The Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) is governed by a 15 member volunteer Board elected each year at an Annual General Meeting (AGM).
Board of Directors
Chair – Michael Jorgensen
Michael is an Emmy® award-winning filmmaker and network storytelling consultant in both the fiction and nonfiction genres. As a producer, writer and director, his films have earned him more than 80 international, national and regional awards. During the late 80’s and early 90’s, Michael garnered five titles as WCNPA Television Photojournalist of the Year. In 1992, he was one of the first journalists into war-torn Somalia prior to the UN-sanctioned “Operation Restore Hope.” Since then, Michael has acted as a network storytelling consultant and helped launch the world’s first weekly science program, Discovery Channel’s “Daily Planet.” Michael is the only filmmaker in history to be granted access inside a classified U.S. Department of Defense weapons competition. Battle of the X-Planes earned Michael his first Emmy® for best long form news and current affairs documentary.
He has produced, written and directed numerous primetime specials for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, History, PBS, ZDF Germany and Arte France. Some of his network credits include the Gemini®-nominated Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy, Hunt for the Mad Trapper, Hitler’s Stealth Fighter and Lost Nuke. As the supervising producer of the landmark Discovery Channel series, Mars Rising, Michael negotiated access to NASA, Russian and European space agencies to tell the story of the people working on the first human mission to Mars. Michael has been a judge for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Emmys® since 2010. In addition, he also teaches fiction and nonfiction screenwriting in Digital Cinema Production at NAIT. In 2014, his feature-length theatrical documentary, Unclaimed, opened to international acclaim and was long-listed for an Oscar®. Michael is a member of the Canadian Media Producers Association, The Giant Screen Cinema Association and the Producers Guild of America. Currently, Michael is working on the IMAX® film Rise of the Super Titan and the feature length drama Blazer.
Vice Chair – North – Missy Geffen
Having spent the past 30 years working in Film and Television, Missy has had the opportunity to work as a Writer, Producer, Creative Director and Executive Producer on productions for some very recognizable name clients. Clients includes ESSO, Shell Canada, UTI Worldwide, Proctor & Gamble, Ford, GM, Telus, Orient Express, Baja California Sur Tourism, the Alberta Government, and with Advertising Agencies across North America, Australia and New Zealand.
The scope of productions runs from Television Specials, Documentaries, and Informational Videos, to Radio commercials and New Media/Web based productions. Where her real expertise lies is in the production of TV commercials for regional, national and international clients. She was Creative Director for ITV’s award winning multi media road safety campaign– “If You Drink then Drive You’re A Bloody Idiot” and “Speed Kills”.
Missy began her career at CFRN TV Edmonton (now CTV) and moved to CITV (now Global- Edm) and became the Executive Producer for ITV’s national production company “Apple Box Productions”. She has been on the Board of Directors for the Advertising Club of Edmonton and chaired the ACE Awards for 2 years.
Missy is now the Executive Producer and owner of Geffen Media Inc. A major focus of Geffen Media is to assist to develop new talent in the production industry.
Vice President – South – Tom Cox
Tom Cox is a veteran film and television producer whose work spans twenty-four years and includes feature films, dramatic series, mini-series, television movies and documentaries. Tom’s programs have garnered dozens of Canadian and international awards. Tom’s recent executive producer credits include Wild Roses and Heartland for CBC, Mayerthorpe for CTV and Burn Up for BBC and Global. His recent co-producing credits include television movies for ABC Family, Lifetime, Hallmark, TNT and CBS, as well as feature films for Warner Bros, Yari Pictures and Focus Features. Tom is an executive board member of the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association and Chair of the AMPIA Producers Committee. He is the past Chair of the National Screen Institute Board of Directors. Tom is finishing his first term as a CFTPA board member, and is active on the Industrial Relations and Broadcast Relations committees. He is committed to ensuring that every region of Canada supports a vibrant and sustainable environment for content development and production through strong independent companies creating projects for domestic and international markets.
Treasurer – Helen Schmidt
Helen Schmidt has been a member of the Anaïd team in Edmonton since 1995 where she oversees all aspects of business affairs and accounting for the production company. She is responsible for production financing, budgeting and cost control as well as overall corporate operations and has served as Executive Producer on X-Weighted, Family Restaurant, and The Rig. Helen is distinguished in the field of accounting by her advanced understanding of Canadian film financing and its related issues. Helen and her business affairs team have enabled Anaïd Productions to earn an impressive reputation with investors, broadcasters and distributors alike. A Certified Management Accountant, Helen Schmidt started her accounting career with the Alberta Government, then moved to private industry for several years prior to joining Anaïd. Helen is active in her local community and has used her financial acumen to benefit numerous non-profit organizations by serving on committees and volunteer boards.
Secretary – Norm Bishop
Norm Bishop was born and raised in Edmonton and would go on to receive his B.A. in 1977 and his LL.B. in 1980 from the University of Alberta. Norman’s practice specializes in intellectual property, franchising, commercial leasing and entertainment, and he is a registered Trade Mark Agent for Canada and the U.S. In addition, he is an Associate Member of the Patent and Trade Mark Institute of
Canada. Norman is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, and has served as a director for the Northern Light Theatre and the Edmonton Art Gallery. Currently, he sits on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association. Norman is best known for his love of playing rock and roll, and for his total lack of interest in the game of golf. He also enjoys hiking and skiing with his wife and three children.
Freelance Productions Ltd. has been serving the communication needs of Canada’s foremost broadcast and corporate clients for over 25 years. At the helm is the Award winning David Benson, a veteran television Producer, Director, and Writer whose documentary production credits include The Rig (Seasons I & II), Lights… Camera.. Alberta, Behind the Screen, Chasing the Sun (Season I), Island of Faith, Adoption Stories, and Canadians in Kentucky.David has worked with a range of television broadcast clients including, CTV, Alliance Atlantis, National Geographic, OLN, Rogers Sportsnet, TSN, ESPN and TBS, just to name a few. He also has a rich and diverse background of directing and cinematography for sports programs including segments for several Winter and Summer Olympic Games, the 1996 World Figure Skating Championships and the 2003 Heritage Classic Hockey Game.With this experience, Freelance Productions also brings a team with depth in business and legal affairs, production, and post-production, which enables the ability to produce and facilitate quality, fact-based programming for broadcasters worldwide.
Neil has been in the movie industry for over three decades. He has spent his time in the fields of distribution & exhibition with Sony Releasing – formerly Columbia Pictures – and Cineplex Odeon Films, and is currently the COO/Partner of Landmark Cinemas of Canada Inc., the third largest Canadian exhibition chain, based in Calgary, serving Western Canada. His passion for the movies began while watching Saturday matinees at his hometown’s single screen cinema. Neil also serves on the boards of the Motion Picture Theatre Association of Canada, the Calgary International Film Festival and the Motion Picture Pioneers of Canada. His passions and joy are found in his family and on the big screen.
Dave Chan has always had an interest in computers and audio. After many years working at a computer store he decided to expand his horizons and obtain a Microsoft certification. At the same time he was taking his certification he helped start a LAN event known as Fragapalooza. He invited the owners of BioWare (then a relative unknown) to demonstrate Baldur’s Gate at the event. Ray Muzyka was impressed with the job he had done for Fragapalooza, so when he finally got his Microsoft certification he ended up working at BioWare in the IT department. The owners were aware of his audio background and offered him a chance to make placeholder sounds for MDK2. They liked the sounds so much they wanted him to do the whole game. The rest, as they say, is history.
Since then he has been an active member in the Game Audio Network Guild since its launch in 2002 and is a co-chair of the Voice Actor Coalition sub-committee of GANG, a group that was organized to help the industry deal with issues involved with creating voice over for games. He has spoken at the Game Developers Conference, the Toronto Audio Engineering Society and been a Voice Over Demo Derby judge at PAX 2013. In 2004 he struck out on his own to form Giant Sandbox. Since then he’s been doing independent audio contracting. He’s been fortunate enough to work on AAA titles like Prey, Splinter Cell and Mass Effect as well as smaller indie projects and casual games like Sally’s Spa, Clue and the Office Jerk games. He was asked by Aaron Marks to contribute to the second edition of The Complete Guide to Game Audio and contributed a section describing his experiences and process. Sound design, voice acting, audio in games in are a passion of his and that’s why he’s involved with organizations like GANG, the AIAS and the IGDA so that he can pass on his knowledge and experience to others in the industry. Recently he was the Audio Director of Hinterland Games working on their first title “The Long Dark” and is currently freelancing.
Mike Frislev is co-founder & Chairman of Calgary based Nomadic Pictures along with Chad Oakes. Since its inception in 1995 Nomadic has completed over 30 productions including the movies “Snowbound”, “The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie”, “The Legend of Butch & Sundance”, “Lies My Mother Told Me” and “Trapped Ashes”. Nomadic also produced the miniseries “Broken Trail”, starring Robert Duvall, and the reality series “Hooked Up”. In 2009, Nomadic produced the 1960’s period feature film “45 RPM” and in 2010 the Western feature film “The Last Rites of Ransom Pride”, starring Kris Kristoffersson. Nomadic’s latest success story is a new Western series called “Hell on Wheels”, which has been picked up by AMC, which also produced the series “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad”. Nomadic has been the proud recipient of numerous awards, as well as several Rosie Awards. Michael is an active participant in the local and international film communities, sitting on various film boards and producer based committees. He has served on the AMPIA Board since 2007.
Alex Gault is a software and media entrepreneur with extensive experience launching and managing businesses in Canada and the United States. Currently, Alex works as Vice President of Marketing and Sales for DeepMarkit, a producer of videogame advertising solutions used by business customers in the United States, Canada and China. Formerly, Alex Gault served as Vice President of Product Development and Client Services for Mobovivo, a leading developer of multi-platform premium video and game solutions for media companies. During his tenure with Mobovivo, Alex worked on projects for TimeWarner, ESPN, Intel, SONY, eOne, the Hollywood Reporter, AXS TV, Epitome Pictures, CPAC, Cineplex and other leading media brands. Projects with Mobovivo included second screen apps, video apps, gaming apps, and interactive websites featuring streamed video and games.
Before moving to Calgary, Alex lived in San Francisco, where he helped launch three digital media start-ups – in the elearning, intellectual property and social media sectors Before getting into the software business, Alex served as Publisher of Whole Earth magazine and Director Point Foundation, the magazine’s parent non-profit.
During the 2015-2016 school year, Alex co-produced a six-month TV/film workshop for a team of Calgary School Board students, funded by Telus. During the workshop, a team of student interns learnt the basics of film and TV production, and produced the first episode of Botz, the premier of a forthcoming TV series about Robots now being broadcast on Telus Optix’ VOD cable channel.
Alex is a member of the Alberta Film Advisory Committee, Trustee and Vice President of Marketing for the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Foundation, and a Director of EACH Foundation. For several years, Alex served as a board member of Digital Alberta, the Cultural Human Resources Council and the Canadian Interactive Alliance.
With a passion for storytelling, Michelle Gayse began her diverse media career nearly three decades ago. She excels as a journalist, host, production coordinator, producer and director.
Michelle launched her career after graduating with honours from the Broadcast News program at SAIT in 1990. She started as a Television Anchor/Producer/Reporter in small town British Columbia the day Iraq invaded Kuwait and worked her way up covering a wide variety of stories and interviewing fascinating people from around the world at stations across Western Canada.
In 2002, along with Director of Photography Allan Leader, Michelle founded Calgary-based Leader Production Services. Michelle’s storytelling ability, coupled with her business acumen, has helped the video production company grow exponentially since inception.
Michelle’s work includes producing and directing for broadcast clients such as Discovery Channel, NHL Network and Vice TV. Michelle is also sought-after for voiceover projects and as on-camera talent for television commercials.
Michelle is committed to sharing her expertise to benefit Alberta’s growing media industry.
Dylan Pearce has directed six feature films, ten award-winning short films and has worked extensively with virtual reality and 360-degree stereoscopic filmmaking. His films have been screened worldwide from theatrical to festivals, TV and VOD. He most recently directed the award-winning 40 Below and Falling 3D, which included a VR experience. 40 Below and Falling 3D, is Canada’s first 4K 3D feature film with a VR experience, and has earned him a 2016 Canadian Screen Award nomination for best directing. Dylan’s latest feature in development, Iron Dogs 3D won the 2015 Best Pitch award at the Stereo Media summit in Belgium this past year. Dylan is currently directing three VR short films and is exploring VR storytelling in trans-media. Dylan’s depth of work in the stereoscopic VR field has led him to work closely with 360/180-camera developers and VR headsets creators.
Ron E. Scott is an award winning producer, director, and writer with over eighteen years of industry experience. Having founded Prairie Dog Film + Television in 1993, he has since become a leading figure in the world of independent television production. Most recently, Ron acted as executive producer, writer, and director for a second season on the groundbreaking, Gemini Award-winning series Blackstone. Under Ron’s leadership, Prairie Dog Film + Television has amassed an extensive list of innovative programming that spans all genres, having produced over 160 episodes of television for APTN, ABC, CBC, CBC Bold, City TV, CTV, Global, ION, Showcase, and in several international broadcast markets including the US, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Eastern & Western Europe and South Africa.
Ron is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, AMPIA, the Aboriginal Filmmakers Program at the NFB, the CMPA, and the ACCT. He has also served as a consultant with the Banff Television Festival, Telefilm Canada, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Scott volunteers regularly at many conferences and seminars including Dreamspeakers, the BDC, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Industry Canada (ABC), NAIT, YC events, and the imagineNATIVE Film festival.
Kaitlan Stewart is an emerging producer in the Alberta film and television industry. After completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Creative Writing at the University of Alberta, Kaitlan began her career as a copywriter for a small ad agency in Edmonton. While there, she was asked to coordinate a television pilot project the company was undertaking – and something just sparked.
Inspired to pursue a career in film and television, Kaitlan later left the advertising world to return to school as a mature student in NAIT’s Television Arts program. After getting her start as a production assistant on the sets of Canada’s Got Talent, CityLine, and The Bachelor Canada, Kaitlan has built the foundation of her career working on some of the most successful productions to come out of Alberta. To-date, Kaitlan’s credits include: season 3 of the docu-reality series The Liquidator (Anaïd Productions), season 3 of the hit comedy series Tiny Plastic Men and seasons 4 and 5 of the CSA award-winning dramatic series, Blackstone (Prairie Dog Film + Television).
Kaitlan is currently contracting as an Associate Producer on the feature-length documentary SpiderMable The Film (Leven Creative) and is working to develop a number of her own projects.
Executive Director – Bill Evans
Bill Evans is the former Director of Programming at the Whistler Film Festival, and the former Director of Showcases and Senior Manager of Film Training Programs at the National Screen Institute – Canada. Bill also served as Festival Director of the NSI Film Exchange in Winnipeg and the Local Heroes Film Festival in Edmonton. Bill is an award-winning events producer and has a broad range of programming experience including Edmonton’s Metro Cinema, the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Calgary International Film Festival. A native of Edmonton, Bill studied Film Studies at the University of Alberta and Film Production at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.