Panel Topic: Women in Film
Date: Thursday, August 17, 2017
Time: 1:20 pm – 2:50 pm ~ Duration: 1.20 Hours
Location: Cineplex Odeon Southland Mall Cinemas - Address: 3025 Gordon Rd, Regina, SK S4S 6H7
Women in the film industry all have had to at one point or another (or many) make decisions of who they are going to be in the industry. Not just from a job perspective, but also from the personal choice they will have to take on to compete and survive in a male dominated community. They can choose to be themselves and hope they are received as is, or they can play the game, toll the line and hope for the opportunity to allow them to be considered equal, valued and heard.
The RIFFA Women in Film panel will speak to 4 women working in Regina, SK in 4 different media worlds. We will get to hear their personal stories of how they journeyed to where they are today. Sharing with the audience the challenges they have encountered within their career from finding work, to competing for jobs, balancing a home/parent life – work life, sexism, sexual harassment, underpaid, man: woman ratio, starting a business and more. We will also celebrate their success stories of personal experiences and grow.
As we discuss the future of Women in Film, we speak to what our panelists believe are the women’s film community next goals and needs to still be accomplished and how they believe we can get there.
Reel Women Seen (Short Film) takes a comedic look at the serious global issue of the lack of work opportunities facing women who work in front of and behind the camera in the film and television industry. Particularly, regarding opportunities in key creative and decision-making roles, and how women's full participation could contribute to and enhance our societies. An ACTRA production, presented by the ACTRA National Women's Committee and produced by members from across the country. Jodi Sadowsky, Associate Producer and ACTRA National Saskatchewan Councillor will speak about the film prior to the panel begins.
Kolbie Nesset is a recent graduate of the Media Art and Performance department at the University of Regina, majoring in Film Production. She is an aspiring writer/director who mainly focuses her films on social issues and feminism. Nesset officially began working in the industry approx. 5 years ago and has dabbled in a variety of positions since (including Director, SP/FX Makeup Coordinator, Assistant Director, Art Department Coordinator, Production Coordinator and more). Her film writing has been published in University of Calgary's film journal CRASH/CUT and her last drama Stigma has been present at many film festivals including Montreal World Film Festival, Living Skies Film Festival and Saskatchewan Independent Film Awards. Nesset is currently writing her first feature film which she hopes to Direct.
Joanne McDonald has spent the last couple of decades working in screen based media and is passionate about the importance of local storytelling. Currently she is in charge of City Saskatchewan (the provincial educational broadcaster) which is owned by Rogers Media Inc. Over the years, and starting when the station was SCN, she has meddled in all aspects of broadcasting- from operations to programming- helping to bring hundreds of hours of content made in Saskatchewan and beyond to audiences. Many titles have won national and international awards and have been licensed in other markets.
When she’s not running a TV station, you can find her supporting and volunteering for arts and cultural organizations. Currently she is the President of SaskCulture and is a Director on the Yorkton Film Festival Board. Among others, Joanne has previously served on the SMPIA board, and Saskatchewan Art Board Creative Industries Advisory committee, and has sat on many advisory committees and juries over the years. She received a Community Involvement Award from Rogers in 2015 in recognition of her volunteerism.
Although her dad remains skeptical to this day, she’s always happy to point out that someone with a philosophy degree can find a job.
DANA LESIUK: Following a career in building successful business foundations within the entertainment industry, Dana Lesiuk founded Aristea Artists in 2000, and has wide-ranging film industry experience and award-winning credits as a feature film and television producer and executive.
Dana’s career began early, working with her entrepreneurial father’s farm equipment dealership at 10 years old. She was hired as a Member’s assistant/speech writer to a Member of Parliament/Cabinet Minister and was an office manager of a moving/courier company all prior to graduating high school. Writing awards began during elementary school, and she was President of SRC, maintained major honour roll status throughout, and was nominated for Valedictorian in high school. During University, she worked with a professional sound company evolving it to GV Audio Inc., was the youngest accounting summer recruit for Imperial Oil Resources in Calgary, a top income tax preparer at H & R Block, and Director of Finance of hotel/hospital movie distribution company, Hospitality Network Canada, where she contributed towards its grand-scale growth of revenues from one million to twenty-two million within her year of employ, establishing it as the second most profitable company in Saskatchewan.
After majoring in Marketing and Accounting at the College of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan, she was encouraged to continue her education at the University of Regina, where she retained an average of Great Distinction while studying English Honours and Film and Video Production. Soon after, Dana founded Aristea Artists, beginning with a long-term contract of producing and editing block-buster movie trailers for national broadcast, script writing and story editing contracts, and became the Creative Director of the first digital signage network in Saskatchewan. This experience lead her to unit direct on numerous internationally broadcast documentaries and reality shows, and to produce the five-part documentary series "Weather Untamed" for History Television in 2002, which became one of their top-rated programs. The series also sold internationally to Life, The Learning Channel and National Geographic networks.
Meanwhile, she expanded her experience in dramatic feature films starting with positions of Publicist, Production Coordinator, Script Supervisor, and Producer Trainee on a variety of productions including "The Unsaid" (Andy Garcia), New Line Cinema's "Just Friends" (Ryan Reynolds) and "Grace" (Sundance Film Festival). Her company also did publicity work on series such as “Corner Gas”. Then, in 2009, Dana revolutionized production techniques to produce a feature film funded by and starring the town of Kipling, the award-winning "Rust" (Corbin Bernsen), and returned investment with its unprecedented sale to Sony Pictures International. She then embarked on producing the ground-breaking feature documentary “An Ordinary Couple” which has been collecting Audience and Best of Festival awards on the international film circuit, and gaining widespread distribution interest.
On the television side, she worked on numerous productions, including as Associate Producer on the first season of the hit CBC comedy series, "InSecurity". The series was renewed to a second season, but with her baby due during the next season’s production, she took an offer from CBC to work with the network instead in roles that included Promo Producer and Line-Up Producer. After three years with CBC, she was given an offer she couldn’t refuse to help upgrade standards as Programming Supervisor with Access Communications, and produced award-winning content, such as recent the Golden Sheaf winners, Saskatchewanderer 2016, Spooksbury (Best Comedy), and won numerous CCSA Awards for documentary series and sports programming.
A member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and the National Association of Television Production Executives, she is also a board member of the Yorkton Film Festival, a former national Tae-Kwon Do Champion, Ukrainian Dancer, and music festival winner, and can be spotted in a few reluctant cameos on Corner Gas, The Tommy Douglas Story and Rust. Nominated for “Champion of the Arts” (Prairie Dog Magazine 2015), she is an avid volunteer, resolute supporter of local entrepreneurs, and most recently founded of “The Stefanyshative”, an annual fund in support of Sask creators.
Mandy Pavlovsky has been involved in the film and television industry over 15 years. After getting her start as a young actor on the Incredible Story Studio, Mandy has worked both in front of and behind the camera. She has worked on countless productions as an actor, stand-in, photo double, voice over artist, writer, producer and camera trainee. Today, Mandy owns a local production company with her husband, Michael Pavlovsky, and continues to grow as an artist and professional.
Jodi Sadowsky is one of the Associate Producers of the short advocacy film Reel Women Seen, a film inspired and produced by the ACTRA National Women’s Committee. Jodi is also currently the ACTRA Saskatchewan National Councillor. As well, she is a past nominee of the Saskatchewan Arts Board Lieutenant Governor's Arts Award for Individual Leadership in the Arts. Her ongoing commitment to the arts includes prior involvement with the Regina Fringe Theatre Festival and Golden Apple Theatre. In addition to producing theatre and film, as well as volunteering her time with various arts organizations, Jodi is also a passionate performer. Select film credits: Land of Rock and Gold, Vampire Dog, InSecurity, Corner Gas, and Velvet Devil. Select theatre credits: Dry Streak (Souris Valley Theatre), Kafka’s Monkey (Golden Apple Theatre), See Bob Run (Fringe: Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Regina), The Mirror Game, Signe’s Lost Colors, Waiting for the Parade (Persephone Theatre), Grace (Globe Theatre).
Crystal Van Pelt:
Crystal Van Pelt is a resourceful and collaborative financial services as well as business management graduate. Crystal has been working in the film, television and corporate production industry for the past 8 years of her 20-year working career. During her time in the industry she has been employed to consult, develop, produce, direct, manage and coordinate multiple levels of productions/events. She has recently joined the Java Post Production team in 2015 as a producer.
In 2009 Crystal moved to Saskatchewan from Ontario to build her career in film and television with Partners in Motion/Gyro Productions. In fall 2010 Crystal began freelancing as a developer, producer and production manager for numerous production companies within Canada such as Zoot Pictures, Twisted Pair Productions, Fahrenheit Films, Astron 6, Gyro Productions, Partners in Motion, Echolands Creative Group, Saloon Media and more.
In 2012 Crystal was awarded the inaugural position for the 2013 WIFT (Women in Film and Television) National Distribution Mentorship with Picture Box Distribution in Toronto. The opportunity provided her with the skills to acquire as well as sell media content for films & TV nationally and internationally. During the program she attended the April 2013 MIP TV/Doc market in Cannes, France to finalize training. Prior to leaving for Toronto, Crystal was part of the developing team for the feature film WolfCop. Upon returning to Regina in 2013, Crystal continued her work on WolfCop with Echolands Creative Group & Lolo Films and took role as production coordinator during production.
In addition to Crystal's film career, she is currently sitting on the SMPIA and RIFF boards. She also consults with numerous artists, small business and starting entrepreneurs to evaluate their current performance and business strategies to provide feedback for future growth opportunities as well as inefficiency resolution. With her “anything is possible” everyday mindset, education, client relations, experience as a field producer/director and multiple roles of set crew, Crystal has made herself a well-rounded asset to all productions and companies she has partnered with.