APTN/imagineNATIVE Web Series Live Pitch Competition

TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 4
October 19, 12:45pm–2:00pm

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New for 2017, three Indigenous creative teams in Canada – given a robust pitch training program – passionately present their web series to a jury of Industry leaders and audiences in a live, staged event. Prior to the pitch, one-on-ones with the jury offer insights and opportunities for web series development for creatives. With over $30,000 in production cash and in-kind support at stake, this is the highest pitch offering in imagineNATIVE’s history. Don’t miss it!


  • APTN Maximum Licence Fee: $22,000
  • $5000 equipment rental grant from William F. White International
  • A continuing project mentorship for the pitch winner by the team at Innovate by Day 
  • $1000 gift certificate from Technicolor for postproduction services (valid for one-year)
  • $1000 consultation services from Behind the Scenes Services/Lewis Birnberg Hanet LLP
  • 1-year WIFT-T Membership and Programming Passes
  • TIFF 2018 Networking and Industry Pass
  • An imagineNATIVE-supported Kickstarter funding webpage
Presented By:

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With Support From:

IBD logo   WFW logo   BTS logo   LBH logo     WIFTT logo   TOwebF logo   TIFF logo   iN logo


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Deborah Day

CEO & Chief Strategist | Innovate By Day

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.



MATT KING (Producer, President) Matt has been praised for his innovation, commitment and determination as an Executive Producer. With over a decade of experience in Canadian show business, Matt has found success on both the creative and the business side. After leaving the legal department at eOne in 2011, he re-launched LaRue with life-long friend Andrew Ferguson. From modest beginnings, the pair has worked hard to produce an ambitious slate of both original and branded content. LaRue’s original works have attracted some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including Academy Award Winning Director Jonathan Demme, creator of The Simpsons Matt Groening, and Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. Matt has started 2017 as a real force to be reckoned with, as he received the Canadian Screen Award for Best Series Produced for Digital – Fiction (The Amazing Gayl Pile) and premiered Filth City to a sold out crowd at the Canadian Film Fest. Matt is determined to sustain this momentum and continue to develop, produce, and distribute premium original content on all platforms. 

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm2443468/

About LaRue Entertainment:

LaRue Entertainment is known for delivering premium original content to emerging and traditional platforms. Headed by award-winning producers Matt King & Andrew Ferguson, the film, TV and digital studio is proudly creator driven. As producers and distributors, we represent a new wave of independent programming for the global marketplace.

For more information, please visit our website larueent.com.


Nadia Gaudet Burnstick

Manager of Programming, Central Region, APTN

Nadia Gaudet Burnstick’s life-long passion for storytelling began through music, as a songwriter and composer, most recently nominated in two categories at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards.  Her artistic background lead her to produce and manage a variety of live events through which she branched out into the Film & Television industry in 2006, accumulating experience working as Production Manager, Production Coordinator and Set Photographer on various Documentary, Music & Variety and Television series filmed across Canada. 

Nadia first joined the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) in 2014 as Programming Coordinator for the Central Region.  She is very proud of her Francophone-Métis heritage, and is grateful for her new role as Manager of Programming for the Central Region at APTN, where she is able to work with Aboriginal Producers who share her passion to celebrate Indigenous culture, and who find innovative and authentic ways to share their inspiring stories.

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Melanie Nepinak Hadley

Executive in charge of Production, CBC Drama

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.


 Sarah Shelson / IWCC Board of Directors / Creator, Cherrydale Productions

Sarah Shelson is an award-winning screenwriter, producer and audience engager. She has years of experience in the digital sphere and particular interest in transmedia properties that feature narratives and themes not found in mainstream media. Along with her partners at Cherrydale Productions, she has created and produced The March Family Letters webseries which was the successful recipient of funding from the Independent Production Fund and was featured in Macleans Magazine, as well as a webseries co-production with Corus Digital called All For One which was nominated for a Digi Award. All For One was one of ten recipients of the inaugural CMF web series pilot program and is currently in production for its second season. When not creating, she is kept busy managing the programming of Ryerson's Transmedia Zone. These events span from critical discussions on the challenges facing our current media landscape to games and independent creator nights. The IWCC is an association of Canadian web creators advocating for each other and a better digital media world.



Frederick Neegan Trudel - Illustrated Stories

Images are a very powerful medium of communication. My project's aim is to illustrate stories of the origin of humanity from the perspective of different nations across Canada, by also respecting their art style and vision.

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Darcy Waite & Madison Thomas - Spectrum

The Spence sisters share a last name, but to the rest of the world they couldn't be more different. A story about the things in life that drive us apart, and the love that brings us back together

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Nadine Arpin & Jason Gladu - Invisible Fate

Someone is killing Indigenous women in the small Northwestern Ontario town of Twin Rivers. A private investigator Helen Keremos, dyke protagonist of six mystery novels by Eve Zaremba has come out of retirement to do the job the police seem unable or unwilling to do; solve the crime and find the murderer.


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