Magee TV Diverse Screenwriters Mentorship Award
The Magee TV Diverse Screenwriters Mentorship Award presented by the Toronto Screenwriting Conference is a mentorship and bursary program designed for diverse screenwriters. The awards were created to help emerging and mid-level screenwriters from diverse backgrounds attend the 2017 Toronto Screenwriting Conference. This opportunity will give bursary recipients the opportunity to expand their network, sharpen their professional skills, work with established screenwriting professionals and producers, all with an aim at bringing new perspectives to Canada’s creative industries.
Five diverse screenwriters from across Canada will be awarded. The award provides each winner with a complimentary registration to the eighth annual Toronto Screenwriting Conference (TSC) (April 22–23, 2017), plus an exclusive dinner with Magee TV Founder, Al Magee, and a three-month mentorship (total of five one-hour meetings, conducted in-person or remotely through Skype, or phone) with senior Canadian screenwriting professionals.
Alejandro Alcoba has been called many things, but for some reason “Handsome Alejandro” hasn’t stuck. Alejandro is a CSA-winning writer, currently the supervising producer on DEGRASSI, has written on THE NEXT STEP, and wrote the upcoming CARMILLA feature. He’s attended Ryerson’s RTA, NSI’s Totally TV, and WGC’s Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program. He’s happy to be on the Advisory Committee for the Toronto Screenwriting Conference. He drinks a lot of coffee... maybe too much?
A native of Brampton, Ontario, Desmond is an award winning Canadian filmmaker, whose work has been screened locally and internationally. A graduate of the Media Arts program at Sheridan College, he was the recipient of the “Red Green Award” for student of the year.
Desmond began his professional career as the head script reader for literary agent Glenn Cockburn at Meridian Artists Talent Agency. He has since served as a story editor and script doctor for numerous independent feature films. In recent years, Desmond has produced several award winning digital programs, including Webby Award honoree ANDY AND THE UPSIDE. He is also the co-founder of Gorilla Milkshake Productions, a production company specializing in films, commercials, and web content. Desmond is an alumni of the WGC/Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program and was selected for Sinking Ship Entertainment’s Kids Writing Bootcamp.
Currently, he is in development of his own original animated series, and serves as a writer on two kids programs for TVO, including DINO DANA, airing mid 2017.
Duana Taha is a Canadian television writer & story editor whose credits include hit programs LOST GIRL, LOST & FOUND STUDIOS, and the award-winning DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION. She is the author of the bestselling book THE NAME THERAPIST, and a sought-after commentator on the intersection of names, culture, and identity. Her TEDxToronto talk, on the social value of names, is an upcoming feature on TED.com
Duana is a longtime contributor at Laineygossip.com, where she expounds on television, feminism, and pop culture of all types. She is alsothe co-host of the popular new podcast Show Your Work. Find her on Twitter at @duanaelise
Pat Mills’s first feature film, the dark comedy GUIDANCE, which he wrote, directed and starred in, had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. Picked up by Strand Releasing in the US and Search Engine Films in Canada, GUIDANCE was hailed as a “Grade A” comedy by the Los Angeles Times and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick. His performance as “David” was nominated for an Actra Award for Outstanding Male Performance.
An alumnus of NSI, CFC as well as TIFF’s Talent lab and TIFF Studio, Pat was named winner of TIFF’s Pitch This! for his second feature DON’T TALK TO IRENE. The screenplay won Best Comedy Screenplay at the Austin Screenplay Competition. Shot in Spring 2016, the film stars Michelle, McLeod, Bruce Gray, Scott Thompson and Geena Davis. DON’T TALK TO IRENE will be released in 2017.
More at www.pat-mills.com
Renuka Jeyapalan is a Toronto-based writer/director and graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab. Her Genie-nominated short film BIG GIRL (05) screened at the Berlinale, Tribeca Film Festival, and TIFF, where it was awarded Best Short Film. Her other short films include ARRANGED (14), which she made for TMN, Movie Central and the Harold Greenberg Fund, and A BICYCLE LESSON (16). She recently directed an episode of MURDOCH MYSTERIES and was one of three directors on the Telefilm funded feature film ORDINARY DAYS (17). Currently, Renuka is developing several feature projects as well as the comedy TV series GIRL IN THE BOYS ROOM for the CBC. She has an Honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto.
Magee TV Diverse Screenwriters Mentorship Award Winners
Nadia Alam is the winner of the prestigious Brian Linehan Award for Outstanding Promise in Television Writing and Producing, and is a recent graduate of Humber College’s TV Writing and Producing program.
She wrote an original digital series called BAD DAUGHTERS that is going into production this summer and is also writing and developing an original one-hour dramatic fantasy about reincarnation. Separately, she’s working on a short documentary proof-of-concept about the harmful effects of birth control for women around the world.
She is currently a production assistant for a CBC Digital Series titled HOW TO BUY A BABY.
She resides in Toronto.
Maya Bastian is a writer, a filmmaker and an artist. As a writer/director she has won awards and exhibited her short films internationally, which run the gamut from narrative to documentary, to experimental animation. Her short thriller FEAR ITSELF garnered Best Horror and Best Cinematography at the San Francisco International Women’s Film Festival and her documentary AFTER THE WAR won Best Documentary at the Eyelens Film Festival in Vancouver, BC. From there, she spent several years traveling the world as an investigative video journalist, documenting areas of conflict and post-conflict. Her work explores socio-political themes as they relate to ideas of community and culture.
Maya currently sits on the board of Toronto’s Breakthroughs Film Festival for emerging female filmmakers and is in post-production for her narrative short film AIR SHOW about the effect of the Toronto Air Show on newcomer refugees.
Anil Kamal is an Ottawa native currently residing in Toronto. He recently obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. His thesis, SAFFRON—a television series about a lawyer pursuing a mid-career switch to drag queen extraordinaire—is currently seeking production. His non-fiction short story, Caged, is featured in the new anthology, Fashionably Late: Gay, Bi, & Trans Men Who Come Out Later in Life, published by Eldredge Books. Anil’s perfect day would cast him as the showrunner of his own TV show, with ideas whipping across the writing room as his 6 year old pug, Kala, lies curled up at his feet. You can follow him at Twitter and Instagram @TheAnilKamal.
Marsha Mason, a Toronto based actor-writer, is part of the creative team behind the international award winning puppet comedy special SOME TV! (Best Entertainment Show – B Hilarious, The B Free Awards). She is a graduate of the ProSeries with Screenwriting U and has a BFA in Musical Theatre.
With a strong background in comedy, Marsha has been a swing/understudy for The Second City National Touring Company (Generation X-Files, Canadian Idle) as well as graduating from their Conservatory program with the mainstage style revue, Something Clever.
Marsha has appeared on shows such as on the J.J. Abrams mini-series 11.22.63, REPUBLIC OF DOYLE, and MY BABYSITTER’S A VAMPIRE, and loves to play around behind the mic. And with a passion for television, she would really crawl inside one if she could.
She also enjoys wiener dogs and bombing around on social media.
Mackenzie Sinclair was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta and moved to Toronto in 2012 in pursuit of the dazzling career of a television writer.
While studying at MacEwan University, he wrote for several Edmonton-based publications and interned at Panacea Entertainment, a local film and television production company. In Toronto, he has read scripts for The Characters Talent Agency and currently works in closed captioning at Corus Entertainment.
When Mackenzie isn’t working or holed up in his Cabbagetown apartment writing, he’s probably somewhere else watching an unhealthy amount of films and TV. He possesses extensive Academy Award knowledge and can rattle off every best picture, actor, and actress like he’s Rain Man (Best Picture of 1988 BTW). He hasn’t found a way to cash in on it yet.