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Meet the Team Behind the Festival
About Us
Meet the Team Behind the Festival
About Us

Forest City Film Festival


Get to know the Forest City Film Festivals’ leadership team, and all of the great work the FCFF team is doing to build a home for independent filmmakers in southwestern Ontario!


Letter From the Executive Director

As we reflect back on the eighth year of this festival it is with complete and utter joy, as we recognize that we have finally emerged from the challenges of the Covid years. Our audience came back in droves and we truly felt their love and appreciation. Over the course of our nine days, countless audience members and filmmakers came up to me after a film, with words of appreciation, and I humbly accepted them on behalf of the incredible team that puts this festival together. I may have started it nine years ago, but its success today is a collaborative effort, a testament to the dedication of numerous individuals who pull together for the benefit of London regional audiences and Southwestern Ontario filmmakers.

The foundation of our organization lies in its knowledgable and generous board of directors, skillfully led by Nancy Branscombe. The Managing Director, Jacqueline Demendeev, and Youth Festivals Manager, Mike Sheriff have worked alongside me all year to bring together the efforts of an outstanding staff group. Each member of this team is deeply committed to elevating this festival into something that both London and the surrounding region can take immense pride in and they all contributed to the extraordinary experiences our audience had this year.

We have three core reasons for being here. We believe that we have an abundance of talent in this region. We are here to show off that talent and build pride in our regional audiences for these incredible people who come from among us. We are here to support our filmmakers in their path into the industry and that is why we run our Ontario Screen Creators Conference and give away $120,000 in pitch prizes. We are also here to inspire future filmmakers, so that one day people from across Canada and the world will look at our region as a hotbed of incredible film talent. This year we were thrilled to see three of our winning youth festival alumni come back during their film school years, with shorts that made the final cut into the main festival. This achievement stands as a powerful testament to the effectiveness of our efforts, signaling a significant impact on the careers of emerging filmmakers. I want to thank all of the talented filmmakers for giving us the pleasure of helping their talents shine, thereby brightening the cultural landscape here in this region.

I extend my deepest gratitude to our sponsors and donors. Their unwavering support, especially through challenging times, is deeply appreciated. To our fantastic audience, whose enthusiastic return increased by an impressive 30% over 2022, you played an instrumental role in making 2023 a year we will forever cherish.

With great anticipation, we look forward to the possibilities that 2024 holds.

Dorothy Downs
Founder & Executive Director, Forest City Film Festival


Board of Directors

Nancy Branscombe
Board Chair
Nord Mensah
Andrew Dodd
Janice Zolf
Maria Alexopoulos
Maria Alexopoulos
Lamise Kablawi
Ethan Hickey
John Brennan
Megan Fowler
Mark Vogelsang


Advisory Council

Emma Donoghue
Paul Haggis
John Kapelos
Victor Garber
David Shore