The Programmer Initiative is a unique opportunity for Atlantic Canadian filmmakers to connect with film festival programmers. Each year, HIFF brings programmers from prestigious Canadian and International festivals to Halifax to watch local shorts and take part in one-on-one meetings with local filmmakers.

The HIFF Programmer Initiative is open to filmmakers whose work is screening at the festival. Additional spaces may be available to HIFF alumni and the public subject to availability. If you would like to inquire about availability, please email Gianna at

Since the initiative’s first year in 2014, AFCOOP has seen the direct effect of the Programmer Initiative on the careers of local filmmakers. The initiative has lead to increased programming of local shorts outside the province. Previous years have included programmers from festivals such as: Toronto International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Festival du nouveau cinéma, Vienna Independent Short Film Festival, and South by Southwest Film Festival.


Alejo Franzetti - Programmer

Alejo Franzetti is a member of the selection committee of Berlinale Shorts / Berlin International Film Festival. He was born in 1985 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and completed his studies in Film at the Universidad del cine (Buenos Aires). Since 2012 he lives in Berlin. He was master-student of Thomas Arslan at the UdK-Berlin (University of the Arts). He is a filmmaker and has made several films of different lengths, which have screened in festivals as BAFICI, Torino, Viennale, Entrevues Belfort, Márgenes, and more.



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Brennan Tilley - Lead Programmer
Calgary International Film Festival & The Calgary Underground Film Festival

Brennan Tilley serves as Lead Programmer and Administrative Manager of the Calgary Underground Film Festival, President and Programming Chair of the Calgary Cinematheque and Shorts Programmer for the Calgary International Film Festival. The Calgary International Film Festival is a 12-day showcase of up to 200 multi-genre feature and short films from Canada and over 50 other countries. The festival hosts gala events, screenings, special presentations, and a Behind the Screen series that emphasizes unique and exciting ways for filmmakers and fans to interact. The Calgary International Film Festival's mission is “to entertain and engage audiences by curating the most innovative and compelling films, and creating remarkable festival experiences.”


Gabriela DiNobile - Public Relations & Programming Coordinator
Rhode Island International Film Festival

Gabriela DiNobile serves as the Public Relations and Programming Coordinator for the Rhode Island International Film Festival. As a native Rhode Islander Gabriela understands just how diverse the smallest state in the country is, with natives and international filmmakers fueling the cultural boost each August during RIIFF’s festival week. This upcoming August will be Gabriela’s fifth festival with RIIFF.

RIIFF is a 6-day festival centered in Providence, Rhode Island featuring up to 300 films from across the world. RIIFF showcases features, shorts, and engages filmmakers from 50 countries in professional development through workshops during the festival week.

RIIFF is proud to be one of 10 Festivals in the world that is an Academy Award qualifier in the Live Action, Animation and Documentary Short categories and a qualifier with the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). With vanguard programming that seeks to showcase new voices in independent filmmaking from across the globe, RIIFF serves as an exceptional platform from which to launch exciting careers. Ten films that have premiered at RIIFF have won Academy Awards with a total of 63 nominations.


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Curtis Woloschuk - Associate Director of Programming
Vancouver International Film Festival

Curtis Woloschuk serves as Program Logistics Manager for the Vancouver International Film Festival and is responsible for programming the festival’s Canadian Shorts and Altered States series. In his four-year tenure as Canadian Shorts programmer, he’s overseen the introduction of an official competition for Canadian-produced short films that now includes four cash awards. He’s also established and developed the VIFF Mentorship Program, an initiative that offers emerging filmmakers an enhanced festival experience and exclusive sessions that provide vital next steps for their creative development. Launched by Woloschuk in 2013, Altered States is a showcase of international genre cinema that’s featured noteworthy Canadian and North American premieres and garnered considerable media attention.

As VIFF’s Program Logistics Manager, he’s responsible for a number of critical areas. Managing VIFF’s Canadian feature film programming, he assisted in the conception and introduction of the critically acclaimed Future//Present film series in 2016. In addition to overseeing the scheduling of the 16-day festival and its 500 screenings, he also supervises the creation of all film-related content for VIFF’s website and printed festival guide. In 2016, he played an integral role in the organization’s rebranding and the restructuring of its programming.

Both in terms of admissions and number of films screened, VIFF is among the five largest film festivals in North America. Screening films from more than 70 countries on nine screens, VIFF's program includes the pick of the world’s top film fests and many undiscovered gems. Three main programming platforms make our festival unique: we screen one of the largest selections of East Asian films outside of that region, we are one of the biggest showcases of Canadian film in the world and we have a large and vibrant documentary program. Attracting a large, attentive and enthusiastic audience the festival remains accessible, friendly and culturally diverse. As the critics say, VIFF is very much a festival “designed for the benefit of people who love films and people who make them.”

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Lori McCurdy, Regional Feature Film Executive – Atlantic Region
Telefilm Canada

Lori is the Telefilm representative for all feature film clients in the Atlantic region. Her mandate is to develop and support feature film talent (producers, writers and directors) in the Atlantic region, primarily through investment in an annual portfolio of projects with budgets less than $2.5 million.  

Hailing from Nova Scotia, and having worked at Telefilm’s Halifax office for 21 years, McCurdy is well-known to the Atlantic industry. She has had hands-on experience with feature film, television, digital media and industry development. Her previous roles include Investment Analyst, Business Affairs Lead Analyst, Television Business Unit Director and National Officer, Industry Development. Lori is also a member of the Telefilm Corporate Services team in her role as Director, Performance and Quality Management.

McCurdy has an LL.B. from Dalhousie Law School, a B.A. in English (Film and Communications) from McGill University, and a B.Sc. (Biology) from Dalhousie University. Before joining Telefilm, she worked for Charles Bishop Productions (now DHX Media).

The HIFF Programmer Initiative is generously supported by the Province of Nova Scotia