FULL TIME STAFF MENTORS
  • Frances-Anne Solomon
  • Nicole Brooks
  • Christopher Laird

FOUNDER/CEO

Frances-Anne Solomon is an award-winning filmmaker of Caribbean heritage and a writer, producer and director in film, TV, Radio and New Media. She was born in England to Trinidadian parents and educated in Trinidad, Canada, England and France. She then went on to build a successful career over thirteen years in England with the BBC as a TV Drama Producer and Executive Producer. In 2000, she returned to Toronto where she continued to create direct and produce her own project. In 2001 she successfully launch the first CaribbeanTales project. Today, the latter has grown into a group of companies – the CaribbeanTales Media Group — that produces, markets and sells Caribbean-themed audio-visual content across the globe.

 
 
 

FACILITATOR/MANAGER

Nicole Brooks is a Toronto-based filmmaker, director, performer, singer, playwright, composer, curator, teacher and ‘art-ivist’. She has developed the concept of “harmonized storytelling”; blending media and performing arts, Brooks has spent over 15 years envisioning narratives that illuminate the peoples of the African Diaspora.

Through her company Asah Productions Inc., founded in 2005, Brooks has generated a body of work for stage and screen. Highlights include ECHO (Sun TV), How She Move, and Aferee, an African dance documentary shot in Senegal. Brooks also produced three consecutive seasons of Divine Restoration (Vision TV), segment produced Living in Toronto for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and acted as story editor for Lord Have Mercy (Vision TV/Leda Serene) – Canada’s first multicultural sitcom.

Currently, Brooks is back in development with Obeah Opera which had its worldwide premiere in PANAMANIA, presented by CIBC, an arts and culture festival celebrating the TORONTO 2015 Pan American/Parapan American Games. Concurrently, she is developing her first feature length documentary, in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada: a portrait of internationally acclaimed chanteuse and legend Salome Bey.

Senior Executive Director

(TRINIDAD)

Christopher Laird has produced over 300 documentaries, dramas and other video productions with Banyan Ltd. over the past 40 years garnering a score of national, regional and international awards. He has overseen the establishment of what is arguably the world’s largest collection of Caribbean culture on video in the Caribbean Film and Video Archive. In 2003 he founded, with Errol Fabien, the region’s first all Caribbean free to air television station, Gayelle. In 2009 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of the West Indies.

FULL TIME INTERNATIONAL MENTORS
  • Andrew Millington
  • Claire Prieto-Fuller
  • Dr. Keith Nurse
  • Stephanie James
  • Suzette Zayden

(BARBADOS):

Andrew Millington is an independent filmmaker and educator born in Barbados. He is the writer, director and editor of the narrative feature film Guttaperc (2000). Zora’s Dream, another feature is scheduled for re-release in October 2016. He is currently producing a documentary Sugar, spirits and Sovereignty, a historical treatment of the evolution of Barbadian society and will begin production on a new film John Crow Paradise in 2017 through his production company Shango Films LLC. He serves as Senior Lecturer in Motion Picture Arts at the Errol Barrow Center for the Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies in Barbados and holds an MFA in Film from Howard University in Washington, DC.

(CANADA/USA):

Most recently executive producer of documentary series Echo and co-producer on feature film Step; Claire Prieto-Fuller has built a reputation for developing the talents of emerging filmmakers of colour in Canada as producer of the New Initiatives in Film program at the National Film Board in the mid-1990s and as founding president of the Black Film & Video Network.

Claire has directed, produced, line produced and production managed a variety of productions, including: Lord Have Mercy, Love Songs, Raizin’ Kane and Exhibit A – Secrets of Forensic Science and the award-winning, Survivors, Black Mother Black Daughter and Older Stronger Wiser for the NFB, Some Black Women, It’s Not an Illness, Home to Buxton, and Jennifer Hodge: The Glory and the Pain.

Claire has also received various awards for her work in Canada, including: The Award of Merit – City of Toronto, Woman of Distinction – Arts & Entrepreneurship – YMCA Toronto, and the Industry Angel Award from the Reel World Film Festival, In 2007 she Received the Award of Distinction from Women in Film & Television – Toronto, and in 2010, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Caribbean Tales Festival.

Claire retains membership in the Director’s Guild of Canada, She has also been been a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Women in Film & Television – Toronto and the Canadian Independent Filmmakers Assoc. (now DOC).

(BARBADOS):

Dr. Keith Nurse is the Caribbean’s foremost creative industries’ expert with wide and varied international and regional expertise in his field. He has held senior positions and consultancies with governments, NGOs and international, regional and national agencies. He has taught at the University of the West Indies and the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is a former director at two state-owned enterprises in Trinidad and Tobago: National Petroleum Marketing Company and National Agro-Chemicals Ltd. He is also a director at Media 21 Ltd., Contemporary Caribbean Arts Ltd. (CCA 7) and a former director at the Entertainment Industry Development and Export Company.

Keith is a founding Director and Board Chair of CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution. His international network of colleagues as well as his integrated expertise in economics, business development, higher education and cultural diversity serve to enrich the strategic capacity of the 3D Project and to promote its ability to build and realize sustainable growth.

Stephanie James

(GUADELOUPE)

Originally from Martinique, living in Guadeloupe and happily married to a Trinidadian, Stephanie JAMES is first and foremost … a Caribbean woman. Successful writer and producer of TV series and documentaries broadcasted on several regional, national and international networks and in international film festivals worldwide, she uses television to promote greater cooperation within the region.

With her husband Steve, she created SHAKTI PRODUCTIONS in 2002, as a tool to promote the Caribbean around the world, through its incredibly rich diversity of cultures, its historical and natural heritages, and most of all, through its people.

Their main production, Women West Indies, a television magazine dedicated to Caribbean women features 102 portraits filmed throughout the region. The series evolved into Women West Indies Diaspora, highlighting 41 outstanding Caribbean women around the globe, who contributed to their new society while staying in touch with their own culture and values.

(BELIZE)

Suzette Zayden is a Belizean filmmaker passionate about promoting Caribbean films regionally and internationally. She holds an MPhil in Screenwriting from University of Bergen, Norway, a Diploma in Film Production from Escuela Internacional de Cine y Television of San Antonio de Los Banos, Cuba, and a BA In Communications (TV Production) from Loyola University, New Orleans. She is currently the Coordinator of the Film and Media Arts Unit for NICH – Belize’s National Institute of Culture & History – an office that facilitates the Belize Film Commission, the Belize International Film Festival of which she is the founder and current director, and all things pertaining to film in Belize.

PART-TIME INDUSTRY MENTORS:
  • Christina Sang-St Catherine
  • Floyd Kane
  • Nick Davis
  • Annette Nias

As a Creative Producer at Nelvana Christina Sang-St.Catherine is responsible for leading and supervising the creative direction on a portfolio of Nelvana shows for the Corus Kids TV networks. Christina is involved in the early development of the show through to delivery; working closely with key creatives to ensure that the creative vision is maintained through development and production; including collaboration with internal departments and external partners to align goals and interests across the brand. Christina joined Nelvana in 2005 to produce series Max and Ruby for Treehouse in Canada and Nick Jr worldwide. She then moved on to produce Handy Manny, Willa’s Wildlife and Franklin and Friends. In her current role as Creative Producer Christina oversees a number of series including Little Charmers, Trucktown and Ranger Rob, which air on both domestic and global networks.

Floyd Kane is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School. From 1999 to 2004, Floyd acted as Legal Counsel, Salter Street Films Limited. While at Salter Street, Floyd also served as a production executive on numerous projects notably, the Academy-Award winning, Bowling For Columbine and Shattered City: The Halifax Explosion.

Nick Davis (CANADA):

Nick Davis is a manager of program development for CBC Radio, is former senior producer of CBC Toronto’s number one radio program, Metro Morning. He is committed to program development and to mentoring.

ANNETTE NIAS was first introduced to the world of theatre and the arts under the tutelage of the late Daphne Joseph-Hackett at Queen’s College. She started writing poetry and prose in her formative years, gaining inspiration since then from being published in various newspapers, magazines, books and from winning awards in several poetry competitions.

She has functioned as a performer, director, producer, production coordinator, technical director, and stage manager for many concerts, plays, musicals, festivals, fashion shows, film and television productions, festivals, carnivals, etc. in Barbados and abroad. She has managed and designed presentations for several artistic individuals and entities in Barbados, Trinidad and Antigua. During the period 1991 – 1992, she fulfilled the role of General Manager at Sheraton Centre, the largest shopping mall in Barbados.

At the National Cultural Foundation Annette has functioned as Theatre Arts Officer since its inception in 1983, as well as Administrative Officer, Literary Arts Officer, Technical Officer, Business Development Officer and Film and Photography Officer.

She is currently employed as Film Commissioner with the Cultural Industries Development Authority, a division of the Ministry of Culture, Barbados.

INDUSTRY GUESTS
  • John Reid
  • Renee Robinson
  • Michael Mosca
  • Steven Istock
  • Mary Wells

John Reid (USA):

John Reid is the new interim CEO of Cable & Wireless Communications (CWC) and former president of Columbus Communications. John Reid’s entire 28 year career, apart from the year he completed his undergraduate degree, has been spent in the cable television and telecommunications industry, where he has developed a record for driving growth, leading complex integrations and introducing a culture of innovation and employee satisfaction, first in Canada, and during the past 11 years, across the Caribbean.

Over the past 11 years, John has led the launch of Digital Cable TV, IPTV, Broadband Internet and IP Telephony service in several Caribbean countries.

Renee Robinson (JAMAICA):

Renee Robinson, Strategist and CEO at Strategic Screen, is a media industry creative strategist and thought-leader with management experience in programming, regulation/policy, strategic planning, and industry intelligence – both in Canada and internationally. Prior to relocating to Toronto in 2008, Renee advised on policy development and industry intelligence to the Ministers of Culture, Entertainment, Tourism, and Foreign Affairs in Jamaica. Renee holds a MA in Communications and Culture with a specialization in Telecommunication policy.

Michael Mosca (CANADA):

After joining France Film in 1995, Michael helped to develop and build the Equinoxe brand. In 2009, Michael purchased Equinoxe Films from France Film and has played a pivotal role in the strategic management and profitability of the company’s various divisions. Under his leadership, the company acquires, produces and distributes film and television properties in Canada and around the world. During his tenure at Equinoxe, Mr. Mosca has made his mark by acquiring and overseeing the release of “The Passion of The Christ”, which earned $25 million at the Canadian box office; “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, which earned more than $30 million at the Canadian box office; and the hit comedy “Mambo Italiano”, earning $5.5 million at the box office in its Canadian theatrical release, and had sales to more than 40 international territories.

Steven Istock (USA):

Steven Istock is the President and CEO of California Pictures based at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California. Under the California Pictures banner, Istock produced and distributed the family drama “A Warriors Heart”, the science fiction action thriller “Scavengers” and was an Executive Producer on the James McAvoy film “Filth”, based on the novel of the same name by Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh.

Istock has over 20 years of substantial finance experience in corporate, media and real estate finance specializing in the structuring and closing of debt and equity transactions in excess of two billion dollars.  He was one of the top new business producers in the country for both Merrill Lynch and Bank of America.  He was the banker for clients including MGM, Digital Domain, HKM, Asylum Visual Effects, Academy Tent and Canvas, Sweetener Products, California Clinical Trials, LNR Property Corporation, and Media Services, one of the largest production accounting and payroll companies with many of film studio, network and guild clients including the Screen Actors Guild.  Istock has financed several movie productions including “A Warrior’s Heart, “Scavengers” and “Filth” and continues to advise domestic and international filmmakers on debt and equity structuring, production, distribution and finance for a variety of projects in the beginning, middle and closing stages of production.

Mary Wells (JAMAICA):

Mary Wells is an award winning independent film Director/ Writer and Producer based partly in Jamaica.  She has worked for Government Broadcasting, US Cable TV, a private production company and has over twenty five years experience in television and film production.  Her work has consisted mainly of small documentaries and dramas for young adults and children for mostly the Caribbean region.  In 1999, her short documentary, “Now Jimmy!” was awarded “Outstanding Documentary from the Caribbean” in the Sheryl Lee Ralph Film & Music Festival and it was also accepted: in the prestigious, Toronto Int’l Film Festival, 2002.  In 2013, she Directed, Wrote and Produced her first feature narrative film, “Kingston Paradise” and is the first woman from Jamaica to do a feature film.  She studied Television Production and the Theatre Arts in Washington DC and continues to do Film/TV production work of all kinds.

SOCIAL COORDINATOR
  • Faisal Lutchmedial

Faisal Lutchmedial (CANADA):

Faisal won the WGC Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program and was assigned to the writing room of The Listener – Season 4. He was then hired to work as the story editor to the webseries. His first professional short, Useless Things (2009, 16 min), won the Writers Guild’s English Script Prize at the Festival Nouveau Cinema, and more recently, he directed Mr. Crab (2012, 9 min), which aired nationally on the CBC Short Film Face Off. In addition to writing/directing, Faisal shot and edited Burgundy Jazz, a Radio- Canada webseries that was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award last year.

INDUSTRY OUTREACH MANAGER
  • Karen Harnisch

Karen Harnisch (CANADA):

A partner at Film Forge Productions, Karen Harnisch has produced several award winning shorts and two features, beginning with Calvin Thomas and Yonah Lewis’ The Oxbow Cure. Most recently she produced Andrew Cividino’s Sleeping Giant, which premiered at Critics’ Week in Cannes, won the Best Canadian First Feature at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2015 and was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards including Best Picture. Karen was recently profiled by TIFF as one member of an emerging movement of DIY filmmakers in Toronto. Karen is currently working on several projects including her acting and directorial debut on the feature film Delta Venus. She is an alumna of the TIFF Studio Producer Incubator and Ryerson’s School of Image Arts, and is pursuing her MA in Social Justice Education at the University of Toronto.

STORY EDITORS
  • Sarah Goodman
  • Nadine Valcin
  • Mary Wells

Sarah Goodman (CANADA):

Sarah Goodman was born in Toronto and has lived in New York, where she began making films. She is a recent alumna of the Canadian Film Centre’s Prime Time TV Writing Program and has written and directed both narrative and documentary film. Her feature documentary Army of One (2004 Hot Docs Best Canadian Feature Documentary; 2005 Gemini Nomination for Best Director) and When We Were Boys (Donald Brittain Gemini Nomination for Best Documentary; Indiewire Top 10 Documentaries 2009) led to her short drama Hidden Driveway (TIFF 2011) and her award winning, critically acclaimed first feature drama Porch Stories. Her films have played at festivals such as TIFF, IDFA, Hot Docs and True/False, as well as broadcasting worldwide. Goodman has also written and directed documentary programs for television, such as the award winning National Parks Project.  She is an alumna of the TIFF Talent Lab, the Berlinale Talent Campus, and a member of the Film Fatales. Her next feature Lake 239 is in development with producer Karen Harnisch (Sleeping Giant.)

Nadine Valcin (CANADA):

Nadine Valcin is a bilingual Canadian filmmaker of Haitian descent whose documentary and dramatic work deals with questions of race, language and identity. Her productions have been widely broadcast on television in Canada and the United States as well as film festivals around the world. She has been awarded numerous grants and prizes including the prestigious Chalmers Arts Fellowship and a Drama Prize from the National Screen Institute.

She holds a professional degree in architecture from McGill University and was recently an artist-in- residence for the 2015-16 academic year at Osgoode Hall Law School. She is the current recipient of the DGC Ontario Director Mentorship.

Mary Wells (JAMAICA):

Mary Wells is an award winning independent film Director/ Writer and Producer based partly in Jamaica.  She has worked for Government Broadcasting, US Cable TV, a private production company and has over twenty five years experience in television and film production.  Her work has consisted mainly of small documentaries and dramas for young adults and children for mostly the Caribbean region.  In 1999, her short documentary, “Now Jimmy!” was awarded “Outstanding Documentary from the Caribbean” in the Sheryl Lee Ralph Film & Music Festival and it was also accepted: in the prestigious, Toronto Int’l Film Festival, 2002.  In 2013, she Directed, Wrote and Produced her first feature narrative film, “Kingston Paradise” and is the first woman from Jamaica to do a feature film.  She studied Television Production and the Theatre Arts in Washington DC and continues to do Film/TV production work of all kinds.