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2015 Panelists
Vancouver Web Fest was honored to have the following Panelists for the 2015 festival:

Insider Advice On How To Make A Successful Web Series
presented by the Independent Production Fund (IPF)
SATURDAY - 11:30am to 12:30pm
Andra Sheffer - Executive Director - IPF/Cogeco Fund
Ontario
MODERATOR


Andra Sheffer is the CEO of two private Funds supporting the Canadian digital media, television and film industries: the Independent Production Fund which invests in drama series created for digital platforms; and, the COGECO Program Development Fund for the development and production of television drama. She was the founding Executive Director of the Bell Fund (1997-2014) which supports interactive digital media projects associated with Canadian television programs.

Previously, she was the founding Executive Director of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television producing the annual Genie and Gemini Awards (now the Canadian Screen Awards). She lectures on the business of television and new media and is the editor of publications about the business of tv and digital media production: New Media, New Business: The Producer’s guide (2001), Create a Winning Proposal – the Handbook for New Media Producers (1999) and the co-editor of MAKING IT: The business of film and television production in Canada (1986 & 1995). She also served as Managing Director of the Toronto International Film Festival, and with the federal government as a Certification Officer setting up the original CAVCO office (and Canadian content “point” system), and at the Film Festivals Bureau promoting Canadian films internationally.

She was awarded the 2013 Digital Media Trail Blazer award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the 2014 Champion of Digital Innovation Tribute at Merging Media 5, an Award of Achievement at the 2014 Digi Awards and was inducted as the 2014-15 Industry Builder in Playback’s Hall of Fame.

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Spencer Griffin - CollegeHumor
California
PANELIST


Spencer Griffin is the Vice President of Big Breakfast, the studio behind all Electus Digital video content. In this role, Spencer oversees production of long-form, original, and branded content for CollegeHumor, Dorkly, DumbDumb, and WatchLOUD. Before joining CollegeHumor, his production of the one-man play, Catalpa, won the LA Weekly Theatre Award for Best Performance, was nominated for Best Production Design, and received a five star rating at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Spencer has also spent time managing corporate incentive trips, teaching English in Spain, and opening a grassroots, non-profit art gallery and performance venue, which still operates 11 years later. A graduate of The University of Iowa, Spencer resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Brad Danks - OUTtv
British Columbia
PANELIST


Brad Danks is President of Convergent Entertainment and Chief Operating Officer of OUTtv Network.

Brad’s primary focus is on the operations of OUTtv, a Canadian specialty television channel. He is directly responsible for overseeing all aspects of the Network from developing and implementing the overall corporate strategy, regulatory, operations, acquisitions, production, distribution, marketing, advertising and digital strategy.

OUTtv is the world’s first LGBT television network having launched in 2001 in Canada. Mr. Danks became COO in 2006 after James Shavick and Joy McPahail became the majority shareholders. He has been instrumental in guiding the Network to a rise in subscribers from under 200,000 to nearly 1.3 million and an increase in revenue of more than 400% since that time. The Network is carried on all the Cable, Telco and Satellite providers in Canada. OUTtv is considered one of the world’s premium LGBT media brands in the World.

He has also worked on expanding the reach of the Network outside of Canada by negotiating affiliate and license deals in the Netherland, Belgium, Sweden and South Africa. Brad has also been instrumental in negotiating distribution deals for programming with many over the top providers including Apple and Google (YouTube).

Brad is also President of Convergent Productions Ltd. Over the past 7 years Convergent has produced 4 feature films and more than 200 hours of television programming. Brad acts as an Executive Producer on all projects concentrating on financing, sales and distribution.

Brad started his career in the industry as an entertainment lawyer practicing for more than 12 years practicing at his own and later some of Canada’s most prestigious law firms. His work included literally hundreds of film and television productions ranging from the development and acquisition through financing and distribution. He also worked on numerous international television and film co-productions involving countries from around the world. He has significant experience with a vast area of financing structures and broadcasting regulatory requirements in many international territories.

For several years after leaving law, he consulted and provided strategic advice to numerous private and public companies around the world on entertainment and media business matters. His particular emphasis has been in developing strategies to take advantage of the technological changes and their impact on traditional business models. Brad has advised on the development of branded content properties and new financing models for programs distributed across multiple media broadcast platforms.

Carter Mason - JTS.tv
California
PANELIST

Carter is a co-founder and the CEO of JTS.TV - Just The Story, a premium digital network distributed via Roku, apps, the JTS.TV website, and numerous Smart TV platforms (with many more in development). He has worked in the entertainment industry for over a decade as an actor, writer, and producer. His clients have produced numerous feature and short films, digital series, and new media projects. The reputation and relationships forged through the Carter Mason Group laid the foundation for a creator-friendly business model to gain immediate acceptance by the independent television community.



Enrique Soissa - Dailymotion Canada
Ontario
PANELIST

Enrique was introduced into the fast pace of the online world early having worked at Chapters Online for their launch and progress into e-commerce. Later, moving onto Universal Music Canada, it served to develop his competencies in the entertainment world. After a time, and an itch, he left to start his own record label Paper Bag Records. The years of entrepreneurship while running his own music company, including the handling the digital and business developmental growth of the organization, proved formative as he furthered his own growth and fed his resolve to keep pushing himself. Since then, he worked with a digital content start up, before moving on to head Dailymotion’s Canadian operations where he is now. Going on three years with the world’s second largest video site, he’s had the pleasure of working with a variety of partners from independent web producers to the NFL (signing the league to a European content license deal), he looks forward to increasing the footprint for Dailymotion in Canada and beyond.
Ali Adab - BroadbandTV
British Columbia
PANELIST

As VP Content & Partnerships at BBTV, Ali has been vital to the growth of the company’s multi-channel network, now third-largest in the world. Ali is focused on growing and developing BBTV's content partners, overseeing original content initiatives, and expanding the business in new and emerging markets. Since joining BBTV's Leadership team in 2012, BBTV has closed an ongoing strategic partnership with RTL Group which included an initial funding round of $36m. The business currently boasts partners such as FremantleMedia, Sony Pictures, the NBA, and A&E. Prior to joining BBTV, Ali founded Miso Digital, a digital marketing and distribution company focused on connecting artists directly with fans. He has personally managed and worked with artists such as Bif Naked, DMX, and the Wu-Tang Clan. Ali holds an MBA from Cornell University, and a BA in Economics from the University of Western Ontario.

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Stunts and Swords... Safety on Set
Presented by the Union Of BC Performers (UBCP)
SATURDAY - 8:00pm to 9:00pm
Rob Bruner
British Columbia/California
MODERATOR

Rob Bruner is an actor, filmmaker, comedian and screenwriter born in Toronto Canada.

Rob graduated from the New School of Drama in Toronto while running a successful music store franchise, Song Bird Music. He re-located to Vancouver to pursue acting in the late nineties, recurring and guest-starring in many prominent TV series including Psych, Supernatural, Dark Angel, The Outer Limits, the critically acclaimed series DaVinci’s Inquest, as well as the multi award winning mini-series Human Cargo. He was a consulting producer on the Leo award winning feature Lunch With Charles. Rob also appeared in numerous feature and television films and commercials. Recently Rob stars in a new trilogy of Baby Geniuses movies along with Jon Voight.

In 2000, Rob wrote, directed and starred in The Workshop Junkie, a hilarious spoof of personal growth that became a cult film classic. The half-hour film played in festivals and on Canadian network television (CBC). Rob’s feature script Hot For Nirvana won development support from Telefilm Canada and Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre and has been optioned. His TV series Touchy Feely was also optioned.

An accomplished stand up comedian and singer/songwriter, Rob has performed at the Comedy Store and the Hollywood Improv and has released his first album, It Is What It Is – a compilation of ironic pop-rock ballads, available on iTunes. His one man show “Nephew of the Universe”, supported by a grant from the Canada Council will go up in the fall of 2015 in LA.

In 2013 Rob co-wrote and directed an 8 part scripted web series Between Jupiter and Mars which is distributed by My Damn Channel and stars Rob along with Josh Sussman (Glee) and Lara Doucette (Tikibar TV). The series won numerous awards and was nominated for a Leo Award for best web series in 2014 and was an official selection in WVF, Hollyweb Fest, ITV Fest, LA Webfest, First Glance Film Festival, New Media Film Festival and will be featured in the Holly Shorts festival in May 2015.

A second season of BJ&M is planned for 2015, while a TV version “Unmanageable” is in the works. Rob’s team is also developing the comedy series “Men’s Team” and “Personal Growth” both for web and TV.

Rob travels between Vancouver and Los Angeles where he continues to act, write and develop films, web and television series.

F. Braun McAsh

British Columbia
PANELIST


F. Braun McAsh has been a professional actor and fight choreographer for 37 years. With over 400 fights on film and television and almost 100 stage productions (including the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Shaw Festival and the Canadian Opera Company) Braun is one of the most experienced choreographers in North America. He is also an internationally recognized scholar and master instructor of historical weapons ranging from the Greeks to modern military knife combat. He has been a regular master instructor at the International Combat Workshop in Banff since 2000. Although he is best known as the Swordmaster for the HIGHLANDER TV series (seasons 3 - 6 and the 4th movie, ENDGAME) he has choreographed for virtually every entertainment medium including dance, video games and motion capture and recently, webseries. His book, FIGHT CHOREOGRAPHY - A Practical Guide is considered one of the best and inclusive examinations of this complex art. He is also the master instructor for The Ring of Steel, a school dedicated to the preservation of historical Western European sword combat as well as teaching theatrical technique. Braun is also skilled in Asian fighting techniques including a 5th dan black belt in the Japanese sword art of Iaido.
Website - The Ring of Steel

Kirk Jaques

British Columbia
PANELIST


Kirk Jaques is one of the creators and producers of Frostbite Pictures. He has worked in the film industry for twenty-five years, getting his introduction to the industry when he was brought in to teach a sword fight sequence to the late John Candy. Since that time he has had the honour and pleasure of training some of the top names in the business, including Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Irons, Owen Wilson, Tom Welling and Lana Parilla.

Kirk has worked in the film world as both a stunt performer and stunt coordinator. He has appeared in such shows as Smallville, Supernatural, Flash, I Robot, Eragon and Blade.

Having studied martial arts since 1968, Kirk was the head instructor at Vancouver’s famed Action Room for ten years and currently runs a class for stage and screen fighting called Action Beats.

In the world of web series he has been the stunt coordinator on such award-winning series as After and Riese, and was co-creator of Divine: The series. He also managed stunts and rigging for Stricken and coordinated the upcoming Demon Exorcist.

Exotic Animal Handlers: Taming Your concerns
SUNDAY - 11:15am to 12:45pm
Dan Payne
British Columbia/California
MODERATOR

A Canadian actor best known for playing the role of John in the television series Alice, I Think.

Among his numerous television appearances was in an advertisement for Speakeasy from Esat Digifone, an Irish mobile phone operator now owned by O2. He also played the part of the Kull Warriors in Stargate SG-1, and the Wraith king in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Sateda". Recently, Payne appeared as Nathan Davidson, a married, sexually-repressed father in Mulligans, and also as Dollar Bill in Watchmen.

He is currently in development on a new television series entitled Pucked to be launched on the web. He is playing the lead role of Andy Zirkor. An internet campaign to promote the series has been started with an Andy Zirkor Facebook page where fans can interact and be a part of Andy's world.

Dan also stars in the web based television series Divine: The Series filmed in Vancouver, BC

Website
IMDB

Gary Oliver - Urban Rescue Safari and Cinemazoo
British Columbia
PANELIST


Gary has been working with animals all of his life. He started Cinemazoo 28 years ago as an effort to humanely provide animals needed for film, TV, and photography projects.

Cinemazoo's list of credits is very lengthy, including Bird on a Wire, Snakes on Planes, I am Legend, Look Who's Talking Now, MacGyver and the Telus commercials. The Urban Safari Rescue Society developed out of Gary's work with Cinemazoo.

The Urban Safari Rescue Society was established with the mission to rescue unwanted animals and educate the public about animals, the natural world and conservation issues.

Accompanying Gary will be Dozer, a 38-year-old, 130-lb, African Spur-thighed Tortoise.

Website - Urban Rescue Safari
Website - Cinemazoo

Kimmi Kraus - Project Wild Song
California
PANELIST


Project Wildsong's mission is to dispel the myths and misconceptions concerning wolves and native North American apex predators. By raising awareness through hands on, interactive engagement, Project Wildsong strives to inspire the everyday individual to coexist with wildlife by means of education, collaboration, and conservation. The Ambassador animals of Project Wildsong are best known for being featured at educational outreach seminars and events across Southern California as well as their collaborations with fashion designers, creative photographers, musical artists, art studios, and cinematographers.

Accompanying Kimmi will be Damu, a three year old Ambassador Wolf who represents his wild counterparts.

Website - Project Wild Song

Joanne Bentley - The “Falconlady”
British Columbia
PANELIST


Just over 10 years ago, Joanne Bentley (aka: ‘The Falconlady’) began a personal journey to find a “relationship” with birds-of-prey.

Starting out as a traveling educator bringing school-children and an evolving “Team Feathers” together, Joanne soon realized there were wider audiences to be reached. Even ‘passively educating’ from the context of a fictional story has tremendous value. Joanne wanted to marry her love of birds-of-prey with her desire to contribute to the film and television industry, and soon had her first Red Tail hawk, ‘Thorn’, in “Smallville”.

A short time later, Joanne was blessed to meet Ivan Hayden – the creator of “Divine: The Series”, Independent film-maker Richard Olak, creator of “The Battle of Burgledorf”, and other inspiring creatives. Over the last eight years, her feathered companions have appeared in everything from feature-length films, a Dodge-RAM commercial, the tv series “Siberia”, to the upcoming “Bad Timing” music-video for breakout artist Michael Brock.

Accompanying Joanne will "Team Feathers" in its entirety. 'Jarih', a female Saker Falcon, Capt'n 'Sabre' - a male Gyrfalcon, and of course, 'Mohave', a Red Tail buzzard (usually referred to as Red Tail hawks).

Website - Falconlady

1234 - Fake Street Vancouver, BC XXX XXX 604.123.4567