BIOGRAPHIES
our mission | our goals | who we are

Carla Nolan
Founder and director, the World of Comedy Film Festival

Carla's career in the arts began in the theatre. Upon graduating from the University of Alberta, she successfully produced and directed numerous plays and also taught drama. She then pursued her studies and practical work in both New York and in the UK. Upon returning to Canada, she honed her skills as an Arts Administrator in the Performing Arts branch of the Alberta Government and was editor of a province wide theatre newspaper. Always an avid movie goer, Carla got her first taste of actual film production as one of the founders of the first women's film and video cooperative in Edmonton.

She moved to Toronto to pursue her career in film in video and was fortunate to arrive just as the first group of cable stations was approved. She was one of the first people to join the team at YTV Canada Inc., Canada's premiere children's channel, which became her 'seat-of-your-pants' university for the television industry. In her 10 years in the production department, she worked on Gemini nominated programs and was an in-house Producer on a variety of daily and weekly television magazine programs and live specials.

Leaving television to enter the world of independent filmmaking provided yet another experience in 'trial by fire' education. She recently produced two short independent films "The Red Clog" and the sci-fi comedy "Roy" which aired on various networks and cable stations and is available on video as part of a science fiction compilation.

Carla has combined her love of comedy and production expertise in both television and live theatre by co-producing the 2004 Tim Sims Encouragement Fund Award show the "Cream of Comedy" which was broadcast on The Comedy Network.  She started the World of Comedy Film Festival in 2003.

Most recently, Carla has been part of the development team for The Canadian Film Channel, a proposed new national pay TV channel. 

Her involvement with arts related organizations include: many years as an active member and Board Member of Women in Film & Television - Toronto (WIFT-Toronto), mentor for Power Flash Forward, former member and chairperson of the Advisory Committee for the Humber College School of Performing Arts and advising for various film festivals.

Sonya Roberts

Sonya Roberts (LL.B., B.A. (Hons.)) is a lawyer licensed in Ontario. Sonya is a graduate of the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, and has a B.A. in English and History from the University of Western Ontario. She also studied at the Université Laval in Québec City.

Sonya's practice involves all aspects of film, television, theatre, and telecommunications including business law, intellectual property, regulatory/administrative law, immigration, and civil litigation.

After obtaining her law degree, Sonya worked for a prominent Toronto litigation firm, where she was regularly involved in large insurance and commercial disputes. She later worked as a sole practitioner and regularly handled clients in Toronto's entertainment community. Prior to forming RGR, Sonya worked for Brunico Communications Inc., where she produced conferences and tracked emerging trends in areas such as children's & youth programming, international co-productions, interactive television and digital asset management.

Sonya's experience in the entertainment industry is diverse. She has worked as a scriptwriter, story editor and researcher for various Canadian television programs, such as Tanlines (CTV's Outdoor Life Network) and Taste of Life (Global's Prime Network). She is also the co-editor of the Zagat Survey for Toronto restaurants (2001-2003). Sonya has worked with international executives from major international production studios and broadcasters, including ABC, NBC, BBC, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon and Alliance Atlantis Communications.

Alan Goodman

Patrick McKenna

PATRICK MCKENNA began his acting career as a member, of the now infamous, Second City Theatre Company.  Five years later, McKenna took to the road as a Stand-up Comedian, headlining Clubs and Universities throughout North America.  Since then McKENNA has happily spent the majority of his career performing in Canadian television; including thirteen seasons as the Gemini Award winning Harold, on the hit comedy series THE RED GREEN SHOW, while simultaneously enjoying five seasons and two more Gemini wins for his dramatic performances on TRADERS. Currently you can see Patrick co-starring in CBC’S hilarious new comedy, GETTING ALONG FAMOUSLY.

McKenna continues to guest star in several dramatic series, such as Regenesis, This is Wonderland, Trudeau, Stargate 1, Outer Limits and Blue Murder. Of course, he can be seen in just as many comedic series: Puppets Who Kill, Made in Canada, Royal Canadian Air Farce or History Bites.  Patrick's film work includes Milo 55160, Duct Tape Forever, The Music Man, Geraldine’s Fortune, The Real Howard Spitz, Punch and Judy and A Colder Kind of Death.

Patrick McKenna resides outside of Toronto while gainfully working within the Canadian film and television industry.

John May

John May has been a writer/producer for the last decade in Toronto, New York, and Los Angeles, with a wide roster of comedy, animation, and live action programming under his belt. Recent television credits include CBC's Our Hero (called "Canadian TV's best series" by The Toronto Star), YTV's Gemini-nominated Screech Owls, Nickelodeon's The Journey of Allen Strange, and PBS's The Magic Schoolbus, among many others. On the film side, his award-winning feature Rubber Carpet was a festival hit and screened internationally, and his short films have appeared at numerous festivals, including The Toronto International Film Festival and Hot Docs. May was honoured in 2001 with a Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Award for Our Hero.

Del Mehes
DEL M Productions Inc.

DEL M PRODUCTIONS Inc. –  Business Affairs –  complete management of the provincial and federal tax credit application process on behalf of independent producers; including reviewing/preparing budgets, cost reports and financial scenarios for broadcaster consideration. Specializing in OFTTC, OCASE &  CAVCO applications.

Briane Nasimok
Writer/Producer/Raconteur and Bon Vivant

Currently between paying gigs, until he goes to Los Angeles to spend another ten days as the Script Supervisor for the NHL All-Star Week-end, Briane has been referred to as a Renaissance person by Chas Lawther, because he knows how to spell it.

Briane's varied background includes - a ten year stint as a performer/host and headliner with Yuk-Yuks; seven years as a performer/teacher/host as part of the founding company of Theatresports Toronto; ten years writing/producing and performing on shows at YTV including nanaLan, Uh Uh, System Crash and the new improv series he created "Don't Lick the Pig", a Gemini-nominated variety writer on too many awards shows; a Canadian film star in such comic flicks as Gas, Tulips and Funny Farm; two seasons writing Sesame Park and an epic career being Canada's Foremost Operatic Mute, 387 performances in different productions with the Canadian Opera Company, without uttering a word.

Debbie Nightingale
President, The Nightingale Company

Debbie Nightingale is President of The Nightingale Company, a Canadian film and television Production Company founded in 2000. It is a small but busy boutique style shop that produces everything from features to documentaries and children’s series.

A new division, Big Bang Pictures,was announced in February 2005 to develop and create content for the mobile program market.  To date Big Bang Pictures has deals in place with several North American and European carriers, as well as a catalogue with more than 2,000 video clips and 3,000 ringtones.

Recent credits include: Mob Princess, a MOW for W in partnership with Brightlight Pictures; Chicks with Sticks, a made-for-pay feature for TMN, Movie Central, “A Channel” and Super Ecran with Earth to Sky Pictures; ZIXX: Level One and Two, a sci-fi tween series for YTV, co-produced with Savi Media just wrapping it’s second season; Bailey’s Billions, a family feature co-produced with Devine Entertainment being released August 5th 2005 in Canada and the U.S.;Dove Days, a one hour documentary for Vision TV, TVO and SCN; Lipstick & Dynamite, a feature documentary about women wrestlers in the 40s and 50,s premiered at HOT DOCS! and Tribeca Film festival and was just released theatrically in the U.S (the Lipstick & Dynamite trailer is currently posted on www.apple.com/trailers/independent/lipstick_and_dynamite.html). The first season of  Get Outta Town!, a live action teen travel show with a spin,is now airing in Canada and the US, and we’re currently gearing up for the second season.

Projects in development include: Arthur Kent’s Kabul 2000 MOW for CBC; Liar, Cheat, A Shrew & A Thief for Chum and Movie Central; Up Late, a late night variety show for CBC; Get Outta Town and High School Sweethearts both feature films for theatrical release.

Recently The Nightingale Company announced an alliance with veteran producer Jonathan Hackett who has been involved in numerous service productions with the United States, Europe and South Africa to expand the scope of the activities at TNC

Debbie Nightingale has been involved in the film and television industry since 1979.  Producing credits include: A Few Of The Kings’ Eighth, (feature length television drama, broadcast on ONTV); TV Pilots Prime Time (Magazine style show for seniors) and The Alleged Report(send-up of the news). She has produced or production managed a number of documentaries, specials and Vid Kids, a popular children’s series, for CBC, before becoming Assistant Programmer at C Channel, Canada’s first cultural pay television station.  When C Channel closed, Nightingale was retained by the Toronto International Film Festival to produce its Industry Symposium.  During her 14 years with the Festival, the Symposium grew into the 2,000 delegate Rogers Industry Centre it is today and spans the 10 days of the Festival.

From 1993-1999 Nightingale was Founding Executive Director of HOT DOCS! This was an initiative of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus, and guided it to its premiere position as North America’s leading documentary Festival.

Nightingale was Special Projects and Development Officer at the Ontario Film Development Corporation from its inception in 1985 through 1988 where she evaluated and made recommendations on the business and creative aspects of feature films and television projects.  Debbie Nightingale has sat on Boards including Toronto Women in Film and Television and Canadian Independent Film Caucus in recent years.

Risa Shuman
Producer: TVO's "Saturday Night at the Movie"

TVOntario's Saturday Night at the Movies is cherished by movie buffs across Ontario, and March 2004, it celebrated its 30th anniversary. One of the biggest reasons for its success in presenting quality films week after week is its senior producer, Risa Shuman.

Risa has worked at TVOntario for over thirty years and on SNAM almost from day one. Risa's connection to TVO actually goes even further back. She interned at the station while attending film school at Toronto's York University. Upon graduation, she landed a job as a researcher building a database of TVO programs teachers could use. Around this time she met and became friends with Elwy Yost. Elwy had just got SNAM underway when an astute observation by Risa regarding a missing sequence in the 1933 print of King Kong impressed the iconic host of SNAM, enough to bring her on board the SNAM team. For a film fanatic like Risa, it was a dream come true.

"I've had a very privileged career," says Risa. "Growing up in Hamilton, I never would have believed I've met some of my silver screen idols including Mel Brooks, Blake Edwards and Walter Matthau."

In 1987, when Elwy decided to concentrate solely on hosting, Risa became executive producer with the responsibility, or - as she would put it - the pure joy, of acquiring films for SNAM. Some of her favorite acquisitions have been Funny Girl, A Shot in the Dark, The Searchers and Night of the Hunter with Robert Mitchum. Risa has many stories, and if you have the chance to meet her, one she'd been keen on sharing what is a great Robert Mitchum encounter. Meeting stars is just one of the perks of the job. For Risa, however, her all-time accomplishment was being able to program The Wizard of Oz.

As the person who brings classic films to our TV screens each weekend Risa has had, and continues to have, enormous influence on Canadian filmmakers and in making Ontario one of the most film literate populations in the world. Her passions for film and for the ideals of educational broadcasting are evident to anyone who knows her or has heard her speak. She is constantly asked to talk at various functions across the province and has also been a frequent guest on CBC Radio One's The Sunday Edition with Michael Enright.
An interesting note on Risa's education and her experience with SNAM is that they have come full circle over the years. She now programs the films on SNAM that form the basis for a fully credited online film course, Film 1701 Hollywood: Old and New, at her alma mater York University.

Joanne Smale

Planet3 Communications Ltd., directed by its CEO, Joanne Smale, is a Toronto based event-management; promotion and publicity firm, working with a wide spectrum of international, national and local clients. For over 25 years, we have specialized in the entertainment and special event industries, continuously strengthening our resources and network for live event production and client profile enhancement. Although many projects are arts and culture driven, Planet3 also prides itself in direct involvement with global and regional social concerns.

Planet3’s diversity in the arts, cultural and entertainment industries is evident within our clientele roster, working alongside such prestigious events as du Maurier Downtown Jazz festival, Hot Docs, Toronto International Film Festival, imagineNATIVE film festival, Caribana, both Corso and Taste of Little Italy street fairs, Toronto City Hall/Nathan Phillips “Square in Motion” and the Andrea Bocelli concert.  Planet3 has been involved with the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) and the Juno Awards since the mid-eighties, in addition, co-launching the Governor General Awards in Visual Arts. Innovative and cutting edge, Planet3 was significant in launching new industries and concepts within the Canadian cultural blueprint: Sirius satellite Radio, Eagle Rock Entertainment Canada, Yonge & Dundas city Square, National Film Board’s Mediatheque, Bell Sympatico-MSN’s MusicMatch and the Canadian Walk of Fame, to name a few.

Since working with the Toronto International Film Festival’s Rogers Industry Centre in the late 90’s, Planet3 has launched many award-winning world film premiers at the Festival, in addition to promoting master filmmaker Allan King’s most recent works. Planet3 has produced full festival publicity campaigns for events such as HOTDOCS, imagineNATIVE, ReelWorld and Spinning Wheel festivals. Most recently, we launched the popular family film, Daniel and the Superdogs nationally throughout Canada, along with ScaredSacred – a film by Velcrow Ripper and Cari Green.

Planet3’s strong relationship with the media over the years is demonstrated through their involvement in launching eye Weekly, the Toronto Star’s section ‘What’s On’ and the Women’s Television Network (WTN), as well as an affiliation with CHART Communications Inc., NOW magazine and CBC Country Canada.

We’ve worked closely within the music industry for such clients as Bruce Cockburn, True North records, Putumayo records, Jeff Healey and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. Other projects have also included the Women’s Snooker Association of Canada, World Wrestling Federation plus various renowned clubs and eateries such as The Horseshoe Tavern, The Guvernment and Senator restaurant. 

Planet3’s work with both the local and global communities, have included the Canadian Landmine Foundation, Eco Lodge (Moose Factory), Lake Ontario Waterkeepers. We have also been instrumental in the success of Power: the film with Robert Kennedy Jr., Ecofest, Rally Against Apartheid/Nelson Mandela, WOMAD, Tears Are Not Enough, Concert for Casey House (an AIDS hospice program) and many national literacy campaigns.

 

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