TIFF unveils stellar lineup of Talent Development programmes and participants for 2023

media release

August 30, 2023

TIFF unveils stellar lineup of Talent Development programmes and participants for 2023

TORONTO — TIFF is proud to announce this year’s Talent Development programmes and participants, including TIFF Filmmaker Lab, TIFF Series Accelerator, the Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch, the CHANEL Women Writers’ Network Micro Talent Summit, and the TIFF Every Story Accelerator.

“At TIFF, we’re dedicated to fostering emerging talents from all walks of life,” said Anita Lee, TIFF Chief Programming Officer. “The 2023 Talent Development programmes reflect our commitment to empowering storytellers, pushing boundaries, and embracing the rich tapestry of perspectives that make our industry truly remarkable.”

“The incredible impact of our Talent Development programmes can be seen in the work of alumni, like Sasha Leigh Henry, Zarrar Kahn, Fawzia Mirza, Molly McGlynn, D.W. Waterson, Meredith Hama-Brown, Jaione Camborda, Marni Van Dyk, Jasmin Mozaffari, and Atefeh Khademolreza, all of whom will be showcasing new projects in Official Selection at this year’s Festival,” said Geoff Macnaughton, TIFF Senior Director of Industry & Theatrical. “We are extremely excited to welcome and provide this year’s class of participants a safe, inclusive, and inspiring space and platform to advance their projects and themselves.”

TIFF Filmmaker Lab provides 20 Canadian and international directors with an exceptional professional development experience at the Toronto International Film Festival and an introduction to the global community of filmmaking. Over a five-day period, participants will have the opportunity to interact with and learn from internationally acclaimed mentors and guest speakers that include Official Selection filmmakers. Fellowships, generously supported by Every Story and Share Her Journey donors, ensure that programme participants are given additional financial support to help them fulfill their creative vision.

The 2023 TIFF Filmmaker Lab participants are:

Marja Bål Nango (Norway) – TIFF Every Story Fellow
Alfie Barker (United Kingdom)
Luiza Cocora (Canada) – TIFF Canada Goose Fellow
Tyler Mckenzie Evans (Canada)
Rudolf Fitzgerald Leonard (Australia/Germany)
Nell Hensey (Ireland/Philippines) – TIFF Canada Goose Fellow
Karimah Zakia Issa (Canada) – TIFF Share Her Journey Fellow in honour of Wanda Robson
Eric Janvier (Canada)
Nyasha Kadandara (Zimbabwe) – TIFF Share Her Journey Fellow in honour of Viola Desmond
Matt Kazman (Canada)
Ana Lazarevic (USA/Serbia) – TIFF Canada Goose Fellow
Chandler Levack (Canada) – TIFF Jennifer A. Tory Legacy Fellow
Carlo Francisco Manatad (Philippines)
Adeyemi Michael (United Kingdom/Nigeria)
Ougie Pak (USA)
Lydia Rui (Australia) – TIFF Every Story Fellow
Eva Thomas (Canada)
Kurt Walker (Canada)
Haya Waseem (Canada/Pakistan) – TIFF Share Her Journey Giving Circle Fellow
Aziz Zoromba (Canada/Egypt)

Please see here for full bios and more information on the Filmmaker Lab participants.

Returning for the second year, TIFF Series Accelerator, presented by Canada Media Fund, will offer tailored mentorship for eight emerging Canadian series-creator teams from under-represented communities to refine their pitches and develop a business plan for their projects. The two-day mentorship intensive will have two priorities: refining the pitch and project materials with mentorship from a pitch coach and industry professionals; and developing ideas and strategies for finding international partners and moving projects forward.

The 2023 TIFF Series Accelerator participants and projects are:

Heidi Lynch, Cosima HerterA Confusion of Tongues
Lindsey Middleton, Katie UhlmannCows Come Home
Maeve Kern, Preeti TorulDemons
Thea Loo, Rosie Choo PidcockEsther & Sai
Kevin Dong, Fernanda D’oro FontesExile
Asis Sethi, Maya BastianHow to be Brown
Cory Bowles, Cazhhmere DowneyOut of Pocket
Mackenzie Donaldson, Cheryl MeyerZero Repeat Forever

Please see here for full bios and more information on the Series Accelerator participants.

New this year, the Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch will provide five Canadian and international creators the opportunity to pitch their science- and/or technology-related film or episodic project at the 2023 Toronto International Film Festival. Participants will receive mentorship from an expert pitch coach and will deliver a maximum 15-minute presentation in front of a live audience of industry experts and decision makers. Each project selected for the non-competitive pitch event has been awarded $15,000 CAD in development support. Funding for this programme was provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Public Understanding of Science and Technology program, which supports books, radio, film, television, theatre, and new media to reach a wide, non-specialized audience and to bridge the two cultures of science and the humanities.

The 2023 Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch participants and projects are:

Cole Smith (USA) – Silo
Alyssa Loh (USA) – Chariot
James Brown (Australia, UK) – Author A
Jasmin Tenucci (Brazil), Maggie Briggs (USA) – The Smallest Whale in the World

Please see here for full bios and more information on the 2023 Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch participants, and here for more information on the Sloan Science and Technology Project Pitch event.

As part of Share Her Journey, the CHANEL Women Writers’ Network supports a year-round programme to advance the careers of women and non-binary alumni of TIFF Writers’ Studio. Returning for the second year, the CHANEL Women Writers’ Network Micro Talent Summit is a one-day intensive programme designed to inspire and support storytelling, by connecting the participants with leading industry professionals.

The 2023 CHANEL Women Writers’ Network Micro Talent Summit participants are:

Teyama Alkamli (Canada)
Berkley Brady (Canada)
Luis De Filippis (Canada/Italy)
Idil Ibrahim (USA)
Farida Zahran (Egypt)

TIFF Every Story Accelerator, part of the RBC Screen Creators’ Initiative supported by the RBC Foundation, is a new programme that aims to help advance projects from emerging creators with diverse backgrounds who identify as Black, Indigenous, a person of colour, 2SLGBTQ+ and/or from other equity-deserving groups. Each year, two producer/director teams with feature-length projects in post-production will receive targeted support to pitch their projects to industry decision-makers in three key markets.

The 2023 TIFF Every Story Accelerator participants and projects are:

Kaniehtiio Horn, Eva Thomas (TIFF Micki Moore Fellows) – Seeds
Karen Chapman, Enrique Miguel Baniqued (TIFF Micki Moore Fellows) – Village Keeper

Please see here for full bios and more information on the 2023 Every Story Accelerator participants.

Guest speakers and mentors at this year’s Talent Development programmes include Tom Alexander, Joanna Arnow, Daniel Bekerman, Dan Berger, Karla Bobadilla, Aisling Chin-Yee, Matt Code, Atom Egoyan, Craig Gillespie, Danis Goulet, Kate Hagen, Miranda Harcourt, Ethan Hawke, Darcy Heusel, Beth Iley, Barry Jenkins, Sibylle Kurz, Navi Lamba, Dylan Leiner, Ron Leshem, Joe Lewis, Richard Linklater, Adrian Love, Lorelle Lynch, Jamie Lynn, Måns Månsson, Carolina Markowicz, Deepa Mehta, Miikko Oikkonen, Zahra Phillips, Yi Qiao, Sanjay Sharma, Stephanie Smalling, Dorothee Stoewahse, and Carolyn Taylor.

TIFF Talent Development programmes are produced by Jane Kim, Industry Programming Producer. They are managed by Anita Tavakol, Talent Development Manager, Industry; and Bronwen Eadie, Project Manager, Industry Programming; and supported by Erin Brown, Karima Elbanna, Natalia Orasanin, Sena Ozal, and Jason Rayner.

Press Contact

Alejandra Sosa

Director, Communications


Social Media:
Twitter: @TIFF_Net @TIFF_Industry
Instagram / TikTok & Letterboxd: @tiff_net

TIFF prefers Visa.

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place September 7–17, 2023.

TIFF will respect SAG-AFTRA protocols regarding the participation of its members at the Festival.

The Toronto International Film Festival takes place September 7–17, 2023. Tickets are on sale now at tiff.net.

About TIFF
TIFF is a not-for-profit cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $200 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit tiff.net.

TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, Visa, and BVLGARI®, and Major Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City of Toronto.

TIFF Industry Programming is generously supported by Major Supporters Ontario Creates and Telefilm Canada.

TIFF Series Accelerator is presented by Canada Media Fund.

TIFF’s Talent Development programmes are supported in part by Share Her Journey, an initiative committed to increasing the participation, skills, and opportunities for women behind and in front of the camera; and Every Story, a fund designed to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in film.

Thanks to Canada Goose®, Anne-Marie Canning, Betty-Ann Heggie, Micki Moore & Leonard Simpson, Jennifer Tory, the RBC Foundation, CHANEL, the Share Her Journey Giving Circle, and all of our supporters for their generous support of Share Her Journey.

Lavazza is the official coffee partner of TIFF and will be providing coffees onsite at various locations including the TIFF Bell Lightbox, Roy Thomson Hall, and the Industry Centre Café within the Hyatt Regency.

Every Story is generously supported by fund Founding Partner, NBCUniversal.

Artscape Sandbox is the Official home of the 2023 Press Office & The Media Inclusion Initiative.

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