imagineNATIVE’s Short Drama Pitch Competition

October 20, 11:45AM – 12:45PM
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 4

The most dynamic short film ideas are brought to life by three pre-selected and trained teams to an audience and industry jury of high-level professionals specializing in short films. A “wild card” pitch from the audience will make a run for the money (and prizes) in an exciting twist. The Short Drama Pitch winner will receive a $7,500 cash prize and over $3,000 in-kind production and networking prizes for supports!

Presented by: 


With Support From:





Deborah Day

CEO & Chief Strategist

Deb is an award-winning television and film director and producer with over 20 years in the entertainment industry. Using her finely-tuned communication, strategic and creative thinking skills, Deb works with talent, entrepreneurs, businesses, production companies, distributors and broadcasters to create effective digital and social media strategies and content to engage customers, clients and audiences online. Recent projects include tremendously successful campaigns for Corner Gas: The Movie, Saving Hope, Rookie Blue, Remedy, Max & Shred and Mohawk Girls.

Innovate By Day’s growth and accomplishments are evidence of Deb’s ability to empower her team, to manage multiple stakeholders (sometimes with different agendas) on a wide variety of projects and budget ranges. As a strategist and producer, Deb leads the strategic vision for Innovate By Day and its clients. Deb and her team strive to forge new opportunities while remaining true to the distinctive look, feel and voice of the project at hand.

Deb’s passion for storytelling and directly engaging with audiences, combined with her talent for listening, analyzing and connecting, has made her a highly sought-after speaker, trainer and moderator. She has appeared at the Atlantic Film Festival Music and Images Conference, Women in Film and Television (WIFT) Career Accelerator, OMDC Digital Dialogue Series, and has led training sessions for talent, clients, TIFF KIDS, Bell Media Producer Accelerator Lab, National Screen Institute, ImagineNATIVE festival, and Merging Media (Vancouver 2012, 2013). From leading small, intensive workshops to addressing larger conference audiences as an individual speaker, panelist or moderator, Deb loves to engage people in conversation and expand possibilities. Deb is an active mentor, working with emerging talent and people in transition. She has mentored people through the Canadian Women in Communications Mentorship Program and the CMPA’s Screen-based Media Production Program.


Melanie Nepinak Hadley

Executive in charge of Production, CBC

Melanie Nepinak Hadley is Executive in Charge of Production for CBC Drama. She recently stepped into the role and manages projects in development and production, such as Heartland. Prior to her role at CBC she was the Manager of Programming for Aboriginal Peoples Television Network where she oversaw development, first window licencing and second window licencing for television and digital media projects commissioned from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Northwest Territories. She joins CBC with over 15 years of experience working for independent production and a national broadcaster.

Adam Piron

Film Programmer & Manager, Native American & Indigenous Program, Sundance Institute

Adam Piron (Kiowa/Mohawk) is the Manager of the Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Film Program. In addition to this role, he also a member of the Sundance Film Festival’s short film and virtual reality programming teams. In 2016, he also joined Film Independent's short film programming team for the LA Film Festival. Adam started at Sundance as an intern with the Native Program in 2007. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts and California College of the Arts.

Rachel Feldbloom-Wood

Grants Administrator, BravoFACT

Rachel Feldbloom-Wood is the Grants Administrator for Bell Media’s BravoFACT program. Before joining the BravoFACT team, she worked as an arts administrator in Toronto's non-profit arts sector for almost a decade and has been immersed in the world of arts funding since 2008, when she began working at the Toronto Arts Council. Rachel has consulted for various local production companies and independent filmmakers in Toronto. She started her career at the Toronto International Film Festival, which prompted her to create an evening film program for teenagers, teaching them about the importance of world cinema and how to critically evaluate films. She holds a Specialized Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Film Studies from York University.

Tania Koenig-Gauchier

Manager of Programming, Western Region (AB, BC, YT)

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN)

Tania Koenig-Gauchier is a television producer who brings almost 20 years of experience in broadcasting and independent production to APTN’s Programming department. She has worked as a producer for CTV, APTN and CBC, and has a background in business, marketing and promotions for television. Most recently, she completed the Ch’nook Aboriginal Management Certificate Program (AMP) at the UBC Sauder School of Business.

One of the first employees at APTN in 1999, she now returns full circle and feels fortunate to work with other Aboriginal producers who share her passion to tell authentic Indigenous stories and share them with the world.

Tania is extremely proud of her Cree-Métis heritage - her family is from Northern Alberta. She is also mother to two children whom are members of the Nisga’a Nation (Village of Laxgalts’ap) in British Columbia.