Filmmaker Lab

See all talent development

TIFF Filmmaker Lab brings together some of the world’s most promising filmmaking talent during the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Over a five-day period, selected participants learn from internationally acclaimed filmmakers and guests, deepening their industry understanding and empowering them to move forward with their projects.

In 2018, 22 emerging directors will participate in the 15th annual TIFF Filmmaker Lab. The 10 Canadian and 12 international filmmakers will engage in workshops, microsessions, and master classes focusing on creativity, the artistic process, and the independent voice.

This year mentorship will be led by four distinguished Governors — producer Cassian Elwes (Mudbound), director Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust), director William Oldroyd (Lady Macbeth), and producer Elizabeth Karlsen (Carol) — who will guide the group of filmmakers.

Filmmaker Lab, formerly Talet Lab, has helped develop the careers of many outstanding creators, including Michelle Latimer (VICELAND’s Rise), Sherry White (Maudie), Pat Mills (Don't Talk to Irene), Jonas Carpignano (A Ciambra), and Joan Chemla (If You Saw His Heart).

The Lab is programmed by TIFF Talent Producer Jane Schoettle, with Associate Producer Eloise Veber, and will run from September 4 to 8, 2018.

2018 Filmmaker Lab Participants

Alex Anwandter

Alex Anwandter is a director, screenwriter, musician, and prominent queer activist from Santiago, Chile. In 2012, Time Magazine named him as one of the next 10 musicians poised for US stardom. His debut feature, You’ll Never Be Alone (16), had its World Premiere at Berlin, where it won the prestigious Teddy Award. Anwandter’s current project, A Golden Shotgun, tells the story of a young, upper-class gay man who faces off with his religious housekeeper when she disputes his inheritance.

Rodrigo Barriuso

Rodrigo Barriuso is an award-winning, Cuban–Canadian filmmaker based in Toronto. His short For Dorian (12) won awards at Inside Out, MIX Copenhagen, and the Torino Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. Barriuso’s debut feature, Un Traductor (18), premiered at Sundance and won Best Director at the Shanghai International Film Festival. His current project is Epochal, in which a transgender woman’s self-determination and identity are challenged as she faces Alzheimer’s.

Amie Batalibasi

Amie Batalibasi (Kosi/Feralimae) is an Australian–Solomon Islander writer, director, and producer. She was the Sundance Institute’s 2017 Merata Mita Fellow and is a Berlinale Talents 2018 alumna. Her current project is a feature adaptation of her award-winning short film Blackbird (15), which explores the little-known history of Australia’s Pacific Islander sugar slaves.

James Brown

James Brown is an Australian–British filmmaker based in London. He spent a decade working in acquisitions for distributors in the UK, the US, Australia, and New Zealand before shifting to production. His award-winning film Still Alice (14) garnered a Best Actress Oscar for Julianne Moore. He directed the children's feature You Can Tutu (17) and the short Failure to Thrive (17). He is currently developing the feature Black Cab, in which a London florist is the only person who can stop a terrifying serial killer.

David Casademunt

David Casademunt is a writer-director from Barcelona whose work has won more than 60 international awards. His short film Jingle Bells (07) was selected at the San Sebastián Film Festival, and his documentary Rumba Tres: De ida y vuelta (16) won Best National Documentary at In-Edit. He is currently developing his first feature film, The Beast, in which a boy and his mother, who live alone in the country, notice an eerie presence watching them — and getting a little closer each day. Participation supported by La Incubadora.

Patricia Chica

Patricia Chica is an award-winning Latina–Canadian director, producer, writer, and editor. Her work has garnered over 50 awards and screened at over 300 festivals. Chica is currently working on her dramatic debut feature, Montréal Girls, which tells the story of an Egyptian student who meets two women in Canada — after which his perceptions are shattered and his destiny revealed. Temerty Family Fellow.

Luis De Filippis

Luis De Filippis is a Toronto-based trans femme filmmaker whose work celebrates otherness and employs a fierce female gaze. Their work has played internationally at festivals such as TIFF and Rotterdam. Their most recent work, For Nonna Anna (17), won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance. Their current project, Something You Said Last Night, follows Ren, a trans girl in her mid-twenties, as she negotiates mounting tensions on a family vacation. TIFF Canadian Women in Film Fellow.

Tracey Deer

Tracey Deer is an award-winning Mohawk filmmaker. She was the co-creator, director, and co-showrunner of the critically acclaimed TV series Mohawk Girls (10–17). Her documentaries have won two Gemini Awards, and in 2016, she received the Birks Diamond Tribute Award. Deer is currently developing her first narrative feature, Beans, which tells the story of a 12-year-old girl torn between innocent childhood and delinquent adolescence during the Oka crisis of 1990. Temerty Family Fellow.

Georgia Fu

Georgia Fu grew up between Taiwan and USA. Her short film Miss World (17) won the Grand Jury Prize at New Orleans IFF. She is currently developing her first feature based on her short film, You Win USA Vacation Resort (18), the story of a young female Chinese migrant factory worker who will do anything to achieve her American dream.

Jeremy Guenette

Jeremy Guenette has worked as a writer, director, producer, and editor in both English and French. His first feature film, Mia (17), was awarded Best Feature at the Windy Awards in Manitoba. He is currently developing his second feature, The Forest, in which an estranged father seeks the truth after finding out his son is on the run as a murder suspect.

Yuqi Kang

Yuqi Kang was born in Inner Mongolia, China. Her feature documentary, A Little Wisdom (17), premiered at Busan, SXSW, Karlovy Vary, and Shanghai, and was awarded Best Canadian Documentary Feature at Hot Docs. She is currently developing her first narrative feature, May You Have a Good Time, which explores the well-being of China’s single-child generation. Sara and Graeme Thomson Family Fellow.

Cynthia Kao

Cynthia Kao is an award-winning writer and director based in Los Angeles. Her work includes the short film Groundhog Day For A Black Man (16) and the WhoHaHa web series In The Kitchen (17), featuring Mae Whitman (Arrested Development) and Jane Levy (Shameless). Kao has written for Ground Floor (13–15), CollegeHumor, and Adam Ruins Everything (15– ). Her debut feature project, The One, is a romantic comedy about a co-dependent stunt woman who dates herself to figure out how to find her soulmate.

Jules Koostachin

Jules Koostachin is MoshKeKo Cree and a band member of Attawapiskat First Nation in Ontario. She is most known for AskiBOYZ (16), her TV series with APTN; the short documentary NiiSoTeWak (17); and the short film OChiSkwaCho (18). She is currently developing the feature film Broken Angel, which follows an abused woman who must face her greatest fear and choose between fight and flight. Sara and Graeme Thomson Family Fellow.

Giuliana Monteiro

Giuliana Monteiro is a Brazilian writer and director based in NYC and São Paulo. She has an MFA in filmmaking from NYU Tisch School of the Arts. Her shorts have been selected by the Berlinale and other major festivals. She is currently working on her first feature, Estrada para Livramento, in which two estranged brothers embark on a journey through the south of Brazil in search of their younger brother.

Ng'endo Mukii

Ng'endo Mukii is a Kenyan filmmaker. Her film credits include the award-winning shorts Yellow Fever (13) and Nairobi Berries (17). She is currently developing her debut feature, The Goat Sunday, which tells the story of two sisters trying to survive an otherworldly battle between good and evil after they are sent to live with their estranged, hyper-religious grandparents in rural Kenya.

Mikko Myllylahti

Mikko Myllylahti is a writer, director, and award-winning poet from Finland. His feature screenplay The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (16) won the Prize of Un Certain Regard at Cannes, was the Finnish entry for the Academy Awards, and has sold to more than 30 countries. His short film, The Tiger (18), premiered at Cannes’ Critics’ Week. His directorial debut will be The Woodcutter Story, which follows a kind and optimistic woodcutter who is tested after an open-pit mine is unearthed in his village.

Yanillys Pérez

Yanillys Pérez is a Dominican film director, writer, producer, and actor. Her feature documentary, Jeffrey (16), won the Dropbox Discovery Programme Filmmakers Award at TIFF; the FilmSlam Student Choice Award for Best Feature Film at Cleveland; and Best Feature Documentary at Trinidad+Tobago. Pérez is currently developing her first narrative feature, Candy Town, in which four young Dominican women commit armed robberies in order to buy luxury items they see advertised on TV. Participation supported by DGCine - Dominican Republic Film Commission.

Andrew Sala

Andrew Sala is a filmmaker from Argentina. He has written and directed several shorts, including Murder in Junin (12), which won the Best Fiction prize at the Tampere Film Festival and the Prix Spécial du Jury at Poitiers. His debut feature, Pantanal (14), premiered at Warsaw. Currently, Sala is working on his second feature, La Barbarie, about an introverted teenager from the city who is sent to work on his father’s ranch.

David Strasser

David Strasser is a Vancouver-based director and screenwriter. His recent projects are the award-winning feature Delinquent (18) and the docu-series Against the Grain: A Guide to Nonconformity (18). In 2018, Strasser was a JETS participant at the Berlinale and was awarded the Telus STORYHIVE Banff Fellowship. He is currently developing his second feature, Jackrabbit, in which sibling runaways embark on a violent crime spree to avenge the man responsible for their mother’s death.

R.T. Thorne

R.T. Thorne is a multi-disciplinary filmmaker based in Toronto. He has directed series for Netflix, Disney, Bell Media, Hulu, and Corus that have earned him DGC and Canadian Screen Awards nominations. His short film The Time Traveler (16) won Best Short at the Canadian Film Festival. He is currently developing his debut feature, 40 Acres, in which a Black family of militarized farmers find themselves forced to choose between helping an outsider or defending their birthright.

Rati Tsiteladze

Rati Tsiteladze has directed and produced several award-winning shorts, which have screened at Melbourne, Tampere, Guanajuato, and Locarno. His short documentary, Prisoner of Society (18), was nominated for a European Film Academy Award. His current feature-film project, The Empty House, follows a 12-year-old girl caught in a whirlpool of conflicting emotions when her father returns from prison after seven years of absence.

Elad Tzadok

Elad Tzadok is an Israeli–Canadian director, producer, and editor based in Vancouver. His award-winning short film Run (16) screened internationally and was nominated at the 2016 Leo Awards. His first narrative feature film, Wrath, explores the generational impacts of systemic racism and examines a dark part of Canada’s not-so-distant past.

What’s included:

  • A five-day, feature film–focused programme from September 4 to 8
  • Mentorship from TIFF’s programming team and expert guests
  • Complimentary accreditation for the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival
  • Complimentary accreditation for TIFF’s Industry Conference, Business Centre, and delegate resources
  • Accommodation for all out-of-town participants
  • Lunch on the four main days of the Lab
  • Invitations to two networking cocktails and one official dinner

IMPORTANT: TIFF Filmmaker Lab does not cover travel costs for selected participants. Transportation, including flights, train rides, etc. are the responsibility of the participants. Upon request, where visas are required for participating filmmakers, TIFF will use its best efforts to assist with the visa process. Should the selected participants reside more than 50km outside of the City of Toronto, TIFF Filmmaker Lab will provide up to six nights of accommodation in a downtown hotel.


TIFF Filmmaker Lab focuses on narrative storytelling and filmmaking.

  • This program is open to emerging filmmakers with a minimum of two short-film credits and a maximum of one feature-film credit as a director or screenwriter.
  • International applicants are welcome. All sessions are held in English, which applicants will need to be able to speak and understand fluently.
  • Only one submission per applicant.
  • Maximum of three total submissions to Filmmaker Lab per applicant over the last 10 years, i.e. if you have applied unsuccessfully on three different occasions in the past decade, you are not eligible to apply for the 2018 Lab.
  • Applicants must submit a continuous one-minute excerpt of one film project (short film, feature film, documentary, or animation). The clip must not exceed one minute in length. If you have applied for TIFF Filmmaker Lab in previous years, you must re-apply with a different film clip. Online applications must be submitted by 5pm EST on Saturday, May 19, 2018 for Canadian applicants and Friday, June 1, 2018 for international applicants.

Key Dates

Applications open
April 3
Applications close
May 19
International applications close
June 1
Participants notified of selection
July 15
TIFF Filmmaker Lab
September 4–8

Submissions are closed for 2018. We thank all those who applied.

Contact us at 416-599-8433 ext 2407 or email us at

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