BOARD OF DIRECTORS
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 to go 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.
Vice Chair South – Michelle Gayse-Leader
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.
Vice Chair North – Vacant
Treasurer – Janet Hamley
Janet Hamley is a Producer at Prairie Dog Film + Television. Janet is educated as a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) as well as a Certified Management Accountant (CMA) and has a Bachelor’s degree in Accountant and Applied Business Administration from Mount Royal University in Calgary, Alberta. She has over 17 years of experience as an Accountant, with 11 years focused on the Film + Television Industry. Her experience has led her to work on a dramatic television series, a movie of the week, short films, documentaries, docu-series, lifestyle TV series, promotional videos, web/television commercials, public service announcements and corporate event videos. These projects have aired on NETFLIX, CBC, Rogers, ABC, CTV, APTN, BRAVO, CMT Live, Discovery Channel, ESPN, The Food Network, Muchmusic and OMNI.
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. Norm’s practice specializes in intellectual property, franchising, commercial leasing and entertainment, and he is a registered Trademark Agent for Canada and the U.S. In addition, he is an Associate Member of the Patent and Trade Mark Institute of Canada. Norm is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts, and has served as a director for the Northern Light Theatre and the Edmonton Art Gallery (now the Art Gallery of Alberta). Currently, he sits on the Board of Directors of the Alberta Media Production 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.
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. She led successful theatrical film campaigns such as The Hobbit trilogy, Gravity, Argo, Man Of Steel, San Andreas, among others. 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 promotes XR works internationally at events including Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, Tribeca Film Festival and Venice Film Festival. 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 is currently an AMPIA Board Member in Alberta. In Italy, she is a tutor for the Biennale College Cinema dedicated to the education of emerging filmmakers for La Biennale di Venezia. In collaboration with the Torino Film Lab and festival executives from Sundance, Cannes, Venice and Dubai Film Festival, Justine is working with the Red Sea Film Festival in Saudi Arabia, helping to re-open the Saudi film market after being closed for nearly 30 years. She is also a tutor for the Red Sea Lodge, working with Arab filmmakers.
Justine is a three-time honoree by the IATSE International Cinematographers Guild in the United States. She is a Senior Publicist for Local 669 in Canada and Local 600 in the United States. In London, Justine was nominated for the Women of the Future Awards, celebrating Britain’s future pipeline of influential leaders.
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.
Brent has produced quality commercials and corporate films in the Western Canadian market for the past 20 years. Before coming to Bamboo, he had worked for and/or with Midnight Hwy Film Co, Combustion Inc., Joe Media group, Corkscrew/Stir and White Iron. Brent has shot projects across North America, working with many agencies and their clients such as ATB, the Calgary Stampede, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Western Canada Lotteries, Sport Chek, WestJet and Tim Hortons.
Brent has also directed and produced award-winning long-form documentaries including Balletlujah, which was awarded a Canadian Screen Award in 2016 and three Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA) Awards. Brent also received a Gemini nomination for The Cult of Walt: Canada’s Polka King, a fun and engaging documentary that he co-wrote and produced on the legendary Walter Ostanek. He has produced numerous music and performance specials as well as many award-winning commercials. Brent has also produced many awards shows, music specials and music videos. His past work has been recognized with AMPIA Awards, Banff Rocky Awards and Gemini nominations.
On the broadcast side, Brent has written and produced television programming for networks across Canada including CBC, Bravo, YTVand Global. He has worked extensively with kids programming through shows such as Street Cents where he served as the show’s western producer as well as his own national youth magazine program, From The Hip. Before entering television, Brent spent four years as a teacher in Calgary and holds a Bachelor of Education degree. He also holds a Bachelor of Journalism with Distinction and attended the Banff Television Executive Leadership program.
Scott Lepp was born and raised in small-town Southern Alberta. After completing his broadcast journalism diploma in Lethbridge he worked in Radio/TV for 3 years before shifting focus to film and television production. Scott graduated from Vancouver Film School in December 2007 and now calls Okotoks, Alberta home.
Lepp is the executive producer of indie feature “ICE BLUE” which garnered several festival awards including Best Canadian Feature: Regina 2018, Best Feature Director: LA Femme Los Angeles 2017 and Audience Favourite: Blue Whiskey 2018. He’s a recent grad of the highly-competitive NSI Features First and Whistler Producer’s Lab with his next feature “HAILEY ROSE”, and produced two digital series released in 2019, the digital original “HUDSON” for CBC Gem and the digital original “REALIZATION” for Telus Originals.
Lepp has more than 200 episodes of network television experience, serving as a producer for the hit CBCTV series Heartland, is currently an Associate Producer for the APTN series Tribal, and sits on the board of directors for the Okotoks Film Society.
as well as many award-winning commercials. Brent has also produced many awards shows, music specials and music videos. His past work has been recognized with AMPIA Awards, Banff Rocky Awards and Gemini nominations.
On the broadcast side, Brent has written and produced television programming for networks across Canada including CBC, Bravo, YTV and Global. He has worked extensively with kids programming through shows such as Street Cents where he served as the show’s western producer as well as his own national youth magazine program, From The Hip. Before entering television, Brent spent four years as a teacher in Calgary and holds a Bachelor of Education degree. He also holds a Bachelor of Journalism with Distinction and attended the Banff Television Executive Leadership program.
Laura O’Grady likes to keep busy. In 2017, Queer Hutterite received Canadian
Screen Award nominations for Best Direction (Laura O’Grady) and Best Digital
Documentary. TELUS Originals (produced by Laura) received 3 Rosies (Best
Short, Best Lifestyle, Best Director – Laura O’Grady) at the 2017 Alberta Film and Television Awards, and the short documentary Cafe-Nation was accepted into the 2017 Hot Docs International Film Festival.
In 2018, Secret Alberta: The Former Life of Amber Valley won a Canadian Screen Award for Best Web Program Non-Fiction. 2018 also saw the world premiere of Eviction Notice, marking Laura’s
second appearance at Hot Docs. In her former role as Vice President of Production at Spotlight Productions (2012-2018), Laura oversaw production crews and post-production teams in multiple markets including production offices in Calgary and Vancouver. In June of 2018 Laura launched her latest endeavour: Snapshot Studios. Founded by O’Grady, this boutique production house specializes in documentaries and compelling branded content.
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, returning to school as a mature student in NAIT’s Television Arts program. After getting her start 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, seasons 4 and 5 of the CSA award-winning dramatic series, Blackstone (Prairie Dog Film + Television), and season 5 of Mosaic Entertainment’s sketch comedy series CAUTION: May Contain Nuts.
Kaitlan is currently working independently to develop a number of scripted projects.
Matt Watterworth was born in Edmonton and attended Victoria School of the Arts where he discovered a passion for storytelling through the arts and filmmaking. A graduate of SAIT’s Film & Video Production Program and, Matt was selected by Canada’s 7th largest production company, SEVEN24 Films, as a practicum student and subsequently succeeded with two mentorship programs at the company; one through the CMPA and one through AMPIA.
Matt also co-founded Full Swing Productions with Scott Westby, creating shorts and web series and went on to become the first team from Alberta to attend the National Screen Institute’s Features First program in 16 years. They followed that up with a green light from Telefilm for their first feature film, In Plainview, and were selected as part of The Calgary Film Centre’s Project Lab twice in a row to bring their second feature, Jonesin’, to camera.
In Plainview was nominated for 8 Rosie Awards at AMPIA’s film & television awards and Matt is the recipient of SAIT’s 2015 Outstanding Young Alumni Award and Best of Calgary’s 2017 Best Filmmaker Award.
After receiving her Bachelor of Education degree (with Honours) 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, and following up with the emotionally powerful Pieces of a Dream: A Story of Gambling.
Michelle has worked in a variety of film and television programs including television movies, international co-productions, lifestyle/reality shows, music/live events, features and documentaries (Corus, CBC, CMT, NFB, CBS, NBC, ABC Family, TNT, and Dreamworks) Recent theatrical features include El Chicano (WarParty Films) and the indie feature Come True (Copperheart Entertainment). Michelle currently works as the Head of Business Affairs for Seven 24 Films on the television series Heartland (CBC), Wynonna Earp (Bell Media, Syfy), Jann (Bell Media – CTV), and Fortunate Son (CBC).
Michelle has served on a number of media organizational boards including The Quick Draw Animation Society, The Fairy Tales Society, The New University Television Society, The Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, and the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA).
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.
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.
Bonnie Thompson is a veteran Canadian media producer, owner of Dreaming Bird Productions in Edmonton. She worked with National Film Board of Canada for many years in marketing and with training programs, followed by 17 years as a producer on over 80 productions with Alberta and Canadian filmmakers and producers, on a slate of documentary, interactive, and animation projects. Thompson’s productions have been broadcast on national (including CBC, History, Doc Channel, SuperChannel, Discovery, APTN) and international television (including NHK, PBS, CCT), screened on the web (including Netfilx, nfb.ca, itunes) and at festivals in Canada and around the world, garnering many prestigious awards, including AMPIA, Webby, Gemini, Genie and Canadian Screen Academy nominations and awards, as well as a nomination for an Academy Award. A recent highlight is the feature documentary nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up (Tasha Hubbard, director) selected as the opening film at Hot Docs 2019, also winning the Best Canadian feature doc, with many festival screenings and awards since, and versioned for television for CBC and APTN.
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.