Ava Karvonen is cross-platform producer and the founder of Edmonton’s Reel Girls Media. She recently produced the feature length documentary, Finding Bobbi (After 50 years in the wrong body, Bobbi tells her story while preparing to step on stage for the first time as a woman) and directed/produced audio and video stories for the new Royal Alberta Museum. Her credits include creating and producing four series (The Lie Detective, Wild Files, The First Kiss And Other Rites of Passage, and Booked), ten one-hour documentaries (including Al Rashid: The Story of Canada’s First Mosque, the serious game “Murder or Suicide”, more than 100 webisodes and podcasts, audio & video for the new Royal Alberta Museum, and an online companion to an animated TV series where users can create their own comics and stories. In addition to producing, Ava also writes and directs. She directed seasons 1 & 2 of Chaos and Courage for APTN; was one of the directors on the CBC series Keeping Canada Alive; wrote and directed The Lie Detective; directed and produced Homefront (a story that followed five soldiers and their families during a deployment to Afghanistan); directed Seeds of Change for Panacea Entertainment (an hour long documentary that tells the story of a friendship between two scientists and how they worked together to help restore the health of China’s Yangtze River). Her work has been internationally recognized with more than 40 awards, including the CFTPA Award for Best Convergent New Media, a Japan Prize and the Ojai California Festival Theme Award: “Enriching the Human Spirit Through Film”. Ava believes in giving back to her community. Ava has been teaching credit and non-credit courses for NAIT, FAVA, MacEwan, Raindance; served on juries in Canada and abroad; and has served on the advisory committees of Salute to Excellence for the City of Edmonton, the Aids Network Black and White Affair, CMPA, NextMedia, and NAIT. She has also helped develop industry policy while serving for the past 20 plus years on the boards of the Edmonton Arts Council, AMPIA, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), and DOC AB. She is the chair of WIFTA (Women in Film and Telelvision Alberta)
and sits on the advisory committee of the Edmonton Screen Industries Office.
WIFTA Board of Directors
Shivani Saini is a media producer, consultant and skillful communicator with over 25 years of professional experience. She holds a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree in Radio & Television from Ryerson University, and has worked in all genres of media production. Her company, Atelier Culturati, helps cultural institutions, creative leaders and artists produce stories and sold-out events. She specializes in storytelling that advocates for decolonized worldviews, and narratives that represent true equity, diversity and inclusion. Her expertise is sought after by multiple disciplines, and her portfolio includes groundbreaking museum content, award-winning media, cutting-edge theatre, international visual arts affairs, social media initiatives, and festivals that cultivate new works. She was a Producer & Project Manager for the new Royal Alberta Museum’s Aboriginal Media; a commission of 30 Films and a spectacular 360 Video, that sees Indigenous Peoples native to this land sharing their own stories - and authentically from their worldviews. Her past producing credits also include seasons 1, 2 & 3 of the award-winning dramatic television series Blackstone, in the roles of Associate Producer, Business Affairs and Digital Media Producer. For more info please visit www.atelierculturati.com.
A production veteran with more than 13 years of experience in film and television, Elise has loaned her talents to all types of projects, from features to commercials, live shows to corporate videos. Her eclectic resume highlights technical and logistical roles with some of the strongest companies and productions in Alberta.
Lindsey McNeill is a producer, director and screenwriter from Edmonton, Alberta. Her first feature film "Truckstop Bloodsuckers" (2012) received 6 AMPIA nominations and was awarded “Best Foreign Film” at the Bare Bones International Film Festival in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She is a winner of the national genre contest “From Our Dark Side” for Women in Horror (WIFTV) and her screenplay “Gillian’s Just Right,” placed in the Top 15 of Canada’s CineCoup Film Accelerator in 2013. As a producer, she was invited to attend the Cannes Film Festival in 2015 by the Creative Minds Group (Los Angeles, CA) and received private mentorship sessions with Producer Christine Vachon and Director Chloe Zhao. Lindsey is currently working on her memoir with support from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts.
Samantha is an emerging producer in Edmonton with big aspirations. She started producing short comedy sketches with her brother in 2013, which lead to becoming one of the first grant recipients through the Telus Storyhive program when it was first launched in 2014. Samantha then expanded into production management for independent productions such as music videos, short films and webseries. During 2016 and 2017 Samantha moved into the locations department with the
Director's Guild of Canada (DGC), working on three feature films and two tv series, as well as continuing to support independent productions as locations manager and/or production manager.
In 2018 Samantha was voted onto the Alberta District Council executive council for the DGC as well as serving as Secretary for Women In Film and Television Alberta (WIFT-A) board. She also incorporated a production company and produced the music video Aftermath for Edmonton band Royal Tusk. She is a member of Alberta Media
Production Industries Association (AMPIA).
Susan Feddema-Leonard is the Executive Producer for People & Peaks Productions and has produced the Canadian Rockies Series (13 X 60, HD Documentary). This film company features breathtaking stories that share the history, traditions and culture of the Rocky Mountains. Susan has been nominated the following Alberta Film and Television Rosie Awards: two (3) Best Documentary Series, two (2) Best Cinematography, one (1) Best Director (non-fiction over 30 minutes). The production company has been nominated for a total of 13 Rosie Awards, including six (6) Best Original Musical Score and one (1) Best Overall Sound. Productions have been aired on Wild TV to a national and international audience. The documentaries have been broadcast on Russian and New Zealand networks. Susan is also in production of three new half-our documentaries for Wild Pursuit Network - Canada's Hunting and Fishing TV Network. Susan is the Past President of Women in Film and Television Alberta, a member of Alberta Media Production Industries Association, and a long-standing member of the Writers Guild of Alberta.
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