Engaging the professional community of Canadian filmmakers, producers and broadcasters. Our goal is to provide stimulating, up-to-date information and access to the world of environmental films and funding. Professional modules include the Master Class, networking opportunities, the Green Pitch competition and DocBOX Toolkit sessions filled with an outstanding line up of VIP guests.




A highlight of Industry Day is the Green Pitch. Five selected filmmakers pitch their film idea to a panel of industry judges and in front of the conference audience. The winner receives a prize valued at $20,000 in services & cash to put toward the production of their project provided by Ontario film production suppliers. See the 2020 Green Pitch winners here.  Applications for the 2021 Green Pitch are due by Friday, October 8, 2021.


2021 Green Pitch Prize Sponsors: SIM International, William F. White, Dynamix Solutions, Pie in the Sky Studios, The Source Shop, Trinity Square Video and The Green Pitch 2021 Judges include:

Sue Dando CBC
Madelaine Russo Hot Docs
James Luscombe Telefilm


THE MASTER CLASS with Shannon Walsh

Each year, Planet in Focus hosts a Master Class workshop with an established filmmaker and PiF alumnus. This year’s workshop will be with Canadian filmmaker Shannon Walsh


Shannon Walsh has written and directed the award-winning feature documentaries, The Gig is Up (2021), Illusions of Control (2019), Jeppe on a Friday (2013), À st-henri, le 26 août (2011), and H2Oil (2009), as well as numerous short films and VR works. Shannon’s films have been broadcast and theatrically-released internationally, played in over 70 film festivals globally, and screened in museum spaces, including the Venice Biennale and the Pompidou Centre in Paris. As a writer, she has published in a range of research areas, largely focused on South Africa, where she has often lived and worked. She has authored more than 35 journal articles and book chapters, and co-edited the book, The Ties that Bind: Race and the Politics of Friendship in South Africa (Wits University Press 2017). Shannon is an Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia. Previously she spent three years as Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. She was a Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies from 2017-2018. She is a 2020-2021 Guggenheim Fellow.

Planet in Focus is proud to be including her latest film The Gig is Up in the 2021 festival lineup.




Following the festival premiere of Last of the Right Whales in Fall 2021, a year-long impact campaign will launch across North America in collaboration with our outreach partners: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Canadian Wildlife Federation, Canadian Whale Institute and Oceans North.  The campaign will support three main goals for the protection of North Atlantic right whales (NARW): reducing entanglements, preventing ship strikes and increasing public awareness about this critically endangered species.

Find out how Last of the Right Whales will be used to engage stakeholders – fishers, boaters, retailers, shipping and cruise lines as well as consumers – in discussions about what we can each do to ensure the survival of this great whale facing extinction.

Panelists include:

Julian Carrington Moderator
Nadine Pequeneza Director/Producer, Last of the Right Whales
Joanne Jackson Executive & Impact Producer
Sholeh Fabbri Impact Producer
Patricia Zaat Director, IFAW Canada



THE DECISION MAKER PANEL – Live streaming Friday, October 15, 2021 at 11:30am

This session focuses on some of the key relationships necessary to get your film funded, produced & sold. Funding agency reps discuss the latest trends in financing, co-productions, distribution and the future of branded content.

2021 panelists include:

Liz Marshall Filmmaker/Moderator
Lesley Birchard CBC
Jill Samson  CMF/Telefilm
James Lucscombe  Telefilm
Julian Carrington  Hot Docs Industry Funds



Julian Carrington

Julian Carrington is a freelance writer and film programmer based in Toronto. He has contributed to publications including The Globe & Mail, Indiewire, and Cinema Scope, and, in 2014, served as a programming associate with the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2015, he became manager of the Documentary Organization of Canada’s Festival Concierge initiative, supporting filmmakers in developing distribution and audience engagement strategies.

Lesley Birchard

As an Executive in Charge of Production for CBC Docs, Lesley Birchard launched the award-winning CBC Short Docs – point of view documentaries available internationally on CBC Docs Youtube, CBC Gem in Canada and CBC Television. She has commissioned over 150 documentaries from Canadian filmmakers, including Academy Awards shortlisted Frame 394, Canadian Screen Award winners Take Me to Prom and Sing Me a Lullaby, and Sundance award winner Fast Horse. Lesley oversees production on multiple episodes of CBC’s flagship science program The Nature of Things and feature documentaries and specials Read More

Jill Samson

Jill Samson brings 20 years of Film and Television Industry experience to her role as Deputy Director – Portfolio Management for the CMF fund at Telefilm Canada. Jill joined Telefilm in 2008 and leads a national team of business analysts and jury members for several highly competitive funding initiatives including Indigenous, POV Documentary, Diverse Languages, French outside of Quebec and the Digital Linear Series program as well as the new Pilot Program for Racialized Communities. In addition, Jill collaborates with international agencies to finance shared projects through the many new co-development and co-production incentives offered by the Canada Media Fund.

Sue Dando

Sue Dando is head of The Nature of Things, CBC’s flagship documentary science and nature series. The strand is one of the most successful series in the world, recently celebrating its 60th season. Sue has produced, directed and written for Canadian television and radio, both public and private, for three decades. For ten years, she ran the in-house documentary production unit of CBC. Her work includes executive-producing many award-winning documentary series and international co-productions.

James Luscombe

James Luscombe is a Content Analyst in the Feature Film department at Telefilm Canada. Previously he worked as a script analyst for the CFC and The Harold Greenberg Fund, and as Development Executive for Lumanity Films and Shaftesbury Films.

Madelaine Russo

Madelaine Russo helps international filmmakers at all levels of experience pitch and finance their projects. At Hot Docs, Madelaine programs the one-to-one meeting program, Deal Maker, which facilitates over 800 meetings between filmmakers and financiers at the Hot Docs Festival in May. She also supports the production of the Hot Docs Forum, runs the Hot Docs blog, facilitates workshops, and has produced several industry publications, including the annual Hot Docs Guide to Decision Makers, and the Emerging Producer Guides to Budgeting and Co-Production.  Read More

Nadine Pequeneza

Nadine Pequeneza is an award-winning Producer/Director/Writer best known for her character-driven films offering unique access to stories about a wide range of topics from criminal justice, to global finance, to the animal conservation. With more than 15 years international experience, she has garnered multiple awards and nominations, including; a Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing in a Documentary Program, nine CSA and Gemini nominations, Gold and Silver Hugos from the Chicago International Film Festival and a Silver Gavel Award honourable mention from the American Bar Association. Her films have screened at festivals around the world from Toronto, to Milan, to Auckland, to Sichuan, China.

Joanne Jackson

Joanne Jackson of Long Haul Big Heart Productions is an award-winning documentary and television producer who has been the driving force behind many compelling, thought provoking programs over the last twenty years. She is collaborating with HitPlay Productions as an Executive Producer and Impact Producer for Last of the Right Whales. Joanne recently was the lead producer for multi-award winning feature documentaries The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (2018-19) and The Messenger (2015-16). Jackson previously produced hundreds of hours of productions as in-house producer or production executive for three networks (YTV, WTN and Discovery Canada).

Sholeh Fabbri

Sholeh Fabbri has been producing award-winning content for two decades and has received three Canadian Screen Award nominations. For over seven years, as the Executive Producer of Entertainment Tonight Canada, Sholeh built the ET Canada brand by employing innovative growth strategies, producing engaging content, and developing integrated campaigns for broadcast and online. Her award-winning special Canada Together: In Concert showcased superstars including Shania Twain, Lady A and Christopher Plummer to raise over $300,000 at the start of the Covid-19 shutdowns. In 2021, Sholeh launched Good Measure Productions, focusing her talents at the intersection of film production and impact.  Read More

Patricia Zaat

As the Country Director for IFAW in Canada since 2013, Pat Zaat leads a team of extraordinary women focused on campaigns at the intersection of animal welfare and conservation. These include long-standing programmatic initiatives such as ending the non-indigenous commercial seal hunt in Canada, empowering local communities to develop humane long-term dog management programs through the Northern Dogs Project, to more recent efforts involving protection of the critically endangered North Atlantic Right Whale. For over two decades, Pat has leveraged her expertise and channeled her optimism in support of achieving IFAW’S unwavering vision: a world where animals are both respected and protected, underscored by the firm belief that that every animal matters. To find about more about IFAW’s work in Canada, please visit

Liz Marshall

An award-winning filmmaker who has written, directed, produced and filmed multiple impactful documentaries around the globe since the 1990s, Liz Marshall’s Meat The Future (2021), chronicles the birth of the “cultivated meat” industry through the eyes of a visionary CEO, Dr. Uma Valeti. Liz Marshall opened our eyes to the inhumanity and environmental impact of animals exploited for food, fashion, entertainment, and research with her 2013 acclaimed film The Ghosts in Our Machine. Additional titles are Midian Farm (2018), about a 1970s back-to-land social experiment, and Water on the Table (2010), about the human right to water amidst a global water crisis. Included in Marshall’s body of work is the Stephen Lewis Foundation Trilogy (2007), about the HIV/AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa, Musicians in the WarZone (2001), a War Child Canada/MuchMusic special presentation about war-affected children, and the 1995 music tour archive of folk-icon Ani DiFranco.