January 30, 2016, 10:00 AM - 4:30 PM


Pitching a film project is a very important talent as the filmmaker is selling him/herself and the project. Both have to be presented in the most articulate light as there is usually only one chance per project to do so. It’s a talent that is needed throughout a filmmaker’s career. Why will a production company or studio chose one project over many others? Come and find out.

This workshop with Melanie Friesen (Bio below) will cover the following topics and will provide all you need to know to prepare, practise and get constructive feedback for your pitch. Melanie will be joined in the afternoon by Elizabeth Yake (Bio below) to provide feedback to the practice pitches. 


- The pluses of choosing a project with a universal theme

- How pitching is a mini-performance of both the story you are selling and who you are as a filmmaker.

- Why would production companies or studios pick your project and not someone else’s?

- The three points that a pitch must have

- Specifically how to tell the story

- How to follow up

This will also be followed by an experience in “thinking on your feet.”


10:00 AM - 10:30 AM        Registration and Introduction

10:30 AM - 1:00 PM          Art of pitching + "thinking on your feet" 

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM            Lunch Break (bring your own lunch or purchase nearby)

2:00 PM - 4:30 PM            Practice Pitching - Those who would like to pitch their projects to the group and to receive constructive feedback are welcome to do so at this time. This afternoon session will be also valuable to those who do not wish to practice a pitch. 

If possible, please let us know in advance if you will be pitching by sending a message to  

Location: SFU Woodwards, Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings. Room# TBA

Melanie Friesen has worked as a literary agent for filmmakers in London, UK, as Creative Director in the UK for MGM/UA (finding the feature film projects that the studio would develop), the same position at Cineplex Odeon in Los Angeles and as VP for Martin Scorsese’s company in New York. She has lectured on pitching in Canada, Wales, Luxembourg, Mexico, Hungary and the Republic of Georgia.

Elizabeth Yake is President of True West Films based on the west coast of Canada. As producer, her films have been nominated for more than 15 Genie Awards and each of her features and shorts have premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. Films/TV include PILGRIMS, EVERYTHING’S GONE GREEN, IT¹S ALL GONE PETE TONG, MISS TEXAS. TWF focuses on structuring international co-productions for the world market. Elizabeth is in post with her feature docu-drama HADWIN¹S JUDGEMENT based on the story of The Golden Spruce in co-production with the NFB and Passion Pictures, UK, Oscar winners 2013 for SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN.