Chair, First Weekend Club
Director of Programming, The Whistler Film Festival
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.
All in Pictures
Leah Mallen, alongside producing partner Marc Stephenson helms the independent production company All In Pictures. Having produced content independently for over 20 years, Leah has sold to broadcasters and distributors around the world and has won awards internationally for her work. She has produced feature films, such as the multiple-award-winning dark comedy Camera Shy, the internationally acclaimed documentary Coast Modern and the Kidscreen-awarded series of interactive apps for kids Windy & Friends. She attended NYU, the Canadian Film Centre, and the Binger Film Lab in Amsterdam. She also sits on the board of the Cinematheque and Crazy8s, and manages to juggle it all while also raising twins in Vancouver.
Founder & CEO
Lauren is an award-winning marketer, who has over 10 years’ experience in the entertainment industry in Toronto, Los Angeles, and New York. Lauren worked at Alliance Films, eOne Entertainment, Rogers Communications, and Focus Features before founding her own digital marketing agency, Tylite Digital, in 2018. She has overseen digital marketing campaigns for hundreds of entertainment properties, ranging from blockbuster mega-hits like The Hunger Games to indie darlings like The King’s Speech and Darkest Hour. Lauren most recently oversaw the marketing campaign in English Canada for Academy Awarding winning film Parasite. She has previously been named as Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30, and won a Shorty Web Award for her work on the wildly popular Mister Rogers documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor.
Executive Vice President, Filmed Entertainment
Cineplex Entertainment LP
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.
EVP, Americas, International Distribution
Dan Loewy is a seasoned executive with a proven track record in distribution for both digital and linear platforms. As EVP, Americas, International Distribution, Loewy oversees film and television licensing across the United States, Canada and Latin America, leading teams in Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto and Montreal. With strong business acumen and outside the box thinking, he has quickly earned a strong seat at the table with the world’s leading platforms, underscoring his ability to forge lasting relationships with global platforms in an ever-evolving landscape.
Previously, Loewy served as SVP, Global Accounts at eOne, and led transactional efforts at Alliance Films in Canada and oversaw Television and Digital sales activity. He joined the eOne team when the company acquired Alliance in 2013. Loewy is a graduate of University of Toronto, holds a degree in Political Science, and is based in Los Angeles.
Vice-President Production and Development
Pacific Northwest Pictures
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.
Producer/Principal, Joker Films
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.
President of Drisdell Consulting
Deborah Drisdell is President of Drisdell Consulting. A dynamic media executive, Deborah’s expertise spans both the private and public sectors of the Canadian film and television industry as well as financing, co-production and distribution in the international sector.
A veteran of over 25 years in the Canadian film and television industry, Deborah has extensive experience in public policy, strategic planning and business development, digital media, distribution and international co-production. She has led major strategic and operational reviews as well as large corporate transformations. In her role at the NFB, she was responsible for pushing the 70-year-old agency into the digital era of distribution, with its award winning NFB.ca platform and its mobile expansion.
Deborah is an expert in film, television and digital media both in Canada and internationally and is recognized for her integrity, leadership and team-building skills as well as a demonstrated track record in strategic planning.
Director of Sales & Business Development, Media Services