10 to Watch: Emerging filmmakers talk financing in a system in flux

VIDEO: Kent Donguines, Malachi Ellis, Samantha MacAdam, Renuka Singh and Jadiel Dowlin discuss new decision-makers in the Canadian screen sector and the bumpy road to finance a project.

The continued emergence of streaming services and pending legislation to update the Broadcasting Act has brought new buyers to Canada. What has that meant for the country’s emerging talent?

Kent Donguines, Malachi Ellis, Samantha MacAdam, Renuka Singh and Jadiel Dowlin – five of Playback‘s 10 to Watch cohort from 2021 – discuss key topics in the screen sector, such as the opportunities to reach new decision-makers, access to funding and rising production costs.

More on Playback‘s 10 to Watch:

Kent Donguines is a Filipino-Canadian narrative and documentary filmmaker who runs Aimer Films Inc., based in Vancouver. He produced the award-winning CBC short documentary This Ink Runs Deep, which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. He also created the award-winning short documentary Kalinga (Care), which had its world premiere at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival, and is an alumnus of the 2021 CFC Producers’ Lab.

Malachi Ellis is a multidisciplinary creative producer and a production co-ordinator for Entertainment One. He is an alumnus of the Toronto Metropolitan University’s (formerly Ryerson University) Media Production & OYA Media Group’s Emerging Filmmakers Program. As a producer, Ellis seeks to produce fictional content that inspires others and pushes for authentic representation in all media formats.

Samantha MacAdam is an award-winning Guyanese-Canadian narrative filmmaker, with a focus on comedy and horror. Her directing credits include CBC Gem’s Virgins! and True Dating Stories, and a recently wrapped a feature-length MOW for Lifetime. MacAdam’s work has been showcased in Just for Laughs in Kevin Hart’s LOL Showcase, the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative and the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival’s Big Pitch Event. She has two feature films in development. Her commercial work includes promotions for the 2022 Juno Awards on CBC, hosted by Simu Liu, and she has recently signed with commercial prodco Revolver Films as a director.

Originally from Kitimat, B.C., Renuka Singh has transitioned from a career in business to the arts as a screenwriter. She is an alumni of the Pacific Screenwriting Program and was one of the top 25 participates selected for the Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Pitch Program. Most recently, she has optioned her Indo-Canadian-led, half-hour dramedy with a Toronto-based production company.

Jadiel Dowlin is one of the youngest members of the Writers Guild of Canada and already has projects in development with Sinking Ship Entertainment and Nelvana. He has written for production companies such as Fresh TV, Shaftesbury, Epic Story Media, Sinking Ship Entertainment, Laughing Dragon Studios, and KalKaden Productions, and was nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his role in Annedroids in 2016. Dowlin is also a board member of the Youth Media Alliance.

Details regarding nominations for the 2022 edition of 10 to Watch will be announced in the coming weeks.