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AMPIA Spotlight

A Closer Look at Some of the Creative Talent Making Things Happen In Alberta

Justine Gamez Huckabay |  President & Founder | Intercommunicate

Justine Gamez Huckabay is the President & Founder of Intercommunicate, a strategic marketing and communications firm helping entertainment and technology clients navigate international media.

Justine is an Award Winning International Publicist, who worked in Worldwide Marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures in Los Angeles. Her extensive global media experience was established through daily communication with top-tier international media in 75+ territories and consistent travel to key film markets, 15+ countries each year across North and South America, Europe, Asia, Middle East and Pacific. Justine has worked on over 100 projects from films to episodic content, commercial blockbusters to artistic festival selections promoting them all over the world. In addition to working with traditional content, Justine is passionate about the convergence of entertainment and technology working with new media formats. She started her career at 20th Century Fox in New York and Paramount Pictures in Los Angeles.

Following Warner Bros., Justine was the Head of Strategic Communications and Marketing at the British Embassy for the British Council in Washington D.C. She focused on the United Kingdom’s arts, culture, education and civil society priorities with the United States before moving to Canada with her husband.

Justine graduated with an MBA from the University of Oxford in England. For undergraduate studies, she completed a Business Marketing degree at the University of Notre Dame in the United States.

Can you please provide a brief overview of your journey in the film and TV industry?

I was fascinated by Hollywood films, particularly the international process for how films made their way overseas to affect international audiences all over the world. As a Filipino with Spanish and European family background, the popularity of Hollywood overseas sparked my interest, and I wanted to learn more. My studies focused on international business, then my journey in the film and TV industry started in 2006 at 20th Century Fox in New York. My first publicity film campaign where I learned the ropes from some of the best in the industry was The Devil Wears Prada. Breaking into a studio gig is no easy feat. I started off with the studio temp agencies who gave me entry-level, short-term jobs at MGM, Sony Pictures, and then Paramount Pictures, where I proved my work ethic, established connections and then earned a full-time studio role. I continued on to Worldwide Marketing at Paramount Pictures, then International Publicity for theatrical films at Warner Bros. Pictures in Los Angeles working on iconic titles like Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Parts 1 and 2, The Hobbit trilogy, The Dark Knight trilogy, Man of Steel, Argo, Gravity and more. There is a unique intensity to working at film studios in Los Angeles, wherein I ate, slept, traveled, breathed, and worked for films for nearly 10 years until I opted to broaden my career path. My career following Warner Bros. shifted when I was hired to be the Head of Strategic Communications and Marketing at the British Embassy in Washington D.C. focused on the arts, culture and civil society portfolio for the British Council during a pivotal time for US – UK relations post-Brexit. Following the British Embassy in Washington D.C., I came to Alberta, where I launched Intercommunicate,  a strategic marketing and communications agency helping entertainment and technology clients navigate international media. This allowed greater flexibility to work with select clients from production companies, studios, festivals and more, while being based in beautiful Alberta.

What are some of your key accomplishments?

Over 20 years, the international film industry has evolved tremendously, and I am proud to be part of that process, open to learning and continuing to change. As an International Publicist for Warner Bros., I was part of the team who organized the first five films to go to China for international media tours. I helped to coordinate the international award campaigns and international box-office successes for Argo and Gravity, a then rare-balance of critical and commercial success. I worked tirelessly on the international publicity campaign for The Hobbit trilogy films, pushing creative boundaries in collaboration with international territories all over the world for media interviews, publicity activations, premiere screenings, international junkets, and more. Now it’s exciting to cheer on former colleagues at Warner Bros., some who mentored me and alternatively others who I mentored, changing the film marketing game through brilliant recent campaigns like Barbie and Dune. I consider the people I have worked with and helped mentor through my various jobs, one of my biggest accomplishments.

Upon launching Intercommunicate, I was one of the first tutors for the Red Sea Lodge in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for the Red Sea Film Festival, committed to inspiring and working with up-and-coming Arab filmmakers, especially female directors and writers to share their stories internationally. In Italy, I was a tutor for the Biennale College Cinema through the Venice Film Festival working with creatives for XR entertainment experiences.

In Canada, I’m proud to be the HEARTLAND Publicist, helping to publicize and promote the Alberta-made series to be one of the “Top 10 Most Viewed Acquired Shows” across ALL streaming platforms in the United States with 22.8 billion minutes watched in 2023 (the only Canadian title on the list).

What are your current and/or future projects?

In Alberta, I’m working with SEVEN24 Films as the publicist for the HEARTLAND series and WYNONNA EARP: VENGEANCE. I’ve had a pleasure of working with Fenix Film & Television, Producer Kaitlan Stewart’s PUSH series which has just run on CBC and AMI, about the inner world of the ‘Wheelie Peeps’, an unlikely group of friends bonded by their shared experience of life on wheels.

Intercommunicate is also working with Montreal-based multimedia entertainment studio, Moment Factory for the marketing and publicity campaign of the immersive experience, MIRROR MIRROR by Cadillac Fairview and powered by Fever. Moment Factory has a broad portfolio of immersive and engaging productions from Madonna’s Superbowl Halftime show, Nine Inch Nails’ concerts and Billie Eilish’s live concert experiences to visual displays at the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montreal and the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.

It’s exciting to work with Albertan producers, fellow AMPIA members. I worked with Scott Lepp’s Hailey Rose during filming. We also have some exciting plans for Calgary-based filmmakers Thomas Acton and Chris Krieger as they release Close the Divide in the United States and Canada on June 4th across several major streaming platforms.

There are additional projects beyond Alberta. As a Publicist, I carefully craft and share announcements in collaboration with studios, production companies and others, so more to come on our current and future projects!

Have there been any key moments in your career that changed your trajectory?

A career in the “business of film and TV” is constantly changing, and one must adapt to those changes. A big shift for me was when I moved to the UK following my role at Warner Bros. in Los Angeles. I was keen to continue building my international film experience and relationships abroad, while also honing my skills through advanced studies to grow as a business executive. The other shift occurred when I moved to Canada, where I ventured from the corporate world to the agency world by founding Intercommunicate just before massive shifts in the entertainment industry related to the pandemic, union strikes and personal shifts like moving to a new country, getting married, and having kids. Running my own company, working with great projects and colleagues has kept me flexible and adaptable to whatever comes my way. No task is too big or too small, and it has allowed me to approach every project that I work on with the same fervor and energy from a low-budget indie to a big tentpole.

Although I’m not a producer, I’m honoured to be an AMPIA Board Member collaborating and learning from Alberta producers across the province, sharing my experience in entertainment marketing and publicity.