2017/2018 DOC Toronto Chapter Board Nominees

Nicholas de Pencier

Statement: These are very busy times at DOC. As we all struggle to adjust to the funding crisis that has become the “new normal”, that “normal” is constantly shifting. Super Channel’s bankruptcy has caused chaos across the country for so many of us, the CRTC seems at a loss to structurally deal with streaming platforms which are our future, but continue to erode the traditional business model for docs, and DOC itself is in a transformational time in terms of its funding, governance, and goals. Despite all these challenges and distractions, The DOC Institute has been making major gains in providing essential programming to our members and boldly forging ahead knowing that documentaries are more relevant and necessary than ever. This is a point of pride for those of us who have been volunteering on the Board in these difficult times.

I see the recent election south of the border as a personal challenge to stand up as a documentarian and counter the “post-truth” paradigm. Our work is paramount, but is often done in silos. We are stronger with the collective voice that DOC gives us, and this is why I am standing for re-election. I have twenty five years of experience with all sizes and budgets of documentaries and am a working cinematographer, producer and director. The DOC board is a dynamic, hard-working group that I am proud to be a part of, and will gladly continue my contribution if elected.

Bio: Nicholas de Pencier is a documentary Director, Producer, and Director of Photography. Selected credits include Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles (International Emmy), The Holier It Gets, (Best Canadian doc, Hot Docs), The True Meaning of Pictures (Gemini, Best Arts), Hockey Nomad (Gemini, Best Sports), Manufactured Landscapes, (TIFF best Canadian feature; Genie, best doc), and Act of God (Gala opening night, Hot Docs). He was also the Producer and Director of Photography of Watermark, (Special Presentation, TIFF & Berlin, Toronto Film Critics Award, Best Canadian Film, CSA Best Documentary), and Black Code (TIFF) which he also directed. Additionally he does video installation work, and with Dr. Mike Evans started a YouTube Channel of animated health education videos.


Ellen DesRues

Statement: Having spent a good portion of my working life in film production, I feel that it’s time to give back and contribute in some concrete way to the documentary community. My passion has always been documentary film and having worked at a number of Canadian institutions; CBC, NFB, Nelvana, and TVO, I understand how important it is for our country to continue to have a voice and to keep Canadian stories alive and at the forefront. I believe that my background in film, combined with my recent work in fundraising, event planning, and donor stewardship will help DOC Toronto secure more sponsorships and additional funding so that the organization can continue to be a driving force in the documentary world.

Ellen DesRues is a filmmaker, sound editor, and assistant editor with over 20 years experience working in the film and television industry. She was a part of the storied CBC Film Department through the 1980’s as an assistant editor and sound editor on various series including The Nature of Things, Man Alive, The Fifth Estate, Marketplace and Patrick Watson’s acclaimed 10-part series The Struggle for Democracy.

Her experience includes working on a number of award-winning documentaries for the NFB and TVO including the Genie Award winning film Fiction and Other Truths: A Film about Jane Rule by Lynne Fernie and Aerlyn Weissman, numerous animation series at Nelvana/Corus Entertainment and SuperSonic Productions, and most recently as an assistant editor on the upcoming feature documentary Midian Farm by Liz Marshall. In 2015, Ellen shot and edited her own short documentary Fertile Ground Farm about the day in the life of an organic farm. 

Her additional experience includes positions in event planning and donor stewardship for various non-profits including Doctors Without Borders, The Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and TVO. She have served on the Board of the YWCA Women of Distinction Awards and was a member of the Multimedia Committee at WIFT-T. Ellen is a graduate of the Media Arts program at Sheridan College and the Fundraising and Volunteer Management program at Humber College. She is also a current member of the Canadian Cinema Editors (CCE) and the Centre for Social Innovation (CSI). 


Michael McNamara

Statement: As an active member of the documentary community for many years I feel it’s a duty and a privilege to work to protect and strengthen genre in any way I can.  I’ve previously served as Toronto rep and as chairperson on the board of DOC National.  I was part of the DOC Toronto advisory committee that launched DOC Institute and I helped initiate the DOC Institute Awards, and continue to serve on that committee. I’m also a committee member of the Hot Docs Board and the POV board. It’s tough to make documentaries in the best of times, and it’s getting tougher, which is why DOC needs to be far more effective in its advocacy endeavors.  To this end, your DOC Toronto board is stepping forward with new initiatives we hope will help make our whole organization stronger and more relevant. And even more steps are needed, which is why I want to stand for another term as a DOC Toronto board member and ask for your support.

Bio: Born in Chicago and raised in the US, England and Canada, Michael McNamara has created, produced and directed provocative and often humorous documentary films and series.  His new feature documentary featuring actor Jay Baruchel, Celtic Soul, will be having it’s western Canada premiere at the 2016 Whistler Film Festival, following a theatrical run at the Hot Docs Cinema.  His other feature documentaries include The Trick With The Gun100 Films & A Funeral, Radio Revolution: The Rise and Fall of the Big 8 and Acquainted With the Night.  Other producing, directing and/or writing credits include the Space Channel series Fanboy Confessional and the outsider art series Driven By Vision.  His films have been official selections at  Hot Docs, TIFF, VIFF, Sundance, SXSW and other international festivals. McNamara directed the TMN William Shatner live performance special Shatner’s World.  He is currently writing and directing a film on adult ADHD for The Nature of Things with David Suzuki. Together with his wife and partner, Judy Holm, McNamara founded and runs Markham Street Films in Toronto.  He also plays ukulele and collects scratchy vinyl musical recordings.


 Andrew Moir

Statement: My first encounter with the documentary community in Toronto was at Hot Docs in 2011. A short film that I had directed for school had been programmed in the festival. The experience was exciting but very overwhelming. I had entered a world that I knew nothing about. It was a formative week for me; I met filmmakers and producers that I work with today.

I became a DOC member that year and I have keenly made use of the programs and opportunities offered by DOC Toronto and the DOC Institute.  Each opportunity has been a rich learning experience and a chance to make genuine friendships and working relationships. I make a living as a production coordinator and, in many cases, DOC Toronto is directly responsible for helping me build relationships to find work. I owe a great deal to DOC Toronto and I would love the opportunity to give back.

If I had the honour of serving on DOC Toronto’s board, I can provide ideas on how the DOC Institute can better serve emerging documentary makers and I will be a voice for those who are new to our community.

DOC Toronto and the DOC Institute have a lot to offer to emerging filmmakers but emerging filmmakers also have a lot to offer in return. The industry must take risks and embrace new working styles in order to remain viable and relevant. We need to encourage participation from our youngest members and I will be committed to making that happen.

Bio: An emerging producer and documentary filmmaker, Andrew Moir pursues under-told stories with an intimate and personal point of view. He is a highly collaborative filmmaker whose work spans both fiction and documentary.

Andrew’s films include Uprooted (Hot Docs ‘11), a short about a tobacco farmer giving up his crop forever and the award-winning Just As I Remember (Hot Docs ‘13), a personal, short documentary about two young fathers living with ALS.

He recently produced and directed Pro-Life Prodigy, a short for VICE about a controversial young girl who became an internet sensation after releasing an anti-abortion speech on Youtube when she was twelve years old. His current projects include Babe, I Hate To Go, a feature-length documentary about a Jamaican migrant worker forced to return home after a terminal cancer diagnosis.

Andrew has had the opportunity to work with many established documentary filmmakers in Toronto as a producer’s assistant and production coordinator.

He has also produced a series of short narrative films that have screened in festivals that include Telefilm’s Not Short On Talent Program at Cannes, Clerment-Ferrand, Festival de Nouveau Cinema and Toronto’s After Dark Film Festival.


Nadine Pequeneza 

Statement: Having completed my first two-year term as a DOC Toronto Board member, I am asking that you consider me to represent you for a second term.

Since 2014 I have taken part in several committees at both the provincial and national level, working with our colleagues to further advocacy initiatives, explore alternative funding models, and promote our industry through the DOC Institute Awards.  DOC’s growth and success relies on hundreds of volunteer hours from its members; and I believe those on the board have a special obligation to offer their time and experience to the benefit of all members.

If re-elected I would work toward increased engagement with DOC Toronto’s at-large members, continued support for the DOC Institute to provide meaningful development for members at all stages of their career, and perhaps mostly importantly a cohesive vision for the Chapters and National regarding advocacy.  We all acknowledge that with the current federal government, we have an opportunity to influence policies that could have profound implications for the important work we do.  Through a unified vision, we can make the most of this opportunity.    

Bio: Nadine Pequeneza is an award-winning Director, Writer and Producer best known for her observational films offering unique access to character-driven stories about social justice.  With more than 15 years international experience, she has garnered multiple nominations and awards, including; a Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing in a Documentary Program, seven CSA and Gemini nominations, a Gold Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, a Golden Sheaf from the Yorkton Film Festival, and a Silver Gavel Award honourable mention from the American Bar Association.  Her films have screened at festivals around the world, including: Hot Docs International Film Festival, Montreal International Documentary Festival, Milan International Film Festival, Florida Film Festival, Atlanta Film Festival and Tel Aviv International Film Festival.

As the founder of HitPlay Productions, Nadine has produced and directed the company’s feature documentary projects, including: Road to Mercy, 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story, Up In Arms, Inside Disaster, and Raising Cassidy.  Her films have broadcast on CBC, SRC, TVO, PBS and Knowledge Network.  She is currently in production on a feature film about social impact bonds, titled The Grand Experiment.

Nadine is a Fledging Fellow and member of the DOC Toronto board.