How many lawyers does it take to organize a film festival?
Just one, apparently, if that lawyer is Jordan Nahmias. The Toronto-based entertainment lawyer-producer-festival director is one of the Canadian film industry’s brightest young professionals, successfully blending together a career in law with a love of film and music.
By day, Nahmias runs a law practice in Toronto specializing in media, intellectual property and corporate law. Of late, he’s been focusing on helping his clients navigate the byzantine world of rights management and cross-platform distribution, which has grown increasingly complex as audiences have fragmented across new mediums.
But by night, Nahmias has made himself a name as co-founder of Open Roof Films Entertainment and the Open Roof Festival, a summer event series featuring food, film and live music.
The Open Roof business, which is non-profit, has helped him create a niche in the Canadian entertainment scene, with one side of his business informing and helping to develop the other. The Open Roof Festival events, which he co-founded and co-directs with Canadian TV mogul Michael MacMillan, offer film screenings, beer tasting and food under the stars on the Toronto waterfront. While films screened aren’t always Canadian – most are festival picks curated by eOne execs and Open Roof programmers Charlotte Mickie and Christina Kubacki – profits earned from the event go to supporting Canadian independent film and music.
Not content with his success to date, Nahmias has started producing as well. He is currently associate producing From The Four Corners of the Earth, a documentary about a community in the remote Ghana village of Sefwi Wiawso, the inhabitants of which find out that the religion they’ve followed for over 200 years is in fact Judaism, sparking a desire to visit the religion’s homeland of Israel. The filmmakers successfully raised over $15,000 in a Kickstarter campaign to shoot the first phase of Four Corners‘ production earlier this year.
“Reaching out further into production allows me to put my negotiation, business and ultimately, creative skills to further use,” Nahmias says of his evolving career. “Having a background in entertainment law really does set one up well for navigating the landscape and issues that come with production.”
Check back here as we continue to unveil this year’s 10 to Watch over the next several days.