DOC Toronto Board & Staff
RIC ESTHER BIENSTOCK
Ric Esther Bienstock is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker best known for her groundbreaking investigative documentaries. Her films have screened at over 60 international festivals and have aired on networks in over 50 countries. Her most recent feature length documentary, Tales From the Organ Trade, tackles the international black market trade in human organs. Narrated by David Cronenberg, the film was produced for HBO in the U.S. and Shaw Media and Canal D in Canada. She has produced, written and directed a diverse range of acclaimed films including Sex Slaves (aka The Real Sex Traffic) (CBC, PBS Frontline, Channel 4) an expose into the trafficking of women from the former Soviet bloc into the global sex trade. Other films include the 3-part series Penn & Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour (CBC, TLC, Channel 4), The Sexual Century: The Money Shot, Boxing: In and Out of the Ring (A&E, TVOntario, Sky), Ebola: Inside an Outbreak (aka The Plague Fighters) (CBC, PBS Nova, Channel 4) and Ms. Conceptions (CBC, TLC). Her work has garnered numerous awards including a U.S. Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, an Edward R. Murrow Award, a Dupont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, a British Broadcast Award for Best Documentary, a Royal Television Society Award, a nomination for a British Academy Award (BAFTA), two HOT DOCS Awards, two Gemini Awards, a Genie, a Cable Ace Award, two Gold Hugos from the Chicago Film Festival, a Distinguished Documentary Achievement Award from the IDA in Los Angeles, 2 Hot Docs Awards, 3 Gold World Medals from the New York Festivals, the Grand Prix at the Nyon International Film Festival in Switzerland and two Overseas Press Club of America Awards for her investigative documentaries. She speaks three languages, none of which her children listen to.
NICHOLAS DE PENCIER
Nicholas de Pencier is a director, producer, and director of photography working in documentary, performing arts, and dramatic film. As a Producer, his credits include Let It Come Down: The Life of Paul Bowles (International Emmy), The Holier It Gets, (Best Canadian, Hot Docs), The True Meaning of Pictures (Gemini, Best Arts), Hockey Nomad (Gemini, Best Sports), Manufactured Landscapes (best Canadian feature: TIFF; Genie, best Doc), and Act of God (Gala opening night, Hot Docs). As a Cinematographer, de Pencier regularly shoots factual TV series and documentaries for the CBC, PBS, Discovery, National Geographic and History Television. In 2011 he was nominated for a best photography Gemini for Raccoons. In 2010 he shot the documentary adaptation of Payback, which was selected for Sundance, 2012 and released theatrically in Canada and the U.S. De Pencier was admitted as a full member to the Canadian Society of Cinematographers in 2012. He is the Producer and Director of Photography of Watermark, a feature doc which premiered at TIFF in 2013.
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. Some of the latest productions include: the feature length documentary This Side of Eden - a poetic, compelling and richly intimate portrait of the Benedictine Monks living at Westminster Abbey in Mission, B.C. and Panes of Glory, a 4 part series revealing insights surrounding the beautiful stained glass windows of St. Peter’s Seminary in London, Ontario.
Lalita is an award winning filmmaker and transmedia producer. Her work has been broadcast on all major networks and featured at film festivals around the world. Lalita's documentaries are used extensively both in the Canadian and international educational market. Currently, she is executing multiple transmedia productions in partnership with award winning game producers, designers and developers. Lalita is a featured speaker at prestigious conferences and professional development events. She also chaired the steering committee of docSHIFT and DOCS IN CLASS two major flagship programs run by DOC Toronto. Lalita was recently recognized with the Crystal Award for mentorship by WIFT-T. She has also been awarded the Dream-Catcher Award for using her craft to better humanity and is the recipient of the 2010 Reel World Trailblazer award.
Michael oversees Primitive Entertainment’s selection of projects and focuses on the 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.
Michael is the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Hot Docs, North America's largest documentary film festival. He is the Co‐Chair of the Toronto Chapter of the Documentary Organization of Canada; an industry group representing 700 documentary filmmakers across Canada. Michael has also served as the Documentary Producer Mentor at The Canadian Film Centre (CFC). Recent awards include a Genie for Best Short Documentary, a Gemini for Best Performing Arts Series, a Genie for Best Feature Length Documentary, a Webby Award for Best Individual Documentary, the SXSW Interactive award for Activism, the Toyota Earth Grand Prize at the Tokyo International Film Festival, multiple Pixie Awards for Animation and Effects, and an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Nature Programming.
Michael McNamara lives in Toronto working as a filmmaker, screenwriter and director. In February 2002, he launched Markham Street Films with his partner Judy Holm, specializing in projects that are edgy, smart, provocative and funny. McNamara’s films include Radio Revolution - The Rise and Fall of The Big 8 (2004 Best History Program Gemini), The Life and Times of Robert Munsch and 100 Films & A Funeral, about the rise and fall of PolyGram Films. He wrote and directed Driven by Vision, a 17-part series on visionary outsider artists (Gemini for Best Direction in a Documentary Series). In 2011 he also won a best directing award for his feature-length documentary Acquainted With The Night. His recent films include Lights Out! for The Nature of Things, The F-Word: Who Wants to Be a Feminist? and Ice Sweat and Tears for DocZone, as well as Fanboy Confessional, a six part documentary series produced for Space Television. He serves on the DOC Toronto chapter board and represents Toronto on the DOC National board. He served a full term as Chair of the Doc National Board and currently serves on the editorial committee of POV Magazine and the executive committee of the Hot Docs International Film Festival.
Elisa’s career began in Palermo Italy in the early 1990s, where her documentary and experimental work screened at International Kuzfimtage Oberhausen, Festival di Bellaria, and was broadcast by RAI and Channel4, among others. In 2012, she completed her first feature-length documentary, Embracing Voices: The Woman Behind the Music of Jane Bunnett. She is currently in post-production on Driving with Selvi. Filmed over 10 years, Driving with Selvi tells the story of a former child bride who escaped her marriage to become South India’s first female taxi driver. Elisa has a particular interest in exploring non-traditional funding opportunities, having raised funds forDriving with Selvi with grants from federal, provincial and municipal arts councils, and American foundations such as Chicken & Egg Pictures, Fledgling Fund, Berth BRITIDOC Connect Fund, Women in Film Foundation, as well as crowd-funding through Indiegogo. Elisa is the President of Eyesfull, a Toronto-based production company dedicated to making non-fiction stories with social relevance.
Nadine Pequeneza is an award-winning Producer, Director and Writer best known for her observational films offering unique access to character-driven stories about social justice. With over 15 years international experience, she has multiple awards to her credit including; a Gold and Silver Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, a Golden Sheaf from the Yorkton Film Festival, and a Gold Panda from the Sichuan Festival in China. Nadine is a 4-time Canada Screen Award nominee in both directing and writing categories. Her work has broadcast in more than 50 countries on networks such as: CBC, PBS, A&E, Discovery Channel International, Global Television, History Television, and National Geographic.
Rama is a writer-director who trained in films on one of the largest film sets in India. Her passion is to make international films that examine “the extraordinariness of ordinary lives”. Her production company, TriNetra Productions has recently released "A Day in the Life of Vij’s" (2009) an intimate, behind the scenes look at Vancouver’s finest Indian restaurant. "Losing My Religion" (2008) is a deeply personal and revealing look at the connections between faith and religious tensions in a post 9/11 world; "Fingers of Fire" (2006) which premiered at the 2006 New York International Film Festival was filmed across four cities in Canada and three in India, where a struggling Indo Canadian classical musician tries to find his footing in the tight-knit backstage world of classical music in India. Rama has won the Tom Shoebridge Screenwriting Award (CSTC, 2004), and has received the ‘Filmmaker of the Year’ award by the Toronto Business Forum, has been named a Quebecor Fellow of DOC, (Documentary Organization of Canada) and has served on various juries, and presently serves on the DOC Toronto Board. Rama is currently working on The Market (2010) for TV Ontario and other international broadcasters.
ADAM SHAMOON, Director
Adam Shamoon joined DOC Toronto in 2012 after working in documentary production for six years. Mainly fulfilling associate producer and production manager positions, he has worked on one-offs, features and series for independent producers in both Canada and the United States, while also working on his own projects. Adam has designed and managed large-scale outreach campaigns for both theatrical and community screenings for linear documentary projects and their digital counterparts. His work is reflected in the Canadian features Living Downstream, The Ghosts In Our Machine, and the American limited series The Calling, which aired on PBS’ Independent lens across Canada and the United States. Prior to coming to documentary, Adam used films as outreach and engagement tools for issue-based non-profit organizations such as Chicago Foundation for Women, where he also managed their largest-ever grantmaking program. Adam is a graduate of McGill University, where he completed his studies with distinction.
Senaa Ahmad, Events & Programs Associate
Senaa Ahmad has been working in the film industry since 2011. As a publicist, she assisted on the campaigns for over 75 films, including Academy Award nominees Brooklyn, Whiplash, and Theeb, Palme d’Or winners Amour and Dheepan, and CBC documentaries such as Milk and IF The Poet. In 2015, she served on the creative team for the second annual edition of the Niagara Film Festival, working closely with Bill Marshall, co-founder of TIFF.
Prior to working in publicity and marketing, Senaa worked as a freelance editor and story editor in narrative and documentary film, collaborating with award-winning filmmakers, non-profit organizations, and other local clientele, including Journalists for Human Rights and the City of Toronto. She first joined the DOC Institute team in 2016, and is thrilled to be on board as the Events and Programs Associate, with a special focus on the DOC Institute ON150 project.