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Industry Programming at the 2013 TIFF Kids International Film Festival includes keynote speakers, roundtable sessions and panel discussions featuring experts in children’s content

Toronto –TIFF Industry® provides delegates who shape content for children and youth the opportunity to explore topics that empower children through film and media, with a variety of sessions and networking opportunities with fellow content creators, filmmakers, producers, distributors, curators, educators and investors. After a successful expansion in 2012, the TIFF Kids Industry Programme presents a robust week of special guest speakers and panelists, a master class and case study, and roundtable sessions that explore the latest trends in children’s entertainment.

Just announced, TIFF Industry is excited to welcome Paul DeBenedittis, Senior Vice President, Programming Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide as the TIFF Kids Keynote Speaker. On April 16 at 6 p.m., Mr. DeBenedittis will set the stage for the upcoming week of industry programming, sharing his insights into children’s content and its potential, his vision on content strategies that reach children across generations, cultures and platforms, and his reflections on the reboot phenomenon and iconic franchises. Mr. DeBenedittis is responsible for over 300 hours of televised programming for kids across multiple platforms, including: Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and ABC Kids. His scheduling purview covers all originally-produced series, movies, on-air promos and interstitials, as well as the sourcing, negotiation and acquisition of long and short-form kids’ programming content for Disney-ABC Television Group, including Disney Channel’s learning-focused preschooler block, Disney Junior and Disney XD.

New this year, TIFF Kids is welcoming Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street, for themed events in both the Public and Industry Programmes. TIFF Industry is pleased to include unique opportunities for filmmakers and delegates to interact with this leader in the creation of children’s content through two special Industry Programme offerings: Master Class with Sesame Workshop: Inspiring the Global Child and Sesame Street “Pitch” Session which takes place April 18 and 19.

TIFF Kids Industry welcomes special guests from Sesame Workshop including Emmy award-winning actress and producer Sonia Manzano and Head Writer and Supervising Producer Nadine Zylstra. Other guests include leaders in the film, broadcasting and children’s entertainment industries, including Nancy Florence Savard, director of the TIFF Kids International Film Festival Opening Night selection The Legend of Sarila, and content representatives from leading Canadian broadcasters including Disney, TELETOON Canada Inc., TVO, CBC, and Corus Entertainment.

Industry registration for TIFF Kids is now open and delegates can find information at

Wednesday, April 17 to Friday, April 19
The TIFF Kids Industry Lounge, located inside the Bell Blue Room on the third floor of TIFF Bell Lightbox, offers registered delegates the opportunity to meet and network with fellow industry delegates in a relaxed environment.

Paul DeBenedittis
Tuesday, April 16 at 6 p.m.
A celebration of the commencement of the Industry Programme through an inspirational talk by Paul DeBenedittis, Senior Vice President, Programming Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide who is responsible for over 300 hours of televised programming for kids across multiple platforms.


TIFF Kids Pass-holders will have access to in-depth conversations on renowned children’s and youth entertainment adaptations. The discussions will include topics around the processes and challenges of adapting children books to screen, especially for theatrical releases in Canada, the US and internationally.


Wednesday, April 17 at 1 p.m.
This TIFF Industry Case Study takes a closer look at this year’s Opening Night film The Legend of Sarila through a panel discussion with some of the film’s key players, following a special Industry screening of the film. Speakers will explore the film’s development process, the challenges of adapting Aboriginal mythology, and the film’s representation of Inuit culture in its story development, animation and production design. The panel will also look at best practices in co-production and the market for children’s feature films in Canada.
Marie-Claude Beauchamp, Executive Producer and President of Carpe Diem Films
Nancy Florence Savard, Director, The Legend of Sarila
Xavier Trudel, SVP Acquisitions and Sales, Les Films Seville a division of Entertainment One
Nicole Baillargeon, Direction générale Cinéma et production télévisuelle (SODEC)
Karine Martin, President Mediabiz (Moderator)


Intimate conversations devoted to relevant trends in the industry.

Adventures in Adapting Children’s Content for Screens, presented by STUDIO CONFIRMED SPEAKERS
Tuesday, April 16 at 4 p.m.
Canadian and international panelists will share their experiences and expertise on the processes and challenges of adapting children’s books for TV and theatrical releases in Canada, the US and the international marketplace.
Michelle Melanson, VP Production and Development, Radical Sheep (Moderator)
Laura Clunie, VP of Creative Affairs at Entertainment One Family
Hüseyin Tabak, Director of A Horse on a Balcony
Karine Martin, President Mediabiz

New Technologies & Creative Opportunities for Children’s Content Creators NEW SESSION
Thursday, April 18 at 9:30 a.m.
Speakers will explore the breakthroughs in digital technology and how children’s content creators can use these innovations. Discussions will include how to expand Intellectual Property and find new ways to connect children with characters through creative play, and what academic research and development can reveal about using digital media to empower children to design their own meaningful play experiences.
Orla Garriques, Co-Founder DruMeBa Inc.
Katie Nicholson, Respite Facilitator Geneva School for Autism
Mark Argo, Co-Founder, Aesthetec Studio
Matt Thompson, Director of Community Engagement and Chief Storyteller at The Mozilla Foundation

Young Talent on the Rise–Working with Children in Film and TV CONFIRMED SPEAKERS
Thursday, April 18 at 1 p.m.
Speakers with producing, directing and talent-management perspectives will discuss working with young actors on projects involving mature subject matter, and producing stories that empower, transform and enlighten while maintaining the integrity of the children involved on set.

Norbert Abrams, Partner, Noble Caplan
Melinda Shankar, Actor (Degrassi: The Next Generation)

Robert Wilson, Co-Producer, I Declare War
Maryam Milani, Director, The Rooster Trademark Paper Mohit Rajhans, Host/Moderator

Content Strategy and Marketing: Building Your Audience Across Platforms CONFIRMED SPEAKERS
Thursday, April 18 at 2:30 p.m.
Registrants will learn about the latest trends and success stories in content and marketing strategies for children’s entertainment. Topics include how children’s entertainment creators and brands connect with the “ME2” generation and their parents; new innovations with digital platforms; how marketing for family audiences complement content strategy; and answering the question “Is there such a thing as too much marketing?”
Russell Ward, SVP Teletoon Retro
Noam Dromi, Producer/Writer, Dolphin’s Tale
James Milward, Founder of Secret Location

Curating for Children– From Festivals to Virtual Spaces to Classrooms NEW SESSION
Friday, April 19, 1 p.m.
Creating memorable, high-quality cultural and learning experiences for children with film and media presents unique opportunities and challenges for curators, teachers and film programmers. Registrants will learn about criteria used to select content and explore how curators and programmers nurture children’s imaginations and deepen the appreciation for media in various spaces online, at film festivals, and in the classroom.
Kristine Collins, Head, Institutional and Educational Markets, Accessibility and Digital Enterprises, National Film Board of Canada Eric Sorenson, Director of Research & Content for Kidobi
Dr. Shravan Kumar, CEO of the Children’s Film Society of India
Daniella Marchese, Manager School & Educator Programmes, TIFF Bell Lightbox
Neil Andersen, President of the Association of Media Literacy

Before It’s Made–A Primer on the Biz Behind the Digital Biz CONFIRMED SPEAKERS
Friday, April 19 at 3 p.m.
International leaders in the digital media, educational game and broadcast fields discuss how to take a great idea for an app/game/interactive project and guide it through to production.
Dave Brown, Strategic Partnership Manager, Film and TV Content YouTube, Google Canada
Andrew Fisher, Investor, Wesley Clover
Juliet Tzabar, Managing Director Plug-in Media
Carly Shuler, Consultant for Playscience (Host/Moderator)

Returning for a second year, Roundtable Sessions are designed for emerging professionals to meet influential figures in both the creative and business sides of the children’s film and/or television industries. Taking place in the TIFF Kids Industry Lounge, the Roundtable Sessions for 2013 include:

Meet the Funders, with new speakers Shari Cohen, Program Consultant at Ontario Media Development Corporation and Nicole Baillargeon, Direction générale Cinéma et production télévisuelle (SODEC) joining Dan Lyon, Regional Feature Film Executive for the Ontario & Nunavut regions for Telefilm Canada; Marcia Douglas, Program Manager for the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund; and Agnes Augustin, President & CEO at Shaw Rocket Fund.

Meet the Buyers, with new speaker Brad Horvath, Manager Acquisitions, Ouat Media joining Jessica Labi, VP of Acquisitions and New Business Development at Phase 4 Films; Laura Clunie, VP of Creative Affairs at Entertainment One Family; Federico Vargas, Director of Sales at CCI Entertainment; and Eric Sorenson, Director of Research & Content for Kidobi.

Meet the Development Executives, with new speakers Jay Bennett Vice-President, Digital/CreativeDirector ShaftesburySmokebomb Entertainment; Michelle Melanson, VP Production and Development, Radical Sheep; Miklos Perlus, Director of Development, Kids and Scripted, marblemedia; and Matt Hornburg, Co-Founder, marblemedia joining Laura Clunie, VP of Creative Affairs at Entertainment One Family and Stephanie Betts, VP of Kids Development at DHX Media.

Meet the Broadcasters, with new speaker Sarah Haasz, Production Executive for Family Channel, Disney XD Canada and Disney Junior Canada joining Kim Wilson, Creative Head of CBC Children’s Programming; Pat Ellingson, Creative Head of Children’s Media for TVO; Alan Gregg, Director, Original Content for TELETOON Canada inc.; and Jocelyn Hamilton, VP of Original Programming – Kids, Comedy, Drama, Corus Entertainment.

More information about Roundtable Sessions and guest speakers is available on

Master Class with Sesame Workshop: Inspiring the Global Child
Friday, April 19 at 10 a.m. (Pre-Registered Industry Only)
This session offers industry participants an in-depth look at the making of the beloved children’s show that has inspired and educated generations of children in North America and around the world. Guest speakers will provide insight on children’s content development for global and multicultural audiences; character development; international production models; and innovations in digital content production for children.
Sonia Manzano, Emmy award-winning actress and writer (plays “Maria” on Sesame Street)
Joey Mazzarino, Head Writer, Director, Muppet Performer
Nadine Zylstra, Supervising Producer
Autumn Zitani, Researcher

Sesame Street “Pitch” Session CALL FOR APPLICATIONS
April 15, 18 – 19 (Still Accepting Applications until April 9)
As part of the ongoing commitment to generating positive economic results in the cultural sector, TIFF Industry will be facilitating a unique opportunity with Sesame Workshop producers geared towards the eligible talent that has passed through our professional development programmes, (i.e., Talent Lab, STUDIO, Producer’s Lab Toronto, etc.), as well as TIFF alumni. Successful candidates will have the exclusive opportunity to pitch Sesame Workshop for the chance to make a short film for this much-loved children’s show. TIFF Industry has opened the call for applications for eligible Canadian talent to submit by April 9.


Registered industry professionals and panelists cement new relationships with media-makers, academics and educators in film, gaming and interactive media. Networking sessions have expanded to include the following events:

Industry Opening and Closing Cocktails
April 16 and April 19
To expand on the networking opportunities for registered industry professionals, celebratory cocktails will open and close TIFF Kids Industry Programming. These cocktails will offer guests and industry delegates a chance to connect at the elegant new TIFF Lounge on the second floor of TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Networking Breakfasts and Lunches

April 17 – 19
Each day, TIFF Kids Industry delegates will have time to network and catch up over breakfast or lunch in the comfort of the TIFF Kids Industry Lounge.

Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m.
For the first time, TIFF Kids Industry Pass holders are eligible to gain access to the spring edition of Packaged Goods, looking into what works and what doesn’t, what’s allowed and what’s not when marketing to kids, and the equally tricky task of using kids to market to adults. Kids might not hold the purse strings in the family, but they do hold the key to their parents’ hearts — and where the heart goes, the wallet will often follow.

New for 2013, TIFF Industry introduces two pass options: TIFF Kids Industry Pass for $200 and TIFF Kids Conference Pass for $150. Passes include Industry Programming (first come, first served basis); access to digiPlaySpace during public hours and a private industry-only tour; access to exclusive online resources (including the TIFF Kids Delegates Guide), the TIFF Kids Industry Lounge (located in the Bell Blue Room), and the Industry Screening Library; and an invitation to both the TIFF Kids Industry Opening and Closing Cocktails. The TIFF Kids Industry Pass also includes: five advance regular film screening tickets (one per screening, subject to availability); and three day-of-screening tickets (one per screening, subject to availability).




About TIFF

TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $170 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation, Major Sponsor and official bank RBC, and BlackBerry. For more information, visit

The TIFF Kids International Film Festival is supported by the Ontario Arts Council and the City of Toronto.

Media Partners of the TIFF Kids International Film Festival are Toronto Star, TVOKids and 99.9 Virgin Radio.

TIFF Kids International Film Festival Industry activities are supported by the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC)

TIFF is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris, Visa, and Audi and Major Supporters the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, and the City of Toronto.

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