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CAN WRITERS THRIVE OUTSIDE THE BIG CITIES?

Los Angeles. New York. Vancouver. Toronto. These are the cities that best represent the entertainment industry in North America.

Every year, tons of people move into one of these places chasing their dreams of succeeding in the industry. For years, people said it wasn’t possible to thrive outside the big ones. Does that still apply today?

MODERATOR:

Cory Bowles, Writer

Cory Bowles is a multidisciplinary artist from Nova Scotia, Canada. His credits include; TRAILER PARK BOYS, STUDIO BLACK!, DIGGSTOWN, PRETTY HARD CASES, FBI: MOST WANTED and numerous other series for CBS, Universal, Warner, NBC and Netflix, JULIET AND ROMEO (Dance), and writer for the CBC comedy, LITTLE DOG (2018-19). His first feature, BLACK COP (2017), premiered at TIFF and earned Best Canadian Feature at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Best Narrative Feature at the St. Louis International Film Festival and a Canadian Screen Award (John Dunning Discovery Prize). In 2018 nominated for Nova Scotia’s Lieutenant Governor’s Masterworks Award and has been twice nominated for a DGC award for outstanding direction in a comedy. (Trailer Park Boys, Pretty Hard Cases) and a Canadian Screen Award for best direction in a drama (Diggstown).

SPEAKERS:

Abdul Malik, Writer

Abdul Malik is a Canadian-Pakistani screenwriter based out of Toronto and Edmonton. He dropped out of film school to pursue the political, spending his twenties working in the labor movement, and participating in worker struggles in rural Canada as an organizer and photojournalist. Abdul returned to the film industry, starting as the co-writer of the Telefilm-funded PEACE BY CHOCOLATE, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. Recently, Abdul’s written on Season Three of CTV’s TRANSPLANT, the upcoming Telefilm-funded feature QUEEN TUT, and was CO-EP on the Super Channel digital series STREAMS FLOW FROM A RIVER. He has a bevy of projects in development with companies such as Shaftesbury, Husk Media, Lark Productions, Circle Blue Entertainment, and Sphere Media. Abdul is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre and a member of the Writers Guild of Canada.

Before becoming a full-time screenwriter, Abdul’s work as a photographer and journalist was carried and commissioned by outlets and individuals such as the CBC, the Narwhal, Greenpeace, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, and Jacobin Magazine.

Giselle Miller, Writer, Actor, Filmmaker

Giselle Miller is a writer, actor and filmmaker based in Vancouver. She has been nominated for two Leo Awards for her web series "Young, Single and Black" and is currently in development in her first feature Sweet Plantain which she will be taking to the European Film Market in Berlin.

Israel Ekanem, Storyteller

Israel Ekanem is an award-winning storyteller. At a young age, his grandmother introduced him to the art of storytelling, and it quickly became his passion. His IMDb page lists over 20 writing and directing credits, including the award-winning, Drown the Lovers, Kill Your Masters and Dearg. Israel believes that a story properly told can change the world, one person at a time.

Nikki Martin, Writer

Nikki Martin is an award-winning Writer, a Yoga Teacher and a Facilitator. She is a published novelist, having released the first two novels in her Awake While Dreaming series, while her first short film A Walk in the Sun premiered at the Atlantic International Film Festival in 2022, and her first feature film script The Space Between won the RBC Script Development Prize at the festival that same year. She has found her voice sharing stories about people like herself; who are in search of identity and their place in the world while conveying the beautiful complexity of relationships.

As a Yoga Teacher and community leader she has become a passionate advocate for diversity in yoga and wellness and works alongside a not-for-profit she cofounded, The Black Wellness Coop, to bring wellness resources to underserved communities. She is also dedicated to seeing existing wellness, fitness and yoga spaces become more accessible, equitable and inclusive.

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