Panels and Workshops

Belleville Downtown DocFest’s annual filmmaker panel discussions and workshops bring the filmmakers to you.

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The 2024 Filmmaker Panel – Friday, February 23rd at 3pm at Capers Restaurant, 272 Front St., Belleville (available to all weekend pass holders on a first-come-first-served basis.)

The Quinte Arts Council is the 2024 sponsor for the Filmmaker Panel. “The filmmaker’s panel stands as a source of inspiration amidst the weekend’s festivities. It is with great significance that the QAC lends its support to this panel gathering, recognizing its role in championing filmmakers and providing a platform for the exchange of experiences and insights within the industry. This panel not only fosters education and networking opportunities for local filmmakers but also cultivates invaluable connections, enriching our creative community.” Janet Jarrell, Executive Director, Quinte Arts Council.

The 2024 Filmmaker Panel is proudly supported by The Quinte Arts Council.

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The 2024 Filmmaker Panel features the following filmmakers:
Therese Shechter

Therese is an award-winning filmmaker and founder of the production company Trixie Films. Her work fuses humor, activism, and personal storytelling to examine and confront society’s most sacred ideas about womanhood.

Therese began her two-decades-long film career at Robert DeNiro’s production company Tribeca Films. Since then, her documentaries have screened on television and online, and appeared in film festivals from Rio de Janeiro to Istanbul to Seoul. Her work has been featured in The Guardian, New York Magazine, The Globe and Mail, NPR, Macleans, The Chicago Tribune, and Elle among others.

Her most recent film, My So-Called Selfish Life, is a revolutionary documentary about one of our greatest social taboos: choosing not to become a mother. Released in 2022 to critical acclaim, it has reached audiences in 35 countries and has become a powerful tool for fostering conversations about reproductive autonomy in a post-Roe v Wade era.

Therese’s film in DocFest 2024: My So-Called Selfish Life

Chrisann Hessing

Chrisann is a documentary filmmaker and producer based in Toronto. She has produced award-winning short films that have screened at Hot Docs, RIDM, Global Impact Film Festival and the London Asian Film Festival. Her work has been supported by the Ontario Arts Council, Inspirit Foundation, BravoFACT! Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent and Telefilm Canada.

She is passionate about using visual storytelling as a tool to educate, raise awareness, and inspire positive change, and has collaborated with community arts organizations including TIFF, JAYU, and the Doc Institute.

Chrisann’s debut feature, We Will Be Brave, premiered at the Calgary International Film Festival and won Audience Choice Feature Film at the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival in 2023.

Chrisann’s film in DocFest 2024: We Will Be Brave

Roslyn (Roz) Mugford

With over 20 years of expertise in digital film, documentary, and video production, Roz Mugford leads Double Barrel Studios as its CEO and Creative Director. Since 2012, she has been instrumental in crafting and producing a wide range of content, including engaging and impactful documentaries for Canada’s largest organizations and broadcasters.

Roz’s versatility shines through her work both in front of and behind the camera. Her career encompasses writing, producing, directing, and hosting diverse content across various platforms, from print magazines to radio, television, and online media.

Roz’s commitment to quality and audience engagement has been the driving force behind Double Barrel’s success in the realms of digital film and video production.

Roz’s film in DocFest 2024: Hidden Heroes

Victor Cooper

Victor has been creating high-quality broadcast and web content for over 13 years. He has worked in every part of production from script to screen, with a strong focus on directing. He has worked on location around the world in places like Panama, Germany, Spain, Bahamas, and Mexico.

Being a dual US-Canadian citizen, he has worked in many states and provinces. He prides himself in being able to find and develop great stories by making strong connections with cast and crew.

Victor’s film in DocFest 2024: The Local


Watch the 2022 interviews that were screened as part of the 2022 Festival. We’re proud to have screened these films and grateful to the filmmakers for sharing their time to take us behind the scenes and to tell us more about their films.

  • Can You Hear My Voice was followed by award-winning filmmaker Bill Brummel discussing his inspiring film.
  • Kendra Mylnechuk, the subject of the eye-opening doc, Daughter of A Lost Bird was on hand to tell her story first-hand for the 2022 Festival DocFest.
  • Award-winning feature film Fanny: The Right to Rock included a must-see Q&A with the film’s director, Bobbi Jo Hart and producer Robbie Hart. 

Can You Hear My Voice Q&A

The film is a triumphant testimony illuminating a universal theme – the human capacity for resilience in the face of overwhelming adversity. Produced and directed by award-winning Bill Brummel, his first film since having his own voice box removed in 2016.

Daughter of A Lost Bird Q&A

A perfect example of cultural assimilation, the film’s subject is a thriving woman who grew up in a loving, upper middle-class white family, and feels no significant loss with the absence of Native American culture or family in her life. And yet, as a Blackfeet/Salish woman, director Brooke Swaney could not imagine that she could be content or complete without understanding her heritage. So, together they embark on a seven year journey.

Proudly supported by FNTI, First Nations Technical Institute

Fanny: The Right to Rock

This award-winning film tells the untold story of the iconic 1970’s all-woman rock band. David Bowie described Fanny as one of the most important bands of the era. Using documentary footage and photos, as well as interviews with notables like Bonnie Rait, Def Leppard’s Joe Elliott, The Go-Go’s Kathy Valentine, Todd Rundgren, The Runaways’ Cherie Currie, Lovin’ Spoonful’s John Sebastian, The B52’s Kate Pierson, Charles Neville and David Bowie guitarist and bassist Earl Slick and Gail Ann Dorsey, the film traces Fanny’s rise to fame.

Proudly supported by Brad Aulthouse and Andrew Bandler, Portfolio Managers at BMO Nesbitt Burns


For our first ever Virtual Festival in 2021, we’re thrilled to have produced and released these Filmmaker Question and Answer videos. Enjoy!

Sergeo Kirby, Director of The Forbidden Reel

Slater Jewell-Kemker, Director of Youth Unstoppable

Paul Saltzman, director of Meeting the Beatles in India



Our annual filmmakers panel features filmmakers providing an insider’s look into the art, craft, and process of documentary filmmaking. We are extremely grateful every year to be able to share the time of our speakers and to be able to present their insights and vision with our attendees. Make sure to mark your calendar for this event and make sure you’ve subscribed to our email newsletter to receive updates throughout the year!

Our 2020 panel included three award-winning guest speakers:

  • Maureen Judge is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker and television producer, Judge has directed and produced documentary films, television series, and dramatic shorts. Her films explore themes of love, betrayal, and acceptance in the modern family setting. Judge’s latest documentary 17 And Life Doesn’t Wait (2019) gives us a glimpse into what it means to be a girl today. It’s a remarkably candid view of life as seen through the eyes of three teenage girls in their final year of high school.
  • Daniel Roher is the director of Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band (2019), the first Canadian documentary to open the Toronto International Film Festival. His latest movie was produced by long-time Robertson collaborator and Oscar winner Martin Scorsese.
  • Alan Zweig is a director and writer, known for films such as Vinyl (2000), Hard Name (2009) which received the Genie Award for best documentary, and Hurt (2015) winner of the Platform Prize at Toronto International Film Festival and best feature documentary Canadian Screen Award. DocFest was honoured to present Zweig’s film There Is a House Here and to have him attend our Festival in 2018. Zweig’s most recent documentary Coppers, nominated for Best Canadian Feature Film in 2019, is a hard-hitting film about ex-cops that presents an honest, empathetic, and occasionally harrowing look at a uniquely difficult profession.
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Get an inside look into the art, craft and process of documentary filmmaking in this video recording of our 2019 Filmmakers Panel Discussion including three filmmakers with three very different perspectives.

The 2019 panel included;

  • Editor and filmmaker Howard Goldberg (Editor of Shiners: The Art of The Shine). Howard is a master craftsman with a Gemini and a Canadian Screen Award under his belt.
  • First time filmmaker Trista Suke who knocked it out of the park with her award winning film Foxy.
  • Sean Scally who shared his perspective as a local filmmaker who makes documentaries from Quinte region history.


Thank you to the filmmakers for participating in our 2018 panel discussion. Chanda Chevannes UNFRACTURED, Tess Girard AS THE CROW FLIES and Julia Barnes SEA OF LIFE

The 2018 panel included;

  • Chanda Chevannes, Unfractured
  • Tess Girard, As the Crow Flies
  • Julia Barnes, Sea of Life

News & Updates

Save the dates for 2025!
Save the dates for 2025! DocFest announces our dates for 2025! Wishing everyone a happy ... Read More
And that’s a wrap!
Thanks to everyone who helped make 2024 a success As virtual festival now comes to an ... Read More

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