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Are you working on your First Feature Film?

LET US GIVE YOU A LEG UP TO GET IT MADE

The challenges of getting your first film, or maybe your second try at your first film, off the ground are enormous.  It takes grit, determination, and a lot of knowledge to get it on its feet.  We are here to inspire your grit and determination and provide you with lots of knowledge!  This year’s Leg Up Labs workshop series will be focusing on the steps you need to take to take your career to the next level. We will be covering everything, from creation through finance and production to distribution. Bring your big idea off your wish list and into reality with the coaching of industry leader John Galway, formerly head of the Harold Greenburg fund, along with a strong selection of industry experts.

At the end of the first two weekends, you will be ready to submit your pitch to the Ontario Screen Creator’s Conference $60,000 Feature Film Pitch! (more info on that really soon!)

Get to Know the Three Elements to get to Market

  • CREATING content that engages an audience.
  • RAISING THE MONEY AND BUILDING YOUR TEAM to realize your dream.
  • PARTNERING – finding and collaborating with the right distribution partners.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: JULY 15

SESSIONS HELD: JULY 27 &28,  AUGUST 24 &25,  AND OCTOBER 23. 

This program is capped at 20 Projects.

Free to apply.  Selected participants pay $600, which includes five days of programming,

Four days of lunches and refreshments (Value $120)

One Ontario Screen Creators Conference Seminar Day ticket for October 24-26 (value $150),

A ticket to the Screen Creator’s Networking Party on Thursday, October 24 (value $30)

A six-ticket pass to the Forest City Film Festival ($90 value)

The total value of $990 for only $650

The FCFF will provide one scholarship consisting of a waived fee for the 2024 Leg Up Labs.

Take a peek at our 2023

Workshop Schedule

The goal of the opening weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to drive your projects forward. We’ll dig into each project and distill the opportunities and challenges ahead.

DAY 1 – BUILDING A FOUNDATION

Leg Up Labs Break Down Your Project

10:00 am – 11:00 am

GROUP INTRODUCTIONS – LAB REVIEW

Led by John Galway. Introductions and discussion of goals – and a review of the schedule.

11:00 am – 12:00 am

WHAT GOES INTO MAKING A FILM

A successful producer looks at “producing” your first feature film – what exactly is a Producer responsible for!

Leg Up Labs Working as a Writer Director

1:30 pm – 2:30 pm

WHO IS THE AUDIENCE

What excites the marketplace for first features – funders, distributors/sales agent and ultimately the audience. What aspect of my project will attract attention at each stage of the journey.

2:45 pm – 5:00 pm

BREAKING DOWN YOUR PROJECT

As a group, we’ll dig into the creative, audience engagement and financial aspects of each project -discussing the opportunities and challenges and build a plan forward…and of course there’s homework!

Leg Up Labs Ink and Drink

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The Ink and Drink Social: Part 1

Participants who have attended the day’s events (and guests and even those who have not attended) are encouraged to mix and mingle at a local food/drink patio.

A great way to connect, and network in more personal and meaningful ways.

The goal of the opening weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to drive your projects forward. We’ll be looking at ways to connect with an audience, tailor your pitch and opportunities to finance your projects with real world examples.

Day 2 – BUILDING A FOUNDATION

Leg Up Labs Connecting With Your Audience

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

BREAKING DOWN YOUR PROJECT

As a group, we’ll dig into the creative, audience engagement and financial aspects of each project -discussing the opportunities and challenges and build a plan forward.

Leg Up Labs Connecting With Your Audience

1:30 pm – 4:30 pm

BREAKING DOWN YOUR PROJECT

As a group, we’ll dig into the creative, audience engagement and financial aspects of each project -discussing the opportunities and challenges and build a plan forward.

Leg Up Labs Pitch Like a Pro

4:30 pm – 5:00 pm

NEXT STEPS – Group discussion

A review of the main learning lessons of the first weekend and next steps in developing your project and pitch.

Leg Up Labs Next Steps

The goal of the second weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to get your projects made. We’ll look at budgeting, raising the money needed and how to get your film distributed.

DAY 1 – FINANCING AND BUSINESS

Leg Up Labs Questions and Catch Up

10:00 am – 10:30 am

Questions and Catch-up

John Galway will lead the recap of the past days to start off the second weekend and thoughts on progress made between sessions.

Leg Up Labs Funding

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

BUDGETING YOUR FILM

How do you start to budget for your film – we’ll look at everything from number of shoot days, size of crew, locations etc. as we start to build the picture of how much your film will cost to make.

Leg Up Labs Funding
Making a movie

3:10 pm – 5:00 pm

WHAT FINANCING IS AVAILABLE?

We’ll look at potential sources of funding: Film Funds, tax credits and private investors.

1:30 pm – 3:00 pm

WHAT EQUIPMENT WILL I NEED?

We review everything lights, camera packages and everything you need to create the look you want.

Leg Up Labs Ink and Drink Social

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm After Event

The Ink and Drink Social: Part 2

Writers who have attended the day’s events (and guests and even those who have not attended) are encouraged to mix and mingle at a local food/drink patio.

The goal of the second weekend is to build the tools and knowledge to get your projects made. We’ll look at budgeting, raising the money needed and how to get your film distributed.

DAY 2 – GETTING PEOPLE TO SEE YOUR FILM

10:00 am – 12:00 pm

Recap and Pitch Work

We’ve explored all aspects of your project now – and it’s a lot of information! Time to recap, ask questions, and practice your pitch!

10:30 Am – 12:00 pm

HOW TO GET NOTICED BY FILM FESTIVAL PROGRAMMERS

Film Festivals remain one of the best ways to find your audience and build buzz around your film. We’ll explore what programmers are looking for and how to stand out.

1:00 pm – 2:30 pm

HOW TO GET A DISTRIBUTOR TO HELP GET YOUR FILM OUT THERE

What is the role of a distributor – what opportunities are there to have your film seen around the world.

2:45 pm –4:00 pm

INSPIRATION STORY – SUCCESSFUL UP AND COMING FILMMAKER

To close off the second weekend we look at a Filmmaker who was recently in your shoes – what was their roadmap to success and what obstacles did they face.

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Festival Planning – Networking Techniques and Strategies – John Galway

John discusses strategies for maximizing the opportunity that film festivals and markets present.

Learn from and connect with

PRODUCER AND LAB FACILITATOR

John Galway

John Galway is a highly accomplished CEO, producer, and influential figure in the film and media industry. As the founder of Corrib Entertainment, he has curated captivating documentaries and compelling dramatic series. With notable roles at Telefilm Canada and the Harold Greenberg Fund, John’s expertise spans financing, policy development, and industry leadership. His contributions have left an indelible mark on the Canadian media landscape, including the establishment of the renowned Producers’ Lab at the Whistler Film Festival and his role as Executive Director of the Toronto Irish Film Festival. Recognized with prestigious accolades such as the Canadian Screen Award’s Academy Board Tribute, John Galway is a true luminary in the industry.

FEATURED SPEAKERS FROM 2023 (2024 SPEAKERS TBA)

Jeremy lalonde in front of camera

Jeremy LaLonde - Filmmaker

Paul Zimic - Producer

Dummy Image

Canadian Media Fund - TBA

Suzanne Lacey - Bell Fund

Winnifred Jong - Filmmaker

Leah Rifkin

Leah Rifkin - WebSeries Canada

Jeremy lalonde in front of camera

Jeremy LaLonde

Jeremy LaLonde is a filmmaker who resides in Toronto where he was awarded with NOW Magazine’s ‘Best Local Filmmaker’ Reader’s Choice Award in 2015. His films have screened internationally including Toronto Int’l Film Festival, Slamdance, Cinequest, Santa Barbara, Dances with Films and Whistler. His film SEX AFTER KIDS won Best Feature at Film North Huntsville, Best Comedy at the Edmonton Int’l Film Festival, and Best Screenplay & Best Director at the Canadian Comedy Awards.

His film HOW TO PLAN AN ORGY IN A SMALL TOWN premiered at Slamdance and won Best Indie Feature at the Edmonton Int’l Film Festival, and Best Ensemble & Best Feature film at the Canadian Film Fest. His fourth feature film THE GO-GETTERS had its world premiere at Cinequest where it won the Jury Award for Best Comedy Feature.

Jeremy has won multiple Canadian Screen Awards, a Director’s Guild of Canada, and a Canadian Comedy Award for his work both directing and editing on BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW (CBC/IFC). He was an integral part of the show for its first three seasons. His fifth feature film JAMES vs HIS FUTURE SELF co-written by Jonas Chernick and starring Daniel Stern, Frances Conroy, and Cleopatra Coleman recently took home four awards at Toronto After Dark including Best Feature Film (Bronze), Best Canadian Feature, Best Sci-Fi Feature, and Best Supporting Actor and it also screened at Whistler, Santa Barbara, and Brussels among others. It was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards including Best Original Screenplay. His sixth feature film, ASHGROVE, had its world premiere at the Glasgow Int’l film festival to rave reviews and recently won Best Ensemble Cast and Indie Spirit Award at the Canadian Film Festival and Best Feature Film at the Forest City Film Festival. It was recently nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards. Jeremy’s seventh feature DANIEL’S GOTTA DIE, recently starting touring film festivals winning Best International Feature & Best Ensemble Cast at the Garden State Film Festival. He is readying his eight feature film and is developing several properties for television.

Paul Zimic

Paul Zimic began his work in the movie business at the age of 14 working as an usher in his hometown movie theatre. He graduated university took a job in Toronto as a media buyer for film distributor, Twentieth Century Fox. Over the next 10 years, Zimic enriched his passion for movies in the sales and marketing departments of Alliance Independent Films, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, Playback, and CBC.

In 2004 Paul Zimic formed Grindstone Media, a boutique film and television production and distribution company where he co-created and produced TV projects, Grim Sweepers (2010), Downtime With Biznasty (2011) and the feature documentary Never Enough (2014). In 2013, he took an ownership position as President of Distribution with digital media supply chain provider, Juice Worldwide. Juice was acquired by Vubiquity two years later and Zimic returned to producing with the award-winning feature doc The Woman Who Loves Giraffes (2018). Under the new banner Battlejoy Films, Zimic is currently in post on the feature doc Voices from a Concrete Ceiling and developing a slate of film and digital projects.

Jeremy lalonde in front of camera

TBA

TBA

Suzanne Lacey

Suzanne is Bell Fund’s Deputy Director, English Canada, a CRTC certified independent production fund which provides approximately $15 million annually to over 100 independent production companies to support the development and production of high-quality Canadian content. Previously, Suzanne was Director of Multi-Platform Content and Broadcast Scheduling for TVO. She was responsible for TVO’s first drama series Hard Rock Medical (Distinct Features) filmed in Sudbury and North Bay, and its first factual series The Water Brothers (SK Films), winner of the prestigious BBC Earth Panda Award. Before that, she production managed various programs including the multi-Gemini Award-winning documentary, Before Their Time (Discovery U.S. & TVO). She is a graduate of Queen’s University film studies with a certificate in digital media from OCAD.

Winnifred Jong

Winnifred Jong is a sought-after, award-winning Toronto-based filmmaker and alumna of the prestigious Women In the Director’s Chair program. Since being named one of Playback’s 5-to-Watch in 2018, she has directed multiple seasons of Prime Time episodic television for streamers (Netflix, Apple+, Hulu, Amazon) and broadcast (CBC, Global, OWN, CW) including FIREFLY LANE, PRETTY HARD CASES, CORONER, NURSES and KUNG FU. Marking three awards in 2020, she won a Canadian Screen Award (TOKENS), a Director’s Guild Award (MYSTERY 101: DEAD TALK) and the Sandi Ross Award. She has gone on to be nominated for Canadian Screen Awards in 2022 and 2023, winning again for Best Direction (TOKENS).

Known for her cinematic style and authentic storytelling, Winnifred is adept at directing compelling comedy, drama and action. She created, wrote and directed the comedic short-form series, TOKENS, which was sold to The Roku Channel. It boldly became the first short-form series to garner an ACTRA nomination in 2020 and repeated again in 2023. Her collaborative leadership style led Winnifred to become the producing director for OWN/WBTV’s THE KINGS OF NAPA.

She currently has two feature films in development, DISTANT COUSINS and CHOP SUEY NATION.

Leah Rifkin

Leah Rifkin

Leah Rifkin is the Founder and CEO of Scarlet Lens Productions. She uses her mastery of Sight, Sequencing and Articulation to Visionscape realities through Art.

She is the award-winning author of the book Beyond The Director’s Chair. She is the director and executive producer of Out Of Frame, an award-winning edutainment web series for kids.

Leah directed the short film, Dinner With Bernice, which was an Official Selection in the Toronto Shorts International Film Festival (February 2018).

As a director and editor, Leah has also worked on multiple digital narratives, short films, and music videos that have earned millions of views.

In 2019, Leah was a finalist in the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative and runner-up for Armoza Formats’ Formagination Pitch Competition at Realscreen West.

Leah is also President of Web Series Canada and the Festival Director of T.O. Webfest.

Leg Up Labs is Made Possible by the Support of