November 25 & 26, 2023
The Canada’s Supporting Women in Film Trades (SWIFT) Conference is taking place in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on November 25 & 26, 2023. It is for women-identifying and gender-diverse workers in the film and media industry to grow their workplace skills and advance in their careers.
Canada’s SWIFT Conference welcomes crew members, filmmakers, performers and anyone interested in film and media.
Film Training Manitoba (FTM) is a not-for-profit charity, and we are a member of the Province of Manitoba’s Sector Council Program, which supports economic development and jobs.
All speakers, panels and training sessions support improving the workplace culture to retain and attract more women-identifying workers within the film and media industry.
Canada’s SWIFT was founded in 2021 and created by a committee of fifteen women film professionals.
319 Elgin Ave.
Carrie Wilkins (Co-Chair)
Tanya Mazur (Co-Chair)
Ellen Rutter (Vice-Chair)
FTM’s SWIFT 2022 conference was a significant success, with 85 participants. This year our goal is to have 150 participants in attendance.
Using the feedback from the participant evaluations and the SWIFT committee, the format of the upcoming conference will consist of longer moderated panel discussions, highly accomplished speakers and a nationally renowned keynote speaker. FTM will contract women-identifying senior-level film crew workers and senior leaders from other industries to participate in the moderated panel discussions and speaker sessions.
8:30 am – 9:00 am: Registration and Networking Breakfast
9:00 am – 9:45 am: Welcoming and opening remarks: Carrie Wilkins, Tanya Mazer, and Ellen Rutter
French remarks: Danielle Sturk
Blessing and Prayer: Elder Geraldine Shingoose
RRC Polytechnic greetings: Christine Watson
9:45 am – 10:00 am: Networking Break
10:00 am – 11:05 am: You Got This! Championing Yourself and Your Career (with Q & A) Sponsored by Red River College Polytechnic
This session supports learning how film and media professionals can take steps forward in promoting their career and job ambitions.
During this session, the panellists will share tips and strategies on the best practices of self-advocacy and promotion within the workplace.
Moderator: Jill Latchislaw (RRC Polytechnic)
Panellists: Libby Lea (Vice President of Frank Digital), Lesley Oswald (Member of DGC-MDC), Summer Holmes (Member of IATSE 856), Jessica Gibson (Program Manager NSI)
11:05 am – 11:20 am: Networking Break
11:20 am – 12:25 pm: The Art of the Film Trades (with Q & A) Sponsored by IATSE 856
With labour shortages across Canada, there is a greater demand for more workers within trades positions – this is true for the film and media industry too. Women are essential in building, attracting and serving in these trades’ positions.
During the panel, the participants will discuss the advantages and benefits of working in film and media trades and how they can move forward!
Moderator: Ellen Rutter (Member of DGC-MDC)
Panellists: Shauna Townley (Member of ICG 669), Angela Wells (Member of IATSE 856), Ami Buhler (Member of IATSE 856), Diana Kim (Member of DGC-MDC)
12:25 pm – 1:25 pm: Lunch Break
1:25 pm – 2:30 pm: Transformative Leadership (with Q & A) Sponsored by IATSE 856
Speaker: Susan Thompson, O.M.
Moderator: Joanne Roberts (Citytv Winnipeg)
Using a lifetime of experience, Winnipeg’s first woman mayor Susan Thompson will speak on transformational leadership.
A well-known and highly regarded leader, Susan Thompson is a woman of passion, a strong proponent of achieving the impossible and someone who believes in reaching for her dreams. Susan Thompson is a trailblazer and an inspiration to women everywhere.
2:30 pm – 2:45 pm: Networking Break
2:45 pm – 3:50 pm: Women’s Creative Role in a Changing Film & Media Landscape (with Q&A) Sponsored by The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
This panel will address women’s role in the creative process within the film and media industry. Using personal experience, the panellist will share how creatives can use their skills to advance their careers.
Moderator: Shaneen Robinson (Manitoba Music)
Panellists: Leslie Supnet (Filmmaker and Executive Director of the Winnipeg Film Group), Lise Raven (Filmmaker and Instructor at The University of Winnipeg), Pina Robinson (Member of IATSE 856), Tamara Roshka (Cinematographer, Editor)
3:45 pm – 4:00 pm: Networking Break
4:00 pm – 5:05 pm: Reel Inclusion (with Q & A) Sponsored by Warner Bros. Discovery Access Canada
With the advent of the Times UP and BIPOC movements, more individuals and organizations are looking for positive strategies for engaging with underrepresented workers.
During this moderated session, the panellists will address authentic representation and allyship. The panellists will discuss how film community members can support, amplify, and advocate the benefits to workplaces and industries.
Moderator: Stephanie Sy (Member of ACTRA)
Panellists: Charlene Moore (Indigenous Film Collective), Karen Remoto (FascinAsian Film Festival), Miriam Temesghen (Member of DGC-MDC)
8:30 am – 9:00 am: Registration and Networking Breakfast
9:00 am – 9:15 am: Greetings and review of the program from SWIFT chairs and FTM staff
9:30 am – 10:35 am: The Power of Mentorship and Investing in You! (with Q & A) Sponsored by Warner Bros. Discovery Access Canada
This session will acknowledge some of the challenges women continue to face in a field historically dominated by men. However, its focus will be on the value of mentorship and the importance of investing in your growth to support and promote success – for yourself and others.
Chantal Boutin will discuss the personal and professional ‘trials’ she navigated in building her career as a Crown Attorney handling some of the province’s most high-profile cases.
Speaker: Chantal Boutin (Manitoba Crown Attorney)
Moderator: Rebecca Gibson (Member of ACTRA and Partner in Eagle Vision)
10:35 am – 10:50 am: Networking Break
10:50 am – 11:55 am: Self-Perception of Women in Film and Media (with Q & A) Sponsored by Gender Equity Manitoba
As the on-camera talent, actors are often the focus of many film and media productions, and women film professionals can sometimes be overly scrutinized for their appearance and performances. This group of film professionals will discuss the challenges and opportunities for Manitoba performers and how to make the most of working in film and media.
Introduction: Rea Kavanagh (ACTRA Branch Representative and Member of ACTRA)
Moderator: Kalyn Bomback (Member of ACTRA and lawyer)
Panellists: Rebecca Gibson (Member of ACTRA and Partner in Eagle Vision), Kirsten Sawatsky (Member of ACTRA), Lorraine James (Member of ACTRA), Sharon Bajer (Member of ACTRA), Carmen Kotyk (Casting Director)
11:55 am – 12:55 pm: Lunch Break
12:55 pm – 2:00 pm: Entrepreneurship for Film and Media (with Q & A) Sponsored by International Cinematographers Guild | Local 669
The film industry is a business, but it’s also an art form; during this session, the moderator will engage with the panellists on how the entrepreneurial mindset can help serve the participants in jobs and careers in the film industry. Panellists will share how workers can use these skills to build their careers.
Introduction: Lynne Skromeda (CEO & Film Commissioner of MB Film and Music)
Moderator: Orinthia Babb
Panellists: Janelle Wookey (Co-founder and Producer at Wookey Films), Michelle Walker (Owner of Les Filles Cuisine and Member of IATSE 856), Laina Brown (Co-founder and Producer at Folks Films), Carrie Wilkins (Co-owner of UNIT204 Production Services and Member of DGC-MDC), Rhonda Baker (Member of DGC-MDC and Owner of RGB Productions)
2:00 pm – 2:15 pm: Networking Break
2:15 pm – 3:20 pm: The Power Panel: Women Executives in Action (with Q & A) Sponsored by The Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology
A group of women executives will discuss jobs and careers in a moderated panel. The panel will discuss how women leaders can build and grow organizations through advanced leadership strategies.
Introduction: Carole Vivier, C.M., O.M. (Former CEO & Film Commissioner of MB Film and Music)
Moderator: Bev Stuart (Vice President, Business and Organizational Development of MITT)
Panellists: Tina Keeper (Kistikan Pictures Inc.), Carol Paul (Executive Director of the Manitoba Construction Sector Council), Jamie Carnegie (Executive Director of Gender Equity Manitoba), Sarah Spring (Executive Director of DOC National), Cathie Edgar (President of DGC-MDC)
3:20 pm – 3:35 pm: Networking Break
3:35 pm – 4:55 pm: Women’s Important Role within Canada’s Media and Film Industry (with Q & A) Sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC)
Keynote Speaker: During this session, the former Governor-General of Canada, Michaëlle Jean, will speak about women’s vital role in Canada’s media and film industry. During this in-person session, Madame Jean will share personal experiences and engage with the participant’s questions.
Moderator: Danielle Sturk (Member of DGC-MDC)
4:55 pm – 5:00 pm: SWIFT Award Presentation and wrap up
Canada’s SWIFT award recognizes a long-serving member of the film industry who has championed and supported women and underrepresented workers to build and grow Canada’s dynamic film industry.
Presenters: Allison Bile, Carrie Wilkins, Ellen Rutter, Tanya Mazur
5:00 pm – 6:30 pm: Closing Reception
Michaëlle Jean (born September 6, 1957, in Port-au-Prince, Haiti) was a Canadian journalist and documentarian who was Canada’s 27th governor-general (2005–10) and the first person of African heritage to hold that post. She later became the first woman to serve as secretary-general of the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (2015–19).
Jean’s family was descended from slaves. Her father suffered imprisonment and torture under the regime of François Duvalier, leading to the family’s flight to Canada when Jean was age 11. They settled in Montreal. Jean proved to be a brilliant student, studying languages and literature at the University of Montreal, where she earned a master’s degree in comparative literature. She also attended universities in Italy and France.
A social activist, Jean mixed freely in the diverse world of Montreal’s ethnic communities, honing a perfect command of French and English in the process. Embarking on a career in broadcast journalism, she became a popular commentator on the French-language network of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and also worked frequently on the English network.
From 2001 Jean worked as an anchor for Radio-Canada’s Le Téléjournal, and in 2004 she began to host her own television interview show, Michaëlle. She won numerous awards for her journalism, including the Amnesty International Journalism Award. With her husband, French-born Canadian filmmaker Jean-Daniel Lafond, she also made several acclaimed documentaries, most notably Haïti dans tous nos rêves (1995; “Haiti in All Our Dreams”).
Susan Thompson is a community leader, entrepreneur, politician, diplomat, philanthropic fundraiser and proud lifetime Sponsor of HMCS WINNIPEG.
She was the first woman to own her family business, the first woman Rotarian in Manitoba, the first woman Mayor of Winnipeg and the first woman Consul General at the Canadian Consulate in Minneapolis.
A graduate of the University of Winnipeg Collegiate (Class of `67) and the University of Winnipeg (Class of `71), Susan enjoyed a successful retail career as an international buyer with Eaton’s and The Bay. In 1980, she purchased the family business from her father, serving as owner and president of Birt Saddlery for 15 years. Elected Mayor of Winnipeg for two terms in 1992 and 1995, Susan led the City of Winnipeg through the largest crisis the city had faced in 100 years, known as the `Flood of the Century’ over 21 days in the spring of 1997.
Susan led successful bids for the 1999 Pan American Games; the 1998 Canadian Briar Curling Championship; the 1998 World Junior Hockey Championship; the 1998 Grey Cup; the 2001 World Indigenous Games; and the 1995 Winter Cities International Conference. In 1999, as Canadian Consul General in Minneapolis, Susan served an eight-state territory consisting of 15 million people and $32 billion in Canada-US trade.
She returned to Winnipeg in 2003 to assume the role of founding President & CEO of The University of Winnipeg Foundation. Together with the extraordinary commitment of Foundation Board members and staff, she managed an unprecedented $38 million Endowment Fund and provided stewardship to over 7,600 donors. On September 16, 2011, just prior to Susan’s retirement, the Foundation concluded the largest fundraising campaign in the University’s history. Over $135 million dollars (nearly double the original campaign goal of $70 million) was raised in the `A World of Opportunity Capital Campaign’ in support of student awards, capital projects and academic enhancements.
Chantal Boutin is a Crown Attorney with the Manitoba Prosecution Service. She articled with the Service in 2008 and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 2009. After her call, she spent time prosecuting cases in the General Prosecutions Unit, the Domestic Violence Unit, and the High-Risk Offender Unit. In April of 2021, Ms. Boutin was appointed General Counsel.
In addition to providing mentorship and guidance to other Crown Attorneys, as General Counsel, Ms. Boutin is entrusted with the most serious, complex, and high-profile criminal prosecutions in the province. These cases are tried before either a judge and jury, or a judge sitting alone, and are often the subject of media attention.
Before she was a lawyer, Ms. Boutin was an elementary school teacher. She now blends her love of the law with her passion for education, having taught Advanced Advocacy at the University of Manitoba Law School for a number of years, and continuing to teach Expert Evidence and the Art of Cross-Examination in-house at the Manitoba Prosecution Service.