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AMPIA Spotlight

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

Michelle Wong

Producer · Director · Head of Business Affairs

Beans and Rice Inc.

After receiving her Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Alberta, Michelle began her formal film training at the National Film Board (NFB) of Canada working with the Oscar award winning Studio D where she directed and produced her first documentary Return Home, following up a decade later with the emotionally powerful Pieces of a Dream: A Story of Gambling.

Michelle’s production credits cross all formats, from television movies to feature length documentaries, performing arts specials and features. Her most recent Beans and Rice Inc. credits include Executive Producer on the feature length documentaries Undetectable: How Stigma Has Gone Viral in the Fight against HIV (Snapshot Studios/Telus Originals), Close the Divide (Common Ground Films Ltd), Heritage Minute: Normie Kwong (Danny Rocket Productions/Historica Canada), and the indigenous feature film Dusk and Dawn (Flying Up Moon Inc/CBC & APTN).  Her most recent business affairs credits include The Good Virus (ID Productions Inc/Telus Independents) and Flashback (Tangerine Productions/Telus Originals).

As the Head of Business Affairs for Seven24 Films, Michelle is involved with the scripted television series projects Heartland (CBC), Jann (CTV), Family Law (Corus), Wynonna Earp (CTV/Tubi) and Ride (Bell Media/Hallmark).

Over the years Michelle has served on several media arts organizations and boards including the Alberta Motion Pictures Industries Association (AMPIA) as Chair of the Finance & Regulatory and the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committees, and co-chair of the Professional Development Committee. Michelle is a founding member of Creatives Empowered, an Alberta based collective of artists and creatives who are Black, Indigenous & People of Colour, empowering each other as an allied community.

Michelle currently sits on the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) as Co-chair of the Sustainability & Climate Action Committee and the Restructuring, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Action Committee (REDIAC), Women in View (WIV), and was the lead consultant and designed a series of business affairs ‘learn by doing’ webinars for the Canadian Independent Screen Fund.

Michelle is the recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee Medal for her commitment to the arts in Alberta.

What are some of your key accomplishments?

Writer/director/producer on my documentary projects: Return Home, Pieces of a Dream and my short drama Do Wok a Do.

Working with a number of Calgary based production companies over the past 30 years (Voice Pictures, Corkscrew Media, Seven24 Films) and also my involvement with various media arts organizations (ie: Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, Herland: Feminist film and video festival, Fairy Tales, Executive Director of NUTV – The New University Television Society where I helped establish a studio space for the organization. I was also proud to be a founding member of Creatives Empowered, a BIPOC organization committed to supporting black, indigenous and people of colour.

What are your current and/or future projects?

I’m currently the Head of Business Affairs at Seven24 Films where we produce Heartland, Jann, Wynonna Earp, and Family Law. I also work as a BA consultant with my own company Beans and Rice Inc., where I am currently work with a number of Alberta producers and their projects.

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

I was blessed early in my career with the opportunity to train in Montreal at the National Film Board of Canada with Studio D, the women’s studio. They taught me so much about being comfortable with my cultural heritage, helped me complete my first documentary Return Home, but they also taught me about filmmaking and editing on 16mm film. It was an honour to spend three and a half years learning the craft before coming back to Calgary to resume my filmmaking career.

I have always had an interest in working in both the commercial/industry and artistic/arts side of film and television. I also try to help and share my expertise with local producers to help them with their projects.