Hollywood North: Financing Your Future Comedy Film
Vancouver, also referred to as Hollywood North, is a breeding ground for talented filmmakers. The focus of this panel will be the various avenues for financing your future comedy. This is a perfect opportunity for filmmakers to get insight on resources available to them, and the steps they need to take to get their films to the next level!
NATIONAL PROJECT LEAD, WESTERN REGION AND ONTARIO, TELEFILM CANADA
John Dippong is National Project Lead – Western Region and Ontario, based in Telefilm Canada’s Vancouver office. He is responsible for identifying and implementing regional strategies, partnerships and special initiatives, and managing Telefilm’s Promotion Program. John was also Western Region Feature Film Executive for 12 years, where he was responsible for managing Telefilm’s portfolio of feature film development and production decisions.
Prior to joining Telefilm, John worked in feature film production and film festival organization and programming.
PRESIDENT, THE HAROLD GREENBERG FUND
An MBA graduate with over twenty-five years of experience in film and television, John’s career has ranged from film festivals, to development, production and financing.
After staring his career at TIFF, his interest in development and production led to a position with Independent Pictures and contract work on several film and television projects. He then moved into financing, with positions at the Ontario Media Development Corporation (now Ontario Creates), the Canadian Media Fund and at Telefilm Canada where he served as a Regional Director and the Television Sector Head.
In 2005, he joined The Harold Greenberg Fund as President and Board Member. As President, he is responsible for the strategic and financial management of the organization, as well as industry and board relations. During his time at the Fund, he has overseen investments of more than $40 million and has helped develop over 1300 feature film projects. In addition to the main feature film development and production programs, John has overseen partnerships with film festivals, script writing labs and film promotion initiatives as well the support of documentary and short film projects.
He is also the co-Founder and Executive Director of the Toronto Irish Film Festival and sits on the board of the Canadian Film Fest.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER – CREATIVE BC
Prem Gill is Chief Executive Officer of Creative BC. The agency is designated by the Province of British Columbia to focus on uniting, sustaining and growing British Columbia’s dynamic and diverse creative sector including motion picture, music and sound recording, interactive and digital media, and magazine and book publishing.
Prem has been named one of Canada's 100 most powerful women, Vancouver Magazine’s “Power 50” and received the Community Catalyst award from the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade . She brings more than 20 years of experience from the digital media and entertainment industries to her current role as CEO, where she is responsible for delivering a wide range of programs and services that will expand BC’s creative economy to reach its economic and creative potential both at home and globally.
Before Creative BC, Prem spent eight years with TELUS, most recently in the role of Director of Production & Original Programming. Her commitment to the advancement of BC’s creative economy can be seen through her achievements there, including the successful development and launch of the StoryHive program and TELUS’s Optik TV community channel.
For many years, Prem has championed Canadian creativity as a representative and spokesperson to media, industry and government at all levels. Previous roles and responsibilities have included government and regulatory affairs, independent media consultation, cross-platform marketing, communications, research, public affairs and multicultural programming.
Prem is currently on the Board of Directors of the National Screen Institute, The Actors Fund of Canada and the PuSH Festival.
PROJECT MANAGER – STORYHIVE
An award winning Writer, Director and Producer, Smita brings over a decade of film and television experience to her role at STORYHIVE. Her work has been selected as a New York Times Critics Pick, broadcast worldwide and screened in numerous festivals including TIFF; VIFF; WOW Film Festival (Australia); Female Shorts Showcase Jury award winner (Torpedo Factory Art Center, Virginia) and the Los Angles Comedy Festival. Prior to her work at TELUS, Smita production managed the Gemini nominated documentary series FISH OUT OF WATER (APTN) in addition to working with the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Vancouver Queer Film Festival (Out on Screen). She is a Women In the Director’s Chair alumna as well as the former President of WIFT-Alberta.
Moderated By Andrew Williamson
Cedar Island co-founder, Andrew Williamson, brings years of domestic and international experience to this new venture. Andrew produced the award-winning doc series EMERGENCY ROOM: LIFE & DEATH AT VGH for The Knowledge Network/Discovery, HIGH MOON for Universal Cable Productions and Executive Producer Bryan Fuller, GASTOWN GAMBLE for the OWN Network and SK8LIFE (Sundance International Film Festival).
Newly launched Canadian production company, Cedar Island Films, produced four films in its first year and has a strong slate of projects in development. Credits include the German/Canadian feature doc co-pro THE WHALE AND THE RAVEN with the NFB and ARTE, television movie for the ZDF program RIVER OF LIFE, feature doc THE SEARCH for the CBC Doc Channel and THE MAGNITUDE OF ALL THINGS, directed by Jennifer Abbott (The Corporation).