top of page

ONIFF 2021 Jury

judge 1.png

She is the writer-producer-director of the 26-part series Working Animals (Discovery Canada, Animal Planet, Canal D and distributed worldwide) and the writer-producer-director of The Animal IQ Test (Discovery Channel, Animal Planet). Of her nine episodes of CBC’s Moving On, the episode, The Courage of Sharon won a Columbus Film Festival Award and was included in CBC’s entry for a Gemini nomination. Before founding Motion Picture Enterprises, she was National Sales Manager for the distribution company VEC/Criterion Pictures, where she led a sales team and represented majorproducers Disney/Buena Vista, Columbia, Tri-Star, Universal, 20th  Century Fox, MGM, Paramount, Encyclopaedia Britannica, PBS, and Films Inc. Cathleen serves as a guest speaker and juror for industry festivals, organizations, and funders, is a former board member of the Oakville Film Festival and is the founder of the filmmaker collectiveFilmhive. Cathleen has an Honors BFA in Film Production from York University.Recently she was the producer-director of the 10-part anthology and art exhibit The LostMuseum (Creative Hub 1352) and the digital producer for the feature documentary, TheDivided Brain (Matter of Fact Media, CBC Documentary Channel). Her recent film Deescalate, was produced with support from the Ontario Arts Council.

Jordan Van Dyck is an award winning actor who graduated from the American Musical
and Dramatic Academy (NYC) as well as the Classical Program at the Royal Academy
of Dramatic Arts (London). He works mainly in film and television, his recent credits
include The Detectives, The Expanse, Incorporated and Private Eyes.

judge 2.png

Jocelyne  is a multi-nominated actor and winner of the 2012 Canadian Comedy Award
for her brilliant performance of Nicole in Steve Galluccio’s “Funkytown”. This summer
found Jocelyne on several sets both in Toronto and Montreal. She is back as Carole,
shooting Season 2 of “C’est comme ca que je t’aime”/”Happily married) (catch Season 1
on CBC Gem) There was Sue,  a recurring character in the new comedy series “Paris,
Paris”. Add to that the tv series “ Virage” and “Zik”, the feature film “Rosie”. She is
presently shooting the series “La Petite Mairesse” up in Sudbury and looking forward to
more video game studio fun.   You can  presently catch a number of her performances
on a variety of streaming platforms:  the series “Appelle moi si tu meurs” as one of the
leads,  Angela Vietti (La mama), as Vega, a recurring character on CBC Gem’s “Utopia
Falls”,  “Ghost Town Anthology” by Denis Coté (premiering at Berlinale), Cannes’ “Coup
de Coeur” winner “La Femme de mon Frère” by Monia Chokri, the television hit series “
Schitt’s Creek” ( Netlix),  and “La Malédiction de Jonathan Plourdre”. Her numerous
films include Leon Marr’s “The Second Time Around”, “Mangiacake”, “Deadfall”, “Guilt

by Association” and Sudz Sutherland’s “Love Sex and Eating the Bone”.  Other
television guest appearances include the PM of France, facing off with Keifer
Sutherland on  “Designated Survivor, (Netflix) playing  alongside Jason Priestly in
“Private Eyes” , “Insecurity”, “18 to Life” “Are you afraid of the dark” and “Urban
Angel”(playing on Encore+).  

Melanie St-Pierre is a Meisner-trained actress from Toronto. Her first major leading film
role was starring alongside Lance Henriksen in GARM WARS: THE LAST DRUID from
Palme D’Or nominee Mamoru Oshii (GHOST IN THE SHELL), premiering at the Tokyo
International Film Festival. Melanie has also starred in such titles as HEROES:
REBORN, ASSASSIN’S CREED, LOVE BY ACCIDENT, and can be seen later this year
in a guest starring role on the award winning CTV/NBC series TRANSPLANT.

judge 3.png

Kyle is an award winning Toronto-based director, writer, actor, and picture editor. Since
premiering his first short in 2016, Kyle has screened at over 60 festivals worldwide, and
his short film “Vertical Lines” won Best Screenplay at the 2019 Future of Film Showcase
and Best Men’s Short at 2018 Wicked Queer Boston.
Kyle is also an instructor at the Toronto Film School and is currently in pre-production of
his first feature-tenth film, “Adolescent”. His YouTube channel has been gaining
momentum with his humorous deconstruction of mixed legacies and anthologies of
some of the most iconic film franchises.

Kirsten is an actor/writer/comedian living in Toronto Ontario. She is the star of the
webseries Slo Pitch on IFC and Band Ladies on HighBall TV. You can also spot Kirsten
in Schitt's Creek, Tall Boyz, Dino Dana, The Beaverton, Odd Squad and Bit Playas.
Kirsten has written for the widely celebrated The Snoopy Show on Disney Plus, and for
This Hour Has 22 Minutes. Kirsten is an alumna of Toronto Second City Mainstage.
Follow @kikirazzle on Instagram and Twitter for any upcoming shows.

judge 4.png

Sergio Navarretta is an internationally award-winning director who co-founded
production company S.N.A.P. Films Inc., with a view to telling entertaining and
meaningful stories on screen. He has helmed three dramatic features for S.N.A.P. Films
Inc., including The Cuban, starring Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. and Oscar nominee
Shohreh Aghdashloo, comedy-drama The Colossal Failure of the Modern Relationship,

and the true historical drama, Looking for Angelina. His films have had successful
festival screenings across the globe, won multiple awards, have had theatrical success,
and are now in worldwide distribution. Having worked in both live action and animation
with top Hollywood talent, Navarretta also brings his experience as a producer to each
of his projects.
S.N.A.P. Films Inc.’s Website: Sergio Navarretta’s Website:

Yousef is a Dubai based, international multi-award winning Creative Director and
Filmmaker. Fine Arts graduate, majoring in Visual Communications from Damascus
university, and filmmaking from New York Film Academy, Los Angeles, CA. USA. Born
in Carora, Venezuela. In addition to the making of many TVCs, shorts and a feature, he
contributed as jury member of other international film festivals.

judge 5.png

Vasilios is a professional actor working in Los Angeles and Toronto. He completed
his Bachelor of Fine Arts in York University’s Theatre program.  Vasilios has been
blessed to work in film, television and commercials. He has created, written, produced
and starred in his own 2 part mini television series FAK YAASS airing on OUTTV
Canada and Amazon Prime in the US & UK. Vasilios has also landed a key role
on Hudson & Rex (CityTV) and the lead in Shadowlands (OUTTV). Vasilios is an
extremely accomplished actor training and working throughout Toronto. He has
representation in Toronto (Oldfield Talent), Vancouver (KC Talent) and LA (Kerry
Jones Management). He has trained in improv, film and Meisner acting techniques and
has created his own work to establish himself as a creative force in the industry, making
him a rising star.  Vasilios is excited to continue and grow his career in Canada and the
US, and be a creative voice for the growing and changing industry.

Chase is an Canadian actor for film and television, fight choreographer, as well as the
owner of Self Tapes in the Six, a self tape studio based in Toronto, where he coaches
and tapes with both local, and international clients. Chase possesses an Applied
Bachelor’s Degree in Motion Picture Arts from Red Deer College, Alberta, and has
worked on films such as The Apprentice and Bordello, as well as shows like Letterkenny
and Mayor of Kingstown.

judge 6.png

CK is a writer of mostly genre (thriller, horror, femmenoir) features and shorts, and has
recently become a multihyphenate, writer/director/producer of her first short. She is a
trained therapist, and she is skilled at channelling and articulating the darker forces of
personality and emotion. She has a keen interest in exploring the “darker” side of the
female psyche from a woman’s POV. She gravitates toward the stylized expression of
genre because of her visual art background, and the cathartic release it offers to bottled
up emotions. CK has had two scripts optioned, and placed in contests (PAGE, Big
Break, Austen Table Read) with her shorts and features. She lives in Toronto.

Mirella is an award-winning writer and filmmaker who began in the field of journalism.
She completed her MFA at NYU's Tisch School for the Arts in Dramatic Writing and was
twice awarded the Alfred P. Sloan Prize for television pilot & ;Seven Eternities. She was a
fellow at Film Independent for their Episodic Lab sponsored by Netflix, and was invited
at the North Fork TV Festival with her one-hour historical limited series Push It. Her
feature screenplay was named one of the top unproduced scripts in Canada and
adapted into the short “Lady Electric,” which screened internationally. Please visit: for more.

judge 7.png

Brad is the founder and lead instructor at Milne Studio and the Toronto Acting School.
His keen eye for spotting and cultivating talent comes from his 300+ career projects as
an actor and creator, and having coached over 2000 actors in over 2000 of his various
school and studio classes. Learn more about Brad
at  and .

Aditya is an internationally acclaimed independent award winning Documentary, Short,
Advertising  Corporate Film Maker & has been involved in the making of Short Films,
Documentaries &  TV programmes in all genres for national as well as international
audiences. He is an Academic &  Professor of Film & teaches Filmmaking  related
media at the Under Graduate, Post Graduate & PhD levels. He has been in the Indian
Film industry for 34 years and has been an academic for 23. He is an Academic
Consultant for University of South Wales, Cardiff, Wales, (UK). Aditya is the President of
Indian Documentary Producers’ Association, IDPA.

judge 8.png

Yair is a writer/producer, based in Toronto. Transplanted from Europe, he propelled
himself into film to bring his dream career to life. With experience spanning across many
aspects of production, Yair has his sights set on showrunning and creating compelling
stories by bringing together and leading passionate teams of filmmakers. He recently
received the Entertainment Law Certificate from Osgoode School of Law and is now
delving into the accounting side of film. Each a step towards bettering himself as a
producer on his next projects. You can follow his journey  


Dr. Janet McMordie is an actor (ACTRA), stunt performer, voice over artist, and medical
doctor. She has a small clinical practice in Orillia, Ontario. Most recently, she was a
stunt performer in an upcoming FX series and was the on-set medical consultant for a
Netflix feature film currently in post-production. 
Instagram: janet_mcm

judge 9.png
judge 10.png

Jordan Wall is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Drama Music Program and
Centennial College’s Post-Graduate Professional Writing Program. He has collaborated
creatively with several companies and productions, including Koodo Mobile, Kobo Inc.,
and various Mike Holmes television programs. In addition, Jordan produced several
award-winning short films for a non-profit organization and is currently Marketing
Manager at Milne Studios and CEO of a mobile dating app.

A seasoned actress for the majority of her life, Robynne has trained under some of
Toronto’s top acting schools, professors and coaches and has been featured heavily in
many international commercials, web series, and feature films as a supporting
and leading lady. To date, she has earned herself the best actress award for her
performance as Laurel Harris on the feature film, The Percy Harris Story.
After spending almost a decade in marketing Robynne has transitioned her savvy
business experience combining with the film world as an executive producer and
created her own Independent production company Emblazon Pictures. Her
intentions are to trail-blaze and create a pathway for independent filmmakers and leave
a footprint in Canadian film. Current projects include Painted Sharks directed by Brian
Lutes and Cut The Painter with Jay Baruchel and John Cleese.

Brian is a Vancouver based actor who has appeared in television shows such as Family
Law, The Flash, A Million Little Things, Arrow, Rogue, and Untold Stories Of The E.R.
He also performed in the 2015 Cannes Lions award-winning short film 40 Love. Brian is
continually refining his craft through his studies at The Working Actors Gym with Aaron
Craven, and with Jeb Beach, Wesley Salter and Tony Alcantar. He sings, plays acoustic

guitar, and enjoys writing in his spare time. Watch for Brian next in the upcoming horror
feature, “Jikirag".

Leanne Noelle Smith is a Canadian Actress and Producer based out of Toronto,
Ontario. She has been a performer since the early age of 5, beginning as a dancer
touring North America and Ukraine, until age 23. Today she works in the world of film/tv
via acting, voiceover, and producing. Her favorite training was in NYC at the
Neighborhood Playhouse Summer Intensive, but her career began in Toronto. You can
see her most recent work in Good Witch on Hallmark as well as The
Influencers and Fak Yaass on Amazon Prime.

Nicole Bedford is a documentary filmmaker based in Ottawa, ON whose work explores themes of identity, power, and resiliency. Since launching into film in 2019, she has created and screened several short documentaries, is an alumnus of three mentorship programs (including with the DOC Institute and the National Film Board of Canada), and as the winner of a 2020 Canada Council for the Arts Explore and Create Grant. Currently, she is in post-production for her first documentary feature, the smallest steps, which follows four women as they find their voice in the Canadian anti-violence movement

judge 11.png

Chrystelle is a TV director, producer, screenwriter, radio columnist, narrator, and jazz
vocalist. Her documentary work has led her to explore a wide range of issues, for
networks such as Radio-Canada/CBC, TV5 Unis, TFO, and Bell. She created and
directed the documentary series A new place called home, À la bonne
franquette and Urban Resilience Toronto. Maechler has created content in French,
English, and German.

jury phase 2 (1).png

Since 1985, CONRAD COATES has acted in theatre, film, television and radio. Over
the years Conrad’s performed in more than 70 stage productions across the
continent, including two seasons at The Stratford Shakespeare Festival and has
more than 120 television and film credits to his name. Selected credits include roles
in TRON LEGACY, DEFIANCE, Vulcan Admiral Terral, in CBS Star Trek: Discovery.
He was also featured in Robert Zemeckis’ latest film, WELCOME TO MARWEN,
starring Steve Carell. Since 1998,

Conrad has been an associate drama teacher and director with
SuiteLife: Arts For Youth, a not for profit educational and performance community
outreach organization. For the past 10 years, along with his commitments to his
continuing success as an actor, he has worked as a professor of acting at Toronto's
Seneca College. Mr. Coates’ directing credits include Lana Lovell’s Elbow Room;
Stephanie Herrera’s, Am I Pretty Now, as well as Soulpepper’s production of The
Nina Project written and performed by Shakura S’aida. Conrad is a member of the
Screen Actors Guild (U.S.A.) ACTRA and the Canadian Actors Equity Association.

jury phase 2 (1).png

Former corporate executive, teacher and pro athlete turned International Multi-Award
Winning Actor, Director, Producer and Keynote that loves to give back and inspire the
up-and-coming generation of filmmakers and creatives. Fought for Women in Film & TV since early 2000s and pioneered indie filmmaking in 2009. Author of two TOP selling
filmmaking books available on Amazon ( How to make it from a No-to-Whoa Budget )
and ( Zero-to-Hero ). Recent projects include a supporting role in Project Xtraction
alongside Jackie Chan and John Cena. For more info:  and follow
Instagram @tazgarciaofficial

Tazito Garcia


jury phase 2 (1).png

Working internationally Angelica, a Toronto based actor, has appeared in Film,
Television and Commercials. She is also an award winning producer, accomplished
presenter, reporter and host. Her work has been accredited and awarded within North
America, while also receiving acclaim in Barcelona, India, Amsterdam, Nice and
Cannes just to highlight a few. She is a member of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema,
Television and Radio Artists (ACTRA) and is engaged in various initiatives for the
membership through Committees, teaching Member Education and supporting Safe
Spaces on Set as an On Set Liaison Officer supporting all performers including, Minor
Performers, Background Performers and engaging with Intimacy Coordinators. She is a
part of the Toronto Executive in a Vice-Presidential position and also serves as an
ACTRA National Councilor. She is also a member of Academy of Canadian Cinema and
Television for which she participates as a juror. 
Having spent many years as a Business Consultant within North America and overseas,
she has taken those skills to help others. Angelica has been sought as a Juror, Judge,
an Industry Panellist and Speaker at various Film Festivals in Canada and the US. She
has worked with many great folks developing, producing and collaborating on original
works, which have enjoyed viewings in many local festivals and opened the door to

invitations to international festivals as an industry expert and for festivals such as the
Cannes Film Festival attending for films she helped produced.

jury phase 2 (1).png

Melanie Arden is the Senior Vice President/Producer, Original Content at
Renegade Lens Pictures (Toronto office). As SVP of Original Content/Senior
Producer, she develops and produces mainstream content for the global market.
Currently, she os serving as producer on GOD OS - The Quantum Genesis, and the
television series, BAM! and Esperanza. To learn more about Renegade Lens

jury phase 2 (2).png

Tracy is an actress, acting coach and director with more years of experience than she
cares to mention.  Her recent credits include roles in American Gods, Schitt's Creek,
The Kid Detective, The Hot Zone. She also works behind the scenes in multiple crew
roles.  Tracy loves movies and is so excited to watch these amazing films and enjoy the
efforts of some emerging Canadian filmmakers.

Kulbinder Saran Caldwell is the founder and principal agent at REALLIFE Pictures Inc.
a Toronto-based literary agency, which represents diverse, neurodiverse and
LGBTQIA+ screenwriters and directors.  Kulbinder is also a producer.  She has co-
producer credits on Brown Girl Begins and Anarkali web series. She was the chair of
the inaugural Sikh International Film Festival in Toronto. Kulbinder is an active member
of CMPA and PRO.

jury phase 2 (2).png

Born and raised in Cambridge, Ontario, Alan grew up passionate about hockey and
adjusting to life with Aspergers at a time when it was not well understood. He started his
professional career as a Real Estate Agent and then in sales, he decided to pursue his
passion and get into the film industry. Graduating from Digital Animation and then Film
Production, Alan tackled his first feature film, Beyond Hell, as the writer, director and
Producer. The film went on to win 6 awards including best feature and best special
effects. Alan continues to work on projects and is currently a member of IATSE. Alan
brings a unique ability to see the industry from multiple angles that help him find the
best way to tackle challenges. Though his focus is on directing and writing, he is always
eager to take on different roles to expand his knowledge of the industry and network
with new talent.

Hailing from Philadelphia, Rob is a filmmaker who is used to wearing many hats and
has had a love of reading, writing, and storytelling his whole life. Rob studied Film and

Media Arts at Temple University in Philadelphia before starting his company, Digital
Reality Films, and throwing himself into the deep end. Since then he has written,
directed, and/or produced several short films, written three feature film screenplays, and
worked with notable industry professionals such as M. Night Shyamalan, Bryce Dallas
Howard, and Adrien Brody.
Recent projects include the short films ‘Grade A’, ‘Ticks’, ‘Goodbye’, and ‘Stalked’, as
well as a feature film that is in development.
Rob lives outside Philly with his wife, Robin (yes, they really are Rob and Robin) and his
Best Good Girl, Ellie the SuperMutt


Like many within the arts, Michael Winn Johnson has worn many proverbial hats. He
has been a film critic, moderator, teacher, a theatre director and a dialect coach for over a decade. His journey started with York University where he earned his Bachelors of
Fine Arts in Film, but his love for art and performance didn’t stop there. He then
attended Seneca College’s prestigious Animation program, and eventually tried his
hand at filmmaking. Eventually, he followed a family profession in teaching, while still
finding a balance between work and creativity, contributing to the GTA's theatre
environment as an award-winning director.
You can catch Michael on his film-related YouTube channel Reel School, and as
Managing Editor of FilmSpeak.

jury phase 2 (3).png

In March of 2019, Masangkay launched TOP DRONE INC, a drone service company
born out of the need for aerial photography and cinematography for film and television productions. After being the only company to have all the clearances to fly over the Toronto Raptors NBA Championship Parade this past June, it catapulted TOP DRONE into the drone service industry as the fresh new company on the scene.
With over 15 years in the independent film industry, Masangkay is the General Manager
of Raven Banner Entertainment, Raven Banner Releasing and Northern Banner
Releasing through which Masangkay has worked with many indie film producers in
Northern Ontario through their production services company, Hangar 18 Media. He also
is the Production Director at the Toronto Film School in Toronto, Canada.

jury phase 2 (3).png

Dr. Meadley dedicates a large portion of his time to exploring various films, dating back
to introductory courses during his undergraduate education. A growing experience
within previous generations of film has fostered a particular fondness for film noire and

screwball comedy genres. Outside of film, in his spare time, Alex works as a specialist
doctor of Internal Medicine in Orillia, ON.

jury phase 2 (4).png

Ron Leach, the recipient of the 2018 Casting Director of The Year award by the
International Association of Top Professionals (IAOTP) is a noted Casting Director,
Producer, award-winning Director and Acting Coach. He is one of Canada’s leading
casting directors, casting independent film, television, theatre and commercials for
clients as diverse as Hallmark, Lifetime,  MarVista Entertainment, CTV, Anchor Bay,
CBS, FOX, Paramount, Global Television, and many more.
In the past ten years Ron has directed twelve international award-winning short films,
including Love Is which premiered at the Oaxaca International Film Festival in Mexico in
2013 and was the subject of six master-classes in filmmaking at the festival and two
universities in Mexico. His most recent directorial endeavour GayBasher, premiered at
the Boston LGBT Film Festival in May of 2014 prior to being included in the Cortes
Metrage in Cannes. Gaybasher also screened at Cinema Diverse in Palm Springs, USA
and in competition at the 2014 Oaxaca Intl Film Festival received the inaugural
Humanitarian Award.  Ron’s short film screenplay Fadeaway has been official selection
in over twenty film festivals around the world, winning best screenplay in eleven
festivals thus far. His inaugural Feature Film Screenplay KILT (written during the 2020
Covid Lockdown) has been official selection at over thirty film festivals internationally
and has garnered awards in over half of those festivals to date. He is the Producer of
the acclaimed feature-length documentary film Shurtleff, on the legendary author,
teacher, and casting director Michael Shurtleff.

Ron served on the jury for the Oaxaca International Film Festival and he created
the Writers Roundtable in Oaxaca and serves as a mentor on an ongoing basis at the
Festival event as well at it’s sister program Pitchfest; has been a juror for
the International Emmy Awards, the Genie and Gemini Awards; the On The Fly Film
Festival; and is a regular judge of the Toronto Monologue SLAM. Ron is the Past
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion,
served as President of the Board of Directors to The Canadian International Animation
Festival (producing two festivals during his five year tenure); was Chairman of the Board
of Directors to The Talent Representatives Association of Canada; and President of the
Board of Directors to Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore award-winning Acme Theatre
Company (producing over thirty plays during his ten year tenure). He has taught his
acclaimed course of acting skills for the camera at numerous prestigious institutions
including at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival; The Vancouver Film School; and
ACTRA Toronto’s Acting Your Age program.  Ron is a member of the Casting Director’s
Society of Canada and The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

jury phase 2 (4).png

With more than twenty years experience in the industry working both independently and
for companies such as eOne, Rogers and 9 Light Entertainment in a variety of roles. He
currently works as a freelance writer, director, producer, and consultant as well as an
instructor for the Toronto Film School.

jury phase 2 (4).png

Egyptian/American Director and Producer, Ahmed Refaat, has over 25 years
experience in all sorts of media fields: TV programs, documentaries, commercial

advertising, events and music videos.  Winning an award ing 2003 for best music video
from the National Radio and Television Festival

jury phase 2 (5).png

Daniel Kaunisviita (@dk_ultra) is a multidisciplinary artist from Ottawa (Algonquin
Anishinaabeg traditional territory). With a passion for storytelling and new technology he
has been fortunate to work in many mediums as an artist and freelance creative, from
video to design to live events. As a writer/director, editor, and sound editor his credits
include music videos, commercials, web series, short films and documentary work for
film and television.

jury phase 2 (5).png

Mallika Sothinathan is a documentary filmmaker with a PG in Mass Communication and
a Diploma in Social Service. She has completed two award winning documentaries:
“Crossing the river of life” and Sree Dancing through the season”. She is an author of
“Lokhi and I” and “Safe Distance Save lives”. She has produced web series content and
is currently working on her upcoming projects: “Shyama” and “Cricket N Me”.

jury phase 2 (5).png

Massimiliano (Max) Cerchi is an award-winning film director and producer. Born In Italy,
he moved to study and work in USA and his movies have been released by Lionsgate
and Cinetel in US and worldwide. He works from concept-to-completion on each film,
developing the ideas, assembling the creative team, and delivering a finished
production to the distributor. In every project, he is part filmmaker/part consultant/part
workaholic. His distinctive approach to filmmaking has attracted a client list that
includes, celebrities, rock stars and other filmmakers. Max's  work has been featured in national and international film festivals. He has been a celebrity expert and film reviewer on various blog and video blogs such as Horror Palace and many more.

bottom of page