From left, bottom: Greg Jeffs, Andrea Stewart, Shauna MacDonald, Melissa Kajpust, Shelly Quade; left top: Mark Cutforth, Lee Hoverd, Dusty Mancinelli
Here I sit in Toronto airport, another successful Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) experience behind me. I am tired and have sore feet from walking more than I do in my real world. But I’m excited to go home and unload all the information I gathered.
As I packed my suitcase to head home this morning – with more clothes than I even needed – and repacked inappropriate footwear I swore I would not wear this year (I did), I am also taking home other things from TIFF 2015.
NSI is everywhere.
Everyone knows us and are more than willing to help us in any way. The people I met over the five days I spent in Toronto were excited to hear about our successes and I was proud to share them.
I bragged about everything from NSI Features First project 2005 Bang Bang Baby by the very humble Jeffrey St. Jules, to the newest NSI Totally Television 2011 success of Mark Montefiore’s What Would Sal Do? as well as pitching our past and present NSI Totally Television and NSI Features First projects to all.
For me, TIFF is about meeting new and key industry people, reconnecting with experts who help out in my programs and taking time to thank sponsors for supporting my efforts to help facilitate training for the up-and-coming writers and producers.
Dan Lyon, feature film executive at Telefilm, is one of my favorite people in the industry.
Dan is someone who doesn’t even know what a legend he is. He’s always happy to see me, so funny and more than willing to share his Cash Cab story that I beg him to tell people. (Ask him about it if you haven’t heard it.)
Dan is a true friend to NSI and a must-see speaker at the NSI Features First and NSI Totally Television bootcamps.
David Barlow, writer/producer, is another VIP that I love to see, and listening to David share stories of his incredible wealth of experience is worth the trip for me. David is a valued advisor for our NSI Totally Television program.
Shelly pictured with David Barlow
Last year (for those who hang on my every word and follow my sporadic blog posts), I explained how the TIFF parties work.
You get invited to some cool events and don’t get invited to other cool events, but you try your best to wrangle an invite to those by promising a bag of NSI maple candies in their mailbox. If bribery works, you start the juggling act to get from one place to the other and still have time to gulp down a signature beverage and a chicken wing.
This year, the highlight for me was the CFC barbecue where I was lucky enough to hang with my friend and NSI director of communications & revenue development, Chris Vajcner.
Chris makes everything fun because she knows everyone, their project, and (usually) their birthday. So she makes me look good by association.
We were lucky enough to run into NSI alumni as well as some of my current students including Jordon Walker and Shauna MacDonald.
Shelly pictured with Shauna MacDonald
The William F. White party is a showstopper of beautiful industry people and some well-known Canadian celebrities. We took the opportunity to gather our NSI Features First 2014-15 teams together and got a priceless shot of our group (at the top of this page). Keep an eye on these people. I’ll be able to say I knew them when …
I took away more from TIFF 2015 than a bag full of little shampoos and coffee pods. I took away a plan to meet more people and become more involved in our incredible film and TV industry.
I left knowing that I work for an organisation I am proud of.
So stay tuned. I look forward to seeing what my teams in NSI Features First and NSI Totally Television bring to the table at TIFF 2016.