Awards and Juries 2013
Best Short Film Award (under 40 minutes)
Awarded to the best film under 40 minutes that plays in this year’s festival. Check out the Eco Bits to see them for yourself!
Best Canadian Feature Film Award (over 40 minutes)
Awarded to the best Canadian feature film that plays at this year’s fest. Check out the schedule here and see some.
Best International Feature Film Award (over 40 minutes)
Awarded to the best International feature film that plays at this year’s fest. Check out the schedule here and see some.
The Mark Haslam Award
This award was established in honour of Mark Haslam, the founder of Planet in Focus. The award is given to any drama, documentary or experimental film programmed in the Festival that gives voice to individuals, communities, struggles or stories that are under-represented in the media and is made by a filmmaker who is a member or participant in that community, struggle or story. The selected work demonstrates the power to inspire reflection and positive action towards the social and ecological health of the planet.
TBA Nov 24, 2013 at Closing Ceremonies
Industry Series Awards
The Green Pitch Award
This annual award is presented to a filmmaker who has made an outstanding pitch at our competition on Friday, November 22nd at 5:00pm – 6:30pm at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The award is valued at over $10,000 in funding and services and is intended to support the development of a new project.
Honey for Sale, Amanda Strong & Jeremy Edwardes
For more information on the Green Pitch Award, please click here.
The award is sponsored by
Planet in Focus Green Screen Award
The Green Screen Award sponsored by The Harold Greenberg Fund and is presented to a filmmaker or producer who has taken behind-the-scenes action to incorporate environmentally friendly film production practices into their film or television production. The award will be given to the most inspiring story and production that has resulted in reducing their environmental footprint. The winner will receive a $5,000 cash award.
2012 Winner: Warehouse 13
For more information on the Green Screen Award, please click here.
Planet in Focus Eco Heroes
Planet in Focus honours inspiring individuals who have made a difference to the environment, globally and within their communities, through their actions and body of work.
Planet in Focus Eco-Heroes are beacons of change and we honour their spirit, dedication and ability to inspire. This year we are pleased to honour two outstanding individuals.
Planet in Focus 2013 Juries
Canadian Features Jury
Grad student, Member of the Planet in Focus Board
Anne has worked extensively in the fields of environment and health. In association with the Canadian Environmental Law Association and as an environmental consultant, she has written major law and policy reports on chemicals, environmental health, toxics use reduction, water issues, indoor air pollutants and international comparisons of laws. She has also been the Executive Assistant and a Senior Policy Advisor for two Ontario Ministers of Environment and Energy. Her media and communications experience includes production and research for three CBC national television shows: Market Place, Man Alive and The Health Show. Her most recent production is a public education video called “Lead-Stick Beware”, which won the US-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ “Kiss Lead Goobdbye” contest. She is currently doing her Masters in Environmental Studies at York University.
Regional Director, Industry Promotion – English Market, Telefilm
John is Regional Director of Industry Promotion for the English Market. He joined Telefilm Canada in 1997 after having been involved in feature film production, film festival organization and programming. He has taken on roles of increasing responsibility since joining Telefilm, including Regional Feature Film Executive, where he oversaw the Western Region’s development and production decisions for 12 years. In his current position, John manages Telefilm’s Industry Promotion portfolio and works closely with his colleagues in Marketing and Communications to identify and implement regional strategies, partnerships and marketing initiatives which respond to Telefilm’s corporate and promotional objectives – to stimulate demand for Canadian content and help to build a vibrant Canadian audio-visual industry.
Executive Producer, Real to Reel Productions
An award-winning independent filmmaker, Anne’s passion for story telling began as a teenager writing for her father’s country newspaper in South Australia. This led to a career in journalism with major Australian newspaper and television organizations, but during the obligatory Aussie world walkabout, ended up with a filmmaking career and family in Toronto, Canada. She has been producing, directing, writing, and story-editing docs and factual series for over 20 years, resulting in hundreds of hours of documentaries and television series, and won many awards, including a Canadian Gemini, Australian AFI and Dendy, top prizes from New York, Chicago and Houston and had her worked screened at many international festivals. Anne’s work has and continues to find appreciative audiences around the world.
Under her company banner Real to Reel Productions, Anne has a reputation for engaging and popular films and series in a variety of genres. She says learning to write from the front to the back pages of a newspaper ingrained a broad interest in subject matter from social and political issues, to history, music, science, sports, wildlife and the environment. She has interviewed Prime Ministers, and world famous singers, actors and artists and many unsung heroes and survivors who continue to be an inspiration.
She has also been a strong advocate for the documentary community in Canada and is currently co-vice chair of DOC Canada and was a founding board member and former co-chair of Hot Docs. Anne also has a strong international presence and produced the first Independent Documentary Official Treaty Co-pro between Canada and Australia with “Helen’s War: Portrait of a Dissident” and she continues to be the matchmaker between her fellow Aussie and Canadian filmmakers while nurturing her own current co-productions.
International Features Jury
Director, Take Action Films
Andrew made his first environmental documentary Garbage! The Revolution Starts at Home over a five-year period. Released in 2007, Garbage! has been seen by over two million people internationally and has been translated into six languages. Nisker produced his second environmental documentary, Chemerical, exploring the life cycle of everyday household cleaners and hygiene products to prove that, thanks to our clean obsession, we are drowning in a sea of toxicity. Nisker is continuing to produce documentaries and is in post production on a touching film about the haunting effects of Agent Orange called Orange Witness.
Nisker regularly participates in panels and has been a part of programs at DOC Canada, NWA Green Expo for WalMart Home Office, Northwestern University and has also been a regular jury member for Earth Day Canada’s Home Town Heroes.
As an educator, Nisker has held environmental and filmmaking workshops in Canada, Italy and the United States in collaboration with various film festivals and school boards and is currently teaching part time at the OCAD University in downtown Toronto.
When at home he spends the majority of his time playing shinny and catch, cooking and skiing with his son Sebastian.
Director, Fierce Light Films
Velcrowis a Canadian documentary filmmaker, writer, and public speaker, best known for his Genie Award-winning 2006 film Scared Sacred and his newest feature documentary, Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action. His 1995 feature documentary, Bones of the Forest, won twelve major awards, including a Genie Award, and Best of the Festival at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Many of his films examine the intersection of spirituality and politics.
He has also been a contributor to ascent and Shambhala Sun magazines, which explore similar issues. His writing has also appeared in the anthologies, We are Everywhere and Dam Nation.
He is a co-founder of the Gulf Islands Film and Television School, and has taught film at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, and at the Ontario College of Art and Design. He also teaches workshops and lectures on the themes of spirituality and activism.
Born Steve Ripper, he was raised in British Columbia as a Baha’i. He later adopted the nickname Velcrow while participating in punk rock culture in his youth.
Geoff is an arts and media critic. He is a former film critic, book columnist and cultural journalist for the Toronto Star, )where he worked from 1998 to 2011. His writing has appeared in several newspapers, magazines and arts journals, and he has worked as a broadcaster for both radio and television. He has also lectured widely on cultural and media topics, and taught courses at several Canadian universities and colleges. In 2012, he contributed weekly pop culture columns to CBC Radio Syndication, which were heard in nearly twenty markets across Canada. Since September 2012, he has contributed a weekly column to The Globe and Mail called ‘The Film Geek’.
Pevere graduated from Carleton University’s Film Studies program in 1982. In 1986 he was named the first Program Coordinator of the Toronto International Film Festival’s Perspective Canada program, which introduced the work of Atom Egoyan, Bruce McDonald and Guy Maddin, among others, during his tenure. From 1986 to 1988 he contributed to CBC Radio’s “State of the Arts” program, and in 1988 started a twelve-year stint as the movie reviewer on CTV’s “Canada AM”.
From 1989 to 1993, Pevere hosted Prime Time, a groundbreaking nightly pop culture magazine series on CBC Radio. In 1993, after the death of Jay Scott, he was the host of Film International on TVOntario. From 2003 to 2007 he was the co-host, with Richard Crouse, of Rogers Television’s “Reel to Real”.
He cowrote the book Mondo Canuck (1996), a bestselling critical evaluation of Canadian pop culture. He is also the author of “Team Spirit: A Field Guide to Roots Culture” (1998), “Toronto on Film” (2009) and “Donald Shebib’s Goin’ Down the Road” (2012).
In 2012, he launched a network of encyclopedic critical pop cultural websites called “The Blessed Diversion Network”. “Mean Justice” is devoted to western movies and TV shows; The Big Shadow is dedicated to the movie and TV culture of crime; Riff Free or Die covers the visual history of rock music; and The Directory of Intemperate Enthusiasms covers cult movies and TV.
SRI Portfolio Manager at Jacob Securities,
Chair of Planet in Focus Board
Sucheta has been involved in Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) for over 10 years, advising retail and institutional clients on how to integrate environmental, social and governance concerns into their investment portfolios.
An investment advisor and portfolio manager, Sucheta manages one of the largest exclusively SRI books of business in Canada. Offering a variety of educational activities such as lunch ‘n learns, she helps clients improve both their financial literacy and knowledge of SRI, encouraging them to champion SRI within their own circles.
As an advocate for SRI, Sucheta is a blogger for SRI Monitor, SocialFinance.ca and has discussed investing on BNN, CBC Newsworld and IE:TV as well as in various print media including More, Macleans, the Toronto Star and the Bullfrog Buzz.
Sucheta has an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School and is qualified as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). She is also a graduate of the Canadian Securities Institute’s Professional Financial Planning Program, a Certified Investment Manager (CIM), and a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute (FCSI). She is a past President of the Board of the Social Investment Organization, and has served on the Boards of East End Community Health Centre, Straight Goods and New Experiences for Refugee Women.
A long time supporter of the Planet in Focus film festival, Sucheta has fond memories of pancake breakfasts in the courtyard of Innis College.
Canadian Bureau Chief, The Hollywood Reporter
Etan has worked extensively as a print journalist and editor for over 25 years, first in London, England between 1985 and 1991 as a financial journalist, and since then in Canada as an entertainment journalist for the Hollywood Reporter, the Los Angeles-based industry trade newspaper. His articles appear worldwide via the Reuters wire service. He graduated from the University of British Columbia with an honours degree in history, before going on to complete a masters degree in journalism at the City University in London, England.
Etan Vlessing lives in Toronto with his wife, Amanda Batchelor.
Director, Red Queen Productions
Justine Pimlott has been working as a documentary filmmaker for over 20 years. She began her career as a location sound recordist – training at the National Film Board of Canada in Montreal – working on numerous documentaries for Studio D, the women’s studio. She formed Red Queen Productions with Maya Gallus to produce ground-breaking, award-winning documentaries and series about women, social issues, culture and the arts.
She has worked as producer and creative collaborator on critically acclaimed Red Queen films such as : ‘The Mystery Of Mazo de la Roche’, ‘Girl Inside’ and ‘Dish – Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service’. And as a director on Laugh In The Dark, a highly personal POV film that won Best Social Issue Documentary at Hot Docs and Best Canadian Film at the Inside Out Festival in Toronto, Punch Like A Girl, a six part reality series and feature on women’s boxing, Chasing The Dream, Cat City, & Fag Hags: Women Who Love Gay Men.
Red Queen’s latest doc, ‘Derby Crazy Love’, will premiere this November at RIDM – the Montreal International Documentary Festival. Co-produced and co-directed with Maya Gallus, Derby Crazy Love, takes the viewer into the extraordinary world of women’s roller derby.
Director, Special Projects, Toronto International Film Festival
As Director, Special Projects, TIFF, Shane oversees a wide variety of initiatives and events at TIFF Bell Lightbox, including large-scale strategic projects, TIFF In The Park, Nuit Blanche and the Packaged Goods series. He also oversees TIFFs Film Reference Library. In his previous role at TIFF, as Director, Public Programmes, his portfolio included the TIFF Kids International Film Festival and the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival, TIFF Nexus, Culture Days, family workshops, and March break and summer camps.
Smith graduated with a BA in Film Studies and Mass Communications from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia before calling Canada home. Prior to joining TIFF in 2010, he held various positions in programming at Spafax Canada, Movieola – the Short Film Channel, Silver Screen Classics and spent six years as Director of the Canadian Film Centre’s Worldwide Short Film Festival. Smith is a former Programmer for the Sundance Film Festival and Inside Out Festival and was formerly on the Board of Directors of the Centre for Aboriginal Media, presenters of the imagineNATIVE Film Festival.
Smith is a former member of the Organizing Committee of the International Short Film Conference and the board of the Reel Roundtable and was the Founder and Co-Director of OzFlix: Australian Film Weekend in Toronto and Vancouver.
Smith has written about film for the Canadian publications Xtra! and Cinema Scope and directed the short film, Goodbye To Love.
Additionally he has been a programmer, jury member and speaker at film festivals all over the world.
The Green Pitch Jury
Senior Producer, Science and Natural History Unity, CBC Television
An experienced journalist and filmmaker, Frances-Mary Morrison has worked as a producer, director and executive producer in current affairs and documentaries at CBC. Most recently, she worked on the DOCSIDE/NHK/CBC co-production, The Nano Revolution.
Producer, 2012 Green Pitch Award Winner
Jeremy is the Vice-President of Coptor Productions Inc. and its principal producer. My business partner Todd Ivey and I have been producing shows for film and television for 11 years now. I have a diploma with honours in New Media received in 1996 from OCAD. My artwork has hung in the National Gallery of Canada and though not prolific I continue to paint. I have spent my whole life involved in theater and music. I am considered to be a creative producer because I am deeply involved in the storytelling of the work that I produce.
Production Highlights include winning the Academy Award in 2005 for best animated short film for Ryan and our first Gemini Nomination for Alter Egos the story of animator Chris Landreth and his relationship with Ryan Larkin the subject of his film. In 2006 we produced Raising Valhalla the story of the building of Toronto’s Opera House and the premiere performance of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. This gave us the opportunity to work with one of Canada’s most outstanding filmmakers with Terrence MacCartney-Filgate. Since that time we have continued to expand into Specials, Theatric and Series work as well as distribution. I have also been performing music in all of my travels meeting with, befriending and collaborating musically with a diverse global spectrum of artists.
Alan is a Toronto documentary filmmaker known for often using film to explore his own life.
In his 2000 film Vinyl, Zweig explores what drives people to become record collectors. Zweig spends a large portion of the film exploring his own life in regards to record collecting, feeling it has prevented him from fulfilling his dreams of a family.
I, Curmudgeon is a 2004 film about self-declared curmudgeons, himself included, which received a Silver Hugo at the 2005 Chicago International Film Festival. The film was shot on a camcorder, with Zweig using a mirror to record his own experiences.
Lovable is a 2007 film about our preoccupation with finding romantic perfection.
His 2013 film When Jews Were Funny, an exploration of the role of Jewish comedians in North American comedy and humour,won the prize for Best Canadian Feature Film at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.
The Planet in Focus Green Screen Award Jury
President, The Harold Greenberg Fund
John’s twenty-five year career in the Canadian film and television industry began with a position at TIFF. His interest in development and production led a position with Independent Pictures and contract work on several film and television projects. He then moved into financing, with positions at the OMDC, the CMF and at Telefilm Canada where he served as a Regional Director and the Television Sector Head. During his time there, he completed his MBA. In 2005, he joined The Harold Greenberg Fund as President and Board Member. At the Fund, he has been involved with investments of more than $30 Million and has helped develop over 800 feature film and television projects. He is also the co-founder of both the Toronto Irish Film Festival and the Canadian International Television Festival, and sits on various industry boards, juries and advisory committees.
Project Lead and Technical Authority, Green Screen Initiative
Melissa is passionate about facilitating environmental change in Canada and has been dedicated to this objective personally, academically, and professionally. Melissa has run an independent environmental consulting practice since 2001 and is a founding partner in Richmond Sustainability Initiatives (RSI).
Since 2008 and with support from RSI associate Carla Weinberg, Melissa has led program development and consulting for Green Screen, a program designed to quantify and recognize environmental progress in the film-based industries.
Sample project experience includes lead on identifying the environmental return on investment on CBC’s national LED replacement strategy; co-author on a Clean Energy Strategy for the City of Sault Ste. Marie, co-author on “Water and the Future of the Canadian Economy”; lead on deployment of annual packaging audit for The Ontario Beer Store; consultation processes to identify policy needs for renewable energy deployment on behalf of Pollution Probe, Summerhill Group, and the Government of Canada; design of a evaluation framework to identify attractive sustainable technologies on behalf of SDTC (with consultant team); and lead on development of a business guide and toolkit for international green building councils on behalf of the World Green Building Council Secretariat.
Melissa graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Master’s degree in Bio-Resource and Chemical Engineering (Hon.) and has an undergraduate degree in Geography – Environmental Studies from McMaster University.
To contact Melissa, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Manager, Film and Television Office, City of Toronto
Eric is a member of 27 years of the Toronto Public Service, having spent 22 years in the field of Traffic Engineering and By-law Enforcement with Transportation Services. He has 10 years experience working with the Film and Television
Industry in Toronto and have been the Manager of the Toronto Film Television and Digital Media Office (TFTDMO) since May of 2010 within the Economic Development and Culture Division.
As the Manager of the TFTDMO I work closely with our partner divisions within the City of Toronto, elected municipal officials, the unions, guilds and major industry stakeholders to identify industry issues and develop solutions to them in a way that is both collaborative and sustainable on a long term basis.
Producer and Director
Joan Prowse is co-founder of the independent Toronto based production company CineFocus Canada. As a producer, director, writer and editor, she creates television documentaries, interactive projects, and video shorts that tell compelling Canadian stories to a global audience.
Through CineFocus she has created numerous projects with environmental themes including Greenpeace: A Canadian Discovery for the Discovery Channel, Green Jobs (screened at Planet in Focus in 2003) and Arbor Alma, which she produced and her partner, John Bessai directed, for Bravo!Fact.
Her most recent documentary series, GreenHeroes is a cross-platform project that launched at www.greenheroes.tv and airs on TVO. In 2010 it was nominated for two awards at the Banff World Television Festival and featured at Planet in Focus. Joan is a graduate of Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program and is an alumnus of the Interactive Project Lab at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre. See more here.