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Professional Development

TIFF Industry runs a series of tailored professional development programmes, to assist talented filmmakers to fast track their careers and projects. The broad range on offer includes bespoke opportunities for directors (Talent Lab), actors (Rising Stars) and filmmakers with films in Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival (Filmmaker Boot Camp). Filmmaking teams are encouraged to apply for Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS!, and producers may apply to OMDC's International Financing Forum, Producers Lab Toronto and Studio.

Breakfast at TIFF

Breakfast at TIFF is a new initiative that aims to bring the Toronto screen industry together at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Each month you’ll hear from provocative and expert speakers on timely subjects. You’ll have the chance to catch up over a light breakfast with colleagues, friends, and new acquaintances from the local film-production scene.

Watch this space for upcoming dates, topic announcements and ticket information.

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Breakfast at TIFF

Politics and media tell us we're living in a "post-truth" era. Instead of accepting that and pursuing increasingly personal fictions, what if Canadian filmmakers doubled down on true stories? What if our cinema confronted the secrets, betrayals, murder and resistance that happen all across Canada every day? For real.

Don't miss our first Breakfast at TIFF of 2017, True Stories in a Post-Truth World, with TIFF Artistic Director, Cameron Bailey

DATE: Friday, January 13, 2017
TIME: 9 – 10:30 am
VENUE: Cinema 3, TIFF Bell Lightbox, 350 King St. W
**A light breakfast will be served.


Studio is the year-round TIFF Industry programme at TIFF Bell Lightbox. TIFF is excited to launch the fourth round of Studio, co-supported by the Harold Greenberg Fund and the Directors Guild of Canada.

Studio is aspace for filmmakers to be inspired, consolidate skills, exchange ideas, and discuss challenges in a collaborative environment. Offered to a selected group of 10 mid-career, writer-directors across Canada, Studio is intended to take the candidates careers to the next level, via creative and business skill development.

See our selected 2016 participants

Supported by: The Harold Greenberg Fund, Directors Guild of Canada, and Ivan Reitman.

2016 Programming


2016 Programming

Module 3: Co-Producing 101

Canada has one of the most envied financial public funding systems, and 55 co-production treaties. Telefilm Canada and Eurimages will soon announce the entrance of Canada into the European Co-production Funding Agency. How will that impact Canadian financing and content? What should you know before you get involved in co-production? What is the value of co-production markets such as CineMart and the co-production market in Berlin? What are the incentives of co-producing internationally and /or with other Canadian provinces?

Guest Speakers Paula Devonshire (Devonshire Productions) and Paul Scherzer (Six Island Pictures) will answer these questions and share their experiences based on the film and TV projects they have co-produced.

Paul Scherzer is the founder and president of Six Island Productions. He has co-produced a host of acclaimed international features, including the Tunisia/France/Canada co-production Challat of Tunis (13) and the Canada/Germany co-production Coconut Hero (15), as well as documentaries like Manufactured Landscapes (06) and The Manor (13). His films have played at festivals from TIFF to Sundance, Cannes to Busan, and have been sold in many international markets. Prior to founding Six Island, Paul worked for Telefilm and the NFB. He is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre, a TIFF Studio alumnus, and a member of the CMPA, ACCT, and the prestigious European producers’ network, ACE.

Paula Devonshire is a Toronto-based producer specializing in domestic and international film and television. Her first features were Ginger Snaps: Unleashed (04) and Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning (04). She has also produced Real Time (08), starring Randy Quaid and Jay Baruchel, which played at the Slamdance Film Festival and TIFF, George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead (07) and Survival of the Dead (09), which screened at Venice and TIFF, the coming of age drama Wet Bum (14), which premiered at TIFF, and the psychological thriller The Dark Stranger (15).

See 2016 Participants

Studio is the year-round TIFF Industry programme at TIFF Bell Lightbox. TIFF Industry is excited to launch the fourth round of Studio co-supported by the Harold Greenberg Fund and the Director’s Guild of Canada.

As a space for filmmakers to be inspired, Studio participants consolidate skills, exchange ideas, and discuss challenges in a collaborative environment. This year, Studio is open to writer-directors with a minimum of one feature film and/​or three short film credits as writer-director. These participants are curious about all fields of film, TV, documentary, online, interactive and transmedia, and are interested in collaborating with their peers, as well as challenging their own views.

Chosen participants will have a unique opportunity to interact with internationally acclaimed industry professionals – including acclaimed filmmakers, experienced producers and other experts in both the Canadian and international film industries.


Talent Lab

Held annually during the Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF Talent Lab is an artistic development program intended for aspiring Canadian and international filmmakers. This extremely competitive programme provides 20 young directors and screenwriters with an intensive learning experience that seeks to further develop their creativity, artistic process, and voice. With guidance from some of the best-known and most esteemed experts in independent cinema from around the world, TIFF Talent Lab is designed to launch the careers of the next generation of filmmakers. The Talent Lab application period is now open — and it’s FREE to apply!

See our selected 2016 participants

Presenting Sponsor: RBC, Supported by: Telefilm Canada, Supported by: The Slaight Family Foundation and Ivan Reitman

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Talent Lab

Now in it’s 13th year, Talent Lab is a five-day comprehensive artistic development programme led by esteemed mentors who guide 10 Canadian and 10 international selected participants in discussions focusing on creativity and artistic process. This year’s mentors include Jim Stark (Coffee and Cigarettes), Christine Vachon (Carol) and Atom Egoyan (Chloe).

See our selected 2016 participants

Supported by: Ivan Reitman

Rising Stars

TIFF Rising Stars is part of our ongoing commitment to promoting Canadian cinema and talent on the world stage. This programme showcases new Canadian acting talent, putting the emphasis on the next generation of actors poised for international success.

Meet our selected 2016 participants

Presenting Partner: The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, Supported by: Telefilm Canada, Supported by: CSA, Sponsored by: L'Oréal Paris, Industry Sponsors: Birks, Hudson's Bay

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Rising Stars

TIFF Rising Stars is part of our ongoing commitment to promoting Canadian cinema and talent on the world stage. Devised in collaboration with the CSA, this programme showcases new talent, putting the emphasis on the next generation of actors poised for international success.

Meet our selected 2016 participants

Supported by: Ivan Reitman

Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS!

Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! returns for its 17th consecutive year at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. This is your chance to bring a feature film project to life. All genres and styles of presentation are permitted. The most original and compelling story will be awarded a prize of $15,000. Six teams will have six minutes to pitch their feature film idea to a live audience of industry delegates and a jury of development and production experts.

Presenting Partner: Telefilm Canada

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Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS!

Telefilm Canada and TIFF proudly present the 17th annual PITCH THIS! competition.Six teams get six minutes to pitch their feature film to a live audience and industry jury. The winning team takes home a grand prize of $15,000 in development money!

Hosted by Steve Patterson

Steve Patterson has been a professional headliner since 1997 and has taped numerous national television specials in the past decade including four Just For Laughs galas. His performance in 2010 earned him a Gemini nomination and caused host Steve Martin afterwards to exclaim If I’d have known he was going to be THAT good, I would have cancelled him. Following that performance, Patterson was name Best Male Stand-up Comedian at the 2011 and 2013 Canadian Comedy awards and most recently has been nominated for the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards as Host on HGTV’s I Wrecked My House. Steve’s nationally toured and award nominated theatre show entitled This is Not Debatable is now available on itunes and his Book of Letters I Didn’t Know Where to Send is due out in the fall of 2016. Visit stevepatterson.ca for more details.

Art of Being Busy

A romantic comedy about a young woman who’s so terrified her newly discovered breast cancer is going to ruin a hot new romance and derail her career, she uses social media to pretend she’s far away…having the time of her life.

A Toronto-based artist and filmmaker, Chris Ross attended the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCADU) in Toronto, and worked as a painter after graduating, winning accolades for her work across the country. Her paintings often referenced movies in some way, and finally she grew frustrated with the static nature of the medium and started making films. Since then, Chris has been busy writing and directing shorts, most recently directing a short about actresses facing ageism and sexism in the industry. She is currently in pre-production on a short about social media friendships, and is very excited to be developing her first feature film, The Art of Being Busy with Clique Pictures and LoCo Motion Pictures. Chris is an active member of the film collective Film Fatales in Toronto, as well as the Director’s Guild of Canada.

Clique Pictures produces feature and documentary productions with a focus on working with female creative talent both in front and behind the camera. Clique Pictures is currently in production on the feature documentary Metamorphosis. Principal Lauren Grant has produced the feature films Wet Bum (14), which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, the fashion documentary Traceable (14), which has screened around the world as part of Fashion Revolution Day, as well as the feature film Picture Day (12), starring Tatiana Maslany. The Hollywood Reporter named Lauren one of 15 Talents to Watch in their Next Gen Canada 2014 edition. Lauren is an alumna of Trans Atlantic Partners, TIFF Studio, Producers Lab at TIFF, Rotterdam Lab and Berlinale Talent Campus.

Lauren Corber is a producer, entertainment lawyer and the founder of LoCo Motion Pictures. LoCo Motion Pictures produces content for all platforms with a focus on comedic and dramatic productions. Lauren recently completed production on the comedy web series My 90-Year-Old Roommate (16) (licensed by CBC), dramatic short films Emma (16) and A Bicycle Lesson (16). Past productions include short films Anatomy of Assistance (premiered at TIFF, 2013) and Lunchbox Loser (Best Children’s Short, Manhattan Film Festival 2014). Lauren story edited highly acclaimed short film, Hole (grand prize winner, Clermont-Ferrand, 2015). Lauren is actively involved with the Canadian Media Producer’s Association. She is an alumnus of the Producer’s Lab at the CFC, the NSI’s Totally Television Program and the Bell Media Executive Producer Accelerator Lab.


Set amidst stunning Baffin Island landscape in Nunavut and filmed in the Inuit language of Inuktitut, Qalupalik is a thriller about an Inuit girl who returns to her hometown to search for her missing brother, only to discover that she’s being hunted by creatures awakened from Inuit legend.

Nyla Innuksuk is a co-owner in Pinnguaq Productions, a company rooted in the creation of unique cultural experiences. We operate in Ontario, Nunavut and British Columbia, with a cutting edge mandate to create interactive experiences that push both the limits of technology and cultural expression. Nyla has produced both documentary and narrative films, with her short Kajutaijuq (14) premiering at TIFF and later selected to be a part of the TIFF Top 10 Festival. She has previously worked with the National Film Board of Canada as a director of documentary films and interactive projects. In addition to film, she is an early adopter of Virtual Reality content creation, working with artists such as Glenn Gould, Philip Glass, The Strumbellas, A Tribe Called Red and Polaris Prize Winner Tanya Tagaq.

Toronto-based filmmaker Sean Wainsteim’s varied body of work spans from narrative to experimental to documentary projects. From Ethiopia to the Arctic, from commercials and music videos to short films and tv shows, Sean has worked with brands like Nike, Sony, MTV2, IFC, Nickelodeon and Budweiser, won over twenty World Gold design awards and multiple MuchMusic Video Awards (MMVAs) including the 2011 Director of the Year. Sean received two BravoFACT! grants for short films Lost for Words (10) and Magic Mushrooms (16). He received Toronto Arts Council and Ontario Arts Council grants for Little Boxes (13), a semi­ autobiographical, magic­-realism experimental mixed-­media short film that explores ideas of memory, trauma and storytelling. Sean recently received a Canada Arts Council award for development of Qalupalik.


Sharkasaurus is the story of a pair of star-crossed lovers. When the rebellious emo son of a paleontologist falls for the promiscuous daughter of a widowed creationist, they accidentally awaken a prehistoric tunneling dino-shark and they must evolve their ideological difference or succumb to the inevitable jaws of Sharkasaurus.

Greg Jeffs has produced short films that are available on iTunes and have been broadcast, both nationally and internationally. He wrote and produced The Hunt (13)(Dir: Spencer Estabrooks) which was named the best horror short film of 2013 by RUE MORGUE MAGAZINE. He has participated in the NSI Features first and Business for Producers, programs. 2016 saw his directorial debut (short film), It’s All in Your Head, premiere at the Horror Channel FRIGHT FEST in London England. When not making films, Greg works with William F. White to assist emerging filmmakers take their first steps in the film and TV industry.

After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Film Studies at the University of Alberta and a diploma in film production at VMPS, Spencer Estabrooks worked a variety film related jobs before settling at Acmeworks Digital Film. Producing and directing for Insurrection Films he completed over a dozen short genre films including Deadwalkers (09), The Hunt (13), Sharkasaurus (14) and One Hit Die (13). These films won numerous awards and accolades including Rue Morgue Magazine Best Short of 2013 for The Hunt. In January 2015 he left Acmeworks to pursue filmmaking full time. In the first six months, he produced, wrote, directed, and edited his first feature film Legend of the Lich Lord (15). Soon after he began his next passion project, a timely documentary Aleberta: Our Beer History (16). In July of 2016 he completed a Kickstarter for his first graphic novel; Sharkasaurus.

Mary Goes Round

Mary Goes Round is a comedic drama about a closeted alcoholic and substance abuse counsellor who gets arrested for a DUI and loses both her job and fiancé. When she gets a call from her estranged father, she returns to her hometown in New Jersey where she must learn to take responsibility for herself and her family when she learns that her father is dying of cancer and wants Mary to form a bond with the teenaged half-sister she’s never met.

Matt Code is a Toronto-based producer of award-winning films, television and digital content and the owner of Wildling Pictures. Recently, he was co-producer for Murmur Media on the feature documentary Cheer Up (16), which premiered at Hot Docs International Film Festival, and executive producer on the short film A Teachable Moment (16), which premiered at the TriBeCa Film Festival. Through Wildling Pictures, he recently produced the short film 3-Way (Not Calling) from writer/director Molly McGlynn, which will premiere at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival. The pair will collaborate again in 2016 when Wildling produces McGlynn’s first feature Mary Goes Round, which goes to production this fall with support from Telefilm’s Micro-budget program. Code is a graduate of the Cineplex Entertainment Film Program Producer’s Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, an alumnus of Queen’s University and a member of the Canadian Media Producer’s Association.

Molly McGlynn is a Toronto-based filmmaker. Her shorts include I Am Not a Weird Perso (12), Shoes (13), and 3 Way (Not Calling) (16).

To Be Continued

After committing suicide, bullied teen Evan discovers that he and his friends return to life every time they die — sparking an increasingly bloody prom-night battle between the tormented and their aggressors.

Luke Black is a producer who was born and raised in Western Canada. After attending the University of Alberta and Red Deer College, he built his creative practice by producing over a dozen DIY short films and helped strengthen the local filmmaking communities as a member of the boards of directors for the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers and the Saskatchewan Filmpool Cooperative. His work has screened in film festivals around the world and in 2013 Luke was invited to attend the Canadian Film Centre's Cineplex Entertainment Film Program. Now based out of Toronto, Luke is focused on building a brand of high-concept narratives with an ensemble of creative partners.

A graduate of the University of Toronto and UCLA’s Professional Producing Program, Mike MacMillan – founder of Lithium Studios Productions - has been producing independent film since 2009. Mike was the only Canadian named in 2015 to Screen International’s distinguished Future Leader’s list. With past features having launched at top international festivals, Mike’s upcoming releases will include Bruce McDonald’s Weirdos, Pat Mill’s Don’t Talk to Irene, and Vladimir de Fontenay’s Mobile Homes. Mike participated in Ted Hopes’ Artist-2-Entreprenuer Lab (SFFS, 2013), Trans Atlantic Partners Co-Production Lab (2014), TIFF Studio (2014) and the Rotterdam Lab @ Cinemart (2015). Mike enjoys cooking and long snuggles with his bulldog.

Peter Harvey is an award-winning independent producer committed to quality Canadian storytelling with honesty and originality. His first feature film Picture Day, starring Tatiana Maslany, premiered at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, won the Borsos Competition for Best Canadian Feature Film and Best Performance for Maslany at the Whistler Film Festival, and the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the 2013 RiverRun International Film Festival. His second feature, Pretend We’re Kissing, is a romantic comedy starring Dov Tiefenbach, Tommie-Amber Pirie and Zoe Kravitz; which won Best Comedy at the Maui Film Festival in 2015. He is currently developing a sci-fi action thriller feature called To Be Continued, based on What Doesn’t Kill You, which received an Honourable Mention for Best Canadian Short Film at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and he is a recent alumni to the 2015 TIFF Studio program.

Rob Grant is a 2013 alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre's (CFC) Directors’ Lab. He has directed three award-winning feature films, Yesterday, Mon Ami, and Desolate. He is currently developing the feature version of What Doesn't Kill You.

The Edible Woman

When a soon-to-be married market research employee who has recently lost her appetite for food meets a freewheeling academic in 1960s Toronto, she must decide to accept the life laid out in front of her or use her newly blossoming appetite for life to create a future of her choosing.

Francine Zuckerman made her first film on Super 8 at 15. Years later, she has made several documentaries and short films. She graduated from McGill University and joined the NFB to make her first film, Half the Kindgom (89). Her focus is on women, performing arts and social docs. Her work includes: Exposure: environmental links to breast cancer (01), a documentary with singer/actor Olivia Newton-John; a Canada - New Zealand co-production Punch Me in the Stomach (97), which premiered at London FF; Gemini nominated dramatic anthology The Atwood Stories (03); and dramatic short, Passengers (00), which premiered at TIFF. Her latest documentary, We Are Her (13), screened internationally and her short drama Mr. Bernstein (16) was launched at Palm Springs ShortFest. She is in development with co-producer Karen Shaw on a feature adaptation of celebrated writer Margaret Atwood’s novel The Edible Woman.

Karen Shaw’s most recent projects include the feature film Khoya (15), which was selected for the prestigious Tribeca All Access program, recently finished a five-week theatrical run and screened at festivals internationally including The Mumbai Film Festival. Shaw’s upcoming film XX: The Box, by writer/director Jovanka Vuckovic is an all-female director-driven horror anthology including filmmakers St. Vincent, Mary Harron, Karyn Kusama, and is distributed by Magnolia. Shaw is currently producing Sharkwater: Extinction, the follow-up to acclaimed environmental filmmaker Rob Stewart’s internationally award-winning documentary Sharkwater (06) (Telluride, TIFF). She is producing the novel Infidelity by Stacey May Fowles, adapted by Sundance award winning writer/director Geneviève Dulude-De Celles; packaging Gerald Olson’s debut feature The Mating Habits of Widows with Dominic Cooper (AMC’s Preacher) attached; and developing the adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s debut novel The Edible Woman into a feature film co-written by Molly McGlynn and writer/director Francine Zuckerman.

Len Blum Residency

Launched in July 2015, the Len Blum Residency pays homage to one of Canada’s most celebrated screenwriters by providing one Canadian filmmaker with the opportunity to live, work, and receive mentorship at TIFF Bell Lightbox. The residency is generously supported by Toronto-based producer and distributor Ron Mann.

CMPA Producer's Award

The CMPA Feature Film Producer Awards recognize producers whose vision and entrepreneurship demonstrate a commitment and passion for producing Canadian feature films. The winner of the Established Producer Award will receive $10,000 and the winner of the new Emerging Producer Award will receive $5,000.

Congratulations to Roger Frappier, winner of the 2016 Established Producer Award and to Hany Ouichou, winner of the 2016 Emerging Producer Award!

2016 Nominiees

2016 CMPA Feature Film Producer Awards Nominees

Established Producer Award

Nicholas de Pencier
Film at TIFF: Black Code
Production company: Mercury Films Inc.

Roger Frappier (Winner)
Film at TIFF: Two Lovers and a Bear
Production company: Max Films

David Hamilton
Film at TIFF: Anatomy of Violence
Production company: Hamilton-Mehta Productions

Peter Raymont
Film at TIFF: All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I.F. Stone
Production company: White Pine Pictures

Nicole Robert
Film at TIFF: Nelly
Production company: Go Films

Emerging Producer Award

Jonathan Frantz
Film at TIFF: Maliglutit (Searchers)
Production company: Kingulliit Productions

Fanny-Laure Malo
Film at TIFF: Pays (Boundaries)
Production company: La Boîte à Fanny

Hany Ouichou (Winner)
Films at TIFF: Ceux qui font les révolutions à moitié n’ont fait que se creuser un tombeau (Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves); Prank
Production company: Art & Essai

Producers Lab

Producers Lab Toronto is an international co-production forum delivered through a partnership between TIFF Industry, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and European Film Promotion.

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Producer's Lab

24 participants take part in pitching sessions, case studies, round-tables and networking events with key people from the film industry and film funds. The aim is to both develop an understanding of international arrangements and to deepen relationships, in order to progress projects with an international scope.

2016 Participants

European Participants

Hélène Cases, Lionceau Films (France)

Camilla Deakin, Lupus Films (United Kingdom)

Mira Fornay, Mirafox (Slovak Republic)

Amir Hamz, Bon Voyage Films (Germany)

Anna Jancsó, Libercine (Hungary)

Anita Junka, 4 Film (Croatia)

Kathryn Kennedy, Kennedy Films (Ireland)

Katrin Kissa, Homeless Bob Productions (Estonia)

Peter Lindblad, Snowcloud Films (Sweden)

Christoph Neracher, Hugofilm (Switzerland)

Canadian Participants

Coral Aiken, Aiken Heart Films

Katie Bird Nolan, Babe Nation Creations

Tara Boire, boomerang films

Tim Dorion, Wango Films

Borga Dorter, Gearshift Films

Nicole Hilliard-Forde, Motel Pictures

Kim McCraw, micro_scope

Thomas Michael, Fella Films

Paul Scherzer, Six Island Productions


Australian Participants

Tania Chambers, Feisy Dame Productions

Alex White, Whitefalk Films

New Zealand Participants

Fraser Brown, FB Pictures

Nadia Maxwell, Overactive Imagination

International Financing Forum

IFF is OMDC's feature film co-financing event at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Selected international and Canadian producers are brought together with international sales agents, distributors, funders, and executive producers to do business in brokered meetings and benefit from exclusive networking opportunities.

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International Financing Forum

Now celebrating its 11th year, OMDC’s IFF has introduced hundreds of projects to the international marketplace with over 60 successfully financed to date, including Robert Budreau's Born to be Blue, Deepa Mehta’s Midnight’s Children, Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies, David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom, Haiffa Al-Mansour’sWadjda, and Ralph Fiennes directorial debut, Coriolanus among many other titles.

Canadian and international feature film producers are invited to apply to IFF. Registration is free but competitive. Final selection is based on company track record, pitch package and suitability of projects.

For more information about IFF and its application guidelines, see Here.

Filmmakers Bootcamp

Developed in partnership with Telefilm Canada, Filmmaker Boot Camp gives directors and producers the skills and contacts they need to make the most of their experience at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Supported by: Telefilm Canada

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Filmmakers Bootcamp

We know that Festival can unfold into a quick blur, and our goal is to ensure that our first time filmmakers and producers in official selection enjoy full access to all the resources available to them during the festival.

Filmmaker Boot Camp is a one day programme. It is open to Canadian directors and producers who are attending the Festival for the first-time with their feature or short film in Official Selection. Producers in TIFF’s Studio programme are also invited to participate.

Filmmaker Boot Camp takes place August 4, 2016 and is by invitation only. For more information contact industryprogramming@tiff.net