Applications for 2020 will open on April 9th.

2019 Filmmaker Lab Participants

Charles Williams

Charles Williams is a filmmaker born and raised in Victoria, Australia. His films have screened at over 150 festivals, including TIFF, Cannes, Clermont-Ferrand, SXSW, Telluride, Busan, and Melbourne. His latest short film, All These Creatures (18), won the Short Film Palme d’Or at Cannes. He is currently developing his first feature film, Inside.

Abbesi Akhamie

Abbesi Akhamie is a Nigerian American writer, director, and producer based in New York City. She received her MFA in film from New York University. Her short film, Still Water Runs Deep (17), premiered at TIFF, and has been screened and broadcast worldwide. She is currently developing her debut feature film, In My Father’s House, which follows an American woman who goes on a journey of self-discovery when she travels to Nigeria to confront her estranged father.

Joseph Amenta

Joseph Amenta is a producer, writer, and director. Their recent short film, Haus (18), was fully funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and was screened in the International Competition at the Clermont-Ferrand Short Film Festival. In 2018 they completed their residency at the CFC Directors’ Lab, and they have been invited to take part in TIFF’s 2019 Talent Lab. Their upcoming first feature film, Tribe (20), received funding from Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program and won the Toronto Screenwriting Conference Breakthrough Artist Award. They have an honours degree in Film Studies from Ryerson University.

Cyril Aris

Cyril Aris is a Lebanese writer-director based in Beirut and New York. His feature documentary The Swing (18) premiered in Karlovy Vary and won awards in El Gouna, Rome, London, and Budapest. His short film The President’s Visit (17) premiered at TIFF and played in over 60 film festivals. Aris holds an MFA from Columbia University and is a voting member in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Andreas Bøggild Monies

Andreas Bøggild Monies is a Danish filmmaker. After having worked as a film editor for 12 years, he turned towards directing, resulting in the award-winning short film Shadow Boxer (18) about a young girl who takes up boxing after her mother is injured in the ring. He is currently working on developing this short film into his first feature film.

Sofia Bohdanowicz

Sofia Bohdanowicz is a Toronto-based filmmaker. She won the Emerging Canadian Director award at the 2016 Vancouver International Film Festival for her first feature, Never Eat Alone. She won the Toronto Film Critics Association’s 2017 Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize and was a runner-up for the 2018 Rogers Best Canadian Film Prize for Maison du bonheur (17). Her latest film, MS Slavic 7 (19), premiered at the Berlinale Forum. She is currently in development on a new project and is completing her MFA in film production at York University.

Karen Chapman

Karen Chapman is an award-winning filmmaker and an alumna of Emily Carr University, the Banff Centre, and the CaribbeanTales Incubator, where she won best pitch. In 2018, Playback named her one of five filmmakers to watch and she completed the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Lab. In 2019, her film Lessons Injustice (17) won Best Screenplay at the Women in Film & Television - Toronto Showcase and she received support from the Harold Greenberg Fund for her film Esequibo Rapture. Currently, Chapman is preparing to shoot her first feature film, Village Keeper, through Telefilm Canada’s Talent Fund.

Aisling “Ash” Chin-Yee

Aisling “Ash” Chin-Yee is a Montreal-based filmmaker and a co-founder of the #AfterMeToo movement. Her feature directorial debut is The Rest of Us, which is making its World Premiere at TIFF 2019. Her producer credits include the feature films Rhymes for Young Ghouls (13), Last Woman Standing (13), and The Saver (15). She is currently co-directing a documentary feature with Chase Joynt about jazz musician and transgender icon Billy Tipton, and her feature drama The Day Between will start shooting in 2020. Chin-Yee was recently selected for the inaugural cohort of the leadership program 50 Women Can Change the World in Media & Entertainment.

Nicole Dorsey

Nicole Dorsey was born in Mississauga, Ontario. She has a BFA in film production from Ryerson University. She’s worked extensively as a commercial and narrative director. Her debut feature, Black Conflux (19), was part of the WIDC Story & Leadership program and was a finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest. Dorsey also directed the short Arlo Alone (16), which premiered in competition at the Atlanta Film Festival. The film was a Vimeo Staff Pick won the A&E Short Filmmakers Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. With a strong penchant for character-driven material, Dorsey aims to present a realist portrayal of the human condition.

Martin Edralin

Martin Edralin is a Toronto-based filmmaker. His work has screened at international film festivals including TIFF, Sundance, and Locarno. His films include Hole (14), which won the Grand Prize at Clermont-Ferrand and a Canadian Screen Award for best live-action short; Emma (16), a Canada’s Top Ten selection at TIFF; and Building History: The Story of Benjamin Brown (16), which was nominated for the Heritage Toronto Award for public history.

Chema García Ibarra

Chema García Ibarra made the short films The attack of the robots from Nebula-5 (08), Protoparticles (09), Mystery (13), The disco shines (16), and The golden legend (19). His films have been selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes, Sundance, and the Berlinale. He has received two honourable mentions from Sundance, and he won first prize in the Avant-Garde Competition at BAFICI. He also won the Méliès d’Or and was nominated for the European Film Awards.

Beza Hailu Lemma

Beza Hailu Lemma is an Ethiopian filmmaker based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A graduate of Addis Ababa University’s School of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, he has written, directed, and independently produced a number of short films, including 2017’s Ballad of the Spirits. He is currently writing his debut feature film, titled The Last Tears of the Deceased. Hailu Lemma is an alum of Berlinale Talents, Realness African Screenwriters Residency, and Africa Centre’s Artist in Residency program.

Drew Lint

Drew Lint is a Canadian writer-director based in Berlin. In 2009 he graduated from Ryerson University’s film program. His debut feature, M/M (18), premiered at Slamdance Film Festival and received a special mention from the jury at Vancouver International Film Festival for the Emerging Canadian Director prize. In 2018, Lint was longlisted for the Directors Guild of Canada’s Discovery Award.

Jennifer Peedom

Jennifer Peedom is a BAFTA-nominated Australian director, known for her gripping, intimate portraits of people in extreme circumstances. Her credits include the internationally renowned feature documentaries Solo (08), Sherpa (15), and, most recently, Mountain (17), a collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She is currently developing her first narrative fiction film about Tenzing Norgay, one of the first people to climb Mount Everest in 1953, along with Edmund Hillary.

Samantha Pineda Sierra

Samantha Pineda Sierra is a director, producer, and writer. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in media and communication from ITESM Mexico, she studied film at the University of Essex in England, EICTV in Cuba, IFSS in Australia, and UBC Vancouver, where she is currently pursuing an MFA in Film Production and Creative Writing. She participated in Berlinale Talents FICG31, Blood Window TV, the Oaxaca Film Lab in collaboration with the Sundance Film Institute, and FONCA’s Jóvenes Creadores. Her short films include El Pescador (11) and Ascensión (16), which were both nominated for Ariel Awards.

Johanna Pyykkö

Johanna Pyykkö has a bachelor’s degree in film directing from the Norwegian Film School. She has made award-winning shorts and been in writers’ rooms on several drama series, one being the critically acclaimed Home Ground (Heimebane) (18– ). Her short The Manila Lover (19) premiered in competition at the 58th Semaine de la Critique during Cannes, and her short My Sister Dances (19) premiered in the International Competition at Lago Film Fest.

Geoff Redknap

Geoff Redknap’s special makeup-effects artistry has spanned projects from The X-Files (93–18) to Deadpool (16) and Deadpool 2 (18). He attended the NSI’s Drama Prize program, where he wrote and directed the award-winning short film The Auburn Hills Breakdown (08). He also attended the NSI’s Features First program with Hangfire (then known as Heaven’s Door), which was a finalist in the 2012 Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition. He wrote and directed the feature film The Unseen (16), which premiered at Fantasia in Montreal. He is represented by Zero Gravity Management.

Silvina Schnicer

Silvina Schnicer is a filmmaker from Argentina. Along with Ulises Porra Guardiola, she co-wrote and co-directed the short films La Bicha (10) and Destello (16), both winners of the National Arts Fund in Argentina. Her first feature film, Tigre, had its world premiere at TIFF in 2017. She is currently working in her second feature film, The Cottage, in which a middle-class family finds a body during their summer vacation.

Charlie Tyrell

Charlie Tyrell is a Toronto-based filmmaker who works in a hybrid style that often combines live-action footage with stop-motion and 2D animation. His most recent documentary short, My Dead Dad’s Porno Tapes (18), premiered at Sundance and won awards for best documentary short at the Canadian Screen Awards and SXSW. The film was also shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Awards and was selected for TIFF’s Canada’s Top Ten series.

Maya Vitkova-Kosev

Maya Vitkova-Kosev's debut film, Viktoria (14), was the first Bulgarian feature in competition at Sundance. The film won 10 awards and was named one of the best films of 2016 by The New Yorker. Vitkova-Kosev is currently working on her second feature film, Afrika, which was developed at the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab in 2018 and won the Krzysztof Kieslowski ScripTeast Award for the best Eastern European script at Cannes the same year.

TIFF Filmmaker Lab brings together some of the world’s most promising filmmaking talent during the Toronto International Film Festival in September. Over a four-day period, selected participants learn from internationally acclaimed filmmakers and guests, deepening their industry understanding and empowering them to move forward with their projects. Past mentors and speakers include: Julie Dash, Jane Campion, Juliette Binoche, Jim Stark, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Ivan Reitman, Atom Egoyan, Sandra Oh, Darren Aronofsky, Lone Scherfig, Mia Hansen-Løve, Claire Denis, Agnieszka Holland, Jia Zhangke, Wim Wenders, Alfonso Cuarón, Spike Lee, Steve McQueen, Ava DuVernay, Cassian Elwes and Jean-Marc Vallée.

2019 Applications

What’s included:

  • A four-day, feature film–focused programme from September 4 to 7
  • Mentorship from TIFF’s programming team and expert guests
  • Complimentary accreditation for the 2019 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 five 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 2019 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 Friday, May 31, 2019 for Canadian applicants and Friday, June 7, 2019 for international applicants.
  • Applicants must submit a video pitch of less than two minutes in duration. The applicant should comment on their project and filmmaking approach, as well as why they want to participate in TIFF Filmmaker Lab.

Key Dates

Applications open
March 1
Canadian Applications close
May 31
International applications close
June 7
Participants notified of selection
June 28
TIFF Filmmaker Lab
September 4–7

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