The Future is Ours! Mentorship Program is back for a 3rd year, and will be going exclusively online!

This mentorship program is aimed at increasing involvement for all women (cis and trans) and non-binary folx in the Gimli Film Festival and the greater filmmaking community!

In 2020, this program will take place virtually between Saturday, July 18th until Sunday, July 26th, in conjunction with the 20th annual Gimli Film Festival – July 22 -26!

The 2020 Program is supported by ACTRA Manitoba, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA), Urban Shaman Gallery, Rebecca Gibson and  Vital Transit.

canada media fundMAWA's logo    Rebecca Gibson Logo

Meet the Mentors!

Norma Bailey has been a filmmaker since 1980. Norma’s first film The Performer won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival. She then created and directed the critically acclaimed historical drama series Daughters of the Country for the CBC and has since directed many other noted television series and movies including The Sheldon Kennedy Story ( CTV); Cowboys and Indians ( CBC); Stolen Miracle (CTV), and Secret Cutting and Ladies Night for the USA Network. Most recently she helmed episodes of the hit series Outlander (Starz) as well as Beauty & the Beast (CW), Reign (CW), Mary Kills People (CBS), Anne with an E (CBC/Netflix), Project Blue Book (History) and Star Trek Discovery. Norma has won numerous awards including Geminis, Genies, the New York American Film and Television Award, Lillian Gish Award, best film from the San Francisco Native American Film Festival, and a Banff Rockie Award for best movie. She is a recipient of the YWCA Woman of the Year Award, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for significant contribution to Canadian Culture, and Manitoba`s highest honour, the Order of Manitoba. She won Best Director Awards in 2009 and 2010 from the Directors’ Guild of Canada and Canadian Screen Awards for Best Direction in 2019 and 2020.

Stephanie Berrington is an arts manager, curator, and actor from Winnipeg. Steph got her start in film programming in 2014 through an outdoor, bike-powered screening series called Cinema Out of the Box, while she was completing a master’s degree in English, Film, and Cultural Studies at McGill. After moving back to her hometown in early 2016, Steph got involved with the Winnipeg Film Group, making popcorn in the Cinematheque Box Office before joining the WFG’s distribution department to oversee acquisitions and festival submissions. In 2019, Steph moved to Ottawa where she currently manages community and business partnerships for the Canadian Film Institute and the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). She can occasionally be seen on big screens at festivals across the world, including Berlin and Slamdance, for her acting work.

Wendy Buelow has worked with moving images for more than thirty years. Beginning with 16mm film at CKY/CTV News, she moved into new technology with emergence of mobile video camera units. After her first child, she began part time work with CBC News. This opened up opportunities to be involved with other kinds of projects, including documentary, art and social justice films. She recently was part of the production and camera team for the feature documentary “From Seed to Seed”. Also currently working on projects with Four Arrows RHA covering Island Lake Communities Food Security, and previously with Rajotte Productions “Jaynelle” and “Confronting the past” and “Vitality Gardening”.

Caroline Chopra has been with Telefilm Canada in Toronto since 2006, working with the Canada Media Fund (CMF) Program Administrator team. Over the last 14 years, she has held various positions within this team, and is currently Deputy Director – Portfolio Management responsible for English-language documentary programming. Prior to joining Telefilm Canada, Caroline worked at the Canadian Television Fund (now CMF), the Historica Foundation, the NFB and French-language broadcaster TFO.

Thirza Jean Cuthand (b. 1978 Regina SK) makes short experimental videos and films about sexuality, madness, Queer identity, love, and Indigeneity, which have screened in festivals and galleries internationally. She completed her BFA majoring in Film/Video at Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2005, and her MA in Media Production at Ryerson University in 2015. She has performed at Live At The End Of The Century in Vancouver, Performatorium in Regina, and 7a*11d in Toronto. She is a Whitney Biennial 2019 artist. She is Plains Cree/Scots, a member of Little Pine First Nation, and resides in Toronto, Canada.

Megan Follows is a Canadian screen icon. As a child, Follows played the titular role in the Canadian TV mini-series Anne of Green Gables, beginning an illustrious career that saw her become a fixture on TV screens across North America. Megan has also followed her passion for filmmaking into the directors chair, directing for shows like Reign and Heartland. A four-time nominee for a Canadian Screen Award, Megan won a Gemini in 1986 for her role on Anne of Green Gables.

Rebecca Gibson is a partner in Eagle Vision and Head of Development. As a writer, director, producer, and actor, Rebecca’s credits include her ACTRA Award-winning role in The Pinkertons (Netflix), co-writing and producing the award-winning feature H&G, and co-creating, serving as executive producer/showrunner, and a director for the series Taken (APTN/CBC), for which she won a Beyond Borders Media Award and was nominated for three CSAs. Rebecca works with the CMPA, ACTRA, WIDC, among several other organizations to support diversity, accessibility, and inclusion. She was honoured nationally as a CAMH Difference Maker and was ACTRA Manitoba’s 2018 Woman of the Year. Rebecca is one of the co-creators of the Future is Female*, now the Future is Ours mentorship program, working with the Gimli Film Festival and Women in View.

Caitlin Grabham is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Film Studies program. Her first feature film, FIRECRACKERS, was produced through Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program. Premiering at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where she received the CMPA’s Kevin Tierney Emerging Producer Award, FIRECRACKERS went on to screen at over 30 festivals and win multiple awards, including two Canadian Screen Awards. The film was released theatrically in Canada and the USA to rave reviews, and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick. Caitlin is currently the Development Manager at Conquering Lion Pictures, and continues to develop new feature films and premium television content.

Melanie Nepinak Hadley is Executive in Charge of Production for CBC Drama. In her role at CBC She oversees programs such as Heartland, Pure, The Secret Path and Frankie Drake Mysteries. Prior to her role at CBC, she was the Manager of Programming for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). She has over 15 years of experience working in independent production and for national broadcasters.

Dubbed by Variety as a “major talent”, Jasmin Mozaffari is an award-winning Toronto-based film & television writer/director who studied film at Ryerson University. Her short films FIRECRACKERS (2013), WAVE (2015), and sleep on the tracks (2017) screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and numerous other festivals across Europe and the US. Her debut feature, FIRECRACKERS, premiered at TIFF in 2018 and went on to screen at festivals around the world. FIRECRACKERS won Best Film at the Stockholm International Film Festival and Jasmin took home the award for Best Director at the Canadian Screen Awards. FIRECRACKERS was theatrically released in 2019 to rave reviews in the US. Peter Debruge (Variety) compared Jasmin to a “young Andrea Arnold”, the film was named a New York Times Critic’s Pick and was further celebrated by The LA Times, Vulture, New York Magazine, and The Hollywood Reporter. Jasmin has started directing television for networks like CBC and HULU, and most recently directed two music videos for AUSTRA. In March, she began developing her second feature at the 2020 TIFF Writers’ Studio.

Freya Björg Olafson is an intermedia artist who works with video, audio, animation, motion capture, AR / VR, painting, and performance. Her praxis engages with identity and the body, as informed by technology and the Internet. Olafson’s work has been exhibited and performed internationally at the Bauhaus Archiv (Berlin), SECCA – SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art (North Carolina), LUDWIG museum (Budapest), and The National Arts Center (Ottawa). Olafson has benefitted from residencies, most notably through EMPAC – Experimental Media & Performing Arts Center (New York), Oboro (Montreal), and Counterpulse (San Francisco). Olafson holds an MFA in New Media from the Transart Institute / Donau Universität and joined the Department of Dance at York University as an Assistant Professor in July 2017. Most recently she was a recipient of the 2020 longlist ‘Sobey Art Award’.

Jan Skene has worked as a self-employed professional actor/singer and performer manager/arts consultant for the past 30 years. Her acting credits extend to most of Winnipeg’s live theatres and numerous television, film and radio productions. Her contract work as a consultant has resulted in a deep network of connections in Manitoba’s cultural community, and expertise in the business of being a self-employed actor. Currently she is Manager of Youth Mentorship Programs at Creative Manitoba and manages Skene Stunts Inc. (which she co-founded with her husband Rick). In a volunteer capacity, Jan is President and National Councillor for ACTRA Manitoba.

Brett Story is a geographer and award-winning non-fiction filmmaker. Her films have screened at True/False, Oberhausen, Hot Docs, the Viennale, and Dok Leipzig, among other international festivals.  Her second feature-length film, The Prison in Twelve Landscapes  (2016) was awarded the Special Jury Prize at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and was a nominee for Best Canadian Feature Documentary at the Canadian Screen Awards. Her interests across the fields of documentary and critical theory are expansive, and include experimental cinema and essay films, politics and aesthetics, racial capitalism and Marxist political economy, and visual geography. Brett holds a PhD in geography from the University of Toronto and is the author of a forthcoming book titled Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power across Neoliberal America from the University of Minnesota Press. She was a 2016 Sundance Art of Nonfiction Fellow and is a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow. Her most recent feature documentary is The Hottest August, which screened at the Gimli Film Festival in 2019.

Leslie Supnet is a contemporary experimental filmmaker from the Filipino diaspora who creates media works that explore themes of loss, change and the passage of time. Using animation, live-action, found footage and material exploration, Supnet’s process is guided by lyricism and experimenting with analog and digital special effects. Leslie completed her MFA in Film at York University in 2016, and has previously taught at various artist-run centres in Canada, at OCAD University and through TIFF’s Reel Comfort program.

Ellen Vanstone grew up in Winnipeg, where she graduated from University of Winnipeg before moving to Toronto to study journalism at Ryerson University. A co-creator of Rookie Blue, Ellen has written for network (Diggstown, Departure, 21 Thunder, Remedy, Cracked, Foolish Heart), cable (Good God), and Netflix originals (Between).



**Please Note:  Much of this programming (indicated with a *) is for FiO Participants ONLY, and not accessible to the general public.

Film Screening : Firecrackers by Jasmin Mozaffari*

Friday, July 17  |  In advance of Jasmin Mozaffari’s Masterclass that officially kicks off the 3rd annual FiO Mentorship Program, check out her breakout first feature film that screened as part of GFF’s 2019 Festival – FIRECRACKERS!

Jasmin Mozaffari Masterclass & Panel Discussion with the Firecrackers Creative Team*

Saturday July 18, 2020 1:00pm CDT – via Zoom

Join Canadian film director and screenwriter of Canadian and Iranian heritage Jasmin Mozaffari as she explores the trials and tribulations of making her first features film, lessons learned and what to do (and not to do) when making your first feature film. Learn how to take your filmmaking career to the next level from this accomplished young director, who won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Director at the 7th Canadian Screen Awards in 2019 for her debut feature film Firecrackers!

Gender Diversity in the Feminist Filmmaking Movement Panel Discussion*

Sunday July 19, 2020 1:00pm CDT – via Zoom

When considering the history of cinema, we may ask the same question that author and feminist Rebecca Solnit poignantly asked in a recent book titled, “Whose Story Is This?”  In a field historically dominated by men, the feminist movement in filmmaking has made strides and bounds in recent years.  But in the post-Me-Too world, full of powerful slogans like “The Future is Female”, who is missing out.  This panel explores principals of Gender Inclusivity in the feminist filmmaking movement, in the arts scene in Winnipeg and in our society at large.  How are trans women and non-binary individuals sidelined by these movements and what can we do to be more welcoming and inclusive of the entire gender spectrum.  Join moderator Lara Rae – an acclaimed Canadian comedian, founder of the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and a trans woman – for a conversation with Isabel Sandoval (filmmaker, Trans), Thirza Cuthand (filmmaker, Two-Spirited) and Jaz Papadopoulos (FiO Participant, Non-Binary).

One-on-One Mentor Meetings*

Monday July 20, 2020 and Tuesday July 21, 2020 – via Zoom

This year’s FiO Participants will all receive a One-on-One Meeting with a Mentor specially designated for them and their needs and goals.  GFF will do our best to pair up Participants with Mentors that directly align with their interests and skill-sets, enabling them to make a new professional connection that will help them along their artistic path.  These 15 minute sessions will be offered to 50 FiO Participants!

LINGUA FRANCAIsabel Sandoval & Carlo Velayo Masterclass

Thursday July 23, 2020 12:30 pm CDT on GFF Live Stream

Isabel Sandoval (writer, director, actress) and Carlo Velayo (producer) of the stunning new film Lingua Franca join GFF Programming Committee Member Leslie Supnet for an engaging discussion. Lingua Franca is a tender love story wrapped in the delicate, but all too real, situation of being an immigrant trans woman of colour in Trump’s America. Sandoval directs and also stars a Filipino trans woman in this moving film.


Future is Ours! Large Group Sessions & Breakout Groups*

Friday July 24, 2020 12:00pm CDT via Zoom

The Participants and Mentors of the 2020 FiO Mentorship Program amass via a massive Zoom Conference Call for this special opportunity to connect and learn from each other! This 2-3 hour Zoom Meeting will consist of full group discussions with 50 participants and 15 mentors, followed by more intimate breakout groups of 8-10.  This opportunity will allow participants to discuss their goals and how to achieve them, based on their primary roles of interest (ie. director, actor, writer, etc) and their primary mediums that they see themselves working in (documentary, fiction, television, etc).

Meet the Creators: The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open Panel Discussion

Saturday July 25, 2020 at 2:30pm CDT on GFF Live StreamThe body Remembers when the world broke open

Members of The Body Remembers… key creative team discusses their creative process, inclusive leadership, as well as some of their take-aways and intentions for their future work. Followed by a moderated Q&A. Co-presented with WIDC and moderated by Dr. Carol Whiteman.


Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, Co-writer / Co-director / Co-lead Actor,
Kathleen Hepburn, Co-writer / Co-director
Violet Nelson, Co-lead Actor
Lori Lozinski, Producer
Tyler Hagan, Producer
Norm Li, Cinematographer

Masterclass and Q&A with Megan Follows

Sunday July 26, 2020 12:30pm CDT on GFF Live Stream

An intimate Masterclass Q&A with Canadian screen icon Megan Follows. As a child, Follows played the titular role in the Canadian TV mini-series Anne of Green Gables, beginning an illustrious career that saw her become a fixture on TV screens across North America. Megan has also followed her passion for filmmaking into the director’s chair, directing for shows like Reign and Heartland. Moderated by Norma Bailey & Rebecca Gibson.


The 2020 Program is supported by ACTRA Manitoba, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (MAWA), Urban Shaman Gallery, Rebecca Gibson and  Vital Transit


MAWA's logo    Vital Transit LogoRebecca Gibson Logo