Ashley McKenzie (left in image) is introduced as “fearless” by the Globe and Mail. Originally from Cape Breton Island, McKenzie was born and raised in New Waterford, Nova Scotia. The emerging writer-director, has received numerous awards including the Jay Scott Prize, recognizing her as an emerging artist who is positively affecting the Direction of Canadian cinema. McKenzie’s short films include Rhonda’s Party, When You Sleep, Stray, and 4 Quarters. 4 Quarters screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the Vancouver International Film Festival, Stockholm International Film Festival, Festival du nouveau cinema, and won Best Short Film at the Atlantic Film Festival. McKenzie has been a three-time recipient of the Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award from the National Screen Institute of Canada, as well as won CBC’s Short Film Face Off. She has also been on Canada’s Top Ten Shorts list by TIFF thanks to Stray, When You Sleep, and Rhonda’s Party. McKenzie’s debut feature film, Werewolf, first screened at TIFF 2016 and earned a spot on TIFF’s annual Canada’s Top 10 list. She also won the award for Best Director in the Atlantic Film Festival for Werewolf. McKenzie is a graduate of the TIFF Talent Lab and co-owner of grass-fire films.
Nelson MacDonald (right in image) is the producer at and co-owner of grassfire films. Originally from Cape Breton, MacDonald studied at Mount Allison University where he received a Bachelor of Arts, English, and Film Studies. McDonald’s first feature film Werewolf premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and was named to TIFF’s annual Canada’s Top 10 list. Werewolf also won three awards at Atlantic Film Festival and the Focus Canada Prize at Festival du nouveau cinema in Montreal. Before being the producer and co-owner of grassfire films, MacDonald was a Freelance Multimedia Producer for 6 years then Programmer and Coordinator for four years at the Halifax Independent Filmmaker’s Festival. MacDonald produced four short films to great success. One of his short films, Rhonda’s Party, won CBC’s Short Film Face-Off and was named to TIFF’s list of Top Ten Canadian Short Films of 2011. His second short film, When You Sleep, premiered at the TIFF in 2012, won Best Emerging Director at the Atlantic Film Festival, and screened in international competition at the Stockholm International Film Festival. Nelson’s most recent short, 4 Quarters, screened at TIFF, Festival du Nouveau Cinema, and Vancouver International Film Festival.