2018/2019 DOC Toronto Chapter Board Nominees

Ric Bienstock

Statement:  I'm running for my third term on the DOC board where I’m currently serving as Secretary. DOC is an organization I truly believe in. The Doc Institute, run by our Toronto chapter, continues to serve the documentary community with great programming for filmmakers at every stage of their career. All of us documentary makers in Canada benefit from the incredible work DOC does on our behalf whether it be advocacy, workshops or keeping our fingers on the pulse of where our industry is headed. The past few years have seen seismic changes in our industry and DOC continuously finds new ways to support and advocate for the documentary community. I hope to continue my work on the DOC board to support our industry.

Bio: Ric Esther Bienstock is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker best known for her groundbreaking investigative documentaries. Her films, including Tales From the Organ Trade, Sex Slaves, Ebola: Inside an Outbreak (aka Plague Fighters), Boxing: In and Out of the Ring, Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour, The Sexual Century: The Money Shot and Ms.Conceptions, have screened at over 80 international festivals and aired in over 60 countries.

She was awarded the 2015 Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism from the Canadian Academy of Cinema and Television for her body of work. Bienstock was also honoured at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival with the Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film as one of Canada’s leading women filmmakers. She has garnered dozens of prestigious awards, including a U.S. Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, 2 Edward R. Murrow Awards, a Dupont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, a British Broadcast Award, a Royal Television Society Award, a BAFTA nomination, two HOT DOCS Awards, 2 Gemini Awards, a Genie, a Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award from the IDA in Los Angeles, 4 Canadian Screen Awards, an Overseas Press Club of America Award and 2 Amnesty International Awards.

She speaks three languages, none of which her children listen to.


Simon Brothers

Statement: I am a DOC member who lives and tells stories outside Toronto. My company, Powerline Films, is based in Stratford, Ontario, and works in short-format documentary, long-format documentary and animation, most often tackling social issues. It is our niche to communicate progressive ideas in more rural and conservative regions of Ontario. I tend to work outside traditional funding models. As broadcaster funds have dwindled, I have had success partnering with charities, NGO’s, and foundations in order to fundraise for our projects. Our films have screened worldwide and we have sold broadcast licenses to provincial and national broadcasters. Recently we finished our feature length documentary, A Silent Transformation, about the transformative possibilities of the co-op model of business, for which we are beginning to organize community screenings across Canada. In addition to our documentary production work, I am a founding member of the Canadian arts collective, Common Collective. We have exhibited experimental video installation work in public art galleries across Canada. Our art collective’s 2015 multi-channel video installation, Train Dreams, recently finished a cross-country tour exhibiting in six Canadian art galleries from coast to coast.

If elected to the DOC Toronto Chapter Board, I would like to contribute solutions regarding the dwindling, traditional funding model. I have been working outside the traditional system my entire career and have experience with philanthropic funding, complex partnerships with the NGO sector, crowd-funding, and experimental video installation work.

I would like to be an advocate for DOC members within the documentary world who work outside the city while still working within the chapter’s jurisdiction.
An increasing number of smaller NGO groups are turning to video as a tool to communicate. Producing professional and progressive documentary content within more rural communities helps to build both understanding and empathy, and can drive change. I have participated in numerous panel discussions and webinars in partnership with DOC with regard to our work with the philanthropic and NGO sectors. I would very much like to continue and expand upon work if elected to the board.

Of interest to some DOC Toronto Chapter members, although perhaps not applicable to all members, I would advocate for expanding networks and opportunities for more experimental documentary works within the Canadian public art sector. Despite the fact that the world of art curators and the documentary community seem to exist in very separate silos, I believe there are opportunities to be had for DOC members to exhibit more experimental work.

My positive experiences with funding, my work with experimental documentary work and my specialized experience in rural Ontario are strengths that I would bring to the Board.


Gita Hosek

Statement: The changing demographics of our industry, along with government and private sector policy changes, have had a significant impact on DOC Toronto funding sources.

As a business owner and past DOC Toronto treasurer, I understand that to be successful, organizations must balance expenses and income. At the same time, we must look for new sources of income to allow DOC Toronto to reach the goals in its long-term strategic plan. Developing new ways to serve the needs of our members, expanding our membership, and supporting the missions of DOC Toronto effectively in today’s environment require consistent and adequate funding and oversight. I have two major goals as treasurer:

· To ensure that DOC Toronto operates in a fiscally sound manner and uses funds in a responsible manner that moves us forward on our missions and objectives.
· To help create strategic financial plans to allow DOC Toronto to navigate more successfully with a longer-term outlook.

I believe passionately in the missions of DOC and that DOC needs to lead the professionals working in all aspects of documentary filmmaking. I am committed to the strong stewardship of DOC Toronto finances and to policies and actions that will result in DOC Toronto solid, sustained financial performance.

I would be honoured to continue to serve on the board of DOC Toronto.

Bio: Gita Hosek has been around the film, television and radio business all of her life. After completing her M.F.A from the Academy of Film & Television Art (Documentary) she worked for the National TV in her native Czechoslovakia. Later on she moved to Canada and re-established herself in the field she had worked in, loved and knew – documentary filmmaking. While working briefly for TVO she opened her own production company (together with her husband George, a DOP). Gita produced and directed several documentaries and series’ that were broadcast on CBC, TVO, Vision TV, Life Network and OLN. Her passion lies in telling human stories of hope that involves spirituality and art.  For several years now Gita has been producing exclusively for Salt and Light Television. 


 Michael Kainer

Statement:  As my bio indicates, I was a practicing lawyer for many years before retiring and getting involved in documentary filmmaking. I have applied the skills acquired from my legal training and experience to my participation on the boards of several non-profit organizations. In addition, I have long been involved in community, cultural and political issues in Toronto.

I have come to documentary filmmaking relatively recently and like many of you have come to appreciate both the need for and difficulty of making documentaries in Canada. There are two issues in particular I am interested in:

First, I seem to have found a niche in making stories that have considerable historical references. The costs of accessing and licensing archival materials, both stills and footage from public broadcasters and others can be prohibitive for small budget productions. This amounts to a barrier to our own history. I would like to see efforts made to allow easier access to those.

Second, independent filmmakers are part of that large group of Torontonians engaged in precarious work. DOC Toronto and the DOC institute are valuable advocates for them and my background as a lawyer could assist in that effort.

I believe this combination of skills and interests makes me a good candidate for the board of DOC Toronto.

Bio: Michael Kainer was a partner in a downtown Toronto law firm before becoming involved in documentary filmmaking. His practice included working with numerous non‑profit and co‑operative organizations.

His voluntary activities are extensive. He was on the Board of Directors of several organizations including Parkdale Community Legal Services, Homes First Society (an innovative provider of non-profit housing for the hard-to-house,) and Toronto Artscape Inc (during which time Artscape converted Wychwood Barns, two buildings in the Distillery District and the Shaw Street Public School into arts and community cultural spaces). He was Chair of Palmerston Area Residents’ Association for many years. He is currently on the board of The Urban Worker Project which is concerned about the issue of precarious employment and he is chairing a task force for the Ontario Non-Profit Network looking at ways to provide pensions for workers in the non-profit sector.

In 2006, he began his documentary career by co-producing two shorts and then went on to produce a long form documentary, Skate to Survive, about skating coach and holocaust survivor Ellen Burka It was screened at the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and a festival in Israel. He wrote and directed the long form documentary Patron Saint about an idiosyncratic art collector which was screened at the Reel Artists Film Festival in Toronto in 2015 and Finn with an Oyster: The Story Behind Toronto’s New City Hall which won Media Awards from both Heritage Toronto and Architectural Conservancy of Ontario.


Christine Kleckner

Statement: After working in documentary production in Toronto for over 12 years, I am deeply committed to engaging and working in the documentary community. I’ve been privileged to work with independent production companies, the National Film Board of Canada, as well as my own, so have had a wholesome experience from both the independent production and the funder/institutional position. I believe in the programming and advocacy that DOC provides, and would be honoured to contribute to the board.

Bio: Christine Kleckner is a producer whose short film Barefoot (2012) premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, received honourable mention at the Berlinale, and was selected for Telefilm's Talent Showcase at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. Prior to that, she produced Wapawekka (2010) which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Sundance and the Berlinale. During her seven years with the National Film Board of Canada, she collaborated on ground­ breaking projects including The Stories We Tell, Home Again, and the multi­platform Filmmaker­in­Residence. She is an alumni of the National Screen Institute of Canada’s Drama Prize Program. Christine is the co­owner of Intervention Productions, and recently launched the feature documentary, A Better Man, at Hot Docs in 2017.


Lalita Krishna

Statement: I have been an active Member of DOC Toronto for the past 20 years. As Co- chair of the Toronto chapter, I’ve worked with the Board to create a vision and long term goals which led to the creation of the DOC Insititute. My goal as CoChair of DOC Toronto has always been about making the organization financially stable so that our Staff can execute the programs annd networking events with the class and calibre that has become the hallmark of all DOC Insittute programs.

This past year, I was involved with my colleagues on the DOC Toronto board and the DOC Quebec board to restructure the National board. The result is a clear delineation of roles between the National organization which will be focussed on advocacy and the Chapters which will be focussed on professional development. I was nominated as the Toronto rep on the DOC National board.

In 2018 DOC celebrates 35 years. I see this as a great opportunity to draw attention to the documentary art form in Canada. Its an opportunity to draw attention to the appaling state of funding for documentaries. With a cohesive vision and a well articulated plan I believe that DOC can play a big role in bringing back the glory days of documentaries. And I will work hard to help us get there.

Bio: Lalita Krishna is a multiple award winning filmmaker whose work has been broadcast on all major networks, and featured at film festivals around the world.

Lalita brings her experience and user engagement strategies to the projects she develops and produces. Her documentaries have been acclaimed for bringing important topics to the forefront and have often been a catalyst for change.

Recent productions include Semisweet: Life in Chocolate- Filmed in four countries and three continents, Semisweet follows the unique journeys of people whose lives have been transformed by chocolate. Mallamall is a portrayal of the burgeoning retail industry in India where modern malls are muscling in to the traditional marketplace. Listen to Me is the story of a survivor of child abuse who uses expressive arts therapy to help young women deal with family violence. A full list of productions can be found on www.insyncmedia.ca

Lalita also creates websites and mobile apps to enhance and extend the viewer experience of documentaries.

In addition to several awards for her films, Lalita is the winner of the Crystal Award for mentorship given by WIFT(Women in Film and Television), the Trailblazer(2012) award given by the Reel World Film Festival and is the recipient of the Dream Catcher award given by the Hope and Dreams Festival NJ for using her craft to better humanity.

Lalita sits on the Board of the CIFVF and is the Co-Chair of the Toronto chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada. She has taught Media studies at Ryerson University Journalism program, George Brown College Community Worker program and Mount Saint Vincent University summer institute.


Michael McMahon

Statement: I have been actively involved in DOC at both the chapter and national levels for more than two decades. My goal has always been to advance the documentary genre, create opportunities for documentary filmmakers, provide mentorship to young filmmakers and producers, and to support my colleagues through the programs and services offered by DOC Toronto.

I would welcome the opportunity to serve the community for another two-year term.

Bio: Michael McMahon oversees Primitive Entertainment’s selection of projects and focuses on the company’s many relationships with broadcasters, distributors, co-production partners, industry organizations and government agencies. Internationally, Michael has forged partnerships with co-producers and investors in Britain, Europe, Australia and Japan.

With 27 years experience producing premium non-fiction content, Primitive Entertainment’s work has earned more than 40 awards world-wide.

Recent awards include the Grimme Online Award for Culture and Entertainment, a Webby Award for Best Individual Documentary, the SXSW Interactive award for Activism, Genie Awards for Best Short Documentary and Best Feature Length Documentary, a Gemini Award for Best Performing Arts Series, the Toyota Earth Grand Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Nature Programming.

Films produced by Michael have screened at leading film festivals worldwide, including Hot Docs, Berlin, SXSW, Traverse City, TIFF, Vancouver, CPH:DOX, Bergen, Munich, Sydney, Tokyo, IDFA, DOXA and the Museum of Modern Art, amongst others.

Currently Michael is producing Equator 360, a 12-hour documentary series and interactive VR project for ZDF/ARTE, NHK and Discovery Canada; and Borealis, a feature documentary by Kevin McMahon. Michael’s most recent feature documentary, There Is A House Here by Alan Zweig, premiered at TIFF in September.


Elisa Paloschi

Statement: I joined the DOC Toronto board three years ago. There have been many changes within DOC since I began serving on the Toronto Board. I’m delighted about where our organization is headed and am committed to helping it get there.

I plan to support DOC Toronto’s ongoing fundraising efforts by sharing my funding experience and ideas. I have significant fundraising experience in the documentary world and beyond. My latest film Driving with Selvi was funded 100% by third-sector and private funders. I am now focusing on Corporate Social Responsibility programs to fund the Selvi audience engagement campaign. I am excited to share this experience to engage fresh interest in DOC Toronto from new and non-traditional funding sources.

I care deeply about DOC Toronto and have gained so much from my membership, both personally and professionally. Being on the board is an important way to give back and to support the unique challenges and concerns our community faces.

It’s been a privilege to serve alongside an esteemed and diverse group of professionals for the past three years and I would welcome the opportunity to continue this service. If given a mandate by our membership for the next two years, I will keep working with my fellow board members to bring great value to the DOC Toronto community.

Bio: With more than 25 years’ experience in documentary production as a director, producer and cinematographer, Elisa Paloschi is president of Eyesfull, a Toronto- based independent production company dedicated to non-fiction documentaries that reflect the diversity of the human voice.

Paloschi has taken her camera into the Roma camps of Palermo, the depths of the Coral Sea in Australia, and the traffic-riddled streets of India. Her early short experimental and documentary work screened at European festivals and was broadcast in Italy. Her first documentary, Barabba of Mondello, tells the story of a homeless man who transforms a Sicilian seaside community. Her first feature documentary, Embracing Voices, explores depression and the creative process as seen through the eyes of Canadian Jazz luminary Jane Bunnette.

Paloschi’s latest feature doc, Driving with Selvi, follows Selvi, a charming, strong, and courageous young woman who escapes her life as a child bride in a violent marriage, and goes on to become South India’s first female taxi driver. Driving with Selvi premiered at Raindance in October 2015 and has screened all over the world since. It has won several prestigious awards and was selected as an IDFA Top 10 Audience Favourite. The film is currently making its way to audiences in 180 communities in India, through the ITVS Women and Girls Lead Global program. This is just the beginning of the multi-phase social engagement campaign that will see the film screened all across India in support of gender equality and economic empowerment for women and girls.


James Weyman

Statement: DOC is a vital force for the documentary community in a time of rapid change. As filmmakers we need a collective voice more than ever to address the key issues of the day. These include broadcaster consolidation and the shrinking support for independent documentaries on television; the role of the CMF and CRTC in supporting a healthy documentary broadcasting ecosystem; terms of trade for producers to create collective bargaining opportunities; the death of BravoFactual and shrinking support for emerging filmmakers to make their first films; support for diverse voices; access to training and career development opportunities; and the threat and opportunities of digitization and OTT content delivery. I’ve been a documentary producer and filmmaker throughout my career, as well as having the opportunity to fund over one hundred doc shorts and features. Canadian (and Toronto!) audiences have demonstrated that they want access to thoughtful, provocative, impactful content amidst a sea of “fake news”, and DOC members want the opportunity to continue to feed that appetite. In community is strength, and I would be pleased to bring a career’s worth of knowledge to the Board table to continue the struggle and build on the success that DOC and its membership have forged over the last 35 years since the CIFC/DOC was founded in 1983.

Bio: James Weyman is President of media production and consulting company Barn 12 Inc. A 35 year veteran of the screen-based industries, he recently exited the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) where he was responsible for managing a $20 million portfolio of funds including the OMDC Film Fund. As a producer and filmmaker, James has been involved in a range of critically acclaimed productions, including the recent feature documentary Finding Fidel. As an executive, James has extensive experience in policy and program development and administration; project development and financing; domestic and international business development and co-production strategies; and communications and governance. Along the way he has worked closely with industry organizations such as DOC and Hot Docs, supported the careers of two generations of filmmakers, and participated in financing hundreds of film and TV productions including recent documentary titles such as League of Exotique Dancers, A Better Man, All Governments Lie and the upcoming Anthropocene. His new company, Barn 12, is committed to creating high quality film, television and digital media in partnership with like- minded creators for a global audience and has several projects in development. James also does business development consulting in the domestic and international creative industries, is a frequent speaker and moderator on industry panels, and currently sits on the Steering Committee for Artscape Launchpad.

Documentary Organization of Canada, Toronto Chapter Nominations Open for 2018/2019 Board of Directors

Nominations Open for 2018/2019 DOC Toronto Board of Directors. We invite all DOC Toronto members to nominate.

Candidates can self-nominate, and do not need to be nominated by another DOC Toronto member. To nominate, please submit a biography (maximum 250 words), election statement (maximum 250 words) and headshot for distribution to voting members. Note that text submissions will not be revised and will be cut at the 250-word mark.

Be sure to read the job description below before submitting your nomination.

Please send these items to Adam Shamoon, Director, DOC Toronto, at adam@docorg.ca with subject line “YOUR FULL NAME_2017 BOARD NOMINATION” (ie: John Doe_2017 Board Election Nomination). Statements, bios and headshots must be received no later than Friday, December 1st at 5pm at which point nominations will be closed.

The online election polls will open on Tuesday December 5th and close on Thursday, December 14th at midnight. Results will be announced the week of Monday, December 18th.

About DOC Toronto
DOC Toronto is the oldest and largest chapter in the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) and the creator of the DOC Institute. DOC was founded by this chapter over 30 years ago. Formerly known as the Canadian Independent Film & Video Caucus, DOC Toronto began as an advocacy group in 1983. The first of many successful lobbying efforts led to the creation of Telefilm Canada's documentary broadcast envelope, a landmark decision that helped to develop Canada's strong independent production industry.

The Documentary Organization of Canada/l’Association des documentaristes du Canada (DOC) is the voice of Canada’s independent documentary creators. DOC champions the production and distribution of documentaries across all platforms; advocates on behalf of creators and producers; and connects and strengthens the Canadian documentary community. Today, DOC Toronto has 350 members across Ontario including many international award-winning documentary filmmakers.

For more information, please visit the following websites:
DOC Institute: http://docinstitute.com/about-us-1/
DOC: https://docorg.ca/en/about-doc

Board Responsibilities
The Board will support the work of DOC Toronto Chapter and provide mission-based leadership and strategic governance. While day-to-day operations are led by DOC Toronto’s Director, the Board-Director relationship is a partnership, and the appropriate involvement of the Board is both critical and expected. Specific Board Member responsibilities include:

Leadership, governance and oversight

  • Serving as a trusted advisor to the Director in development and implementation of strategic vision and Chapter growth
  • Reviewing outcomes and metrics created by staff for evaluating its impact, and regularly measuring its performance and effectiveness using those metrics; reviewing agenda and supporting materials prior to board and committee meetings
  • Approving DOC Toronto’s annual budget; being informed of, and meeting all, legal and fiduciary responsibilities
  • Contributing to an annual performance evaluation of staff
  • Assisting the Director and Co-Chairs in identifying and recruiting other Board Members
  • Serving on work groups
  • Representing DOC Toronto/DOC Institute to stakeholders; acting as an ambassador for the chapter and organization
  • Ensuring DOC Toronto’s commitment to a diverse board and staff that reflects the communities it serves

DOC Toronto Board Members will assist with soliciting contributions from foundations, organizations, and individuals.

Board terms/participation
DOC Toronto Board Members will serve a two-year term. Board meetings will be held every two months.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for an individual who is passionate about DOC Toronto’s and DOC Institute’s activities and who has a track record of leadership within the non-fiction industry. His/her accomplishments will allow him/her to attract other well-qualified, high-performing Board Members.

Ideal nominees will have the following qualifications:

  • Extensive professional experience with leadership accomplishments in the media industry
  • Previous board and/or non-profit experience is an asset but not a requirement
  • Savvy diplomatic skills and a natural affinity for cultivating relationships and persuading, convening, facilitating, and building consensus among diverse individuals
  • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility, and a passion for the non-fiction industry

NOTE: Service on DOC Toronto’s Board of Directors is without remuneration

The DOC Institute

After several vital Canadian programs for filmmakers closed their doors, we felt something was missing for the community and for our careers. We’ve stepped up to fill the gap by strengthening our hub and expanding and formalizing our professional development offering: the DOC Institute.

The DOC Institute is a one-stop shop for non-fiction professionals to learn business skills, hone their craft and make industry connections. See our programs and get involved at docinstitute.com