WIFTA’s leadership is committed to recognizing and addressing our own historical shortcomings.
We are dedicated to creating and enforcing policies that require leadership and members be educated on inclusivity and putting that knowledge into practice.
Ava Karvonen – PRESIDENT
Samantha Quantz – SECRETARY
Michelle Graff – COMMUNICATIONS
Katrina Beatty – PROGRAMMING
Tiffany Cowan – FINANCE & ADMIN
Fami Kaur – COMMUNICATIONS / PROGRAMMING
Donna Knorren – FINANCE & ADMIN / DIVERSITY & INCLUSION
Jenn Repp – COMMUNICATIONS
Barb Atamaniuk – MEMBERSHIP
Marie-France Guerrette – ADVOCACY / FINANCE & ADMIN
Carolyn Kennedy – PROGRAMMING
Ava Karvonen is multi-platform producer and the founder of Edmonton’s Reel Girls Media. Her work has seen more than 100 worldwide screenings and been internationally recognized with more than 50 awards. Her credits include producing ten documentary specials, more than 150 webisodes & podcasts, animation, games, interactive content, cross platform projects, corporate videos, and creating/ producing four series. Ava has mentored 33 TELUS Storyhive teams, executive produced 5 projects, and is in development on two feature films – Rude Awakening with writer/director Anne Wheeler and producer Michelle Morris (Red Snow) and Wounded with writer Scot Morison and director Francis Damberger. She recently produced the critically acclaimed feature documentary, Finding Bobbi, telling the story of a woman who returns to stage 20 years after last performing as a man. She also directed seasons 1 & 2 of Chaos and Courage for APTN; was one of the directors on the CBC special Keeping Canada Alive; created/produced/directed The Lie Detective; directed/produced Homefront (including a media embed to Afghanistan); and directed Seeds of Change (taking her to China).
Ava has been teaching courses for NAIT, FAVA, PRIMAA, MacEwan, and Raindance. For the past 20 plus years she has served on the boards like the Edmonton Arts Council, AMPIA, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Filmmakers for Conservation, Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), and DOC AB.
Described by iconic actor Bruce Dern as “a one-woman studio – never seen anything like it,” Katrina Beatty is a Producer and Director based out of Edmonton, Alberta. She works in varying formats including short and feature films, web series, music videos and commercials.
Katrina has created music videos for Juno Award winning band Whitehorse (PINK KIMONO, BOYS LIKE YOU) and CMA Award winning country artist Gord Bamford (LIVIN’ ON SUMMERTIME). Her work with Edmonton band The Wet Secrets brought SCTV and FREAKS AND GEEKS alumnus Joe Flaherty back to Edmonton to resurrect his Count Floyd character in the music video NIGHTLIFE.
Notably, Katrina’s work in feature films lead her to partner with Rocky Mountain Pictures and Panacea Entertainment to produce the made-for-TV movie I THINK I DO. The film starred Mia Kirshner (THE L WORD, THE BLACK DAHLIA), garnering her a Canadian Screen Award nomination for her performance. The film premiered on the Lifetime Network to the highest ratings of all Valentine’s programming on the network that day. It is regularly broadcast on The W Network in Canada and has been sold all over the world.
Currently her production company Loud Whisper Productions is producing the Telefilm funded feature film BEFORE I CHANGED MY MIND slated for production in Summer 2021. At the Sundance Film Festival in 2020, the script was announced to the GLAAD List; a curated list of the most promising unmade LGBTQ-inclusive scripts in Hollywood.
Samantha is the Locations Officer at the Edmonton Screen Industries Office. She is passionate about her community and policy development. In addition to her board work with WIFTA, Samantha serves as the Edmonton member-at-large for the Directors Guild of Canada and as a member of both AMPIA and FAVA. Previous to working at the ESIO, Samantha has worked as a freelance producer, production manager, location scout/manager, first assistant director, and actor with her company The Juniper Motion Picture Company.
She loves swimming, reading classic literature, playing Minecraft and creating Ukrainian Easter eggs (aka pysanky).
Tiffany Cowan is an industry award-winning freelance coordinator. After graduating from NAIT’s Radio and Television Program in 2011, she started her career in the Production Office and has worked on film and television projects in Edmonton and area ever since. Her production credits include feature films (Cutbank, They Who Surround Us), episodic television (Blackstone, Tiny Plastic Men) and reality and documentary works (Mom’s A Medium, Re-ken-si-le-a-shen). Tiffany currently serves on the board of directors for WIFT Alberta (Women in Film and Television – Alberta) and is a guest instructor at GIFT (Girls in Film and Television) sharing her knowledge with the future of young women in the screen industry. As a driven and hard-working mother of two young children, Tiffany is learning to find balance between the two very demanding roles. She believes that supporting other women will, in turn, make the struggle between a fulfilling career and raising a family a little easier for everyone.
Michelle was an artsy kid who grew up in Red Deer Alberta. Drama, writing and visual arts remained her path into adulthood.
Michelle is an award-winning graduate from the Southern Institute of Technology (SAIT), Film & Television program. She received the Louise McKinney Academic Scholarship and a Bachelor of Applied Arts Degree (MPA) at Red Deer College. Recently, Michelle studied Communications at MacEwan University.
Michelle got her start working in the art departments for film and television productions in Vancouver. During her ten-years in Vancouver, Michelle worked as an art director for music videos and independent films. She also worked on many movies and series on union sets in the props department.
Highlights since moving back to Alberta:
- Ataxia My Excuse – Personal project; true life, ongoing, multimedia passion project that includes a blog, documentary footage, and dramatic script development featuring a woman who lives with a debilitating disease, Friedreich’s ataxia.
- Script writer and project management for Modern Muse Media;
- Associate producer for the web-series, The First Kiss and Other Rites of Passage & writer, story editor for the documentary series The Lie Detective, for Reel Girls Media;
- Michelle’s film Rabbit Food won Best Dramatic Alberta Short at the Edmonton International Film Festival (2012).
- Numerous AMPIA nominations for writing, directing and producing.
In 2020/2021, Michelle deep dived into social media as an instructor at CDI/Reeves College, Edmonton. How social media influences the way we live and what we believe, fuels Michelle’s work going forward.
CAROLYN BRIDGET KENNEDY
Carolyn Bridget Kennedy is an award-winning actor (SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA) and filmmaker living in Los Angeles and Calgary. As a filmmaker she has created web series and short films that have collectively garnered over 100 film festival laurels around the globe.
Carolyn is an improv maven having completed, in Los Angeles, Advanced Improv at The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Second City Hollywood conservatory program. She performs stand up at comedy clubs in LA. She has trained in sketch comedy writing at The Groundlings, as well as private coaching with a former showrunner for MadTV, resulting in her creating a spec Saturday Night Live sketch packet and a late-night television comedy packet. At Second City Hollywood, she co-wrote and performed in a one-hour sketch comedy show.
In 2020, Carolyn created and co-wrote a pilot script for a half-hour comedy series, “InFirm”. It was a Quarterfinalist at the prestigious CineStory Foundation 2021 TV Retreat & Fellowship Competition as well as placing in other festivals.
Carolyn studies acting in Los Angeles in the Advanced Class at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Margie Haber Studios, and with Lesly Kahn. She has been cast in numerous short films for American Film Institute, UCLA and USC, as well as other projects.
Barb started her career in television with a part time job in Master Control in a local television station. From there she worked in many of the different technical positions in the station and then moved over to a segment producer on the local morning show. During this time, Barb produced a variety of lifestyle content, live in studio or on remote. Television also offered the opportunity to travel and produce content from places as far north as Tuktoyaktuk to as far south as Honduras. This was a great job! But after a round of layoffs, Barb decided to try her hand at freelance work.
Barb currently works as a 2nd AD on films in Western Canada and she still works on a variety live events for sports broadcasters.
Fami immigrated from India in 2014 with a background in Journalism and Mass Communication to attend the NAIT Digital Cinema program. Her natural affinity for film and people made her fall in love with the industry. She worked on several projects in various roles such as producer in the web series “Heartsong” (funded by storyhive), where she worked alongside director of photography David Baron, and director Justin Brunelle. In 2016 she was appointed “event coordinator” for the Canadians for Civil Society. She wrote and directed storyhive grant winner “Henna”, which won Best Experimental film Chicago 2017. Since 2018 Fami has worked for the Edmonton Short Film Festival as a Social Media Strategist. In 2020 she founded her own production company “Biji Productions” and is currently producing/directing her first feature documentary “The Ripple Effect”. Her production prowess is well-rounded and only continues to grow with Fami’s passion for the industry and the people within it.
Born and raised in Alberta, Jenn Repp is an Indie Filmmaker who is passionate about storytelling. Although the pandemic has brought new challenges, Jenn has found opportunity to connect with filmmakers near and far using online platforms.
Jenn began working in film in 2016 as a PA and background actor. She worked her way up learning as much as possible by doing. Jenn soon found success as she stepped into leadership roles. The first feature film she produced called “What We Don’t Say” in 2019 managed to snag her a nomination for the ‘RBC Emerging Artists Award” at the Calgary International Film Festival. The film also won “Best of Fest” at the Full Bloom Film Festival in North Carolina; and “Best International Feature” at the Fort Worth Indie Showcase in Texas. In the summer of 2020, she produced a short film called “Birthday Cake” which won the “Spirit of Edmonton” award at the Gotta Minute Film Festival.
Now, with three feature films in post-production and nearing completion, Jenn has recently relocated to Calgary and continues to reach new heights, strives to create compelling art, and advocate for women in film.
Marie-France Guerrette began her career on television at age 14 as the co-host of a kids show on Radio-Canada Télévision. Since then, she’s been the director, senior producer and executive producer of several nationally broadcast programs and TV series. Her rich, extensive experience enables her to manage all aspects of a major production.
Her goal as a producer and director within the documentary and unscripted genre is to explore personal stories that reveal human vulnerability and encourage viewers to see the world around them in a different light. Her passion for the human experience and existential questions is at the heart of her artistic process, a process that’s fuelled by the desire to understand who we are and why we do what we do.
In 2015, after 3 years as Senior Producer at the CBC, Marie-France co-founded an independent production company, Productions Loft Inc., through which she’s produced and directed many documentaries that have been broadcast world-wide. She has received numerous awards, including a prestigious Golden Sheaf Award in the Documentary Arts & Culture category. She has also been nominated for Best Director at the Alberta Film and Television Awards multiple times.
WIFT Alberta is a chapter of WIFT, an organization that started in 1973 in Los Angeles, California, by a group of women in the film industry who were determined to improve opportunities for women in all key roles, including producers, directors, writers, actors, crew, distributors and all multi-media support roles. More than 50 chapters now operate worldwide, including 6 in Canada. Every two years, a chapter of WIFT hosts an international summit to further cooperation between women professionals on a global level, and to identify key issues affecting women today.
For more info please visit: https://www.wifti.net
WIFTA’s leadership is committed to recognizing and addressing our own historical shortcomings so that negative behaviours are not supported or continued. We are dedicated to creating and enforcing strict policies that require leadership and members be educated on inclusivity and held accountable for shortcomings.
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