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Strategize, Connect, Discover: The TIFF '16 Industry Conference Lineup is Here

Outstanding filmmaking talent and industry leaders from around the world, all right here

Aug 18, 2016

The TIFF Industry Conference will feature a lineup of internationally-focused premium programming comprised of high-profile speakers, progressive discussions, and innovative strategies for creative and business leaders. The seven-day Conference takes place during the 41st TIFF from September 9 -15, and includes Mogul sessions with Cheryl Boone Isaacs (President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences), David Glasser (President & COO, The Weinstein Company), and Jonathan Olsberg (Chairman, Olsberg-SPI), along with a host of celebrated filmmakers and industry experts.

“The programme will feature creative insights from outstanding filmmaking talent, while major industry leaders will debate topical subjects, including diversity and gender inclusion,” said Kathleen Drumm, Director, TIFF Industry. “In crafting the sessions, our programming team has recognized that providing access to opportunities and enabling a greater understanding of evolving investment models is essential for the artistic and financial sustainability of the industry.”

New this year, TIFF’s Connections series provides curated networking opportunities by bringing together leading international film professionals in five networking streams: Women In Film, Documentary, Short Cuts, Virtual Reality, and City to City. Over the course of four days, Breakfast at TIFF will provide targeted networking opportunities for international producers with potential business partners, with advice and insight from guest experts.


TIFF’s Industry’s onstage conversation series features some of the most powerful and influential movers and shakers in the film world. This year’s Moguls include:

Cheryl Boone Isaacs (President, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences) In an exclusive on-stage interview, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, joins Festival Artistic Director Cameron Bailey and weighs in on the Academy’s efforts toward diversity and inclusion, and her vision for the Academy’s role as an industry leader.

David Glasser (President & COO, The Weinstein Company) Hollywood wheeling and dealing, film premieres and pressures, acquisitions and mergers — David Glasser has experienced every aspect of the film business. Glasser, COO of The Weinstein Company, explains an insider’s day in the life of one of the industry’s largest and most famous film and television companies.

Jonathan Olsberg (Chairman, Olsberg-SPI) Jonathan Olsberg, Chairman of Olsberg-SPI and a seasoned strategic adviser of media, business, and government. Olsberg, unveils the results of SPI’s latest research, explaining how film productions uniquely drive the expansions of creative industries.


The Master Class series presents an eclectic mélange of international directors and artists who have championed social progress and innovations in storytelling through their work. This year’s guests include Doug Liman on VR (Invisible), Mira Nair (Queen Of Katwe), Feng Xiaogang (I Am Not Madame Bovary), and a live performance by Canadian composer Mark Korven (The Witch) co-presented with the Screen Composers Guild of Canada.


New this year, TIFF Industry Conference welcomes The Guardian, featuring exclusive Q&A sessions with some of the most notable actors and directors at the Festival, interviewed by The Guardian’s editorial team.


Our Dialogue series, supported by the OMDC, presents innovative, informative discussions on business and creative topics, featuring notable industry leaders and experts.

Brexit & UK Film Industry: What Happens Now? Panellists discussing the impact and opportunities presented by the recent EU referendum include:

  • Isabel Davis (Head of International, British Film Institute)
  • Kattie Kotok (EVP – US Productions, British Film Commission)
  • Robbie Allen (Senior Screen Executive, Creative Scotland)
  • Jeremy Kay (US Editor, Screen Daily) – Moderator

Evolving borders: Co-Productions & Europe This session explores how the continent’s evolving borders and changing financial landscape impacts co-productions and international access. Panellists include:

  • Roberto Olla (Executive Director, Eurimages)
  • Ilann Girard (CEO, Arsam Inc.)
  • Claudia Steffen (Producer and Managing Director, Pandora Film Produktion GmbH)
  • James Hickey (Chief Executive, Irish Film Board)
  • Laufey Guðjónsdóttir (Director, Icelandic Film Center)
  • James Weyman (Producer, Barn 12 Inc.) – Moderator

Know Your Film: New Online Tools for Monetizing and Marketing From financing to marketing and direct audience engagement, these industrious creator/developers present a live demo of their online services:

  • Rene Bastian (CEO, Cinelytic)
  • Sajid Qureshi (CEO, Showbizzee)
  • Nick Soares (CEO, GoDigital Inc.)
  • Stephen Follows (Producer & Researcher, Catsnake) – Moderator

Women at the Helm: Because it’s 2016! Our panellists discuss newly implemented initiatives and commitments to providing opportunities for gender parity in film:

  • Anna Serner, (CEO, Swedish Film Institute)
  • Carolle Brabant (Executive Director, Telefilm)
  • Freida Pinto (Board Member, We Do It Together)
  • Sally Caplan (Head of Production, Screen Australia)
  • Stephen Follows (Producer & Researcher, Catsnake)
  • Rina Fraticelli (Executive Director, Women In View) – Moderator

Diversify! Where Untapped Talent Meets Opportunity Panellists discussing diversity-focused creative programs in film, television, and digital media include:

  • Tamir Muhammad (Director, Content & Artist Development, Time Warner Inc.)
  • Peter Knegt (Producer, CBC Arts)
  • Moira Griffin (Senior Manager of Diversity Initiatives, Sundance Institute)

Where Do All the Indies Go? Panellists discuss the complicated exhibition ecosystem and ask how best to revive the distribution of, and production opportunities for, independent cinema:

  • Tom Alexander (Director, Theatrical Releasing, Mongrel Media)
  • Clare Binns (Programming and Acquisitions Director, Picturehouse)
  • Olivier Gauthier-Mercier (Director, Distribution Sales, Elevation Pictures)
  • Fred Joubaud (Director, International Sales & Digital Acquisitions, Tricon Films & Television)

The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem A discussion about the documentary The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem and issues around the gender gap in Hollywood, co-presented by WIFT-TORONTO and WIDC. Panellists include:

  • Caroline Suh (Director, Executive Producer, The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem)
  • Stacy Smith, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, University of Southern California)
  • Laura Michalchyshyn (Executive Producer, The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem)
  • Stacey Offman (Executive Producer, The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem)
  • Heather Webb (Executive Director, WIFT-TORONTO) – Moderator

The Dream Team: Directors, Casting Directors, and Actors Co-presented by the Casting Society of America, panellists explore the essential collaboration of writers and directors, casting directors, and actors:

  • Tamara Hunter (Vice President of Casting, Sony Pictures)
  • Onur Tukel (Director/Writer, Catfight)
  • Sandra Oh (Talent, Catfight)
  • Stephanie Holbrook (Casting Director, Stephanie Holbrook Casting)

Unconventional Voices Insights from groundbreaking writer/directors who have put their imaginations to work refreshing cinematic genres:

  • Dash Shaw (Director/Writer, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea)
  • Onur Tukel (Director/Writer, Catfight)
  • Rachel Lambert (Director/Writer, In The Radiant City)

Nigerian Cinema 2016: At the Forefront Featuring experts, insiders, and dynamic leaders in Nigerian cinema:

  • Mo Abudu (Producer, The WeddingParty)
  • Funa Maduka (Content Strategist)
  • Tope Oshin (Director/Producer, Sunbow Productions NG)
  • Wendy Mitchell (Programme Manager, Film Team, British Council)
  • Aboubakar S. Sanogo (Assistant Professor Film Studies, Carleton University)

Pathways and Protocols – Collaborating with Indigenous Communities Indigenous filmmakers and Screen Australia discuss how best to collaborate with Indigenous communities, Co-presented by imagineNATIVE, this panel includes:

  • Zacharias Kunuk (Director, Maliglutit /(Searchers))
  • Jonathan Frantz (Producer, Maliglutit /(Searchers))
  • Penny Smallacombe (Head of Indigenous, Screen Australia)
  • Jason Ryle (Artistic Director, imagineNATIVE)
  • Jesse Wente (Director Film Programmes, TIFF)

East Finances West: China & North America Panellists examining the business practices and benefits of trans-continental partnerships are:

  • George Nolfi (Director, Birth of The Dragon)
  • Michael London (Producer, Birth of The Dragon)
  • Hong Pang (CEO, Kylin Pictures)
  • Johnny Ma (Director/Writer, Old Stone)
  • Patrick Frater (Asia Editor, Variety)
  • James H. Pang (CEO, Kylin Pictures)

VR/360: Creative Concept Meets Practical Design Specialists in the field discuss the unique challenges and creative possibilities of this burgeoning medium:

  • Thomas Wallner (Founder / CEO, DEEP Inc.)
  • Aaron Weintraub (Senior Visual Effect Supervisor, Mr X Inc.)
  • Ryan Cummins (Virtual Reality Supervisor, Legend)
  • Randall Okita (Director, Lockpicker Productions)

VR/360: Mapping Sustainable Business Models Highlighting the ways the film industry and filmmakers could best exploit the financial opportunities VR presents, this panel is co-presented by the Canada Media Fund, with:

  • David Dexter (Operations and Business Development Lead, Sheridan College | SIRT)
  • Will Maurer, (VP, Business Development, 2D VFX & VR, Legend)
  • Wendy Bernfeld (Founder/Managing Director, Rights’ Stuff Bv) – Moderator


TIFF Doc Conference features a full day of invigorating documentary presentations and fascinating conversations.

Race and History: A Conversation with Raoul Peck I Am Not Your Negro director Raoul Peck (Sometimes in April, Lumumba) brings a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narratives in America. In this keynote conversation, he discusses what drew him to make this critical film, and his inventive approaches to history throughout his career.

Filming in Exile In Exile Director Tin Win Naing, and Producers Yasmin C. Rams and Rodney Charles discuss the challenges of filming with migrant workers in a remote region. Their experiences offer lessons and inspiration for any filmmaker confronting logistical, ethical, and technical hurdles.

Documentary Meets Virtual Reality VR experts J. Lee Williams (President, Occupied VR), Ana Serrano (Chief Digital Officer, CFC), Sebastian Sylwan (Visual Effects and Digital Media Technology Executive, Felix & Paul Studio), and Nyla Innuksuk (Partner, Pinnguaq Productions), discuss the state of documentary in VR.

Editing with Herzog: A Conversation with Joe Bini Editor Joe Bini has worked with Werner Herzog on many films including Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Encounters at the End of the World, Grizzly Man, and Into the Inferno, which is playing at this year's Festival. In this conversation, he discusses the process of creating these essayistic documentaries.

Documenting In Real Time: A Conversation with Steve James In his new film, ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail, Oscar-nominated director Steve James (Hoop Dreams; The Interrupters; Life Itself) follows an important story that is virtually unknown outside New York’s Chinatown community: the trial of Abacus, a family-run bank serving Chinese immigrants and the only bank to be criminally indicted by the New York District Attorney after the 2008 mortgage crisis. He joins us to discuss his rich career, and the craft of documenting an unfolding story where the outcome was unknown.

Cinematic Storytelling in the Mobile and Social Age Great Big Story is a new, independent digital video network backed by CNN, but unlike its parent company, doesn’t focus on breaking news. GBS collaborates with filmmakers on short form, non-fiction, human-interest content. The platform has featured work from accomplished filmmakers such as Zackary Canepari (Briana) and Sharon Liese (The Gnomist). The GBS team of Executive Producer Courtney Coupe, Creative Director Ben Whitla, and Director of Content/Development Matt Drake, discuss how a story package is built from start to finish. They will also announce a new commitment to unscripted shorts coming this fall in partnership with TIFF.

The Art of Performance: A Conversation with Jonathan Demme Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme (Stop Making Sense; Silence of the Lambs; Rachel Getting Married) has a rich history of making films with musicians, including The Talking Heads, Robyn Hitchcock, and Neil Young. In his latest JT + The Tennessee Kids, Demme turns his lens on an even larger-scale concert — the final show of Justin Timberlake's 20/20 tour. He joins us to discuss his approaches to capturing performance and his painstaking process of finding the right cinematic style to reflect different performers.

Inside True Crime True crime has become a hot topic in documentary. In this session, we speak to a director who’s investigating a complicated case.


An exciting series of presentations for short film producers and directors.

SHORT CUTS The Journey of a Short Film – Year One Experts in their fields discuss how to make the most of a year on the film circuit, from festival play to awards consideration, to sales and distribution. Panelists include:

  • Martin Edralin (Director, Emma)
  • Benoit Blanchard (Sales Agent, UNIFRANCE)
  • Ania Trzebiatowska (Manager of Acquisitions, Visit Films)
  • Inga Diev (General Manager, Ouat Media)
  • Amotz Zakai (VP Management, Echo Lake Entertainment)
  • Kathleen McInnis (TIFF Short Cuts Programmer) - Moderator

SHORT CUTS Case Studies: Transitioning to Features Former Short Cuts filmmakers returning to the festival this year with their feature film debuts share what they learned in making the journey from shorts to features. Panelists include:

  • Ashley McKenzie (Director, Werewolf)
  • Kevan Funk (Director, Hello Destroyer)


The perfect meeting space for industry professionals with free WiFi and a variety of meeting spaces, the Industry Lounge is open September 9 to 14, from 9:00am to 6:30pm, and on September 15 from 9:30am to noon, and is located in the Glenn Gould Studio Lobby at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St. West.


Come along, unwind and meet filmmakers, producers, and potential business partners from around the world. Industry Happy Hours are held in the Glenn Gould Studio Lobby at the Canadian Broadcasting Centre, 250 Front St. West, September 9-14 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. The Industry Cocktail, on September 15 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm, is co-presented with the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and will celebrate the close of another year of successful industry events.


CMPA Producer’s Award This award is presented annually to an outstanding Canadian producer with a Canadian feature at the Festival, and will take place on Thursday, September 8.

Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch Presented by Telefilm Canada, this series highlights the hottest homegrown directors who are the buzz of 2016. Topics include:

  • Breaking In & Staying In: The Art of ‘Stayin’ Alive’ as a Filmmaker
  • The American Dream: Canadian Films in the U.S.
  • Show Me the Money: Monetizing Your Film Internationally

Telefilm Canada’s PITCH THIS! Six filmmaking teams have six minutes to pitch their feature film idea to an industry audience and jury. The winning team takes home $15,000 to develop their project!

  • To Be Continued - Peter Harvey, Rob Grant, Luke Black, Mike MacMillan
  • Mary Goes Round - Matt Code, Molly McGlynn
  • Qalupalik - Sean Wainsteim, Nyla Innuksuk
  • SHARKASAURUS - Spencer Estabrooks, Greg Jeffs
  • The Art of Being Busy - Lauren Grant, Chris Ross, Lauren Corber
  • The Edible Woman - Francine Zuckerman, Karen Shaw

Breakfast at TIFF A series of four breakfasts will provide targeted networking opportunities for international producers with potential business partners, with advice and insight from guest experts September 11-14 at LUMA. Advanced registration required. Canada meets Latin America and Spain Doing business with Germany ARRI launches International support programme Celebrating National Agencies

Online industry registration for the Toronto International Film Festival® is now open. There are five pass types, each offering access to the Industry Conference and Doc Conference. Online registration closes August 26. To learn more about passes and price points visit the Industry page.