Festival Director & Co-Founder
Michael is the Co-Founder and CEO of Blue Ant Media, a new Canadian media company, as well as a Co-Founder and Chair of Samara Canada which is a registered charity that aims to reconnect Canadians with to their politics and build political participation in Canada.
Michael is formerly the Chairman and CEO of Alliance Atlantis Communications.
Michael’s community involvement includes working with the Community Food Centres Canada, Human Rights Watch Canada, Civix, and Hot Docs.
Michael is also the Co-Founder and Co-Owner of Closson Chase Vineyards, a vineyard and winery in Prince Edward County which produces Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines.
Festival Director & Co-Founder
Sandra is the Vice-President of Finance at Elevation Pictures, a Canadian film distribution company. Sandra is a PwC alum, spending the earlier part of her career in the the entertainment and media practice at the firm. Her passion lies in teaching and she has worked as a part-time professor at the Schulich School of Business and for the CPA qualifying exams.
Sandra’s community involvement is focused in her role as a board member for Open Roof and previously as a board member of Dress for Success, a not-for-profit dedicated to promoting the economic independence of disadvantaged Canadians by providing professional attire to thrive in work and in life.
Festival Director & Co-Founder
Jordan Nahmias is a Toronto-based entertainment lawyer and producer. He acts for clients in the traditional and new media spaces, with a particular emphasis on film and television development, production and distribution, and, digital media. Jordan has also acted as Executive Producer, Co-Producer and Associate Producer on a variety of film productions to date.
Jordan also serves in a variety of other capacities, notably as a co-founder and director of Toronto’s Open Roof Festival, a not-for-profit outdoor film festival showcasing Canadian and International independent music and film, His other contributions include involvement with various charitable and community organizations involved in the health, arts and media sectors.
Kevin has worked in the music, theatre, and film and television industries in a variety of capacities. For ten years Kevin was the co-director of Toronto’s Wavelength music series, and helped provide a forum for Toronto’s underground music and art community. Kevin was a key figure in the creation of vaudeville-inspired Toronto-based variety arts program King Kaboom and helped guide the show through two seasons of serialized drama, comedic and animated segments, live musical performances and human feats of physical prowess. As a writer Kevin recently published his first comic book, Hogtown Spirits, a noir anthology series, and has three other comic books launching in 2015.
Jody is a creative industries leader with 15 years of experience working with some of the most innovative and groundbreaking clients on multiple continents, including Unilever, Red Bull, Google and Universal Music. She started off her career in Los Angeles, California in the music industry where she worked on projects ranging from producing music for adverts and organising lifestyles events (like converting car washes into nightclubs) to being the social media consultant for Mumford and Son’s Railroad Revival Tour and producing her own music festivals.
She then moved to London, UK where she founded (and recently sold) a creative “fixer” business called The Backscratchers that connected brands like Red Bull, Spotify, Secret Cinema and the BFI with creatives and agencies for projects. After the sale of The Backscratchers, she produced and curated her own one-day conference called Making London. The event championed creators and featured speakers like Ash Atalla, the television producer behind British comedy classics The Office and The IT Crowd and Scott Cohen, the Chief Innovation Officer at Warner Music and creator of The North Sense, an embeddable device that turns people into human compasses and cyborgs. She moved to Toronto this past winter.
Operations Consultant and Film Programmer
Alicia is a media archivist, curator, and educator dedicated to promoting and advocating for the preservation of the moving image. She holds a Masters from the Cinema Studies Institute at the University of Toronto, as well as a Masters in Film Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University. Her film criticism appears regularly in Cinema Scope Magazine, and she teaches graduate level film history and film curation at Ryerson. Alicia also curates and hosts Silent Revue at the historic Revue Cinema and Ladies of Burlesque at the Royal, and most recently she programmed a selection of silent fantasy films for TIFF Cinematheque. You can find her in a variety of film festivals and movie theatres throughout the city.
Charlotte Mickie was appointed President of Mongrel International in May 2014, launching the company in Cannes with global sales on MAUDIE, a feature film to star Sally Hawkins and Sean Bean, and to be directed by Aisling Walsh (SONG FOR A RAGGY BOY). Prior to her appointment at Mongrel, Mickie was the Executive Vice-President of eOne Films International, which she joined in 2008 after it acquired Maximum Films where she was both a Managing Director and a partner. While at eOne, Mickie acquired and sold such high-profile films as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Animal Kingdom, Incendies and The Babadoook. She was also active in the acquisitions and early sales of three Canadian movies selected for Competition in the Cannes Film Festival 2014: Xavier Dolan’s Jury Prize-winner Mommy, David Cronenberg’s Best Actress Prize-winner Maps to the Stars and Atom Egoyan’s The Captive.
Prior to Maximum Films, Mickie was Managing Director of Celluloid Dreams, where she handled works by the Dardenne brothers, Michael Haneke, Hirokazu Kore-eda and François Ozon. Mickie also spent many years overseeing all international film sales at Alliance Atlantis and founded the Alliance Independent division, representing many of Atom Egoyan’s and Denis Villeneuve’s earlier films, discovering American independent filmmakers Todd Solondz, Neil Labutte and Greg Mottola, and selling industry game-changer Bowling for Columbine.
Mickie currently serves on the board of the AFM, and on advisory boards for Images Film Festival, ACE (Les Ateliers du Cinéma Européen), IFP (Independent Feature Project), REEL Canada, and Gamechanger. Mickie is also a programmer for the Open Roof Festival in Toronto.
Christina Kubacki is the Manager of Acquisitions for the Canadian division of Entertainment One, the largest film distributor in Canada and the largest independent film distributor in the world. Previously, Christina was the Manager of Acquisitions for the international sales arm of eOne, where she helped bring projects like BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD to market. She has also worked at TIFF and Hot Docs, and holds an MBA with a diploma in Arts Management from the Schulich School of Business, and an MA in Cinema and Media Studies from York University.
Olivier Gauthier-Mercier currently oversees the distribution of Remstar films in English Canada (Dallas Buyers Club, Don Jon, Adrenaline of GSP). He has followed his passion since the age of 16, where he started out as an usher for Famous Players. From there – career highlights include working at Hot Docs, various year round capacities at The Toronto International Film Festival, and partaking in the launch of Maximum Films/eOne. Olivier gratuted from York with a degree in Film Theory and was a member of the documentary jury at the 2013 Toronto Jewish Film Festival. When Olivier isn’t donning his filmic hat – he tosses it aside to shake loose through his multiple musical endeavours.
Audio Tech Manager
Jonathan recently graduated from the highly accredited, Producing and Engineering Program with Honours at the Harris Institute for the Arts. His mother was once a piano teacher at the Royal Conservatory and opened up Jonathan’s thirst for music and sound at a young age. While still in high school at the age of 17, Jonathan and three of his close friends started a concert promotions company called Random Sounds. Over its four successful years, they put on concerts throughout the GTA at established venues including the El Mocambo and less conventional locations like the Hard Rock Cafe at the Roger’s Centre. He continues his passion for music and recording, working with Doug McClement at Livewire Remote Recordings, and has been involved with the 2010 MMVAs, and DVD shoots of Marcy’s Playground and Richard Underhill of the Shuffle Demons. Jonathan has recorded and worked with multiple Toronto-based indie bands as he strives to continue his career in the music industry.
David Ridge is a University of Toronto graduate (2012) and holds a bachelor’s degree in Cinema Studies. During his university career, he took part in a work/study program at the U of T Cinema Studies Institute. He trained in Film Projection and Audio/Visual technology at Innis Town Hall. Currently still employed by the University of Toronto, David is now a Broadcast and Audio Visual Coordinator for the Faculty of Kinesiology IT Department. Through his experiences at Innis Town Hall, David learned how to project analog film formats like 35mm, 16mm, and 8mm. He has also worked with many digital formats such as, DCP, Blu-Ray, ProRes, DigiBeta, and HDCAM. David has been working in the Film and Video industry for 9 years; previously had contracts with HotDocs, WorldWideShorts, Imaginative, Open Roof, and many other film festivals and events. David has projected movies at Open Roof for the last 6 years, and has worked hard to keep up Open Roof’s impeccable screen quality and expert projection.
James has worked extensively as a projectionist and film technician within the Toronto film festival community, including such festivals as TIFF, Hot Docs, Inside Out, World Wide Short Film Festival, Images Festival among others.
Samantha is a film and arts publicist based in Toronto, Canada, with over a decade of experience with theatrical film releases, exhibitions, festival and non-profits communications and publicity. After working with TIFF’s communications team for several years, she continues to spend much of her time at TIFF Bell Lightbox and has worked with various Canadian and international filmmakers and distributors to achieve their press goals and share their films with the world. Formerly from Sydney, Australia she has been in Toronto for eight years, despite never getting used to the winter.
Marketing & Partnership Manager
Benji Feldman loves Toronto and likes talking to strangers. He’s not a film buff, doesn’t care who produced or directed the film nor if you saw it at a pre screening party in LA. He likes bringing people together and celebrating the summer. This is his 7th year side hustling co presenters for this festival and he likes all the people he gets to work with
You will likely see him standing alone at the festival, come say hello.
Burzin currently works at a large accounting firm in the technology and media practice. He has a business degree from the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business where he graduated in 2007.
George Rosace has over a decade of experience volunteering with film festivals in Toronto, including the Toronto After Dark Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival. He has volunteered with Open Roof for the past five seasons and now lends his experience and insight to Open Roof Festival’s diverse group of dedicated volunteers.