Koumbie is an award winning actor, director, writer and producer based in Kjipuktuk/Halifax, Nova Scotia. In front of the camera she has appeared in a number of local productions with reoccurring roles on shows including CBC shows; Mr. D, Studio Black, Diggstown, Moonshine, and the final season of Outtv’s Sex & Violence. Since going behind the camera, Koumbie has directed a number of award winning short films, including the Short Film Face-Off winner Hustle & Heart, a 1k wave film, Ariyah & Tristan’s Inevitable Break-Up, and an episode of Studio Black S2. Her debut feature film bystanders recently premiered at Atlantic International Film Festival where it took home Best Atlantic Script. Koumbie is drawn to stories that feature new voices and perspectives. 

Jackie Torrens (she/they) (top) is a Halifax-based actor, writer & film director. Their documentary films for CBC and the Documentary Channel include Edge of East, My Week on Welfare, Small Town Show Biz and the feature Bernie Langille Wants to Know Who Killed Bernie Langille, which premiered at Hot Docs & has won Best Documentary and Best Editing from the Atlantic Film Festival, Best Atlantic Filmmaker from the Lunenburg Documentary Festival and Best Cinematography from the New York Indie Film Festival.

Jackie has also done two documentary films for Telltale Productions, Free Reins (CBC POV) and the feature length Radical Age (Vision). 

She has twice been the recipient of Women In Television & Film Atlantic’s Best Director award. 

Jessica Brown (bottom) has been working in the film and television industry since 2003. In 2012 she incorporated Peep Media Inc. with award winning writer/director Jackie Torrens. Since 2012, she has produced five documentary films for CBC and the documentary Channel which include: Bernie Langille Wants to Know What Happened to Bernie Langille; Small Town Show Biz: 2 Dreams from a Harbourtown; Edge of East and My Week on Welfare. Brown has also produced in the scripted world, including the feature film Noon Gun; the short films My Younger Older Sister and The Toll, the short film/digital media project Hidden Window; as well as line producing the feature film Bunker 6.

Taylor Olson (he/they) is a queer former hockey player-turned filmmaker. The Canadian Screen Award & ten-time ACTRA Award nominee is based in Kjipuktuk/ Halifax, N.S. Taylor’s feature film directorial debut Bone Cage was released to critical acclaim; sweeping the awards at the  FIN Atlantic International Film Festival and earning over 30 additional accolades at festivals around the globe. Bone Cage appeared in competition at Camerimage, competed in the Forward Future section of the Beijing International Film Festival, and toured  numerous US festivals before being nominated for two Canadian Screen Awards for Adapted Screenplay & Supporting Actress. Olson recently directed two episodes of This Hour Has 22 Minutes on CBC, completed post-production on his sophomore feature film Look At Me, and released his first short-form comedy series  King & Pawn, a 5 x 15 min series for Bell Fibe TV1. Upcoming, Olson will be releasing his new short-form dramedy series I Hate You on Bell Fibe TV1. Olson likes to explore themes of masculinity, queerness, and the ways the two intersect.  

Shelley Thompson is a writer, actor, and director based in Wolfville in Mi’kma’ki (Nova Scotia). Raised in Calgary, Alberta, she trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in the UK, working as an actor there until settling in Nova Scotia. She’s trained at the Canadian Film Centre, Women in the Director’s Chair, the New York Writers’ Lab, and the Whistler Producers’ Lab. She’s received Gemini/ACTRA awards for screen roles; Merritt/Dora nominations and awards for stage. Dawn, Her Dad & The Tractor was her first feature, and screened internationally, gathering awards and nominations, and winning the 2022 Nova Scotia MasterWorks Award. Thompson is married to writer Ed Thomason, proud parent to singer/ songwriter T. Thomason, and is a committed LGBTQ2SP+ ally.

Her first novel Roar, a re-examination of the MacInnes' family journey, comes out October 31st from Nimbus/Vagrant Press. shelleyathompson.com

2023 Short Film Presenters

Patrick Manifold

Sandrella Mohanna

Karen Robinson

Ron Lavoie

Lynn Reicker

Chris Turner

Brandon Boyd

Liam MacDonald

Eilidh Bassani


Juanita Peters is a multi-award-winning storyteller, writer and director of documentaries including Hannah’s Story, I Made A Vow and Africville Can’t Stop Now and television series including Studio Black on CBC Television. In 2020, she is slated to direct the feature film drama, Rebirth 8:37 , about two teenagers from vastly different backgrounds who become forever linked in a split second with the four pound trigger pull of a snub nosed 38.

Peters served as a journalist and news anchor for more than 15 years in the Maritimes and hosted 4 seasons of CBC’s documentary series Doc Side. As a playwright she has given us: The San Family (2013),  about a black family who arrives in a segregated sanitorium 1943. Their music is the elixir that soothes souls and brings down barriers; The Mother Club, (2014), about rural black midwives who stop at nothing to save lives; unless you harm their own; I M Possible (2015), living the American dream is real, even for rural black Nova Scotian men. But first a black man has to believe in the impossible; The Green Book (2016),  there’s a reason why this is the road not taken by coloureds. Before hitting the open road, “you better check your Green Book.”

Juanita Peters the actor has appeared in more than 30 films and television series  including Sex & Violence, Forgive Me, Splinters, Hobo With a Shotgun, Cloudburst and including the Emmy Nominated Homeless to Harvard.  In recent years she has worked for the Council on African Canadian Education (Communications), and as Knowledge Lead for The Nova Scotia Restorative Inquiry for The Home For Colored Children.  Currently she holds the position of Executive Director of the Africville Museum. She is an alumna of the WIDC – Banff program.

Jillian Acreman is a writer, filmmaker and producer based in Fredericton. Originally from Ontario, Jillian shot her first short film Broke in 2009. She has made five shorts and produced two others including Queen of the Andes which will be shown at the Parrsboro Film Festival on October 1st.

Bhreagh MacNeil is a Canadian actress.She is most noted for her performance in the 2016 film Werewolf, for which she garnered a Canadian Screen Award nomination for Best Actress at the 5th Canadian Screen Awards. She also won the award for Best Actress in a Canadian Film at the Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards 2016, and at the 2016 Atlantic Film Festival.


Originally from Big Pond, Nova Scotia, she studied theatre at Memorial University of Newfoundland's Grenfell Campus. Bhreagh is the star of Queen of the Andes.

Our Hearts Aren't Disabled is an 85 minute documentary examining the romantic lives and trials of six people living with mobility challenges. Its characters are people of different ages, genders, orientations and ethnicities. Multi-disciplinary artist Josh Dunn features as both subject and interviewer as he endeavors to shed light on the difficulties he and others face. Often a painful journey filled with heartbreak, it also features wit, humor and perseverance. The viewer will learn that disability places no barrier on the power and beauty of one's humanity.

Brian Bartlett grew up in New Brunswick, lived for 15 years in Montreal, and has now been a Halifax resident for more than three decades. His publications include 7 collections and 8 chapbooks of poetry, 3 books of nature writing, and a compilation of his prose on poetry. Brian's poetry had been honoured with the Atlantic Poetry Prize, the Acorn-Plantos Award for People's Poetry, and two Malahat Review Long Poem Prizes. He taught Creative Writing and various fields of literature at Saint Mary's University for many years before retirement in 2018. Brian has enjoyed about ten residencies at the Elizabeth Bishop house in Great Village; edited the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia for a decade; and has given presentations on her writing at conferences in Wolfville, Nova Scotia; Sheffield, England; and Ouro Preto, Brazil.