15 to Life: Kenneth's Story > The Filmmakers > HitPlay Productions
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The Filmmakers

Nadine Pequeneza – PRODUCER / DIRECTOR

Nadine Pequeneza – PRODUCER/DIRECTOR

Nadine Pequeneza began her career as a broadcast journalist working with Canada’s flagship news and current affairs programs – CTV’s W5 and CBC’s The National.  For the past fifteen years she’s been creating award-winning documentaries for Canadian and international audiences.  Experienced in observational, biographical and dramatized documentaries, Nadine strives to tell character-driven stories that captivate, entertain and educate. Her work has screened at festivals around the world from Toronto, to Milan, to Prague to Sichuan.  She is a 4-time Gemini Award Nominee in both directing and writing categories. Among her feature documentaries: INSIDE DISASTER HAITI – Gemini Nominee for Best Directing in a Documentary Program 2011, Special Jury Award Sichuan Film Festival 2011, Official selection One World International Human Rights Documentary Festival, and Milano Film Festival, 2011. ARISTIDE’S HAITI – Gold Plaque Chicago International Film Festival 2006, Gemini nominee for Best Writing in a Documentary Program, 2006. RAISING CASSIDY – Official selection Hot Docs Toronto International Festival, Rencontres Internationales du Documentaires de Montréal, 2003.

Stefan Randström – CINEMATOGRAPHER

Stefan Randström – CINEMATOGRAPHER

Stefan Randström started his career as a Finnish TV host and journalist before immigrating to Canada in 1993. Since settling in Toronto with his family, Stefan has worked as a DOP for television and film productions, shooting everything from independent documentaries, to observational television series, to high-end international co-productions. In 2011 Stefan was nominated for Best Documentary Cinematography by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers for his work on INSIDE DISASTER: HAITI.  In the two previous years he was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Cinematography: in 2010 for WHICH WAY TO ARVIAT, a travel adventure series for National Geographic Channel, and in 2009 AT THE TABLE WITH…, a biography series for the Food Network.  Stefan has worked as a DOP on the following documentary series: Mother Tongue, a 6×30 minutes series about female immigrant stories in Canada, and Living Stories 6×30 minutes about cancer survivors.  Before immigrating to Canada, Stefan wrote five books in his mother tongue Swedish; including a textbook in investigative journalism, two reportage books, a children’s book and a novel.


Paul Adlaf

Paul Adlaf is an award winning Location Sound Recordist. Born and raised in Toronto, Paul began a love affair with music and high fidelity sound at a very young age. This passion led to studies at Berklee College of Music in Boston and at Recording Arts Program of Canada in Ontario.  Paul received the 2001 Genie Award for Best Achievement in Sound for his work on the feature film Love Come Down. Ambitions for a quieter life led to work on dramatic television series,television movies and feature films in Halifax from 2000 to 2006. Word of mouth led to work with legendary cinematographer Vittorio Storraro on the epic Mexican feature film Zapata-The Heroe’s Dream in 2003. In a country where 100% Dialogue Replacent is common Paul’s efforts led to 90% production sound being used in the film. A long love of documentary films led Paul to return to Toronto and dedicate his full attention to capturing human emotion through sound for Documentaries all around the world.

Ricardo Acosta – EDITOR

Ricardo Acosta

Ricardo Acosta immigrated to Canada from his native Cuba in 1993.  Before coming to Toronto, he studied and worked with the world-renowned Cuban Film Institute in Havana.  For the past fifteen years Ricardo has edited both documentary and dramatic films, which have been shown around the world.  His outstanding work has contributed to the making of several award-winning films including:  THE TAKE directed by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis – Official selection Venice Film Festival, 2004, nomination for Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series, 20th Annual Gemini Awards; RUNAWAY GROOM directed by Ali Kazimi – Winner  of  The Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, 2005; and ARGENTINA’S DIRTY WAR directed by Nadine Pequeneza – Winner Yorkton Golden Sheaf Award, Official selection One World International Human Rights Documentary Festival and Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, 2001.  His most recent film, HERMAN’S HOUSE, premiered at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and will air on POV in 2013.


Alex Khaskin

Alex Khaskin received his undergraduate education at Glinka’s School for The Musically Gifted (piano and conducting), before studying composition and conducting at The St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Alex worked as guest conductor for the Radio and Television Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Lenfilm Stage Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Inspired to seek a career as a film composer, he attended master classes by the famous Russian film and classical composer Andrei Petrov. From 1985 until his immigration to Canada in 1993, Alex scored 14 theatrical and television films and documentaries in Russia. Since settling in his Toronto studio, Alex has composed music for over 50 hours of documentary and narrative productions.


Frances Darwin

Frances Darwin graduated from the Queen’s University Film Programme in 2007. She worked as a Film Critic for Korea’s only English-language magazine “10” from 2009-2010. In late 2010, Frances returned to Toronto and founded Henna Heals, an organization that promotes temporary henna art for people experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment. Frances’s strong knowledge of marketing, photography/video, and social media enabled her to promote Henna Heals internationally on virtually a $0 budget. Leveraging online tools such as Talenthouse, she was able to promote the organization to nearly 200,000 people in a two-week time period. Her campaign was so successful that it was featured on the Talenthouse blog.  Using ISSUU Frances pushed the boundaries of traditional publication by creating an online book about Henna Heals that has been read over 10,000 times. Frances’s strong photography skills also managed to entice a visually-hungry international media, and soon Henna Heals was featured in MSNBC, Glamour, The Times of India, The Daily Mail and NPR, each article averaging 7000 Facebook “likes” or “shares”. Frances returned to her Film background by participating in the 2013 Hot Docs Festival “Doc Accelerator” mentorship programme.


Ellen Payne Smith

Ellen Payne Smith recently completed her BFA in film production from Concordia University and was invited by the 2013 Hot Docs Festival to participate in their “Doc Accelerator” mentorship program. She has a background in photography and plans to continue to make documentary films about identity and urban life in Canada.