Event Host & Performer
Jay Harmony, Toronto, Canada
A college professor with a passion for music, Jay Harmony’s thirst for anything musical was started in the church. The winner of many prestigious music and entertainment awards, Jay Harmony was again honored at the Rose Theatre September 2015, where she received the “Raymond McKnight award of “Dedication and Excellence in Music”. Jay Harmony is one of Toronto’s most sought after singer/songwriter and she is on a mission to share her talent with the world.
Fans across Canada have enjoyed Jay Harmony’s performances at various events in popular venues including the Rogers Centre, Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the CNE and Massey Hall.
Until a year ago, Jay’s primary performances were of soul, rock and R&B. While performing and further developing her talent, Jay began to infuse reggae beats to her R&B songs that proved to be an instant hit with her growing fan base. Jay’s beautifully crafted sound, raspy yet delicate and is a reflection of her many inspirations and her innate ability to master genres from R&B and reggae to house, jazz and hip-hop and soul. Artists like Whitney Houston, Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Beyoncé, The Beatles, Elton John, Bob Marley, Beres Hammond, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, John legend, Etta James, R. Kelly and Prince have all had an impact on the music that Jay Harmony writes and performs; some influence her by their ability to write hit songs, others for their performance styles, and all for their captivating vocal abilities.
Jay Harmony continues to carve her own niche. She refuses to be relegated to any box. As a singer and songwriter, her talent is undeniable. She is a breath of fresh air and has the makings of a mainstream and international phenomenon. She has a range and vocal quality that is rare. Her magnetic personality coupled with her vocals, draws attention to her where ever she goes. Christine Bentley of CTV describes Jay Harmony’s vocal performances as “Powerful…”.
From performing at prestigious galas and board of trade’s events to winning several music awards, to being a semi-finalist for CHIN. Jay Harmony has taken her love and appreciation for music to new heights. “Music is therapeutic and it is as much a therapy for me as it is for people who appreciate my music. Let’s face it; with the way the world is, we could all use some musical therapy. Literally, that’s my only drug. I get high on music and I’m inspired to write about my experiences because I have found that they are never unique. Others can always relate and in many instances take comfort in listening to my melodic interpretations of them.”
Two albums to her credit Jay Harmony shows no sign of slowing down. Oct. 2015 released, debut album “No Giving Up”, and Oct. 10, 2016, her sophomore album “Ever Present”, are great inspiration; motivating others to pursue their dreams with undying passion. These albums are a testament of not only Jay’s vocal ability but also her lyrical prowess. Albums Available on iTunes and all online music distributors.
Judge & Speaker
Mark Datuin, Toronto, Canada
Mark is an award-winning writer/director/producer. He is also the founder of MAD Resilience Films in where he has written, directed and produced 28 short films and theatre productions. In 2014, his film Basted won Best International Film at the Milledgeville Film Festival. That was the first of a slew of accolades he collected for his subsequent films White Lock and Still Closed. He has received over 70 official selections on the festival circuit in France, Germany, Canada, India, the US and the UK. He has also been a featured panelist in Atlanta and Toronto, where he discussed the art of Writing a Short Film, and Diversity in the Film Industry.
In 2016 Mark made his French-language directorial debut with the dysfunctional family drama “Pardonnez-moi Mon Père” (Forgive Me Father), and the dark psychological parody “Mismatch and Lighter”. Future productions include “The Women of Alpine Road”, an exploration of despondency and regret, and “Partition” an experimental short film touching on the subject of cross-generational purgatory. EMAIL FACEBOOK TWITTER WEBSITE INSTAGRAM
Alina Christensen, Toronto, Canada
Alina is an actor, dancer and performer in Toronto. She studied Theatre and French Studies at York University and continues to train in dance and acting. As well as being a performer, Alina has worked for the Toronto International Film Festival for the past five festival seasons, uncovering a passion for film-making and a desire to expand her knowledge of cinema. An advocate for the arts, she believes that film is a powerful way to learn and connect with one another. Anything is possible in the world of the moving image. Alina is thrilled to be a moderator at this year’s Open World Toronto Film Festival. INSTAGRAM
Judge & Speaker
Mr. James Nan Guang, Beijing, China
Nan Guang (James Nan) is China National Radio senior reporter, famous program host, screenwriter, director, senior producer, actor, film and television drama planning and production, JN Group CEO, Chinaese Talkshow from the famous artist Li Jiacun, Chinese storytelling From the famous artist Mr. Tian Lianyuan, Wing Chun from the famous martial artist Mr. Liang Yuexian, the film from Taiwan famous director Li Youning.
James Nan is Hong Kong film director association and Taiwan member of the Chinese film production association. Mainly involved in film and television works: “12 Zodiac”, “Grand Master”, “Journey”, “police story 2013”, “edge is the game”, “Crouch Tiger Hidden Dragon”, ” “Take the Weihu Mountain” and so on (set) film and television planning, screenwriter, actor, director, producer, publisher.
Gizelle Lue, Toronto, Canada
Gizelle has worked in Festivals and Acquisitions with a worldwide sales company specializing in motion pictures. She has worked with directors and producers to strategize a film’s festival run, with the goal of maximizing sales and global theatrical exposure. She also works with producers on projects in various stages of script development through packaging and acquisition, right down to script reading. LinkedIn
Hideki Kiyota, Yokohama, Japan
He started his carrior as an actor and a model in his univercity days. But he received the inspiration of the original feature film in his 30 years old (1999). And he realized to become a film director. Then he estublished his own enlightenment entertainment production, VISUAL WORKS (http://visualworks.jp) in 2002. He directed many video like, music video, Commercial video, TV live program. He also directed many documentary film and TV news as a journalist in JCU, Japanese No.2 cable TV group in 2005. And he became a co-founder and started up the news site, The Liberty Web of Happy Science group in 2010.
He published two original novel, “Road of GOD -神の道- (2006)”, “UNDER COVER (2012)” in Japan. These novel are based on his original feature film screenplay. He directed the making film of “The Final Judgment”, the featured film in Japan in 2015. His first directed original short film, “Reversed Destiny (reversed-destiny.com)“recived 6 awards, 12 official selections in 7 countries all over the world (as of Jun 2017). IMDb, Facebook, about.me, Blog
Dorly Jean-Louis, Toronto Canada
Dorly Jean-Louis is a talented and dedicated Canadian Actress, Model, Host and Producer who is best known for her role as ebullient Journalist Talisha in the Canadian film Daniel’s Daughter. A career that now spans well over a decade, her industry credits extend beyond Canadian and U.S National commercials to include television series and feature films. Her competitive edge is due in part to her formal training in Broadcast Journalism. She’s been cast in many news related roles such as a TV News Anchor in the crime drama series Missing and as a Reporter in the dramatic comedy Vacation with Derek. Dorly also appeared as a recurring Guest Host on the weekly web series Twenty Something TV, an all Female Talk Show discussing controversial topics, fashion, pop culture and lifestyle.
Dorly has been recognized and inducted in the National Wall of Role Models at the Black Canadian Women Awards held in July 2016. Dorly is a performer to watch as she continues to make a name for herself in a cutthroat industry where scripted roles for black female leads are few and extremely competitive. She was cast as a Flight Attendant in the critically acclaimed television series 12 Monkeys And she played a Nurse on NBC’s science fiction drama Heroes Reborn. She landed both roles on merit as casting was open to all ethnicities. You will see Dorly star as LENORE ADAMS in the dramedy short film Whole Lotto Love directed by Chris Strikes, produced by Callow grove Entertainment. She plays a fiercely determined Career Consultant down on her luck who is on a mission to find a valuable lottery ticket misplaced by her ex-husband whom she loathes. Watch out for the film’s release in 2016 at a Film Festival near you.
Dorly was born on the island of Hispaniola in the Capital City of Port au Prince, Republic of Haïti. Her French speaking parents moved to Canada and settled in Montreal in favor of opportunities not possible under a Baby Doc Duvalier dictatorship regime. Her family later relocated to Ottawa so that she could continue her academic studies in English. Fluent in both official languages and Créole, her success in the business has been sustained in part by her dedication to her craft. Her love for acting evolved from appearing in student films and volunteering as a Reporter and Host for campus television and radio stations. After completing journalism school, Dorly did what most graduates knew to do: send countless demo tapes to news stations hoping to secure a job as a Reporter. It was during an internship at CTV that she took the counsel of a producer and submitted her reel to a talent agent instead. That advice paid off. As Brand Ambassador and Spokesmodel Dorly has worked for some of the world’s largest brands and global advertisers: Vichy, Neutrogena, Tide, Verizon, Lexmark, Samsung, P &G, Becel, AnheuserBusch, VISA and Johnson & Johnson to name a few. At ease in front of a live audience, she modeled the latest fashion trends on CBC’s Steven and Chris lifestyle show and was a recurring on air model on Canada’s national network The Shopping Channel showcasing designer clothing, jewelry and the beauty line Smashbox Cosmetics. Dorly is a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television (ACCT) and is represented by affiliate professional industry unions: Alliance of Canadian Cinema Television And Radio Artists (ACTRA) , Screen Actor’s Guild (SAG) and l’Union Des Artistes (UDA).
Dorly holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honors in Mass Communication from the University of Ottawa, a Postgraduate Diploma in Broadcast and Print Journalism from Humber College School of Media Studies and a Canadian Fashion Designer Diploma a from the Richard Robinson Fashion Design Academy. When she’s not working on set, Dorly manages, creates, hosts and produces her own digital content on industry and fashion related events in the city. For media interviews, features, or to contact Dorly directly please visit her website: dorlyjeanlouis.com
Antonio García, Toronto, Canada
Antonio Garcia is an award-winning Photographer located in Toronto, ON.
Born and raised in Saltillo, Mexico and relocated to Canada in 2015. He studied Digital Photography at Niagara College Canada, where he won several awards such as the Associate Dean’s Award of Excellence and 1st Place in Portraiture in 2016, and the Applied Arts Magazine Student Award and the Tym Hrycusko Memorial Award in 2017. Behind the camera he is a storyteller, composer, architect and a performer of his own vision, making his style unique. Learning and experiencing stories of the people in front of the lens.
His goal is to capture unique moments in life, to push his own boundaries to make a significant contribution to the media and to leave an important mark in this world.
Deborah Bojman, Toronto, Canada
Deborah Bojman is author of the award-winning, N.F.B.children’s short film: Sea Dream.
She has also invested in a Hollywood, children’s script called Lady Kiss the Frog. She is presently writing a comedy film-script with the festival organizer, Sabine Mondestin.
Deborah has attended the Cannes Film Festival, in 2004, where she wrote an article for L.I.F.T. Deborah is the president of Stellar North Talent, a talent agency which submits actors across Canada for parts in film, T.V. and theatre.
She is a proud supporter of the Open World Toronto Film Festival.
Michel Zgarka, Montreal, Canada
An experienced executive with a successful career of over 30 years in the productions, communications, marketing, financial engineering and business development fields, Mr. Zgarka is highly skilled in strategic and creative planning, marketing and personnel management for the media industry. He is persuasive and possesses excellent communication skills that help build strong relationships. He is a rigorous and creative strategist with a proven track record of achieving and surpassing corporate objectives.
Mr. Zgarka has been a senior executive in numerous sound, film and television production, distribution and new technology companies. Michel Zgarka has produced, directed and distributed numerous film and television productions for the international marketplace.
Michel Zgarka has been a guest speaker at over 30 international entertainment industries events as well as recently the co-President of the Jury of the Rocky Awards at the Banff TV Festival (2009).
He also recently created a full program for a Quebec based career college about the technical and creative jobs in production. He writes editorials for several international publications, especially for Video Age Int’l.
Michel Zgarka latest is Executive producing the follow-up Christmas Special and TV Series of the 5 billion on Youtube hit property Gummibar & Friends as well as producing the High Concept/Prime Time TV Series titled SIGNS of which he is also the creator.
Michel Zgarka is the Co-Founder / Chairman/CEO of XII Tribes Entertainment, an international production company with offices in Paris, Los Angeles, London, New York, Calgary and Montreal.
Mr Zgarka has recently accepted to be the Delegate General of the Views of the World Film & Music Festival which will take place in Montreal.
Miche Kiyota, Yokohama, Japan
Miche studied Business, VFX and Filmmaking in Japan and Los Angeles. She has been VFX Designer Web Designer, Digital Artist, Model, Host, Actress, Art Director and Producer. In 2010, she was involved with the start-up company of the news site, The Liberty Web of Happy Science group as a company officer (a board member).
She is Executive Producer and Casting Director of ‘Reversed Destiny (2016)’ (reversed-destiny.com) filmed by Hideki Kiyota. The film has received 6 awards, 12 official selections in 7 countries all over the world (as of Jun 2017).
She is traveling all over the world and planning the project through Entertainment for creating the culture based on the beauty and the wisdom. IMDB: Miche Kiyota
Craig Morrow, Toronto, Canada
With a decade of experience in content acquisition and curation, I am an expert at merging data analytics with a passionate understanding of the entertainment industry. I can forecast customer trends as well as individual product performance and communicate requirements to a wider team through daily scrums, Jira and TFS.
Writing in-game text and promotional material for shipped free-to-play games such as Smurfs’ Village, Shrek and Smurf Life, I have experience taking direction and collaborating with others to produce engaging content for existing and original IPs. Check out my portfolio at CraigMorrowCreativeWriting.com to find creative writing for games, apps and video content.
Being passionate about both content distribution and creation in the media business makes me uniquely qualified to take on interesting challenges as the industries change. Specialties: Screenwriting, VOD content, Story Editing, Game Writing, CMS systems, Development, Acquisitions.
Judge & Sponsorship Representative
Ian Kilvert, Toronto, Canada
A native of Winnipeg, Ian moved to Toronto to attend Ryerson University where he received his Bachelor of Applied Arts in Radio and Television. Ian entered the marketing communications field with Cockfield Brown’s promotion agency – Nova Communications, working on the Esso and Sony accounts. This led to a similar role at McCann-Erickson where Ian eventually found his way into the advertising discipline where he held posts in Account Service at McCann-Erickson, Harrod & Mirlin and FCB/ Ronalds Reynolds. Ian worked on clients such as Coca-Cola, Rogers Communications, Labatt Breweries, LG and Mazda.
In 1994 Ian moved to the client side with Panasonic as Manager Corporate Communications. In his 18+ years at Panasonic, Ian was promoted to Director and ultimately held the position of General Manager Corporate Brand Management which included 8 years as a member of the Executive Committee. In this role Ian was responsible for all internal and external communications for the company including advertising, public relations, web based activities and corporate sponsorships. During his tenure, Ian negotiated and oversaw the sponsorship of the Canadian National Rowing Team, the Canadian National Snowboard Team and Alpine Canada as part of the company’s involvement with the Olympics in 1996, 1998 and 2010 respectively. Ian was involved in a total of 10 Olympic Games and was also instrumental in securing Panasonic as one of 4 Official Partners of the 1999 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg.
Ian was responsible for orchestrating the integration of Panasonic product at Pearson International Airport, the Rogers Centre, the Hockey Hall of Fame, CN Tower, Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, The Princess of Wales Theatre, The Manitoba Children’s Museum, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and the Panasonic Theatre in downtown Toronto. As well, Ian helped co-ordinate the sale of large LED video screens in Niagara Falls, Ottawa Airport, and in Toronto on the CITY/OMNI building at Yonge and Dundas Square.
Following the company’s successful involvement in the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games, Ian negotiated a sponsorship of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada and helped to broadcast the first 3D hockey games in Canada.
Currently, Ian is involved as a marketing communications consultant helping companies evaluate, activate and leverage their sponsorship’s in the sports, entertainment and technology sectors.
Atul Salë, Toronto, Canada
Originally from Mumbai, India a former sound engineer who arrived in Canada to study contemporary media from Fanshawe College. While in college he worked on many independent and client projects as a cinematographer and editor. Post education he moved to Toronto and started working as an independent videographer and editor. OWTFF being his first independent project in Toronto, he hasn’t looked back since.
He has worked for corporate events, cultural festivals, Art related workshops for new arrivals in Canada, artist promos, business promos, live music events and many more. He plans to expand his roots by working for film and community. His quality and style of work has earned him a lot of appreciation and he plans to continue that streak. Being an art lover he instantly adapted to the vibe of this city and vows to make his own mark by showcasing his work in the melting pot. LinkedIn greypandafilms.com
Melania Motta, Toronto, Canada
Melania joined the OWTFF’s team in October 2017. She is very excited about helping the festival grow its sponsorship and partnership base and progressively have a stronger impact on the community. She has worked with other film festivals in Toronto in the same capacity.
Melania holds a master degree in French Studies, has lived in six countries, and speaks three languages. Although a translator by trade, her work experience encompasses many years in events sales management, business development, sponsorship, marketing and film festivals. Her involvement with the latter was dictated by a deep passion for films which started in her family-owned movie theatre in Italy. She has very fond memories of watching Italian and international classic films in the big screen since a very young age.
In her free time, she is a fervid reader, a yoga and meditation practitioner, a music lover and a supporter of the visual and performing arts.
Judge & Sponsorship Representative
Luc Bendza, Beijing, China
Luc Bendza (born May 9th, 1969) is a Gabonese martial artist and actor who has appeared in numerous films and television shows in China. He is the first African to work in a well-known Chinese television series, his most famous one being, “The Legend of Bruce Lee.” In addition to his acting career, Bendza works as a cultural consultant for the China-Africa International Cultural Exchange and Trade Promotion Association in Beijing. He is also vice chairman of the International wushu federation Traditional committee, which allows him to promote Chinese martial arts in Africa and in the world.
Early life: Luc Bendza was born in Libreville, the capital city of the Republic of Gabon. At the age at 9, he met a Chinese interpreter working for a Chinese medical team who taught him the basics of both Mandarin Chinese and Chinese martial arts. In 1984, with the help of his uncle, 14 year old Bendza moved to China in pursuit of his dream: learning the essence of Chinese martial arts. The teenager stayed at the Shaolin Temple, where he lived with the Shaolin monks and practiced martial arts. Bendza later attended Beijing Language and Culture University and later Beijing Sport University, where he furthered his studies in martial arts. In the course of his studies, Bendza worked to master the philosophy of shaping his character through martial arts, resulting in him becoming the only foreigner in China’s martial art community with an advanced martial arts academic background.
Acting career: After graduating, Bendza proceeded to win many awards in China and abroad on martial arts competitions. His deep understanding of martial arts and high-level pedigree attracted the eye of directors, and he went on to secure roles in both movies and television shows. Bendza’s TV career began in 1991 when he took part in the production, Kungfu Kids, a film by the Lorimare Film company in Italy. Many of Bendza’s films showcased his talents of playing a villain, such as in The Mysterious Diamond, which was produced in South Africa. His work has been recognized by the Hong Kong agency, Jintong Entertainement, and he has cooperated with French film producers as a professional actor, fight choreographer, and director. In 2008, Bendza stared on “The Legend of Bruce Lee”, the Chinese biographic martial arts television series based on the life story of martial artist and actor Bruce Lee. He played the role of Jesse Glover, who was the first authorized martial arts instructor to be trained by Bruce Lee. Luc Bendza has worked with many famous martial arts film stars, including jakie Chan, Franckie Chan, Dong Wei, Yuan Biao and Shi Xiaolong…
Personal life: Bendza married Carol Wei in 2007 and the couple has a three-year-old son.
Steve Lareau, Producer, Toronto, Canada
Steve was born in Quebec, Canada and speaks both English and French fluently. He has been involved with the Entertainment Industry/Art community for more than 20 yrs as Digital Artist, Music/Movie Producer, Actor, Recording Artist, Marketer, Editor, Camera Operator, Web/Graphic Designer and Event Planner.
Steve is currently Producer at “MyDestiny Production” and Festival Director at “Open World Toronto Film Festival”
Sabine Mondestin, Toronto, Canada
From a young age, Sabine showed an interest in both the theater and writing. At the age of nine, she played different roles on Stage, Commercial and Television Shows. Her greatest success came when she interpreted the role of Cleopatra, whom she played for four years.
More than an actress, Sabine was a columnist for the TV show “Noir de Monde” and a freelance researcher for national Radio and Television stations.
Ms. Mondestin also founded and owns the production company, “ MyDestiny Production“, with which she Produced, Directed, and Wrote the Web Series/Movie ”13 Witches”. She received several awards including the ”Outstanding Producing for a Sci-Fi Horror Series” at the Prestigious LAWEB festival in Los Angeles. Another Sabine success story is the Short Movie “Insanity” which is an Official Selection of many 2014-15 Film Festivals.
In addition to writing, acting and directing, Sabine is also a singer. She recently wrote and interpreted the lyrics for “Let Them Hate”, “Une Mangeuse d’hommes” and “I Just Want My Chocolate” three songs produced by Steve Lareau.
She wrote over 22 TV/Movie scripts and is managing multiple projects with budget ranging from $1000 to $5000000.
In 2014 Sabine stared in a lead role in “The Vagina Monologues” play, all nights were sold out and acclaimed by the media.
Sabine shoes blog gets thousands of visitors every month and gained popularity exponentially.