Program overview


The CMPA STAR Producer Program is a comprehensive professional development platform designed to help members advance their careers and grow their businesses. STAR is an acronym for SkillsTrainingAccess, and Resources, which the program will offer through an extensive range of development opportunities for producers at all stages of their careers.

The program is open to all CMPA members and participation requires no commitment other than being a member of the CMPA. Individuals will have the opportunity to sign up for programming and events on an individual, case-by-case basis, throughout the year. The STAR Producer Program is made up of six modules that reflect the lifecycle of a production project: Pre-Development, Development, Pre-Production, Production, Post-Production, and IP Commercialization.

Each of the modules will run for approximately two months and will feature programming, training opportunities, and supporting materials through the following pillars:


Keynotes, webinars, or panel discussions featuring industry leaders, sharing knowledge and speaking about their career experience


Opportunities to meet and interact with fellow producers and other key stakeholders in the industry who can help you execute your next project, and expand your career opportunities

Coaching program

Connecting experienced and emerging producers, to facilitate short one-on-one discussions focused on early-career challenges and production-focused queries


A robust library of supporting materials (reports, databases, webpages, articles, podcasts, etc.) for those who wish to dig deeper

MODULE 5 | IP monetization

Module 5 will focus on IP monetization, with the goal of helping producers identify and maximize opportunities to develop and commercialize intellectual property. Programming in this module includes a virtual networking event that will connect CMPA members with leaders from interactive digital media (IDM) companies across Canada, as well as a webinar that will explore practical IP monetization business models.

Networking | Canadian Interactive Alliance virtual meet-up

On Wednesday May 4, we hosted a virtual networking event via Zoom that connected leaders working in Canada’s interactive digital media industry with the independent production sector. Presented in partnership with Interactive Ontario, the event included IDM companies from across the country who are part of The Canadian Interactive Alliance / L ‘Alliance Interactive Canadienne (CIAIC), which includes provincial associations such as DigiBC, Interactive Nova Scotia, New Media Manitoba, SaskInteractive, and others.

Executives and independent producers were connected to discuss their work and focus, and potential collaborations. The event was split into a number of 15-minute breakout sessions, followed by an open networking round.

Presentation | Maximizing your IP monetization opportunities

On Wednesday May 11, the CMPA hosted a webinar that looked at how producers can extend the value of their produced content through a range of IP exploitation and monetization opportunities. Drawing on their deep experience, our panelists examined a series of practical case studies that aimed to help producers keep IP exploitation top-of-mind from pre-development and on through the entire production lifecycle.

Moderated by Irene S. Berkowitz (The Creative School at Toronto Metropolitan University), the panel featured:

  • Cassandra Butcher – Chief Marketing Officer & Co-Creative Director, BRON Studios
  • Sarah Nathanson – Chief Operating Officer, Thunderbird Entertainment
  • Jeff Pestell – President, Champ & Pepper Inc.
  • Haydn Wazelle – President/Producer, Tabula Dada Productions

Irene S. Berkowitz, PhD, is Senior Policy Fellow, Audience Lab at The Creative School, Toronto Metropolitan University. She is executive producer/host of 2 podcasts, The Sessions in collaboration with Playback, which unpacks Canada’s new media legislation and Mediaucracy (launching May 2022) about how local creators build global audiences. Berkowitz is author of 2021’s Mediaucracy: Why Canada hasn’t made global TV hits and how it can and lead author of 2019’s Watchtime Canada: How YouTube connects creators and consumers. Her work is requested by publishers including The Globe and Mail and Playback; and organizations including Canadian Radio Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Canada Media Fund (CMF), and MacDonald Laurier Institute (MLI). Berkowitz is a graduate of Cornell University (BA), University of Chicago (MA), Toronto Metropolitan University (PhD), and Singularity University Executive Program.


Cassandra Butcher, as the Chief Marketing Officer, steers all marketing and promotional efforts for BRON corporately and on all BRON productions. She develops and implements comprehensive publicity and promotional plans and integrated marketing strategies. Butcher joined BRON in 2018 after serving for over a decade as Vice President, National Publicity at Fox Searchlight. At Searchlight she contributed to release and awards campaigns which garnered many Academy Awards and other awards recognition, including The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Belle, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Crazy Heart, and 12 Years a Slave. Prior to her time with Fox Searchlight, she was a unit publicist on films for Paramount, Screen Gems, Lionsgate, and MTV Films, those credits include Hustle and Flow, Higher Learning, Coach Carter and Ray. Butcher is a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences; and the Publicist Guild.


Sarah Nathanson, as Chief Operating Officer, works to support all divisions of Thunderbird Entertainment in their growth trajectories, and she took on the role of Corporate Secretary in 2021. She also serves as the company’s General Counsel, helping to guide teams across Thunderbird Entertainment from IP development and production, through to licensing and merchandise opportunities. Additionally, Sarah is actively involved in advocating for the TV and film industry as a whole and currently sits on the board of directors of the Canadian Media Producers Association and creative tech association DigiBC.




Jeff Pestell is the Founder and President of Champ & Pepper Inc. (C&P), a major Canadian Entertainment Marketing and Creative Agency. C&P supplies full-service marketing and creative support, from development through distribution, for major studios, networks, indies from Canada, the US, and around the world. Before C&P, Jeff has spent two decades in the Canadian Entertainment industry, overseeing Marketing, Communications and Creative for over 1,000 releases for such distributors as Alliance Films, eOne, and Phase 4.




Hadyn Wazelle is a Vancouver-based media & entertainment producer and software developer. He currently sits on the national boards of the Canadian Media Producers Association, the Black Screen Office, and the Canadian Independent Screen Fund. He has produced independent film, television and video games, and his BC-owned and operated software company, ZedDrive, is a web-based dailies, cuts & screeners tool purpose-built for media producers.




Coaching program

The CMPA is currently in a transitional phase of the STAR Producer Coaching Program as we design and implement a more robust, easy to use platform that will help connect established and emerging producers. Stay tuned!

The CMPA, through its STAR Producer professional development program, is launching a new mentorship initiative aimed at connecting experienced and emerging producers from across Canada. The goal of this initiative is to create a platform where seasoned producers are able to share knowledge and best practices based on their years of experience working in the production industry.

Registration for the STAR Producer Coaching is now closed. Stay tuned for future announcements.

Calling on Canada’s experienced producers: Become a STAR Producer Coach

The CMPA, through its STAR Producer professional development program, is launching a new mentorship initiative aimed at connecting experienced and emerging producers from across Canada. The goal of this initiative is to create a platform where seasoned producers are able to share knowledge and best practices based on their years of experience working in the production industry.

How does it work?

Producers with 10+ years of experience register and commit 30 minutes of their time for a call, a zoom chat, or (if this pandemic ever ends) a discussion over coffee with a producer who is early in their career. Based on experience and areas of interest identified by program participants, the CMPA will match STAR Producer Coaches (established producers) with early-career producers and send an introductory email. Emerging producers will follow up to schedule a meeting with their STAR Producer Coach.

In advance, the CMPA will work with the emerging producers who sign up for the program, to ensure they are prepared and have developed questions and objectives for the meeting with their Coach.

Why become a STAR Producer Coach?

We’ve all heard the term, “it’s not what you know, but who you know.” Well in the production industry it’s both. Volunteering to become a STAR Producer Coach is an opportunity to give back to the production community in Canada, to share the knowledge and experience you’ve built over your career, and to give your early-career colleagues a boost in what is a challenging, and increasingly globally-competitive, industry.

The past year has also raised awareness of the systemic barriers that exist in our industry. Barriers, which mean not everyone has the same opportunity to network and learn from those who are established in their production careers. Becoming a STAR Producer Coach is one small way you can help the CMPA work to eliminate such barriers.

Those who succeed in production do so through a combination of knowledge, skills and professional connections. We hope you’ll consider contributing your time for this mentorship initiative. And who knows, you may even find a new production partner at the end of it all.

Become a STAR Producer Coach →


Emerging producers

Producers who are just starting out, or are a few years into their career, are encouraged to apply to participate in the program. As part of this process, individuals will be asked to outline their career experience to-date, and areas of professional interest. Based on this information, the CMPA will work to match early-career producers with a STAR Producer Coach and send an introductory email putting Coaches and “Coachees” in touch with one another.

Emerging producers will be prompted to follow up directly to schedule a 30-minute meeting with their STAR Producer Coach. In advance, the CMPA will also provide the participants with guidance and tools so they are prepared to maximize the time with their Coach.

The CMPA will work to match all interested applicants, however space in the program is limited by the number of STAR Producers Coaches who sign up to participate. Priority will be given to CMPA members and employees of member companies.

Apply to be matched with a STAR Producer Coach →

Networking | Virtual networking roundtables with post-production and VFX companies

Dates to be announced

In early December, we will host a virtual networking event designed for CMPA members to meet with industry leaders and emerging companies in the post-production and visual effects (VFX) industries.

More information, and an opportunity to register, will be shared with members in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!


Resources | IP monetization

CMPA staff have carefully pulled together an extensive range of materials, focused on IP monetization. Use the filter by category button to search through resources from this module below. For resources from past modules, click here.

Defending our Rights Series: An Intellectual Property Strategy for Canada

The series, Defending our Rights, lays out the first principles for understanding the importance of intellectual property protections, and seeks to support the government’s goal, stated in the 2017 federal budget, of crafting a new intellectual property strategy for Canada.




Entertainment Law Building Blocks Series (Part 1): Content ownership and control

A podcast that dives into a deeper conversation about content ownership and questions such as who actually owns the final film? What is “title” and why do we track it? And who really has creative control?




From page to screen

An event created to promote the adaptation of Canadian fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature published by Ontario publishers to the big and small screens. It provides a forum for Ontario film and television producers to meet with publishers in scheduled, one-on-one meetings.



Program / event

Past modules


The STAR Producer Program consists of a series of modules, offered throughout the year, which reflect the lifecycle of a production project. To access content from past modules, please click below.


Past Modules →

FAQ / contact us


Answers to frequently asked questions can be found below. Should you have other any questions about the STAR Producer Program, or if you have suggestions for future programming, events or content, please contact Andrew Addison (Vice-President, Communications, Marketing & Membership).

Do I need to commit to a full-year?

No you do not. Individuals will have the opportunity to sign up for programming and events on an individual, case-by-case basis, throughout the year.

Do I need to be a member to get access to the program?

Although some programming will be open to non-members, many of the components of the STAR Producer Program will be available to members only.


Interested in joining the CMPA? Click here. 

What are the expectations for STAR Producer Coaches?

The mentorship pillar of the STAR Producer Program is an opportunity for experienced producers to give back to the production community, sharing their experience and expertise with emerging producers, who are early in their careers.


To encourage participation, the time commitment required from coaches is minimal. Volunteers will only need to make themselves available for between 30-60 to participate in short 15-minute phone conversations or zoom meetings with emerging producers. Emerging producers will be asked to provide a short agenda to their mentor in advance, and come prepared with 3-5 questions they would like to ask during the call.


For more information, or to volunteer as a mentor please contact Sarolta Csete (Director, Development & Corporate Affairs).

Is the STAR Producer Program’s mentorship pillar connect in any way to the CMPA National Mentorship Program?

No, The CMPA National Mentorship Program is a separate program, which coordinates job placement opportunities at leading production companies for aspiring producers. More information about this program can be found here.