vancouver based initiative has grown into a national organization which has now helped to promote over 200 Canadian films.

 

PriyaWeb

PRIYA RAO

Director of Operations

Priya comes to The First Weekend Club with over 12 years experience in the Canadian film & tv industry. As Head of Content for the Banff World Television Festival she conceptualized and programmed a schedule of panels and workshops focusing on television and digital media. In addition to her role overseeing the logistics and execution of the festival overall, Priya was integral in the creation and launch of the Canwest Showrunner Training Program and the Telefilm TV360 Program, and brought top-tier US agents out to Banff for the first time in 2009. Prior to joining Banff, she spent 3 years with the Canadian Film Centre's Worldwide Short Film Festival, programming the Short Films, Big Ideas Symposium, and was Director of Programming for Toronto's Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival. She programmed Prime Time In Ottawa 2012 and is excited to be back for the 2013 conference.

In her other life, Priya is a Toronto-based filmmaker. She produced and starred in the comedic short, RAJU'S BLIND DATE, which was adapted as a series of radio plays for CBC Radio. In 2004 Priya was awarded the prestigious OMDC Al Waxman Calling Card grant. She produced and starred in the crowd-funded short film, BEST PRIYA, in 2013 and had a 3 episode stint on the new series, ORPHAN BLACK, airing on Space Channel in spring 2013. Her feature film KUSH KUSH IN THE BUSH, is a romantic comedy being Executive Produced by award-winning Buffalo Gal Pictures.

Priya was awarded the Trailblazer Award at the 2006 Reel World Film Festival for her work promoting diversity onscreen, was a councilor for ACTRA Toronto and is a founding Board Member of ACTRA's Credit Union.

 

KatherineWebKATHERINE BRODSKY

Director of Public Relations & Writer

Katherine Brodsky is the owner of Random Minds PR (www.random-minds.com), a boutique public relations agency specializing in entertainment publicity, marketing & event planning. As such, she has worked with all sorts of intriguing clients in film, television, theatre, music, fashion, travel and publishing.

Katherine has also written extensively on film, culture & arts for publications such as Entertainment Weekly, Variety, USA WEEKEND Magazine, MovieMaker Magazine, The Independent Film & Video Monthly, Stage Directions, The Georgia Straight, Alive Magazine, Forward and many others. She has interviewed a variety of figures including Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Genie, & Grammy winners and had appeared as a guest on BBC Radio 5, The Bill Courage Show, The Paul Myers Show, The Early Edition (CBC), The Rafe Mair Show, CKNW, 650 CISL, Urban Rush, The Express, Channel M and was interviewed for the Chicken Soup Book for the Achieving Soul, as well as numerous outlets including E! Online, MSNBC, The Georgia Straight, The Toronto Star, The Vancouver Sun, The Vancouver Province, etc.

Katherine has also written and edited extensively for the web, contributing to online outlets such as CountingDown.com (a Dreamworks SKG Company), MODA Magazine, and MovieWeb.com, where she also had a popular film column entitled, The MovieGuru (fans of the column included the likes of Oscar-winner Roger Avery and guest experts such as producer Peter Guber and actor Eric Stoltz).

In addition to her publicity & journalism work, Katherine is involved with the filmmaking process (her great passion & obsession). She has written a number of screenplays (mostly comedies), provided coverage for various production companies, and is currently developing a few exciting projects.

Katherine has also appeared in front of the lens and has trained as an actor & singer in Vancouver and New York (where she enjoyed very late nights at Carnegie Hall). A dedicated fan of humor, she even did a tad of stand-up comedy training to boot on the recommendation of a certain rather funny Hollywood director/producer, this helps infuse her words with even more jest - when permitted. She is a member of the Association of Independent Video & Filmmakers in New York, founder of The Media Group (also in New York) and is a great, albeit neurotic, fan of Woody Allen's films (whom she had successfully stalked- err, met).

Her personal website is www.katherinebrodsky.com

 

SARKA KALUSOVA

Creative Director

Sarka is an accomplished marketing and communications professional, award-winning designer and writer with over twenty years of experience in the international advertising, marketing and media industry. 14 years ago her professional journey brought her from Prague to Boston, and now Toronto. As Creative Director at McCann-Erickson in Prague, Market & Brand, and Dorland Advertising, Sarka developed and launched a number of campaigns for BMW, Gillette, Nestle, Peugeot, Bacardi-Martini and Bata. In the US, she established a new communications division for JKW International in Boston. As Director of Marketing Communications at software company AccuSoft Corporation, she was instrumental in sparking new growth and opportunities. In Canada, Sarka joined forces with e-marketing company Connectus Direct where she managed creative and strategy development services for L'Oreal, General Motors, Contiki Travel, ClubLink, Telus, AOL, Tetley, Johnson & Johnson and Canada Post.

Currently, Sarka operates her own company Digital Fin Communications offering a range of marketing services with an emphasis on new media and the Web. Her portfolio includes projects for The Canadian Film Centre/Feature Film Project, Alcina Pictures, Indiecan Entertainment, Federgreen Entertainment, Wolfe Video, Chocolate Box Entertainment, GAT Productions and various film productions and artists. The company has been working also on projects with environmental and animal welfare focus.

 

ALEXANDRA STASESON

Programmer & Producer
FWC Screening Series

Alexandra Staseson has been with FWC since 2005. 

She is the producer of the monthly, First Weekend Club Screening Series program in Vancouver, BC, which has been since 2006, a monthly live screening, Q&A, & reception of great Canadian Film. Also busy sharing #CdnFilm buzz you can find her on the @1stWeekendClub and @CanadaScreens Twitter accounts. Outside of FWC, Alexandra works as an actress for film, tv and theatre, she graduated from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and can most recently be seen playing "Jane' in Canadian Feature Film, The Dick Knost Show by Bruce Sweeney (TIFF13/ VIFF13). Alexandra also works as a writer and an online/producer for film & broadcast TV, and has enjoyed working creatively with shows on OLN, Discovery and MTV. If Alexandra could see one thing happen on this earth, it is that each child be given the un-limted, boundlesss opportunity to discover and explore their creative potential. 

 

PAUL ARMSTRONG

Producer
FWC Screening Series

Paul Armstrong is a Vancouver film, television and theatre producer.

Paul produces the First Weekend Club Screening Series Vancouver, a monthly screening of Canadian feature films, for the First Weekend Club. He is also founder, programmer and producer of The Celluloid Social Club, a monthly screening series of independent short films.

Feature film credits include 'Moving Malcolm' by Benjamin Ratner starring Elizabeth Berkley; the Genie Award nominated 'See Grace Fly' starring Gina Chiarelli and Paul McGillion and 'Ill-Fated', which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and stars Peter Outerbridge. He is currently in post-production on the documentary 'Revolution', The Legacy of the Sixties and in development on several dramatic feature films including 'Lawrence & Holloman' and .'Anna's Window'.

Short film credits include 'The Money Pet' featuring Alan Cumming, 'Monster' & 'Everything's Coming up Rosie' starring Jodelle Ferland (Twilight) & Ian Tracey, 'The Bar' starring Peter Deluise, 'Break a Leg, Rosie' starring Carly Pope & Ian Tracey, and 'Mon amour mon parapluie' with cameos by William Gibson & Douglas Coupland. Paul has also produced TV commercials with Adplay Media and music videos for Bif Naked, Jim Byrnes, Jessie Farrell and Jeff Martin of the 'Tea Party'. He has also produced 20 plays, from Shakespeare to Ibsen to Mamet.

 

LU ASFAHA

Content & Web Producer

Lu Asfaha is an emerging filmmaker, writer and editor.  

Lu Asfaha was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, but migrated to Toronto at a young age and has lived in the Queen City ever since. She wrote and produced the short documentary Kerry, about a struggling young man who turned his life around, which premiered at the Portland Film Festival, and recently edited the short film Something Like This, about two young men that find love at a gay conversion camp.  When not writing or editing new screenplays, Lu works in film marketing, utilizing social media sites for her shorts and having worked on the marketing of the feature film Ben’s at Home. Current work can be found here: www.luasfaha.com

 

AnnaforWebANNA HARDWICK

Social Media Manager & Writer

Anna is an actor, writer and producer working in film and theatre in Toronto and across Canada.

She is passionate about Canadian film and loves to support it by covering premieres, film festivals, industry panels and events for the First Weekend Club Blog and conducting on-camera interviews with filmmakers.

Anna is a graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, UK, and the Citadel/Banff Centre Professional Theatre Program and is a founding member of Project Undertow and performed in their SummerWorks Festival sold-out success "Melancholy Play." Favourite theatre work includes "Pride and Prejudice" (Banff Centre and Citadel Theatre), "Barefoot in the Park" (Theatre & Co), and the smash hit "Where's My Money?" which she co-produced with the Alley Co-op. Selected film and TV work includes the features "Cosmopolis" and "Casino Jack" as well as "Lost Girl" (Showcase), and the shorts "Blind Spot" and "Unmendable."

Currently, Anna is part of a team developing a play inspired by gothic women writers, with The National Silent Theatre of Sweden, which will integrate Deaf and hearing theatre practices. 

Her first short film, "Baby Brain," which she wrote, produced and starred in, was directed by FWC alum Mars Horodyski, and produced by her FWC colleague Priya Rao. It is currently in post production and can be found here: www.blueroofproductions.ca  

Anna is represented by Noble Caplan Abrams. For more info, check out www.annahardwick.com 

 

 MADISON BORLAND 

TIFF Intern

Madi is a recent graduate of Brock University in St Catharine’s with a Bachelor of Arts degree focusing in media communications. She studied digital culture and in spare time enjoys writing independent articles.

Madi followed FWC’s coverage of the Niagara Integrated Film Festival, where she was a volunteer herself, and was immediately drawn to FWC’s casual yet professional atmosphere. She is eager to assist with this years TIFF events and believes that her experience with FWC will develop her social media and marketing skills and help her gain exposure to aspects in her own areas of interest.