Meet the 2019 NSI Totally Television students


The National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI) congratulates teams selected to the 2019 NSI Totally Television training course. Over 11 months, beginning in February 2019, participants will develop their television projects with the best showrunners and story editors in Canada.

  • Tajana Prka (producer) and Tarique Qayumi (writer), Vancouver, BC – Bonavista Drive
  • Michelle Ouellet (producer) and Nicholas Carella (writer), Toronto, ON – Ethics 101
  • Stephanie Ouaknine (producer) and Sarah Goodman (writer), Toronto, ON – The Golden Mean
  • Ian Bawa (producer) and John Titley (writer), Winnipeg, MB – The Lucky Ones

“I’m so pleased to welcome these four teams to NSI Totally Television,” said program manager Joy Loewen. “They’ve been selected from a formidable pool of applications on the basis of their distinctive stories, breadth of experience and marketability. It will be exciting to see how they grow and evolve during the course.”

The course includes extensive training, individual sessions with story editors and development execs, and private pitch meetings with broadcasters and executive producers. Teams advancing to phase two of the course attend LA’s Scripted Summit in November 2019 – a new component introduced this year.

NSI Totally Television faculty are program advisor Julie Di Cresce and program manager Joy Loewen.

This program provides hands-on series development training for creative producer/writer teams serious about getting their television series concept made.

The program has produced 13 series that have gone into development: six have gone to air, one was piloted and another was produced as a feature film that had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

Most recently TV series project Wolfville, developed through NSI Totally Television in 2017-18 by writer Jon Mann and producer Rob Ramsay, was optioned by Take the Shot Productions, a St. John’s, Newfoundland-based production company.

NSI Totally Television is made possible by Presenting Sponsor Bell Media; Program Partner Telefilm Canada; Supporting Sponsors Super Channel, Corus Entertainment and CBC Gem; and Provincial Sponsor Manitoba Film & Music. NSI Core Funders are Manitoba Sport, Culture & Heritage and the City of Winnipeg through the Winnipeg Arts Council.

Meet this year’s participants

Tajana Prka (producer)

Tajana Prka

Tajana Prka, born in Munich, Germany, is of Croatian heritage.

She co-produced and starred in the feature Targeting (2014).

In 2011, she moved to Afghanistan to produce a TV miniseries called The Defenders which aired on TOLO TV, the most popular TV station. While in Kabul, she wrote and produced the short The Gift (2015), which was accepted at the Black Maria Film Festival and screened across the US.

Tajana produced and edited Black Kite, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2017, has gone on to play at 18 festivals and was honoured by the 2018 Leo Awards for best screenplay, best direction and best picture.

Tarique Qayumi (writer)

Tarique Qayumi

Tarique Qayumi was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, came to Vancouver as a refugee, and later moved to Los Angeles to study at the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television.

Following graduation, he directed the feature Targeting and was executive producer of Sesame Street for Afghanistan before joining the NSI Corus Diverse TV Director program in 2016.

Tarique wrote and directed Black Kite (2017).

He is currently the Phil Lind Multicultural Artist in Residence at the University of British Columbia.

Michelle Ouellet (producer)

Michelle Ouellet

Michelle Ouellet is an award-winning director, editor, digital content creator and co-founder of Vancouver’s Sociable Films.

Michelle’s improvised feature film Afterparty (Whistler Film Festival 2013), received the William F. White Reel Indie Award at the Canadian Film Festival and was picked up for distribution by Mongrel Media after a successful festival run. Catch Afterparty on The Movie Network.

Her follow-up feature Prodigals (levelFILM), starring Sara Canning and David Alpay, played in theatres across Canada this summer and is available on VOD. She received the Whistler Film Festival Talent to Watch Award in 2017 for her work on the film.

Michelle is series director of the critically acclaimed sci-fi mash-up series The True Heroines (picked up by Hulu+) and the TELUS Optik original Paranormal Solutions Inc.

She’s been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and has won at the Leo Awards, Vancouver Web Fest, LA Web Fest and HollyWeb Festival.

Nicholas Carella (writer)

Nicholas Carella

Nicholas Carella is an award-winning actor, writer, producer and digital content creator who is relentless in his pursuit of exciting projects.

Nicholas was a double nominee at the 2009 Canadian Comedy Awards (best actor, best screenplay) for his feature film writing debut, Hooked on Speedman. In 2011, Nicholas co-founded Sociable Films and, in 2012, produced their flagship feature film Afterparty for which he was nominated for the Leo Award for best supporting actor in a feature film.

He’s also made his mark in digital media, serving as head writer and showrunner of the Canadian Screen Award nominated- and Leo Award-winning web series The True Heroines. He is also co-creator (with David Milchard) of Leo Award-nominated digital series, Paranormal Solutions Inc., funded by the Independent Production Fund and TELUS.

His feature screenplay Us in 9 Months (written with Dave Deveau, winner of the 2015 CFF Harold Greenberg screenwriting contest) goes into production this spring, directed by Michelle Ouellet.

Stephanie Ouaknine (producer)

Stephanie Ouaknine

One of Playback‘s 5 to Watch class of 2018, Steph Ouaknine is an award-winning producer specializing in niche-driven series, branded content and fan engagement. She has a proven track record of creating evocative series that garner passionate fans, receive critical acclaim and forge innovative new revenue models. She creates content that finds an audience.

Steph co-created and produced Carmilla, the award-winning multi-platform series that ran for 108 episodes. Financed by U by Kotex, the series topped 100 million views, earning Steph and the team a Cannes Lions nod, Rocky Award, multiple Canadian Screen Awards, Webby and Streamy nominations and, in 2018, took home MIPTV’s brand content of the year and best digital fiction awards.

She is a digital-turned-TV producer and development executive for leading production company Shaftesbury, overseeing series developed at AMC, Corus, CBC and more.

Steph is a recipient of Netflix’s 2018 Diversity of Voices fellowship at the Banff World Media Festival, and is one of 25 producers selected for the Trans-Atlantic Partners’ co-production training program.

Sarah Goodman (writer)

Sarah Goodman

Sarah Goodman was born in Toronto and has lived in New York, where she began making films.

She recently wrote for the new CTV drama The Detail after completing the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) TV writing program.

Her feature documentary Army of One won Hot Docs best Canadian feature documentary and a Gemini nomination for best director. Her next doc When We Were Boys received a Donald Brittain Gemini nomination for best social-political documentary and made Indiewire’s top 10 documentaries list. This led to her short Hidden Driveway and her award-winning, critically-acclaimed first narrative feature Porch Stories.

Her next feature Mesocosms, is in development with producer Karen Harnisch (Sleeping Giant).

Sarah is a consulting producer and story editor on scripted series On the Edge by Drew Hayden Taylor, in development with CBC and White Pine Productions.

Ian Bawa (producer)

Ian Bawa

Ian Bawa is an award-winning producer/director from Winnipeg whose films have screened at festivals such as TIFF, the Vancouver International Film Festival and Fantastic Fest.

As an alumni of the University of Winnipeg’s film program, Ian’s graduation film was met with great success, screening around the world and winning at festivals such as Yorkton Film Festival and the Fargo Film Festival.

His past work has earned him recognition in publications such as Ain’t it Cool News, The AV Club and a Vimeo Staff Pick for his film The Champ.

John Titley (writer)

John Titley

John Titley is an award-winning screenwriter of film and television.

An alumni of CFC’s Writers’ Lab, his short films have screened at festivals around the world including TIFF, Fantasia Montreal, Urbanworld New York and ScreamFest Los Angeles.

He’s also written multiple episodes of true-crime television and was awarded the Manitoba Film and Music / On Screen Manitoba feature film accelerator grant for his upcoming romantic comedy The Shake Up.

Despite being the writer/creator of The Lucky Ones, John has only purchased one lottery ticket in his entire life (he won $10).

• • •

All media enquiries

Laura Friesen, Manager, Communications & Alumni Relations
Tel: 204.957.2999 or email:

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