If you keep seeing the same old story on your screens, it’s probably because of the same old story behind the scenes — a lack of diversity among the key creatives and decision makers. To combat this lack among Canadian producers, in early 2021, the Reelworld Film Festival and Screen Institute (with the support of Bell Media) kicked off an intensive year-long training program for 12 diverse creators from across the country at Prime Time Online. From optioning scripts to retaining IP to pitching their projects, these emerging producers learned it all. Get to know the producers here — then discover many more at Access Reelworld, a transparent and searchable database for racially diverse creatives and crew in Canada’s screen industry.
Stories First Productions
Minifie, CEO/producer at Vancouver-based Stories First Productions, is developing Jonny Appleseed, the debut novel from Joshua Whitehead. Minifie is excited about adapting this Canada Reads–winning story—which is both an enthralling coming-of-age tale and a contemporary exploration of Indigenous, LGBTQ, queer and two-spirit love and friendship—for the screen.
Thea Loo Pictures
Loo’s eponymous production company is developing Soule, a six-episode drama web series about Filipino-Canadian sneakerheads (shoe enthusiasts) and hypebeasts (streetwear connoisseurs). As a second-generation Filipina, she is passionate about telling stories from her community, and excited to produce entertaining sociocultural content that all Canadians can connect with.
Sonya Lee Productions
Lee is currently the Science Producer at Ocean School, an ocean education media project from the National Film Board of Canada. She focuses on science, nature and environmental stories that feature BIPOC storytellers, and is currently developing a docuseries, Strange Companions, about researchers who foster meaningful relationships with the animals they study.
Umang Antariksh Sagar
Antariksh Productions Inc.
Antariksh Sagar’s perspective is grounded in their identity as an immigrant, South Asian, non-binary, queer person. Antariksh Productions has optioned Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars, a book about a young Asian trans girl who finds her true family with larger-than-life trans femmes in the big city’s mysterious pleasure district, where she joins a vigilante gang to avenge murdered trans women everywhere.
Handcuffs Entertainment Inc.
Udalor’s company, Handcuffs Entertainment, is developing Jerome Kruin’s The Ancestor, a fantasy drama series whose teenage protagonist must
be trained by a resurrected Nigerian warrior queen in order to defeat a supernatural spirit. Infusing historical mythology from Nigeria, Udalor brings
an authentic interpretation of cultural elements into this story, which is set in North America.
Margaret Lewis currently works for RBC as a commercial account manager, supporting the media and entertainment sector. Her production company, Ijinle Media, is actively pitching RAY, a “lighthearted, crass, and fun” limited series about a judgmental, promiscuous, gay Asian navigating sex, self-love and self-identity in a way that’s never been explored on Canadian screens.
Holder is a professional illustrator and film director living in Montreal, Quebec. He is producing the upcoming show The Ruby Chronicles, which integrates all of the cinematic genres he loved growing up. From sci-fi horror to thought-provoking suspense, The Ruby Chronicles is the transmedia project Holder always envisioned bringing to life.
Gateway Six Productions
Yusuf Alvi is an aspiring producer who currently works as an account manager in digital cinema distribution
at Deluxe Entertainment.
His company Gateway Six Productions’ first project is The Fame, a one-hour dramedy centred on the evolution of Rohan Mehta from a mild-mannered LGBTQ Indian teenage streamer into a fame-addicted and toxic Internet celebrity.
Caceres is a trilingual film producer who has produced one short film and three independent feature films with her writer/director husband. Her company Righteous Pictures is currently developing Season Life, a documentary that follows three seasonal workers and sheds light on their vulnerable working and living conditions. An immigrant from Colombia, Caceres wants to create awareness about the abuses and injustices that affect the Hispanic community.
Long Walk Productions
As director of Legal & Business Affairs at eOne, Chintoh specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. Her new company Long Walk Productions’ slate includes Strapped, a scripted comedy set in Hamilton about a narcissistic thirtysomething male focused on maintaining the pseudocelebrity status he achieved as a member of a famous rapper’s entourage.
Viewfinder Film Company
Excited to develop projects by talented Canadian South Asian writers through her company Viewfinder Film, Rabindran’s slate ranges from edgy comedies to sci-fi to family sitcoms. Her company is currently developing The End, an eight-episode sci-fi drama series that delves into espionage and pharmaceutical company corruption.
Wangkhang is an award-winning Tibetan-Canadian multimedia producer with the CBC. He created Rewa Media to produce dynamic stories about Tibetan-Canadians, a community he never really sees reflected in Canadian media. Rewa Media is now developing Tibet Kitchen, following a young Tibetan man who must take over the family restaurant in a small Ontario town after his father is injured.