How to Craft a Successful Pitch

Moderator: Kaleena Kiff | Bernie Su  |  Valerie Connelly | Mélanie Lê Phan

The Art of the Pitch can be an elusive beast, yet it is one of the most crucial elements of any storytelling project. Hear from filmmakers who are experienced at pitching as well as industry executives that hear pitches everyday to find out the inside scoop on creating the perfect pitch.


Moderator: Kaleena Kiff, Producer

After producing and directing the critically acclaimed web-series Riese:Kingdom Falling (SyFy/NBC Universal Int’l), Kaleena Kiff transitioned into a career in feature films. Kaleena developed and produced the BAFTA award-winning feature film The Legend of Barney Thomson. The dark comedy stars Academy Award Winner Emma Thompson and BAFTA winners Robert Carlyle & Ray Winstone. Additionally, Kaleena produced the comedy feature No Men Beyond This Point which was picked up by Samuel Goldwyn Films at the Toronto International Film Festival and released by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2016. It is currently being developed as a television series. With her partners in Curiosity Pictures, Kaleena is developing a slate of feature films and television projects in both Canada and abroad, including an Indian/Canadian co-production with the producers of The Lunchbox, as well as a rock ‘n roll origin story of The Doors with legendary guitarist Robby Krieger. Kaleena and her partners are currently in post-production on Stuffed, a documentary feature film exploring award-winning taxidermy artists around the world.

Kaleena is a member of the Producers Guild of America and ACE Producers (Europe).

Valerie Connelly.png

Valerie Connelly, thebis.ca

Valerie is a veteran TV producer and development executive who has worked on content for major broadcaster in Canada. She had the privilege of being part of the creative teams behind hit shows such as HGTV’s “Colin & Justin’s Home Heist”, Slice’s “Wedding SOS” and City TV’s “The Liquidator.”

Valerie has held positions with industry leaders such as Cineflix, Cream Productions and was Head of Development for Marble Media before moving to Vancouver. She is a regular at markets such as MIP, Realscreen and Banff, and has pitched content to broadcasters from around the world. For the past 5 years, Valerie has been a guest lecturer at Queens University for their Business in Media course. Her latest venture sees her launching a digital platform offering cannabis inspired content. Valerie endeavours to provide Canadians with a welcoming digital space to learn about cannabis through entertaining original content. www.thebis.ca


Bernie Su

Creator / Executive Producer - The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, Emma Approved.

Bernie Su is a two time Primetime Emmy award-winning interactive storyteller, creator, and showrunner. His two winning series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries and Emma Approved, are the first and second Primetime Emmys ever won by a Youtube distributed series. He has been creating web series since 2009. His other series include the psychological thriller Compulsions, the science series Frankenstein MD for PBS Digital Studios, and the soapy revenge drama Vanity for Maybelline. He is also a co-founder of Canvas Media Studios which focuses on creating scripted franchise series for digital and traditional platforms.


Mélanie Lê Phan, 
Production Executive, Digital Originals at CBC Television

Mélanie Lê Phan has worked for CBC Television in both Scripted and Unscripted programming since 2013. She is currently an Executive in Charge of Production for Scripted Digital Originals, overseeing production and development of mid-length series for CBC's OTT player and of social video for the CBC Comedy feed. She has recently worked on the fourth
season of The Amazing Gayl Pile and the second season of My 90-Year-Old Roommate in addition to many other digital scripted series.
Mélanie has also worked on digital unscripted content, including the doc series The Artists and several CBC Docs: Shorts one-off docs, including One Leg In, One Leg Out and The Haircut. She has previously held the position of Development Manager for Factual programming and CBC Docs (Firsthand, The Nature of Things). Prior to joining the CBC, Mélanie worked in independent production for TV series, documentary features and both fiction and non-fiction short films. Mélanie was also the Communications Coordinator for the CMPA - BC Producer’s Branch after her film production studies at UBC. She currently serves as Secretary on the Board of Directors for Images Festival in Toronto, the largest experimental film
 festival in North America.