Film Training Manitoba’s Top 10 of 2021

As Manitoba’s workforce development and training organization for the film industry, Film Training Manitoba has cavalcade of training, partnerships and other initiatives each year. Our team has put together a best of list to share in the beginning of 2022 to look back on our year in 2021! 


#10: FTM’s Reel Career’s Profiles 26 Manitoba Film Professionals for 2021!

Our Reel Career’s Profile series 2021 featured a wide collect of Manitoba film professionals including: Danny Schur (Juno-winning composer, producer, and writer), brother and sister team Taylor and Laina Brown (Filmmakers), Jennifer “Jenni” Walder (Lighting technician), Cam Patterson (Filmmaker), Tamara Harlan (film professional),  Eric Neufeld (Chair of both the Sound Department and IATSE 856’s Young Workers Committee), Drew Scurfeld (Locations Manager & Scout), Paul Skirzky (Grip Department), Aaron Merkle (actor and special effects make-up artist), Cam Bennett (writer, director, and producer), Heather Madill (Casting Department), Stephen Recksidler (Production Services Manager at Les Productions Midcan Production), Nathalie Massaroni  (editor and filmmaker), João Holowka (Gaffer & Lighting Technician), Quan Luong (cinematographer and colourist), Kristen Sawatzky (Stunt department, performer and photographer), Miriam  Temesghen (assistant production coordinator and assisting casting),  Vincent Tang (Film Professional), Tim Nhlazane (Performer), Mark Dann (Picture Vehicles and Transportation department), Scott Martin (Grip Department), Alan Wong (the Festival Manager of the Gimli Film Festival and President of ACTRA), Rachel Rusen (CEO and Film Commissioner of Manitoba Film and Music), Kaya Wheeler (NSI staff member), John Clarke (Gaffer), and Daniel Quesnel (2nd assistant camera)


#9: FTM’s Adam Smoluk Appointed Chairperson to a Program Advisory Committee for Assiniboine Community College (ACC)

Located in the City of Brandon, Manitoba Assiniboine Community College’s Creative Media and Communications Program has launched three new two-year diploma programs focusing on creative media and technologies within its School of Business. The Media & Communications, Digital Art & Design, and Web & Interactive Development programs started in fall 2021.

FTM’s Managing Director Adam Smoluk accepted the position of chairperson to the program Advisory Committee. FTM and ACC will be continuing to partner and work collaborative to help students as they transition into the film industry.


#8: FTM Panel on the Making of the Manitoba Feature Film HUNTER HUNTER with Producer Juliette Hagopian & Writer/Director Shawn Linden

During a 90 minute panel, veteran Canadian Producer Juliette Hagopian and writer/director Shawn Linden shared their experiences creating and delivering HUNTER HUNTER. This film received great critical acclaim and this session was sold out quickly.

Moderated by Film Training Manitoba’s Adam Smoluk and the Winnipeg Free Press’ Randell King, the panel explored the creative process and also take questions from the participants.


#7: FTM’s Conducted Most watched Panel Event for the 2nd year in a row at the UWPG Film Festival 2021

For the past two years FTM has conducted a special panel for the UWPG Film Festival to help students and the attendees find out more about jobs and careers in Manitoba’s dynamic film festival.

FTM’s Super Six Panel Series at UWPG 2021 featured panelist, Terence Fuller (FTM’s vice-chair, Steward with IATSE Local 856), JJ Neepin (Filmmaker), David Zellis (President of Film Distribution & Production Company), Allison Bile (FTM’s workforce Development and Operations Manager), Alan Wong (the Festival Manager of the Gimli Film Festival and President of ACTRA), Nathalie Massaroni (Editor and filmmaker).


#6: FTM Launched New fully online Course Working as an Extra: Introduction to Background Performing

In May of 2021, FTM worked with ACTRA, and Manitoba’s extras casting teams’ (Madlibs, Next! Casting, Kari Casting, and Extras Casting Winnipeg) to create a fully online Course Working as an Extra: Introduction to Background Performing.

FTM’s course was designed to prepare performers for background roles in projects produced in the province.  In addition, this course is also aimed at helping current crew members by developing the professional skills of new worker which will help support a higher level of productivity and professionalism.

In the eight months since its launch in May 2021, over 70 participants registered for this new course.


#5: FTM Conducts Firearms Safety on Film Productions Session

Due to a recent tragic incident on a film set in New Mexico in October 2021, FTM conducted the Firearms Safety on Film Productions with Dave Brown and Lesley Oswald in early December, which was attended by over 70 participants including participants from all around North America and the United Kingdom.

During this course, the instructors explained the important of hiring an experience Firearms Safety Coordinator and the various controls in-place to ensure a safe film industry.

This responsive course received excellent participant evaluations and FTM plans for additional sessions in 2022!


#4: Manitoba Film & Music and Film Training Manitoba create the TAKE 5: Film & TV Industry Sessions for the Gimli Film Festival 2021

The Gimli Film Festival is Manitoba’s largest film festival and for the first time ever, FTM, Manitoba Film and Music and GFF came together to launch the TAKE 5: Film & TV Industry Sessions in the Summer of 2021.

The aim of the sessions was to develop a new series of professional development to advance the skills of Manitoba’s content creators. The programming of five sessions was a collection of ninety-minute interactive industry panels to support the growth and development of Manitoba’s content creators.

Panelists and moderators included: Becki Brisson (Shaw Rocket Fund), Mauro Ferritto (Film Training Manitoba), Niv Fichman (Rhombus Media), Helena Fleger (Urban Prairie Post) , John Galway (Corrib Entertainment), Sean Garrity (Filmmaker), Aaron Graham (Writer & Production Manager), Melanie Hadley (WarnerMedia), Liz Jarvis (Buffalo Gal), Suzanne Lacey (Bell Fund), Shawn Linden (Filmmaker), Louise O’Brien-Moran (Manitoba Film & Music), Alex Rogalski (Hot Docs), Shamim Sarif (Filmmaker), Danny Schur (Writer, Producer & Composer), Adam Smoluk (Film Training Manitoba), Leslie Stafford (Lassie Projects), Andrew Yankiwski (Precursor Productions).

Over 100 participants attended these sessions and FTM is looking forward to partnering with MFM and Gimli again in 2022!


#3: Film Training Manitoba and ACTRA MB Launched Inaugural BIPOC Performers Training Initiative in 2021

FTM and ACTRA worked collaboratively to launch the new BIPOC Performers Training Initiative which included panelists and instructors included other experienced actors and film professionals like Patrice Goodman (Sunnyside), Conrad Coates (TRON: Legacy, Fringe, Defiance), Tonya Williams (The Young & The Restless, Reelworld Film Festival founder) and Alison Sealy-Smith (Street Legal and Obsidian Theatre Company founding director). They tackled everything from what to expect when auditioning, acting for film and television, to what you need to know as an extra on set or in the industry.

The virtual sessions were very successful, and participation went beyond what organizers imagined with 117 spots filled across all the sessions.


#2: MITT and FTM launched ACTION! Program Phase 2

Building off a successful collaboration in spring 2020 and continuing their effort to guide MITT students into jobs and careers in one of Manitoba’s most dynamic—and rapidly growing—industries, MITT and FTM officially launched ACTION! Program Phase 2 in January 2021.

With support from the Province, Phase 2 is a considerable expansion: 200 MITT students and alumni access six industry-accredited courses, one-on-one career coaching, and a collection of in-class training. The short-term training complements a student’s core education and creates opportunities to pivot into new career opportunities.

“The Manitoba government supports education for Manitobans that is flexible and adaptable to the needs of the labour market and individuals looking to apply their talents to new opportunities,” said Hon. Ralph Eichler the former Minister of Economic Development and Jobs. “It’s encouraging to see FTM and MITT blending innovation and practicality to help students and budding professionals maximize the value and potential of their education.”


#1: Film Training Manitoba Sets New Attendance Numbers in two years back-to-back! 

In 2019-2020, FTM reached the highest registration numbers in its 23-year history with 1,435 participations during the 2019-2020 fiscal year.

Despite the challenges of COVID-19, in 2020-2021 FTM had a total 1,962 participations. This includes online certification courses and 64 in-class and remote training sessions.

This accomplishment was thanks in part to management restructuring and a renewed focus on pursuing the organization goal of providing innovative workforce development programs for members of Manitoba’s dynamic film industry.


FTM is a non-for-profit charity of the Province of Manitoba’s sector council program through the Department of Economic Development and Jobs. FTM builds a highly skilled and adaptable film industry workforce to support the activities of Manitoba production companies. FTM collaborates with members of the film and television industry to identify the training needs within the community. 

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