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Series Accelerator

TIFF is excited to announce the launch of TIFF Series Accelerator at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. This programme, presented by Canada Media Fund, will offer tailored mentorship for four emerging Canadian series-creator teams from under-represented communities to refine their pitches and develop a business plan for their projects.

The one-day mentorship intensive will have two priorities: refining the pitch and project materials with mentorship from a pitch coach and industry professionals; and developing ideas and strategies for finding international partners and moving projects forward. Teams will receive guidance on topics such as:

  • International broadcasters, co-producers, and how to work with international partners
  • Production — budgets, casting, crew
  • Story and audience
  • International financing, distribution, and sales

These meetings will feed into developing a business strategy so that participants can use the remainder of the Festival to identify and pitch to partners, and further develop their project.

What’s included

  • A one-day series development intensive, taking place in-person during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival
  • Mentorship from TIFF’s programming team and industry experts
  • Peer-to-peer mentorship from other creator teams in the programme
  • Support in both expanding the participants’ creative network and developing their project
  • Access to the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival
  • Access to TIFF Primetime programming
  • Access to TIFF’s Industry Conference, Business Centre, and Delegate Resources
  • A complimentary one-year TIFF Membership, which includes discounts on film tickets at TIFF Bell Lightbox
A group photo of the Series Accelerator Participants

2022 Series Accelerator Participants

Series Project: The Chosen One

Mariam Zaidi

Mariam Zaidi is a filmmaker and film programmer based in Toronto. Zaidi’s work has been funded and supported by the CBC, LIFT, TAC, OAC, CCA, BravoFACT! FACTOR Canada, Rogers Group of Funds, and the NFB. Alongside her independent film work, Zaidi is currently an Associate Programmer at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and an International Programmer at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival.

Meher Jaffri

Meher Jaffri is a Canadian Pakistani filmmaker (producer/director/writer), theatre practitioner, actor and Fulbright Scholar whose credits include award-winning feature films such as Funny Boy (2020) by Oscar-nominated director Deepa Mehta that was Canada’s submission to the 2021 Academy Awards; Noces (2016) that won two Magritte Awards and was nominated for a Cesar and Lumières award; Seedlings (2012), the critically acclaimed web series Churails (2021) for Indian OTT platform Zee5; short films and docs including Ruckus (2012), The Waves (2014) and Udaan (2021); and numerous theatre plays. Fellowships and talent labs include Goethe Institute’s Film Talents Lab (2017-18); Kitchener-based Pat the Dog’s Women’s Room (2021), Berlinale Talents (2021); official selection Series Mania Writer’s Room (2022); and the Toronto International Film Festival’s Series Accelerator (2022) with her current series in development, The Chosen One.

Series Project: Ghosts of Lakeland

Hannah Johnson

Hannah Johnson has produced over 70 hours of film, television, and web content over six years. She was accepted into the CMPA’s Emerging Producer Delegation to Berlinale in 2020, and is Head of Business Affairs at Eagle Vision, overseeing all business affairs for projects in development, production, and post-production.

Jessica Landry

Jessica Landry is a Canadian screenwriter, director, Bram Stoker Award–winning author, and alumni of the CFC and NSI whose work has been nominated for a Critics’ Choice Award. She’s written on sitcoms, factual series, and MOWs, and is currently adapting the Métis novel April Raintree as a limited series.

Series Project: Salt

Shant Joshi

Shant Joshi is a producer whose credits include the films Framing Agnes (Sundance, NEXT Audience Award, NEXT Innovator Award), International Dawn Chorus Day (Berlin, TEDDY Award Winner), Porcupine Lake (Toronto), and Noor & Layla (BlackStar); the hit web series Teenagers (CSAs); and the Dekkoo original series I’m Fine (Outfest).

Abdul Malik

Abdul Malik is a labour organizer–turned-screenwriter. His past credits include NBC/CTV’s Transplant, Vortex Media’s film Peace by Chocolate (Tribeca 2021), and Fae Pictures’ film Queen Tut, starring Alexandra Billings and shooting August 2022. He has projects in various stages of development with companies such as Shaftesbury, Alibi Entertainment, and Circle Blue Entertainment.

Series Project: Thread

Shelby Manton

Co-founder of Boldly, Shelby Manton is a producer who assembles passionate creative teams to make recognizable and thought-provoking narrative originals, branded content, and music videos. She is a champion of independent cinema, empowering filmmakers through Boldly’s values-based producing model built around a culture of care, community, and vision. The result is work that makes an impact.

With a desire to change the way content is made for the better, Manton has a love for creating exceptional production experiences while bringing to life relatable, character-driven stories that leave audiences with something to ponder. Her narrative work has screened at TIFF, SXSW, Festival Du Nouveau Cinéma, and Fantasia Festival, in addition to receiving numerous Vimeo Staff Picks. Her commercial work has won at the Clio Awards, YDAs, Shiny Awards, Kinsale Shark Awards, Young Guns 19, and 1.4 Awards.

Bianca Kenna

Bianca Kenna is an award-nominated queer actress and writer based in Vancouver. She completed her conservatory training in New York City at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. From a young age she pursued the arts, “donating” her first novel to the school library in a moment of martyr-like sacrifice. It was never seen again. Her short film and directorial debut, Mr. Khatia, is currently in contention for festival screenings. Her first full-length play, Hotello!, was completed in 2021 during a Write from the Wings residency with the Arts Club. She will soon be seen as the lead in Hannah Dougherty’s upcoming short, She Said F*** Off. Thread is her second collaboration with Boldly, after developing the limited series Margot Go. Bianca’s work is character-driven and intentional, galvanized by the desire to create engaging stories, conjure with fellow creatives, and make meaningful impact.