Toronto Film Festival Announces 2017 Talent Lab Participants

Twenty emerging filmmakers from across the globe have been selected for the 14th annual TIFF Talent Lab. They will have the opportunity to learn from leading international film artists, with an emphasis on developing their creative vision and craft. The five-day artistic development programme will take place from September 5 to 9, 2017.

"We are excited to welcome this group of talented filmmakers, and to support them to develop their artistry and expand their connections," said Kathleen Drumm, TIFF Industry Director. "The breadth of their work displays the quality and diverse storytelling that TIFF is committed to supporting, and we see them as important filmmaking voices for the future."

Since its inception, TIFF Talent Lab has been crucial in shaping the careers of many young directors and screenwriters. Notable Canadians who have attended Talent Lab in the past include Wiebke Von Carolsfeld, Richie Mehta, Elan Mastai, Semi Chellas and Michelle Latimer. Distinguished directors and producers, acting as Talent Lab Governors, will be mentoring THE 20 up-and-coming filmmakers (10 international, 10 Canadian) through workshops, pitch sessions and masterclasses, with a focus on creativity, artistic process and independent voice.

To lead the newest cohort, this year's Governors are producer Cassian Elwes (Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Valentine, Lee Daniels' The Butler, Paperboy), along with Carole Scotta and Caroline Benjo from French production and distribution company Haut et Court (The Lobster, Foxfire, The Class). Additional Governors will be announced soon.

Special TIFF Talent Lab guests, including acclaimed international filmmakers, will be announced in the coming weeks. Talent Lab is produced by Hayet Benkara, TIFF Talent Development Programmer.

The 2017 Talent Lab participants are: Nathalie Álvarez Mesén (Sweden/Costa Rica); Jessica Beshir (Mexico); Mamadou Dia (Senegal); Belén Funes (Spain); Tinna Hrafnsdóttir (Iceland); Sara Kern (Slovenia); Jacqueline Lentzou (Greece); Samantha Nell (South Africa); Jenni Toivoniemi (Finland) and Wei-Ning Yu (Taiwan/USA/Canada). Joining them from Canada are Alexandre Dostie; Connor Gaston; Lawrence Le Lam; Trevor Mack; Emilie Mannering; Ryan Noth; Lina Roessler; Jorge Thielen Armand; Thyrone Tommy and Heather Young.

Helene Hegemann (Axolotl Overkill; Man of My Dreams) is the inaugural German Resident at TIFF. Hegemann will take up residence at TIFF Bell Lightbox this month. She is the first German beneficiary of the TIFF Residency Exchange programme, produced in collaboration with Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg. The programme provides one Canadian and one German filmmaker per year with the opportunity to live, work and find inspiration in two countries as they develop their next screenplay. Andrew Cividino (Sleeping Giant) travelled to Berlin earlier this year as the first Canadian filmmaker to take advantage of this new programme. Canadian candidates for the Residency programme were nominated by established members of the local film industry.

TIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributors including Founding Sponsor Bell, the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC.

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