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Guest Speakers’ Biographies

Sandra Desrosiers Karr, Telefilm Canada

As Director, National Business Affairs, Ms. Karr leads a bi-coastal team that is responsible for all business affairs aspects of Telefilm’s project financing and co-production certification.

In addition to being a CPA, CGA, Ms. Karr holds a business degree in Finance. She joined Telefilm Canada in 2001 as a Senior Investment Analyst, and has also held managerial posts in the television and new media sectors. In 2007, Telefilm created its Business Affairs Department, with Ms. Karr at the helm. Previously, Ms. Karr held controllership positions in the entertainment industry’s distribution, production and finance sectors. Prior to entering the entertainment industry, she managed teams in public practice, banking and insurance, including several years in London, England. Ms. Karr’s knowledge and experience makes her an expert in production financing.

Robert Wong, Creative BC

Vice President, Tax Credits & Development

After working for five years for a chartered accounting firm in Vancouver, Robert joined BC Film + Media where he is currently the Vice President of Tax Credits and Development. Robert joined the staff just prior to the launch of the film and television tax credit program in 1998, and has since played an integral role in the evolution of British Columbia’s film and television tax policy, including the recent enhancements to the tax credit program. He is responsible for all administrative aspects of Film Incentive BC (FIBC) and the Production Services Tax Credit (PSTC) program, including maintaining the integrity of the legislation and regulations.

Lael McCall, Principia Productions

Lael is President of Principia Productions, based in Vancouver. She began her career as Creative Affairs Executive at London's United British Artists Developments, founded by Harold Pinter, Glenda Jackson, Albert Finney, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg and John Hurt to develop projects for West End Theatre as well as television and feature films including The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne , Castaway , and Windprints . She returned to Canada in 1988 and joined Alliance Communications. During her seven years with the company, eventually as Vice President of Alliance Pictures, she served as producer on Turning April (starring Tushka Bergen), a Canada/Australia co-production; as Executive Producer on The Boys Club (starring Chris Penn); and as executive producer of On My Own (starring Judy Davis), as well as overseeing development of in-house productions and independent acquisitions (Crash , Exotica , I Love A Man In Uniform) . Lael was raised in the Yukon and educated in British Columbia. She graduated with a degree in English from the University of British Columbia in 1981.

Principia Productions was established to develop and produce projects for theatrical and television audiences.

The company is currently developing a number of properties including: The Saltwater Decision, inspired by events leading up to the founding of Greenpeace, and Bre-X — The Motherlode of all Time, about David Walsh and the meteoric rise and fall of the Alberta junior gold mining stock. In the past few years Principia has co-produced the theatrical feature Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom, Season II of Exes & Ohs, and a six-part educational series, Marion Woodman and the Conscious Feminine, based on interviews with the beloved Canadian Jungian analyst and writer.

In 2005, Principia co-produced the theatrical feature A Simple Curve with writer/director Aubrey Nealon and producer George Baptist of Chinook Arch Productions. A Simple Curve had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and opened Canadian Images at The Vancouver International Film Festival. It was released theatrically across Canada in February, 2006.

Principia's first production, an adaptation of The Overcoat , a feature-length performing arts program for CBC and Radio Canada, went to air in January, 2002. The Overcoat was nominated for the Vienna Television Award, seven Gemini Awards, placed in the Hors Concours at Banff, received ‘honorary mention' at the Prix Italia, 2002, and won a Bronze Plaque at the Columbus International Film and Video Festival.

 Christine Haebler, Screen Siren Pictures

As a 30-year film veteran, Christine Haebler spent the ‘80s and early ‘90s in various production positions on large budget studio films like The Navigator, Willow, Immediate Family, Jennifer 8, Intersection and Little Women. She then moved into producing Canadian films and earned a Best Motion Picture Genie nomination for her first producing venture, Hard Core Logo. She recently completed Hector and the Search for Happiness, a $15.4 M co-production with Germany directed by Peter Chelsom starring Simon Pegg, Rosamund Pike, Stellan Skarsgaard, Toni Collette, Jean Reno and Christopher Plummer. Christine also produced Michael Goldbach’s Daydream Nation, starring Kat Dennings, Josh Lucas and Andie McDowell – Peter Greenaway’s Nightwatching, starring Martin Freeman – Sandra Nettelbeck’s Helen starring Ashley Judd and Hardwired, starring Cuba Gooding Jr and Val Kilmer.

She is also co-producing Nick Broomfield’s The Catastrophist, starring John C Reilly, Dan Steven and Frieda Pinto. Along with producing partner Trish Dolman, together they remain committed to producing distinctive, well-crafted productions.

Screen Siren Pictures

Established in 1997, Screen Siren Pictures is a highly creative and motivated production company dedicated to excellence in production quality, fiscal management and building lasting partnerships. As an active, independent film and television production company based in Vancouver, Canada we create innovative, award-winning feature films, TV movies and factual programs. With more than twenty productions completed, Screen Siren has sold its titles to broadcasters and distributors around the world including: AETN, Al Jazeera, BBC, CBC, Channel 4, CTV, CanWest Global, TVO, Movie Central, Sundance Channel, TMN, E1 Entertainment, AllianceAtlantis, Peace Arch Entertainment, and the NFB. Our films have received awards in Canada and internationally. With a focus on international co-productions and partnerships bring energy, creativity and established industry and financial relationships to all projects.

Paddy Bickerton - Reunion Pictures

Paddy Bickerton is a lawyer with over twenty years of legal and business affairs experience working exclusively in the entertainment industry, responsible for the legal and business aspects of development and production on projects too numerous to count. Paddy’s history includes a stint at Telefilm Canada as Legal Counsel and Business Analyst where she worked on many different productions (including the critically acclaimed Hard Core Logo), as well as extensive experience working in the private sector, including Studio B Productions (now part of DHX Media). Working with Reunion Pictures’ producers Matthew O’Connor, Tom Rowe and Lisa Richardson, Paddy utilizes her business and legal affairs acumen advising on all aspects of the company’s development and production slate as well as various corporate matters. Paddy was appointed President of Reunion Pictures Inc. in 2012, the first time this position had been held at Reunion.

 Reunion Pictures

Matthew O’connor, Lisa Richardson andTom Rowe formed Reunion Pictures in 2004 and since then have produced the highest rated mini-series on Syfy; ‘Tin Man’ and for Showtime the cult series “Masters of Horror” from several acclaimed directors including John Carpenter and Tobe Hooper. Currently, they are producing the third season of the series ‘Continuum’, which has been the highest rated series on Showcase in Canada, and has fans internationally, showing on SyFy in the US and UK.

This year saw the acquisition of Reunion Pictures by Thunderbird Films, solidifying a long-standing relationship and ensuring high quality production and distribution across the two company’s brands. In this latest move, O’Connor, Richardson and Rowe, will continue to produce under the Reunion brand delivering high quality and entertaining content.