LIFT Announces Artists Selected for Newcomer Filmmentor Program 2024


Toronto, May 16, 2024—The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto’s (LIFT) is pleased to welcome three newcomer filmmakers to our facilities to participate in the Newcomer Filmmentor 2024 Program. This is our fourth iteration of the Newcomer Filmmentor program since 2017. The project began when we became aware of an increased interest from newcomers who were either looking to translate their film experiences into a Canadian context or looking to transition into filmmaking. However, the challenges encountered to do so were readily apparent and understandably overwhelming. These difficulties were exacerbated by the global pandemic, which made meeting and networking even harder. By reviving this mentorship this year, LIFT hopes to be able to ease the transition process of a small group of newcomers, while bolstering their creative and technical skills.

As selected from our open call earlier this year, we are excited to announce the three confirmed mentees. They come from a field of over sixty applications, pointing to the high demand this program continues to have in our community.

The confirmed mentees are:
Documentary: Peter Oke
Experimental: Zahra Ahooei
Narrative: Amir Ghabosi

The will be paired with the following mentors:
Documentary: Maya Annik Bedward
Experimental: Faraz Anoushahpour
Narrative: Martin Edralin


Peter Oke is a versatile Nigerian filmmaker with over 5 years of experience across various production roles. After co-Creating and Directing “Rate the Date” a reality TV show for Accelerate TV (2020), Peter has delivered commissioned documentaries for government agencies, including for the Lagos State Resilience Office backed by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100RC program. He has written and directed short films as well as created advertisements for companies locally and internationally. His films have over 10 Film Festival selections with 2 nominations in 2021: Best Director at the Standalone Film Festival and Best Short film at Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival. His recent feature “Boys On The Brink” (2022) which he directed and produced, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature at the Political Film Festival, a festival designed to showcase independent politically inclined films from all corners of the world. His ethos is edutainment through compelling and impactful stories displayed with vivid and aesthetically pleasing images.

Zahra AhooeiI is a film Director, Writer, Journalist, and researcher. She started working as a journalist in 2009. She began her career as a writer, journalist, and researcher within social, scientific, and cultural realms in the national press, namely Hamshahri, Etemad, Sharq newspapers, Chelcheraq weekly magazine, 24 Cinema monthly magazine, FilmNegar journal, Cinéma vérité seasonal magazine, KhabarOnline, and Art & Experience Cinema websites. Zahra’s career as a filmmaker began when she graduated from Hilaj Film School, one of the major film schools in Iran. She studied filmmaking at Hilaj and graduated in 2014; and has also participated in filmmaking workshops at “Alternative Cinema School ” and “Iran National Cinematic School”. She made her first short film called “Extra Time” (2015). Her next film, “Sign Out”, was made in 2017. “Prestige” is her third short film (2020) and the last one is “Reflex” (2023).

Amir Ghabosi was born in Tehran, Iran, and started his passion with photography, capturing images of societal issues and the struggles faced by the less fortunate. This drive evolved into a journey of storytelling and filmmaking. In 2022, he created his debut short film, shedding light on the social challenges faced by women in Iran, which garnered numerous awards. Now, here in Canada, he chose this country for its dedication to freedom of speech. His first documentary, “Over the Hedge,” marks the beginning of his continued exploration of social issues through filmmaking. His upcoming project is a short film named “No One But Me,” exploring the complex relationship between a mother and her son.


Maya Annik Bedward is a producer, director and co-founder of Third Culture Media. Her productions have screened at TIFF, Hot Docs, Black Star and the New Orleans Film Festival. Her latest production “Patty Vs. Patty” won best Short Documentary at the 2023 Canadian Screen Awards. Maya has directed episodes for the docuseries “Blk: An Origin Story” (History Channel, Global TV) and the variety comedy series, “Lido TV” (CBC Gem). She is also a fellow of the EFM Toolbox Programme and a founding member of the Black Screen Office.

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 and Urbanistics (Berlin), Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography (Toronto), SPACES Art Centre (Cleveland), and Trinity Square Video (Toronto).

Martin Edralin is a Filipino-Canadian, Toronto-based filmmaker. His first short film, “Hole” (2014), won the Grand Prize at Clermont-Ferrand, jury prizes at Locarno and Seattle, and screened at Sundance, TIFF, and BFI London. His second short, “Emma” (2016), was selected in TIFF Canada’s Top Ten and won Best Live Action Short at the Rhode Island IFF. His debut feature, “Islands” (2021), premiered at SXSW and was awarded Special Jury Recognition.

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

Thank you also to the support of filmmakers Richard Fung, John Greyson and Ali Kazimi who have directed the proceeds for their film “Rex vs Singh” towards supporting this project in 2024 and in subsequent years.

RBC recognizes the struggle many artists go through to gain the recognition they need to become successful in their practice. Since 2007, the RBC Emerging Artists has been supporting organizations that provide the best opportunity to advance an artist’s career trajectory in genres such as visual arts, music, theatre, dance, literature and film.

Ontario Creates
is an agency of the provincial government whose mandate is to be a catalyst for economic development, investment and collaboration in Ontario’s creative industries including the music, book, magazine, film, television and interactive digital media sectors, both domestically and internationally.

The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) is Canada’s foremost artist-run production and education organization dedicated to celebrating excellence in the moving image. 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. LIFT is supported by its membership, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Foundation, the Government of Ontario and the Toronto Arts Council.

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For additional information please see or email Education and Outreach Administrator Iman Abbaro at

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Starting: Thursday 16 May 2024 00:00

Non Members:


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