2 avril 2024 The Toronto Region Board of Trade


Le symposium du BÉN a pour but de focaliser notre attention sur la réalisation de récits authentiques des Noirs. Il est clair que les histoires des Noirs n’ont pas été rapportées, qu’elles ont été mal racontées et qu’elles ont été marginalisées. Bien qu’il y ait des efforts pour y remédier, ils semblent souvent minimes par rapport au potentiel d’une véritable représentation et d’une narration percutante. Notre objectif est de catalyser le changement.

Nous croyons qu’il faut partir d’une position de force, en célébrant l’influence mondiale de la culture noire – les «origines du cool». Ce symposium invite les responsables, les bailleurs de fonds, les diffuseurs, les distributeurs, les producteurs et les créateurs de l’industrie audiovisuelle à s’unir. Il s’agit d’une journée d’idéation collective sur ce qui est possible, non seulement au niveau local mais aussi au niveau mondial, d’apprentissage mutuel, de partage des ressources, de co-création et de recherche d’opportunités de collaboration pour nous permettre de passer du point où nous en sommes au point où nous voulons aller.

Le symposium comprendra des entretiens avec des invités de renom, des présentations de leurs aspirations, des tables rondes, des possibilités de réseautage et des présentations spéciales. Cela enrichit notre effort collectif, faisant de ce symposium non pas une simple rencontre, mais un événement marquant pour un changement concret.

Le changement est ambitieux, mais il ne se produira pas si nous n’y mettons pas du nôtre. Rejoignez-nous dans ce voyage transformateur pour élever les histoires des Noirs à la place qui leur revient dans les récits mondiaux.


Interactive Sessions

Anthony Morgan

Freestyle Socials

Helps organizations encourage their audiences to challenge their old thinking patterns and open the door to flexible and imaginative thinking.


*bailleurs de fonds, diffuseurs, streamers, distributeurs, grandes sociétés de production, etc. Les codes promotionnels ne sont plus valables.

Pour les tarifs étudiants et les ventes groupées de 10 billets ou plus, veuillez contact ea@bso-ben.ca 

Food and fun

Your ticket includes more than great speakers, there’s an end of day party with DJ Brandon «B MAC» McDonald and lunch and coffee breaks throughout the jam-packed day.

Looking for a hotel for the event?

Great news! The Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto is the official host hotel of the BSO Symposium. For more information or discounted rates, please email ea@bso-ben.ca.

Rejoignez-nous le 2 avril 2024 au Toronto Region Board of Trade à Toronto, Canada.

Sponsorisé par

Partenaires présentateurs





Partenaires Promotionnels

Pour les opportunités de parrainage, veuillez contacter : tichaona@accesscanadamedia.com

Marsha Greene

Marsha Greene, an acclaimed Co-Creator and Showrunner, achieved critical acclaim with the Emmy-nominated series «The Porter,» winning 12 Canadian Screen Awards. Her expertise spans as an Executive Producer and Writer on notable shows like «Mary Kills People» and «Coroner.» A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre Prime Time Television program, Marsha holds an Honours BA in Creative Writing and a graduate certificate in TV Writing and Producing, earning prestigious accolades including the WIFT-T Crystal Award and a Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Award. Committed to promoting diversity, Marsha serves on the Writers Guild of Canada’s Inclusion, Equity, Diversity, and Accessibility Committee.

John Gibson

John Gibson is a leading advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the entertainment industry. He founded the DEI program at the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in 2012, spearheading initiatives promoting multiculturalism among member studios like Walt Disney and Netflix. With partnerships with over 50 influential organizations, including the American Black Film Festival and National Urban League, John fosters inclusivity through advisory roles and global outreach efforts. His leadership extends to managing relationships with civil rights groups and non-profits, solidifying his commitment to fostering belonging for diverse voices in entertainment. Gibson’s work significantly advances DEI and global inclusivity in the industry.

Renee Robinson

Renee Robinson is a distinguished figure in the international creative economy landscape, boasting two decades of expertise in content strategy, public policy, and film investment promotion. As a member of the EU/UNESCO Culture Expert Facility and an International Women’s Forum Global Leaders Fellow, she offers invaluable insights and leadership. Notably, she served as the Film Commissioner of Jamaica, facilitating major productions and nurturing the local screen industry. Renee advises globally on corporate governance, film finance, and growth strategy, leveraging her extensive background with prestigious institutions. With a rich educational background and a passion for exploration, she embodies a global perspective, fluent in multiple languages and deeply engaged in diverse interests from art history to scuba diving.

Melissa Oluwarotimi Adeyemo

Melissa Oluwarotimi Adeyemo, a film producer bridging the U.S. and Nigerian industries, began her journey at Columbia University, where she found inspiration in cinema’s power to empower underrepresented voices. Founder of Ominira Studios, she produces films celebrating Black and African lives. Her debut feature, «Eyimofe,» premiered at Berlinale 2020, earning accolades and a place in the Criterion Collection. Her documentary «Dusty & Stones» garnered awards globally. Recipient of the BAFTA Breakthrough Fellowship and Film Independent Amplifier Fellowship, Melissa’s expertise stems from roles at ROK Studios, PwC Strategy&, and major media companies. With an MBA from NYU Stern and a BA from Columbia University, she merges education with impactful storytelling.

Narendra Reddy

Narendra Reddy, COO at The Africa Channel, brings 15+ years of global media experience from DreamWorks Animation India and Reddy-or-Not Entertainment. With a background in strategic leadership, he oversees Production, Programming, and Acquisitions, fostering original content development domestically and in Africa. Notable for supervising major productions like ‘Puss in Boots’ and ‘Madagascar 3’, Reddy’s tenure at DreamWorks shaped global strategy. Previously, as President of Reddy-or-Not Entertainment, he provided top-tier services to clients like NBC Universal and ION Media Networks. Holding advanced degrees and specialized training in entertainment, Reddy’s dynamic leadership drives The Africa Channel’s international media expansion.

Wendy Parkies

With a wealth of expertise spanning the broadcast, media, and communications industries, Wendy Parkies is deeply immersed in Africa’s broadcast environment, exploring its prospects and uncharted territories. Drawing from her extensive experience with renowned brands such as Africa XP, Viacom (Paramount), and Multichoice, Wendy excels in developing, launching, and monetizing FAST channels accessible over-the-top (OTT). Her proficiency in creating content and channels for African satellites and international OTT platforms offers valuable insights into the broadcast landscape in Africa and beyond.

Derek Johnson

Derek Johnson is the Manager of Current Series Operations at FX Networks. In this role, Johnson focuses on projects in pre- through post-production, improving workflows across all FX departments, and the studio/network’s diversity efforts.

Prior, Johnson was selected to participate in the Disney General Entertainment Content Executive Incubator Program, a 2-year practicum through core disciplines of television across the studios and networks established to create a pipeline of diverse, next-generation executives. In this role, he had the pleasure of working with teams at Freeform, 20th Television, and FX. Before this, Johnson served as the Studio Commercialization coordinator at FX, where he helped drive financial and brand ROI for all FX original series, working on projects and products ranging from series merchandise to soundtracks. While with this team, he managed the development and launch of FX’s first narrative mobile game, It’s Always Sunny: The Gang Goes Mobile, which reached #4 on the Apple App Store and #6 on the Google Play Store in Strategy. Johnson started his career in the William Morris Endeavor mailroom and moved to assistant roles in Global Finance & Distribution (now Fifth Season) and later Digital Media.

Johnson received a Bachelor of Science in Management Science and Comparative Media Studies from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Donisha Prendergast

Donisha Prendergast travels the world sharing and preserving stories to advance humanity. Though she is from a musical family lineage and the eldest granddaughter of Jamaican Reggae Royalty Bob & Rita Marley,  she has chosen the art of filmmaking as her tool for social impact and advocacy. Her vibrant talents and vast experience covers many disciplines including both documentary and narrative filmmaking, alternative education, motivational speaking and international activism. She was worked alongside government and grassroots organizations at various levels to plan and execute Pan-African and Art focussed symposiums like Africa Unite Youth Symposiums and Manifesto Jamaica Festival, lecturing on the Japanese led Activist cruise initiative – Peace Boat, marching with indigenous communities to highlight issues around cultural preservation and rights or leading social justice campaigns to help re-unify families impacted by cannabis criminalization and other systemic discrimination. 

As a film producer, she has creatively contributed and supported projects for names like the inimitable Beyonce, Director Melina Matsoukas, Handmaid’s tale star O-T Fagbenle, International Reggae Artists Sean Paul, Shaggy and the Marley family. Her on screen work as an actress includes female lead in Canadian Screen Award winning films Akilla’s Escape(2020) and Black Bodies(2020), SXSW Jury Prize winner OMI(2021) The Story of God (2018) with Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman on Disney Plus and documentaries Rasta, A Soul’s Journey (2013), Reaching for Zion (2016) and the soon to be released 50 Days in Afrika. Her screenwriter’s credits are also growing with projects like with Jamaican TV movie Savannah (2017), short films Earthworm(2016) and Awaking Sankofa (2018), which was shot in the Cape Coast dungeons in Ghana, and most recently on the Jamaican-Canadian feature When Morning Comes (2022) as story co-creator (story by), story editor as well as acting coach and associate producer credits.

Donisha has been quietly using her talents and platform to support the development of black filmmakers and the community in Toronto for almost a decade. Now, with a slate of film projects in development and no limit on her creative capacity, she is looking forward to continuing to create some room at the table. Her diverse perspective and approach to Creation is layered with nuances and insight from the African diaspora. She has recently founded her non-profit Humanity Ova Vanity as a vehicle to activate and facilitate the integration of best practices that can help to preserve and stimulate a culture of artistic integrity while bridging the gap between the world of film and the communities that inspired these stories… right the story.

Dwayne Holness

Dwayne Holness believes your greatest advantage is to be underestimated. From humble beginnings in Kingston, Jamaica, to growing up in what many would consider one of the roughest neighborhoods in Toronto, Dwayne has built a career on his own terms. As an award-winning entrepreneur, creative director, speaker, and community leader, Dwayne is a testament that the opportunities to succeed as a Black creative are truly endless.

A force within the marketing and video production industries for over a decade, Dwayne is the founder and CEO of Corex Creative – a video marketing agency specializing in corporate videos, digital strategy, and brand development.

His innovative perspective, distinct imagery, and innate understanding of diverse storytelling have landed him in the director’s chair for campaigns and productions of notable brands such as, CSA Group, The Academy, TD Bank, Canadian Tire Corporation, the LCBO, and the Canadian Screen Awards. Dwayne has also been the visual architect for music artists, Chronixx and Lauryn Hill, leading the creative direction for their world tours.

Jennifer Holness

Jen Holness is a happy workaholic. She writes, produces, and directs. Her doc, Subjects of Desire, was a 2021 TIFF Top Ten film, and her doc series BLK: An

Origin Story recently won 5 Canadian Screen Awards, including Best Director for her episode.

Jen’s dramas include, Shoot the Messenger and Guns, with the latter winning her a Best Writing CSA. Her features, Home Again and Love, Sex and Eating the Bones have screened globally, winning numerous festival prizes. SHE IS CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION ON HER NEXT FEATURE WITH DIRECTOR RT THORNE (the Porter, utopia falls).

She is a Founder of the Black Screen Office, a CMPA Board Member and Chair of the REDIAC Committee, Co-chair of Ontario Creates Industry Committee and Co-Chair of CISF seeking independent funding for BIPOC Creatives and Producers.

Jo-Anne Liburd

Jo-Anne Liburd is a Communications Consultant whose clients span a range of industries, from the screen sector to travel to healthcare. A focal point of her professional and volunteer work, however, is supporting community-profit organizations to address the needs of equity-deserving populations. She brings a passion for social justice, an inquiring mind, and an ever-present sense of humour to each collaboration.

John Gibson

John Gibson is a leading advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the entertainment industry. He founded the DEI program at the Motion Picture Association (MPA) in 2012, spearheading initiatives promoting multiculturalism among member studios like Walt Disney and Netflix. With partnerships with over 50 influential organizations, including the American Black Film Festival and National Urban League, John fosters inclusivity through advisory roles and global outreach efforts. His leadership extends to managing relationships with civil rights groups and non-profits, solidifying his commitment to fostering belonging for diverse voices in entertainment. Gibson's work significantly advances DEI and global inclusivity in the industry.

Katia Café-Fébrissy

An award-winning documentary filmmaker, director, producer and playwright based in Toronto, Ontario working both in English and French.

Her TV credits include, directing an episode of CBC GEM’s televised play, 21 BLACK FUTURES, directing an episode of TFO’s unscripted docu-series, COULEURS DU NORD,  and story producing 3 segments of CBC’s factual show TERRY FOX: THE POWER OF ONE. Besides, she was a Director Observer on CBC’s episodic drama series MURDOCH MYSTERIES. She also wrote 10 episodes of TFO’s podcast VOIX DU NORD.

Her recent accomplishments encompass being awarded entry into the Berlinale EFM Doc Toolbox lab and the Canadian Academy Women Director program. She’s an alumna of the Hotdocs Accelerator lab, the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Talent lab, Women in the Director’s Chair and the Director’s Lab North Theatre residency.

When she is not working as a gun for hire, creating documentary plays or producing her own indie projects, Katia hosts the DGC Podcast, facilitates Diversity & Inclusion workshops for the DGC and is the co-Chair of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee for the DGC Board – Ontario District Council.

Margaret Lewis

With a long-standing passion for film and television, Margaret has a breadth of industry knowledge. Over the past three years as a Relationship Manager in Commercial Banking for the Media & Entertainment sector, Margaret has helped film and television producers overcome numerous barriers to bring their content to life – whether it is their first or fiftieth production. Prior to RBC, Margaret previously worked at Corus Entertainment as Project Manager in Business Operations for Original Content and International Distribution, and held various roles at TIFF, NBCUniversal, was CMPA Diversity Mentorship Trainee alongside production company, Conquering Lion Pictures, and is an alumni of the inaugural Reelworld Producer Program. She sits on the board of Black Women Film! and BIPOC TV and Film, and completed her MBA at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

Maya Annik Bedward

Maya Annik Bedward is a Jamaican-French Canadian director and producer in the film and television industry. Her work has been showcased at prestigious events such as TIFF, Hot Docs, Black Star, and the New Orleans Film Festival. Her passion for storytelling has taken her to various corners of the globe, including living in Brazil and the UK, before returning to Toronto to establish Third Culture Media. In 2023, her producing work on PATTY vs PATTY earned her the Canadian Screen Award for Best Short Documentary. Additionally, her directing work on the digital series LIDO TV secured her a nomination for Best Direction. Maya is a fellow of both the EFM Toolbox Programme and the BSO-DGC Black Women Directors Accelerator. Committed to fostering a more equitable and inclusive industry, she is a founding member of the Black Screen Office. Currently, Maya is in production for her upcoming feature film, BLACK ZOMBIE.

Orla Garriques

Orla Garriques is a multi-faceted professional working at the intersection of film, television, digital media, arts and education. 

She has delivered collaborative initiatives that promote content and talent at home and abroad for leading media institutions such as the National Film Board of Canada, Canadian Film Centre, Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs, and South African Documentary Association. 

Mahalia Verna

Mahalia Verna est une gestionnaire des industries créatives qui a plus de 20 ans d’expérience, notamment à l’Office national du film (ONF) et à la Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Elle a acquis une expérience de cadre supérieur dans des organisations complexes, en particulier dans les domaines de la stratégie, de la production, des opérations, de la collecte de fonds, du marketing et de la communication. C’est une professionnelle dévouée qui comprend parfaitement l’importance de la perspicacité, de la supervision et de la prévoyance nécessaires pour susciter le changement et avoir un impact sur les décideurs politiques. Elle a également une expérience consultative diversifiée et collaborative avec tous les niveaux de gouvernement, des professionnels et des organisations telles que le Black Screen Office (BSO), Women in View et le Musée McCord-Stewart. Elle est une stratège de croissance et d’impact et possède une connaissance approfondie des défis et des opportunités auxquels sont confrontées les entités canadiennes sur les marchés nationaux et internationaux. En tant qu’ancienne productrice, elle a contribué à des projets primés tels que les documentaires «Dieu a-t-il quitté l’Afrique», «Au nom de la mère et du fils», le long métrage «Saved by the Belles», plusieurs courts métrages et des séries spéciales pour la télévision régionale de la CBC. Pendant sept ans, elle a été coproductrice et animatrice de «Coco Café», une série mensuelle de spectacles en direct qui mettait en valeur les talents noirs dans les domaines du slam et de la musique, et elle a produit des segments littéraires pour la radio CKUT-FM à Montréal.

Patricia Scarlett

Scarlett’s early experience in the industry began at TVOntario where she worked primarily in international sales. As a highly successful Sales Executive at TVOntario, she initiated and closed TVOntario’s first educational broadcast and educational non-broadcast sales in Brazil.  During that time, she developed and nurtured a few valuable relationships with developed and nurtured a few valuable relationships with producers and broadcasters which have culminated in several significant professional achievements, including her representation of Ataranjuat: The Fast Runner, winner of the Camera D’Or at the 2001 Cannes International Film Festival. She regularly attends industry trade events such as MIP-TV & MIPCOM in Cannes, France.

Rama Diallo

Rama Diallo is a Business Affairs Executive, currently in-house at Front Street Pictures in Vancouver, BC. With an educational and professional background incorporating Communications and Legal Affairs, Rama brings with her a wealth of knowledge on all things media. Rama’s skilled attention to detail and constant thirst for further knowledge has equipped her with the tools integral to the successful management of various aspects of the production process. From liaising and negotiating with key industry stakeholders, to analyzing and operating within complex legal parameters, her ability to think outside the box continues to drive Rama in her dynamic output of innovative contributions to the world of film and television.

samah ali

Samah Ali is a distributor and film programmer hailing from Toronto, Canada. She programs for Academy Award qualifying festivals Seattle International Film Festival, DOC NYC, and Hot Docs Film Festival. Previously, she founded Sisterhood Media, a production company and streaming service that operated between 2017-2022. As a decorated thought leader and avid festival lover, she focuses on building a more equitable future in the industry by working with filmmakers on their distribution strategies with her consultancy, Stratali. You can interact with her on Twitter @sistersamah.

Marina Mathieu

With over a decade of international work in Community organizing, Communications, Events and Project Management, Marina Mathieu is an experience enhancer. She holds a Bachelor in Communication from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), a Certificate in Sexual Health from Laval University, and is currently finalizing a Masters in Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies at York University. Passionate about issues related to discrimination, human rights, and the status of women internationally, she hosted and moderated conversations and events with pillars like Michaëlle Jean and Dominique Anglade. As a filmmaker, she wrote, directed and produced three short films with subject matters ranging from denouncing police brutality against racialized people in Canada to addressing the problem of uterine fibroids in women of African descent. Her latest production, which features two young women displaced by natural disasters, was awarded Best Documentary Short at the Silicon Valley African Film Festival (SVAFF). Marina believes in care, empowerment, equity and solidarity for all living beings and she abides by these values in all the projects she leads or gets involved in.

Keziah myers

Keziah Myers believes in the skills and uniqueness of this country and knows that there is so much talent yet to be discovered. Currently as the Executive Director of ADVANCE – Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, Keziah’s main role is to advocate for the betterment, upliftment, and retention of Black Talent within the music industry. Leading this organization, Keziah focuses on changing processes, creating opportunities, and providing resources to ADVANCE members, and music industry organizations. Prior to ADVANCE, Keziah led music licensing initiatives at Entandem, and the A&R Operations at SOCAN, where she was instrumental in ensuring diverse hiring, updating internal systems, improving operations, and enabling all offices to better serve 150 000 members. Beyond this, Keziah has held positions in Label Operations Management and Publicity. She has also sat on Entertainment & Music Organization Boards, adjudicated as part of FACTOR and JUNO juries, and is a regular guest presenter for Art-Focused programs, colleges, universities and high schools.