Call for Applications: LIFT Newcomer Filmmentor 2020


Toronto, February 6, 2020—Are you a newcomer or refugee emerging filmmaker living in or near the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)? Are you looking to develop specific film-related skills or complete a project?

The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) is pleased to announce the launch of the third year of the Newcomer Filmmentor Program. The program will allow four participants to each be paired with one mentor practicing in one of the three following fields: documentary, experimental/hybrid or narrative filmmaking. The mentorship will take place from April to October 2020.

This is a self-directed mentorship; the mentee must present a clear plan of how they would like to structure the mentorship and what they would like to accomplish within the seven months of the program. Proposals exploring analogue or digital filmmaking through LIFT’s workshops, equipment and facilities will be considered.
LIFT highly encourages applicants from equity-seeking groups.

The successful applicant will:
– Be paired with a mentor to provide advice and guidance once a month;
– Be provided with a LIFT Production Membership until April 30, 2021;
– Receive $1,500 in artist fees in two installments;
– Will be eligible to enroll in any training workshop offered during the Summer 2020 calendar (to a maximum $400 value);
– Will receive $1,500 in-kind equipment credit to use LIFT’s extensive analogue and digital equipment and facilities, expiring April 30, 2021 (any additional equipment, facilities, and production costs will be the responsibility of the participant);
– Receive financial assistance in the form of a reimbursement for up to $850 to fund and develop a project, or for further skills development. Acceptable expenses include: cast and crew costs, production equipment rental costs, additional workshops or training sessions, etc.

Eligibility Criteria:
– This call is open to newcomer* candidates living in or near the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) only. For the purpose of this program, we define newcomer as: an immigrant or refugee who has lived in Canada for less than 7 years;
– Candidates must be 18 years or older in order to be apply;
– Over the course of the program from April 1, 2020 – October 31, 2020, candidates must commit to attending regular once a month meetings with their mentors; a mandatory orientation session at LIFT, training in specific workshops of their choice; three Lunch and Learn sessions aimed at advancing professional development, of which the themes will be chosen based on the applicants’ interests;
– We strongly encourage applicants who are deadline-driven and self-starters;
– You must live in Toronto or within commuting distance from the city in order to access LIFT workshops and equipment (travel subsidy and cost of living are not covered by this mentorship);

Your Application Must Include:
– Where did you hear about this program (word of mouth, LIFT website, social media, etc.);
– Which stream you are applying to: documentary, narrative, experimental or hybrid;
– A statement on why you would like to participate and how you would benefit from this mentorship program (maximum 250 words);
– Describe what you will work on during this mentorship. Which skill are you hoping to improve? What project will you be working on (if applicable)? Provide a timeline of activities. (maximum 500 words);
– Why you want to work with the mentor, clearly indicate which mentor (maximum 250 words);
– A list of LIFT workshops of interest (see;
– An indication of what kind of professional development would be useful to your career or practice (maximum 250 words);
– Your biography (no résumé or curriculum vitae please). Please be certain to indicate your past experience with film, video/digital and other artistic mediums, if any (maximum 250 words);
– Support material: minimum of one sample of previous work or a work in progress. Either an audio/visual sample, photography, or writing samples. (maximum file size 100MB or URL link with password, if applicable);

About the Mentors:
[Documentary] Aeyliya Husain is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose work focuses on issues of representation, images of war and their interpretation, women, and photography. She has exhibited at festivals both nationally and internationally including, Tribeca Film Festival, San Francisco Docfest, Glasgow Short Film Festival and São Paulo Film Festival. Her latest film “The Fifth Region” had its premiere at imagineNATIVE, in October (2018) and on the Documentary Channel (2020).  Her work has been supported by production grants from the National Film Board of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council and VICE media. Husain holds an MFA in Film Production from York University (Toronto, Canada) and a BA from the University of Waterloo (Waterloo, Canada).

[Documentary or Narrative] Ingrid Veninger holds an MFA from York University and has been a full-time faculty member of AMPD (School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design) since 2019. Born in Bratislava and raised in Canada, Ingrid has been celebrated as “the DIY queen of Canadian filmmaking” (Liam Lacey, The Globe and Mail). Since 2008, she has produced ten feature films with premieres at TIFF, Rotterdam, Locarno, Slamdance, Whistler, Rome, Hot Docs, Karlovy Vary and MoMA in New York. With retrospectives of her work in Ottawa at the Canadian Film Institute and in Santiago, Chile at FEMCine, Ingrid received the WIFTS International Visionary Award, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists EDA Award for “Best Director” and the Jay Scott Prize awarded by the Toronto Film Critics Association. A member of the Directors Guild of Canada and participant in the inaugural TIFF Studio, Berlinale Talents, and Rotterdam Producer’s Lab, Ingrid has been a mentor at the Canadian Film Centre and Screenwriter-in-Residence at the University of Toronto. An advocate for gender parity, Ingrid initiated the pUNK Films Femmes Lab in 2014 to foster six narrative feature films written and directed by Canadian women, sponsored by Academy Award winner Melissa Leo. In addition to touring film festivals with her 2019 feature, “El Mundo o Nada (The World or Nothing),” Ingrid continues to led filmmaking workshops and participatory masterclasses in Canada, the U.S., and Europe.

[Experimental/Hybrid] Faraz Anoushahpour is an artist and film programmer. He holds a degree in architecture from the Architectural Association in London, UK, and an MFA in Interdisciplinary Art from OCAD University in Toronto, Canada. He acted as film programmer for Images Festival from 2015-2018, and was a participant in the Belligerent Eyes residency at the Prada Foundation (Venice, Italy). His collaborative film and installation work has been shown at Projections (New York Film Festival), Wavelengths (Toronto International Film Festival), International Film Festival Rotterdam, Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen (Germany), Media City Festival (Windsor/Detroit), Experimenta (Bangalore), Crossroads Festival (San Francisco), and ZK/U Centre for Art & Urbanistics (Berlin), Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography (Toronto), SPACES Art Centre (Cleveland), and Trinity Square Video (Toronto).

[Narrative] Coral Aiken is a creative producer based in Toronto. Her company Aiken Heart Films, specializes in developing new talent in film, television and digital cinema, and collaborates with a new generation of filmmakers to create relevant, thought-provoking films that resonate with audiences. Aiken is an alumna of York University’s Film MFA, Berlinale Talents, Trans Atlantic Partners (TAP) and TIFF Studio. She has screened work internationally with films in competition at Cannes Cinéfondation, Rotterdam, BAFICI and TIFF.

To apply:
Fill out the application form via the Google Docs form on our website:

Deadline: Tuesday, March 3, 2020 at 12:00pm ET

Successful applicants will be notified by Thursday, March 26, 2020.
Should you have additional questions, please contact LIFT Interim Education Administrator Fraser Wright at 416.588.6444 Ext. 223 or
Subject Heading: LIFT Newcomer Filmmentor 2020

This Program is made possible by our Lead Funder, the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Grant, and our Supporting Funder, Ontario Creates.

About the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT)
LIFT is an artist-run charitable organization dedicated to facilitating excellence in the moving image through media arts education and production resources. LIFT exists to provide support and encouragement for independent filmmakers and artists through affordable access to production, post-production and exhibition equipment; professional and creative development; workshops and courses; commissioning and exhibitions; artist-residencies; and a variety of other services. Founded in 1981 by a small collective, LIFT has since grown to become one of the foremost centres of its kind globally.

Follow this program on social media: #LIFTfilm




Starting: Thursday 6 February 2020 10:00

Non Members: Free to apply

Members: Free to apply

Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) 
1137 Dupont Street 
Toronto Canada