About WIFT Toronto

Who we are
who we are

Women in Film & Television - Toronto

Founded in 1984, WIFT Toronto is a member-based, not-for-profit organization.  We are passionate individuals who are dedicated to the education, engagement and empowerment of our members at all stages of their careers in the screen-based media industry.   We are located on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat and the Mississaugas of the New Credit.

Our Mission

To build and advance the careers of our members by providing professional development, peer support, and mentorship in collaboration with industry partners.

Our Vision

To be a leader in building an equitable, inclusive and accessible screen-based media industry.

Our Core Values

Educate
Engage
Empower

WIFT Toronto 2020

8

MENTORSHIPS
& iNTERNSHIPS

24

Awards
Bestowed

19

Occasions
to Network

53

Mentorship MatcheS

445

Hours of Programming

12

Bursaries
Bestowed

our inspirational board

BOARD MEMBERS

Argie Eliopoulos, CHAIR

Director, Partnerships and Events, Canadian Film Centre (CFC)

Argie Eliopoulos joined the CFC in 2008 and currently serves as Director of Partnerships and Events. In this role, Argie is responsible for negotiating corporate partnerships and designing, implementing and coordinating sponsorship strategies. Prior to joining the CFC, Argie managed major public and private events in Toronto; she was the Events Manager of L’Oréal Fashionweek, Director of Events of the Greek Film Retrospective, and managed other various conferences, tradeshows and corporate events. She holds a certificate in Events and Meeting Management from George Brown and a Business Communication Certificate from the University of Toronto. Argie is an active CANFAR entertainment advisory committee member, and is a currently a parttime instructor at George Brown College (Event Sponsorship & Fundraising and Event Leadership & Human Resources).

BARBARA ESCOTO, VICE CHAIR

VP, Content Platforms, Bell Media

As VP, Content Platforms, Barbara Escoto is responsible for guiding Bell Media’s technology and customer experience strategies for all platforms, including English and French entertainment, sports, news, and audio products, and overseeing discoverability and engagement optimization across all platforms. Under her leadership, Escoto and her team identify and pursue opportunities to enhance Bell Media’s direct to consumer offerings and partnerships by leveraging data to deliver the most relevant content to viewers across Canada. Formerly Vice-President, Digital Products, Escoto oversaw all aspects of Bell Media’s multi-platform audience experience, while maximizing engagement opportunities in the ever-evolving media landscape to find creative ways to connect audiences with content they love and trust.

SUNDRA SEFA, TREASURER

Chartered Professional Accountant, CPA, CGA

Sundra Sefa is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) who is committed to growing her voice in championing women through various community work. As an Accountant, a creative and an entrepreneur, she's worked in various roles in finance/accounting, written for online platforms, wardrobe styled individuals and media productions, started two companies in and outside of the country, as well as sits on boards as Treasurer and Executive Council member. As a left and right brained individual, she intends on growing and merging her creative work with empowering others in achieving financial and operational objectives.

Sundra feels privileged to join the WIFT organization as Treasurer and Board member and looks forward to contributing to the social and financial success of the organization.

TERRY E. MARKUS, SECRETARY

Lawyer, Independent Business & Legal Affairs Consultant

Terry E. Markus is an independent lawyer/consultant providing business & legal affairs services to the entertainment, broadcasting and screen-based media industries for over 30 years. She is also part-time faculty at Humber College, Faculty of Media + Creative Arts, Toronto Canada, teaching Entertainment Law & Ethics.  In addition, Terry is currently executive producing the feature-length dramatic films “Cidic” and “Concession Nine”, and executive produced the feature-length dramatic film “Happy F’K’IN Sunshine” (2020) (premiering at the 2022 Dances With Films Festival) and the feature-length documentary about youth mental health “Connecting The Dots” (2020) (Hot Docs – Bell Let’s Talk Workman Arts Series 2021); and, the dramatic short “Fearfully & Wonderfully MADE” (2018) and the documentary short “Chasing the Lion” (2016), about Canadian triathlete Lionel Sanders. Terry also co-executive produced the feature length film “SUCK” (TIFF 2009) (Whistler Film Festival Audience Award 2009); and co-produced the dramatic short “DNA” (TIFF 2003). Terry is a member of the Board of Directors of Women in Film & Television – Toronto (Secretary) and the Reelworld Screen Institute (Secretary).

Noora Abu Eitah

VP, Product Operations – Innovation Lab, Secret Location

As the first employee of Secret Location, an award-winning VR content and distribution studio, Noora witnessed how the evolution of technology we use to communicate shaped the way we build and design digital content. Noora produced high-profile interactive projects for ad agencies, entertainment producers and broadcasters that tap into the latest web, wearables, 360 video and VR technology. For the past eleven years, she has been supervising production management and operations, working closely with the rest of the leadership team on new business opportunities. In 2017, Noora moved into Secret Location’s product team specializing in VR distribution. She currently leads production services for Vusr Publisher, working with premium publishers such as National Geographic, AMC and The New York Times.

TRACY ALVES

Director, Strategic Partnerships & Engagement, William F. White International Inc.

Tracy Alves is the Director, Strategic Partnerships and Engagement for William F. White International Inc. (WFW). She has enjoyed a 24-year career at the company where, over the years, she has directly supported and led the marketing department, planned and executed multiple events, and cultivated long lasting industry relationships and partnerships.

In her current role as Director, Strategic Partnerships and Engagement, Tracy strives to find opportunities and resources to support film and television creatives in their careers by bringing like-minded people and groups together to contribute to the overall industry. She ensures WFW is constantly expanding its outreach to various communities across Canada.

SARA CHAN

Associate General Counsel, Head of Technology, Legal Operations and Rights Management, Corus Entertainment

Sara Chan is a media and entertainment lawyer with Corus Entertainment. She started her career in television production, working on productions like Canadian Idol and MTV Live, and, following a brief stint on Bay Street, happily returned to the media world as in-house counsel at Corus. She has acted as a key legal and strategic advisor across many areas of the business, including original programming, content acquisition and distribution, technology, operations, and media rights management. She is also an active voice in promoting diversity and inclusion in the industry, serving as a member of Corus’ Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council, as well as a Steering Committee member of Corus’ Asian employee resource group.

JENNIFER CHEN

Head of Studios, VP Content, Channel Zero Inc.

Jennifer Chen is VP of Content at Channel Zero Studios managing development and original production. She works with Canadian talent in feature-length and episodic content. Jennifer was formerly the VP of Programming for the suite of Channel Zero networks. She began her film and television career in international sales at the CFC and later at Ouat Media.

Jennifer was formerly the Chair of the Board at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. She has a passion for bringing people together and fostering an environment for mentorship. She holds an international MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern and Schulich School at York and a BA in film from the University of Waterloo.

SARAIN FOX

Director/Host, Land Back Studios Inc.

Sarain Fox is Anishinaabe from Batchawana First Nation, just outside of Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario. She is passionate about empowering Indigenous communities and amplifying their voices, especially those of the youth. She is a multifaceted artist and activist who comes from a long line of storytellers. Her mother and great aunt are the oral record keepers of the family. They have passed down ancient teachings from generations of knowledge-keepers and have raised her to be proud of her Indigenous roots. As a result, Sarain has become a powerful and vibrant voice for the Indigenous community.

She is a dancer, choreographer, stylist, activist, brand ambassador, television host and content producer. Sarain has combined these mediums to create a social platform to celebrate the knowledge and talent of Indigenous people, designers and brands.

Sarain’s screen highlights include Viceland's RISE Cut-off and APTN's Future History. Her work has reached folks across North America, and beyond, who share her vision for creating meaningful dialogue about Indigenous resilience and resistance.

TANYA GREEN

Head of Preschool, Mainframe Studios

Two-time Emmy Award winning producer, Tanya Green, has been working in the animated arena for over 15 years. In that time, she has overseen and managed many projects from development to final delivery for broadcasters and streaming services all over the world. Tanya fell in love with animation while working on the Atomic Betty and managing other series at Breakthrough Films. As VP Production at Brown Bag Films (a 9 Story Company), she produced hundreds of hours of animated television including both the Emmy Award winning preschool series Peg + Cat and Daniel Tiger’s Neighbourhood for PBS, as well as rebooting such legacy properties as The Magic School Bus Rides Again for Netflix. In her current role as Head of Preschool for Mainframe Studios, she develops and produces content for the young and young at heart audiences. Before becoming smitten with animation, Tanya worked on a number of performing arts projects, dramatic series, feature films and documentaries for various broadcasters in Canada.

UMBER HAMID

CEO & Partner, BoomBox Sound

With over 20 years of experience, Umber Hamid is an award-winning leader in the field of music and sound production. As the CEO and Co-Founder of BoomBox Sound, one of North America’s top music and sound production companies, her team has secured the industry’s most preeminent clients including SNAP, Jam3, Procter & Gamble, Toyota,Kellogg’s, Bayer, Bombardier Recreational Products and others.

For several years running, BoomBox's work has won some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, including One Show (2020) Canadian Screen Award (2020) Cannes Lions (2017), The Marketing Awards (2016), and the London International Awards(2016), among others.

Umber is an enthusiastic mentor, constantly striving to share her knowledge with emerging women in the industry.

SHARON HINDS

Manager, Rogers Sports & Media, All IN

Sharon Hinds is a passionate true authentic inclusive leader with over 25 + years of International & Canadian career experience. Sharon currently leads the Rogers Sports & Media All IN Inclusion and Diversity Initiative.

Accomplishments: Radio scholarship from Canadian Women in Communications (1995); Management in the launch of niche Radio markets: CISS 92.5FM, FLOW 93.5FM & in G98.7FM; Award recipient of Canada’s 100 Accomplished Black Women (2020); Ted Rogers Employee of the Year for Safe Talk Sessions (2020); Ted Rogers Employee of the Year Award (2020); Ted Rogers CEO Award (2020)

Mentoring: Reelworld Film Festival E20 program, Dr. Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women, YMCA Black Achievers program and the Toronto Regional Immigration Employment Centre.

Board Member: Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA)

Sam Linton

VP, Head of Original Content, Blue Ant Media

As VP, Head of Original Content for Blue Ant Media, Sam brings over 30 years of production expertise to services such as Cottage Life,  T+E, Makeful and Smithsonian Canada. Sam oversees commissioning for BAM’s portfolio of brands, working closely with independent and in-house producers to create premium content that sells around the world.  Sam has written, produced and directed many series and one-offs. She was previously Director of Programming for Discovery Canada and Animal Planet.  As SVP of Factual for Cineflix Productions, she executive produced series like May Day, Final 24, Mega Moves and Urban Legends. As Acting Director of Factual Content for History Television, Sam oversaw shows like Ice Pilots and Secret History. As VP and executive producer for RTR Media, Sam executive produced  BBQ Crawl and Mother of the Bride.

Cailyn Michaan

Marketing Manager, Media and Experiential Marketing (XM), Walt Disney Studios

Cailyn Michaan is a Marketing Manager at Walt Disney Studios, where she is responsible for managing the media planning/buying and experiential marketing strategy in Canada for key Disney, Pixar, Marvel Studios, Lucas Films, Blue Sky Studios, and 20th Century Studios releases. She is a passionate digital marketer and people leader who has managed client relationships with major film studios and fortune 500 brands at some of the largest Media and Entertainment companies in the country. Prior to Disney, Cailyn held management positions leading marketing and digital sales teams at Cineplex Entertainment and Rogers Media. She holds an Honours B.A degree in Film Studies and Creative Writing from the University of Western Ontario. Cailyn is excited to be a member of WIFT Toronto, and aims to help empower women to push past their limits and lead successful and fulfilling careers.

KAREN WALTON

Screenwriter/Executive Producer, Inkling Entertainment Inc.

Karen Walton is a film and television writer and Creative Executive Producer. A Film Writing graduate of the Canadian Film Centre, Karen holds a BA-Honours in Drama from the University of Alberta and was the 2016 Showrunner in Residence for the CFC’s Bell Media Prime Time TV program. She is known as the writer of Ginger Snaps. Her credits include Orphan Black, Queer As Folk, Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story, and the true-life rape culture saga, The Many Trials of One Jane Doe. Karen founded the public online community known as inkcanada. Awards include: Margaret Collier Award for Screenwriting, Canadian Comedy Award for Pretty Funny Screenplay, a Canadian Screen Award for Best Dramatic Series, the Banff Media Festival Fellowship Alum Award, a Women In Film and Television’s Crystal Award, ACTRA-Toronto’s Nell Shipman Award and the Writers Guild of Canada’s Writers Block Award.

our remarkable team

Staff

Karen Bruce

Executive Director, WIFT Toronto
(she/her)

Anyone that has met me knows my love for animals. So how did someone from the travel industry that decided to use that degree to go backpacking around the world come home to work at Toronto Hydro in real estate law end up at with a job at WIFT? Great question, and the answer is my love for storytelling.

It started with a position volunteering and ended as a Director supporting our Canadian screen-based industry, which is something I am most proud of to date. 20 years later I am still doing what I can to support, elevate and celebrate Canada's rich, diverse, and amazing storytellers.

That being said, do not offer me a job at an animal sanctuary – I might jump ship to go save as many animals as possible!

LAURIE JANUSKA

Director of Programming, WIFT Toronto
(she/her)

When Laurie and her squad won the All-Ontario Secondary School Cheerleading Championship, she had no idea how much those skills would influence her career – supporting and encouraging the team, planning and leading the charge, occasionally lifting people over her head while executing synchronized footwork and singing exuberantly.

Laurie’s 25+ years of in-depth experience in the feature film, television and screen-based industry has prepared her for almost anything, scripted or improvised. Her experience climbing the ranks at a respected industry membership organization saw her creating professional development programming for the full range of creative workers, from entry level to career veterans, in an ever-changing work environment.

patti mccabe

Programs and Special Events Manager,
WIFT Toronto
(she/her)

Once upon a time there was a girl who liked to party, in fact her friends gave her the nick-name Party. In her early years, she worked theatre Front of House jobs and was a publicist in the publishing industry by day and partied hard by night. These activities began to coalesce into a secret sauce of event planning skills on her resume.

Suddenly she was programming March Break activities, speaker series and film premieres for large museums and raising boatloads of money for non-profits by creating fancy gala dinners and silent auctions. Now, instead of partying at night, she was consuming movies at an alarming rate. Finally, her secret sauce of skills collided with her love of all screen-based creations and that woman arrived at her destination (destiny?) – WIFT Toronto.

abIGAIL BROCKHOUSE

Membership & Engagement Manager,
WIFT Toronto
(she/her)

Abby spent the first few years of her life wandering around backstage at various theatres with her dad and playing in the hallways of the old CBC building in Toronto. Many days were “bring your kid to work” days. She was hooked on the arts from day one and can be seen dressed as Miss Piggy in a Halloween episode of Fraggle Rock

A couple of decades later, Abby found herself working (and playing in the hallways) with Mirvish Productions, the Toronto International Film Festival, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In short, running membership programs is a way that she feels she can contribute to the arts without having to memorize any lines, or stand outside in the freezing rain on a film set. 

In her spare time Abby enjoys watching classic films with her family, and horror films withher cat. Abby believes all dresses should come with pockets.

Shewit Kalaty

Social Media and Marketing Coordinator,
WIFT Toronto
(she/her)

Shewit is a storyteller, writer and creative consultant. She has spent many years as an arts administrator and creative consultant for a myriad of organizations and companies. She turns narratives to normalize the authentic, positive, and dynamic experiences of women and people of colour, and helped shape powerful brand stories. Moreover, she has delved into research on long-form storytelling, exploring themes from a rich and multicultural lens. She has many years of experience creating multimedia content for tech, the non-for-profit sector, media, beauty, academia. She has finished research on a documentary and is currently working into her first foray of scripted television.

VENESSA HARRIS

Administrative Assistant, WIFT Toronto
(she/her)

Venessa wanted to be an artist, but learned very early on that she had little to no artistic talent. Instead, she decided to study arts management, and help actual artists live their dreams. WIFT Toronto is the third art-focused, membership-based organization she's worked with since obtaining her degree.

In addition helping you achieve your professional goals here at WIFT Toronto, Venessa is a Canadian Screen Award winning producer, not-yet-published author, and Weezer-enthusiast.



the nitty gritty

ANNUAL REPORTS & AGM

Each spring, at our Annual General Meeting, we invite our members and community to join us in celebrating and reviewing the achievements of the previous year. We also take this opportunity to share our vision for the current and upcoming year.

Notice of WIFT Toronto AGM

Our Annual General Meeting will take place in late April/early May 2023. Questions? Contact Venessa Harris at vharris@wift.com.

Annual Reports

Access our annual reports:
2020 Annual Report
2017 Annual Report

2015 Annual Report