About the Breakthrough Program

About

Get Hot Docs ready! This rigorous and intimate market-preparation course mentors eight emerging, high-potential producers as they get ready to successfully pitch and sell their projects at Hot Docs and beyond. Read some of our success stories here.

Meet the 2017 participants!

Amanda Buckiewicz is a producer and director who really loves telling stories, like that time she put a baguette in the world’s hottest wind tunnel in Belgium, or that time she was bruised and battered by a group of aerial Asian Carp. She got her start as a segment producer at Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet, producing more than a hundred features and more than 400 interviews for the show. She developed and produced the column Riskin’s Business starring host Dan Riskin, and played an integral role in developing one-hour specials like the award-winning One Giant Leap: A Neil Armstrong Tribute.

In 2014 she produced and wrote the series Great Lakes Wild, an 8-part nature documentary show looking at the animals living around the Great Lakes, airing on BBC Earth and LoveNature. After that, she was series producer for Wild Rockies, a 5 x 60 minute doc series looking at the animals that live among the Rocky Mountains. She’s currently freelancing, with her work appearing on CBC, Discovery Channel, and the Olympic Channel. She’s also working on her first feature documentary about a paraplegic bobsledder trying to get his sport into the Paralympics.

Rémy Huberdeau is a filmmaker and emerging producer based in Toronto. His most recent film Transgender Parents (2014, 45min) was broadcast on The Documentary Network. Rémy currently works as an in-house Video Producer for Greenpeace Canada, and is pitching the Freedom School, a film about Black Lives Matter-Toronto’s activist summer camp as the Creative Producer, in partnership with Lu Asfaha, Director.

Jorge Thielen-Armand is a Venezuelan director based in Toronto and Caracas. His debut feature film La Soledad (2016) premiered at the 73 Venice International Film Festival, 57 Cartagena IFF, BAFICI, Miami IFF, among other major international festivals. Jorge’s documentary Flor De La Mar (2015) won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short at Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, and was shown at over 20 festivals around the world including Margaret Mead, Sarasota, and RIDM. Jorge holds a Communication Studies BA from Concordia University in Montreal, and is an alumni of the Venice Biennale College, Hot Docs Accelerator and RIDM Talent Lab, Buenos Aires Lab, and Doc Institute’s Breakthrough Program. In 2015 he founded La Faena with Rodrigo Michelangeli.

Kacey was selected as one of 18 producers from across Canada for the CMPA Transmedia Production Acceleration Program in 2012. His documentary, Art of Courage was supported through CMF and licensed by broadcaster NTD Television in which he produced and directed. Kacey produced and directed The Crown: Anastasia Lin, a documentary-short funded through BravoFACT. His work has won awards and screened at festivals internationally. He is currently producing a feature documentary on the controversial plastination industry.

Christopher Rompré is a Canadian filmmaker based in South East Asia for the last six years. The Man Who Built Cambodia is his first feature documentary, built on nearly a decade of experience writing and directing in broadcast journalism and humanitarian impact filmmaking. A multi-disciplinarian, Christopher studied law and international development, and worked as a radio producer, before starting his career as a filmmaker. A short version of The Man Who Built Cambodia has been screened widely at festivals around the world.

Lena Macdonald is a Toronto based filmmaker whose work focuses on longitudinal storytelling, moral ambiguity, and the lives of marginalized peoples.

Her body of work is diverse and includes works for the stage, broadcast, and cinema. Notable works include: a stage production of Hugh Garner’s Cabbagetown which she co-directed with Michael Ondaatje and Paul Thompson and her first feature-length documentary, Mom and Me, which premiered at the 2015 Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival.  Mom and Me is currently screening at film festivals worldwide including Worldfest Houston where it won a Platinum Remi Award and New York Festival where it is a finalist for Best Social Issue Doc. Mom and Me was broadcast on TVO in 2016.

In addition, Lena teaches workshops and lectures for Universities and Artist Run Centres, most recently – Screening Trauma: Ethics, Aesthetics, and Representation for York, Concordia, and University of Toronto. Lena is currently working in pre production for Longevity Roadtrip, a documentary series for Vision TV.

Rayne Zukerman is VP of development at Indian Grove Productions Ltd. A lawyer by training, Rayne has progressively shifted into the more creative side of things co-producing the Global television drama, Remedy, and the fast-paced homicide series King, for Showcase. Rayne has created two original series currently in development at Canadian networks and is developing a roster of new and exciting projects for the world market. She is the founder of the francophone production company Zazie Films Inc. In 2013 she produced the variety series La Tournée des Cafés for TFO. In 2011 she produced the feature film LE DIVAN DU MONDE, a road movie about two francophones hitchhiking across the country, which successfully opened in theatres in Québec. Rayne has been living and breathing the world of television and film since a young age and has earned her stripes working on in production and for production companies like EOne, Barna Alper Productions, and Muse Entertainment.

Rémy Huberdeau is a filmmaker and emerging producer based in Toronto. His most recent film Transgender Parents (2014, 45min) was broadcast on The Documentary Network. Rémy currently works as an in-house Video Producer for Greenpeace Canada, and is pitching the Freedom School, a film about Black Lives Matter-Toronto’s activist summer camp as the Creative Producer, in partnership with Lu Asfaha, Director.

Lindsay is an independent documentary producer with Aporia Media. Lindsay was previously a reporter with The Hamilton Spectator and a researcher for Pot Fiction (2015) with CBC-TV’s premiere investigative program the fifth estate. Since enrolling in the masters of fine arts in documentary media at Ryerson University, Lindsay has been awarded numerous scholarships and awards. Her short film, About Employment won first prize in TVO’s Short Doc Contest, premiering at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema in June 2016. The film has subsequently been broadcast on TVO numerous times and featured in festivals internationally. Lindsay has also spent the last four years as the lead researcher for Ivor Shapiro, chair of the journalism school at Ryerson, for the first-ever scientific study of journalism in Canada. She has interviewed more than 250 journalists across the country and is in the process of developing a documentary on the crisis in Canadian journalism. Lindsay is passionate about rigorous research, finding untold stories and using documentary as a tool for social change.

Jorge Thielen-Armand is a Venezuelan director based in Toronto and Caracas. His debut feature film La Soledad (2016) premiered at the 73 Venice International Film Festival, 57 Cartagena IFF, BAFICI, Miami IFF, among other major international festivals. Jorge’s documentary Flor De La Mar (2015) won the Jury Award for Best Documentary Short at Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, and was shown at over 20 festivals around the world including Margaret Mead, Sarasota, and RIDM. Jorge holds a Communication Studies BA from Concordia University in Montreal, and is an alumni of the Venice Biennale College, Hot Docs Accelerator and RIDM Talent Lab, Buenos Aires Lab, and Doc Institute’s Breakthrough Program. In 2015 he founded La Faena with Rodrigo Michelangeli.

Christopher Rompré is a Canadian filmmaker based in South East Asia for the last six years. The Man Who Built Cambodia is his first feature documentary, built on nearly a decade of experience writing and directing in broadcast journalism and humanitarian impact filmmaking. A multi-disciplinarian, Christopher studied law and international development, and worked as a radio producer, before starting his career as a filmmaker. A short version of The Man Who Built Cambodia has been screened widely at festivals around the world.

What people are saying:

“The Breakthrough program was a valuable glimpse into the professional world of documentary funding and sales.” – Marc Serpa Francoeur

 

“The Breakthrough program put me squarely in the middle of a talented group of filmmakers, mentors and industry leaders at just the right time.” – Sherien Barsoum

 

“I would never have established such a strong relationship with broadcast executives had I not been part of the program.” – Rob Lindsay

Featured Past Program Participants

Shasha Nakhai produced FRAME 394 which premiered at Hot Docs 2016 and was shortlisted for an Academy Award (Documentary Short Subject).


Stephanie Brown co-created and co-produced APTN’s All Our Relations, which celebrates the lives of Aboriginal Canadians who have achieved international success and recognition, and acted as Supervising Producer on Qanurli?, an Inuktitut language comedy show. She recently joined VICE Media as the Supervising Producer of Digital Platforms.


Rob Lindsay’s film Go-Boy!, which was brought to the Program received interest from Telefilm to be adapted into a feature film. His film, Why Horror? was licensed by Super Channel and received CMF POV funding and CMF Digital fund.


Since participating in the Mentorship Program in 2011, Aaron Hancox has continued to employ the specifics skills learned in the program for pitching and developing projects. This has helped him shepherd several projects through development as Director, Sales & Development at Markham Street Films Inc. Since the Program he has secured development financing for two projects and production financing for one project. He also continues to utilize the professional relationships with top broadcast executives, which began at Hot Docs 2011.


Elisa Paloschi’s Embracing Voices: The Woman Behind The Music of Jane Bunnett had its world premiere at NXNE Festival in 2012. Elisa was working on this film for five years, including the time she spent as an OMDC Mentorship Program participant in 2010. Elisa was recently accepted to BritDoc’s Good Pitch and received funding from Chicken & Egg for post-production on her most recent project, Driving With Selvi.


Sheona McDonald had her film When Dreams Take Flight air on documentary Channel in November 2012 and it has since gone on to be sold in various international markets including Discovery EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Sheona was also nominated for a Gemini award for the writing on a documentary she produced, wrote and directed called Capturing A Short Life for CBC Newsworld


Support

The Breakthrough Program, part of the Producers Exchange, is made possible by its generous
supporter, the Ontario Media Development Corporation.
OMDC-2