Playback reveals the 2014 “5 to Watch”

Our most-anticipated list of the year: five Canadian entertainment industry talents whose careers are on the fast-track to success, and five more we're calling "The New Establishment."

In mathematics, momentum can be quantified: it is the product of the mass and velocity of an object. In the entertainment business, it’s created when mass equals hard work and velocity equals opportunity. It’s also what we’re looking for every year in Playback‘s 5 to Watch (formerly 10 to Watch). Careers catching fire. Talent on the up and up. The spark of future greatness.

With a record number of nominations this year (almost 250), Playback assembled a high-powered industry advisory board to help select, through a voting process and editorial review, the five people we think are best poised to make waves in the Canadian screen industry. And since it’s pretty tough to jam all that talent into just five slots, we selected five more whose careers are more established and equally as impressive: The New Establishment.

Profiles on each of the 5 to Watch and New Establishment will be rolling out in Playback Daily over the next week (5 to Watch) and throughout the month (New Establishment).  But without further adieu and in no particular order, here is this year’s list:

5 to Watch

  • Sarah Allen, actor
  • Jeff Chan, director/producer
  • Abby Ho, interactive producer
  • Melissa Williamson, head of development, Pier 21
  • Rupinder Gill, writer

and the New Establishment are:

  • Andrew Barnsley, producer
  • Todor Kobakov, composer
  • Zach Lipovsky, director and digital entrepreneur
  • Michael Grassi, writer/showrunner
  • Chris Harvey, VFX supervisor

The Playback 5 to Watch advisory board includes: Prem Gill, director of content at Telus; Tara Ellis, ‎senior director, original drama content at Shaw Media; Kathryn Emslie, Chief Programs Officer, CFC Film, TV, Actors & Music; Marguerite Pigott, VP, outreach and strategic initiatives, CMPA; Martin Katz, chair, Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and president Prospero Pictures; Sally Catto, GM, programming, CBC; Jesse Prupas, VP development and distribution, Muse Entertainment and Shawn Walsh, VFX executive producer and partner, Image Engine.