ARE WE IN THE RACE?
Nova Scotia's film industry is booming again and has become a place of choice for Canadian and American film and tv productions. It feels good to hear Halifax being called "Haliwood”. But is there a flip side to all the excitement? Halifax has a plethora of local creative talent but with the resurgence of the business of film, are crews behind the scenes as diverse as they should be? What has been done, and is currently being done, behind the scenes to change the face of Nova Scotia’s film industry?
Moderator: Tara Taylor (Filmmaker, Playwright, Actress, Co-Founder of The Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival)
East Preston, NS; Light House GO Mgr; Festival Director - Emerging Lens Cultural Film Festival; CBC Cultural Columnist; Women in Film & Television – Atlantic board member; 2021 Winner - ANSMA Industry Development Award; playwright, filmmaker, multimedia artist, actress.
Laura MacKenzie (Executive Director, Screen Nova Scotia)
Laura Mackenzie currently serves as Executive Director of Screen Nova Scotia, a film commission, industry promotion and advocacy association. Laura has a demonstrated history of activating growth for both independent film and television producers and non-profit screen industry organisations across Canada. During the decade leading up to her beginnings with Screen Nova Scotia she served as an industry market director and media consultant. Laura is the Chair of the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, whose mandate includes advising government on policies and making recommendations on programs to promote arts and culture.
Erica Meus-Saunders (Membership Coordinator, Screen NS and Independent Filmmaker)
A storyteller by ‘nurture’, Erica Meus-Saunders left the Bahamas and moved to Nova Scotia 6 years ago to attend film school. After graduating in 2017, she quickly became immersed in the film industry, working in various crew roles, and creating a few short docs, in which she held multiple roles as director, producer and sometimes camera. Her most recent doc, The Dreamers (9 mins), produced in May 2019, played at FIN: Atlantic International Festival (2019), The Emerging Lens 2019 and the Halifax Black Film Festival 2020. She’s currently in production of two shorts, Eua-Lander (scripted) through AFCOOP’s Film 5 program and a short documentary, Music Resistance, working as co-writer, director and producer. One of her favourite quotes, “If your dreams don’t scare you just a little, they’re not big enough.”
Richard Jean-Baptiste (Independent Producer)
After a diverse career including directing and producing documentaries, in 2008 Richard became a partner at Sid Lee; one of the biggest advertising companies in Canada with offices in Montreal, Toronto, Los Angeles, Seattle, NYC, Paris and Amsterdam. His eclectic background - on film sets, post-production and in cross platform projects - made Richard the lead partner of all production activities across Sid Lee offices for the last 14 years. Within Sid Lee, Richard founded and successfully led one of Sid Lee’s biggest child company; Jimmy Lee. He acted as the president and executive producer of Jimmy Lee. While leading global projects for Sid Lee’s major brands, Richard produced more than fifty documentaries and fictional web-series projects. His productions have been seen in theaters across Canada as well as on Radio-Canada, TVA, Télé-Québec, TV5, HBO Canada and several festivals. Richard has several nominations and awards to his credit including Numix, Gémeaux, Cyber Lions of Cannes, Boomerang, Digital Marketing Awards and FWA. In 2021 Richard decided to leave the world of advertising to fully dedicate himself to his passions; television and cinema. The scarcity of diversity among experienced producers in Quebec and Canada is no stranger to Richard’s career decision. Richard brings his extensive and unique experience along with a unique perspective on content produced in Canada.