With no formal gatekeepers to hold them back, the web empowers creators to tell the kinds of stories that have often been overlooked by mainstream media. But the playing field is far from level. Join us for an honest and insightful look at what the web has meant for diverse storytellers, and diverse storytelling. Discover the importance and strategic virtues of including culturally and ethnically informed perspectives in content--especially on the web. Find out what it means to authentically connect to audiences by leveraging unique and varied viewpoints. Explore the possibility of a future where diverse stories are just as accessible and sought after as what is currently mainstream in broadcast, film or otherwise. What's working? What are the current challenges, and how can we forge an inclusive online future together?
Co Presented by T.O. Webfest and WGC/Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program.
Emilia Zboralska - Moderator
Emilia Zboralska is a PhD Candidate, Instructor and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow at Ryerson University. Emilia is passionate about the potential of the web as a platform to tell diverse and meaningful Canadian stories to Canada and the world. She’s worn many media hats and has worked on productions for major Canadian broadcasters in a variety of roles. Recently, she’s been very involved in the policy end of the industry and is working on projects that aim at bettering conditions for Canada’s creators through policy change and advocacy. Her dissertation research examines the growing digital-first sector, and aims to identify gaps in existing policies and programs, and to make strategic recommendations geared toward stimulating the market for Canadian digital-first series, and empowering Canadian creators to succeed in the digital realm.
Bobby Del Rio - Panelist
Bobby Del Rio is the creator and showrunner of IRL (In Real Life). The series has been sold to Bell Media's Fibe TV1. Bobby also wrote/directed the feature film The Market - as well as 10 short films that have played at festivals around the world. He was the Canadian Feature Film programmer at ReelWorld Film Festival for 5 years, and is the Founder and President of INCLUDE - Canada's largest multicultural network in theatre, film and television.
Mathew Murray - Panelist
Mathew Murray is a filmmaker based in Toronto, Canada. Murray began experimenting with film in his early teens, working on a variety of projects spanning documentary, alternative and fiction genres. In 2014, his award-winning web series Teenagers (2014) gained significant popularity on YouTube and has since screened at festivals around the world. He studied Film Production at York University in Toronto, Canada.
Samantha Wan - Panelist
Samantha is a Toronto based actor, director, producer. In 2011 she graduated from the National Theatre School. In film Samantha made her debut starring in feature film The Devils Mile and Web series Leslieville, then went on to appear in other series such as Rubyskye P.I and Out With Dad. For T.V Samantha produced/directed a sit-com, Second Jen, which has since been put into development with a major broadcaster. Samantha was also commissioned to create OMNI’s first web series, a kung fu epic titled Sudden Master. As a filmmaker, Samantha is invigorated by work that explores diverse voices and innovative stories.
JP Larocque is a Toronto-based screenwriter, journalist, and stand-up comedian. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto’s Cinema Studies Institute, The Second City Comedy Writing Program, and an alumnus of the Bell Media Diverse Screenwriters Program. His award-winning web series Gay Nerds (www.gaynerds.tv) has been covered by The New York Times, The Advocate, and Space Channel, and was recently picked up for distribution by OUTtv. In 2015, his short film Neutered was screened at the Inside Out LGBT Film Festival.
If you see him in the street, please feel free to offer him employment.