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A Bit About Us

Buffalo Gal Pictures is an independent, award-winning production house specializing in feature film and television production as well as 3D animation and visual effects. Since 1994, the company has successfully developed and produced challenging and diverse projects by nurturing collaborative relationships with creative talent and by establishing coproduction partnerships with industry peers, and in the process been responsible for over $250M in feature film and television production. Past successes include Guy Maddin’s seminal film MY WINNIPEG, awarded four stars by pre-eminent film critic Roger Ebert; the critically-lauded HBO Canada television series LESS THAN KIND, executive produced by "Kids in The Hall" / "Saturday Night Live" alum Mark McKinney, and acclaimed feature films including ALOFT, starring Jennifer Connelly, THE STONE ANGEL, featuring Ellen Burstyn and Ellen Page, and ALL THE WRONG REASONS with Cory Monteith.

Its success with the above endeavours has allowed Buffalo Gal the luxury to expand its portfolio to include more genre and technique specific ventures, through partnerships generating associated companies, such as Opus VFX, Kistikan Pictures, Insidious Pictures and Tangent Animation.

Not content to rest on its laurels, Buffalo Gal Pictures continues to produce high quality projects while maintaining an ongoing and exciting development slate. Recent highlights include HYENA ROAD, produced with Rhombus Media, Triple 7 Films and Bron Creative, and nominated for an impressive eight Canadian Screen Awards, the Sean Garrity-directed feature BOREALIS, co-produced with Banana-Moon Sky Films; SUNNYSIDE, produced with Counterfeit Pictures in Association with City (Rogers Media) and also nominated for multiple awards; with noteworthy upcoming projects including CONSIDERING LOVE AND OTHER MAGIC, featuring Eric McCormack (WILL AND GRACE) and Sheila McCarthy, and THE MIDNIGHT MAN, featuring Lyn Shaye and and "Freddy Krueger" himself, Robert Englund.

Extremely proud of Winnipeg’s deep talent pool, both in front of and behind the camera, Buffalo Gal Pictures continues to seek out and produce stellar, innovative, and though-provoking film and television properties.

PHYLLIS LAING

PRESIDENT

With a keen sense of business acumen, creative vision and a desire to make Winnipeg the epicentre of the Canadian film and television industry, President Phyllis Laing established Buffalo Gal Pictures in 1994 and has continued to expertly guide it to its present success.

The list of credits to her name is as impressive as it is extensive. Joining forces with a variety of producing partners, Phyllis has ensured that Buffalo Gal pictures has been at the forefront of quality Canadian production for over three decades. Beyond her work at Buffalo Gal Pictures, Phyllis has also sought to expand within the industry through the formulation of offshoot companies such as Opus, Kistikan, Insidious and Tangent - genre or market-specific endeavours that meet the needs of underserved voices in film and television.

Phyllis' business ingenuity has thrice been honoured by the Women's Business Owners of Manitoba. She received the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1994 and 2013 and the Impact on Local Economy award in 2002. Committed to the continued development and expansion of the film and television industries, Phyllis served for years as Chair of the On Screen Manitoba Board of Directors, in addition to her seat as a Producer board member. She currently serves as a member of the Gimli Film Festival Board of Directors.

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JEFF BEESLEY

PRESIDENT OF ORIGINAL CONTENT

Regarded as one of Canada’s most exciting talents, Jeff Beesley has achieved widespread acclaim for his extensive body of work in both feature films and network television, with festival screenings of his productions garnering both enthusiastic praise as well as numerous awards. Having directed episodes of the two most successful and critically acclaimed Canadian television series in Little Mosque on the Prairie and Corner Gas, Jeff has the rare distinction of directing primetime television series simultaneously airing on each of Canada’s major television networks with Corner Gas (CTV), Little Mosque on the Prairie (CBC) and renegadepress.com (Global Television).

In addition to the above, Jeff has directed episodes of several other comedy series, including Insecurity and Men With Brooms, along with the feature film Dolan’s Cadillac, the latest in the Stephen King collection. In 2014 Jeff directed the hilarious new award winning web series inSAYASHAble along with two new televison series, The Pinkertons and City TV’s critically acclaimed comedy series Sunnyside.

Joining Buffalo Gal Pictures as Partner in September of 2015, Jeff is also President of Original Content, coordinating both development and production of original and acquired properties. Recent producing credits include Considering Love and Other Magic featuring Eric McCormack, the recently wrapped The Midnight Man and the upcoming A Very Sordid Wedding, starring Caroline Rhea and with a special appearance by Whoopi Goldberg.

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Isaac Clements

VICE PRESIDENT, SALES AND MARKETING

Isaac Clements has worked exclusively within the Canadian film and television community for over a decade. Beginning his career at ThinkFilm he graduated to working at Telefilm Canada where he worked alongside a multitude of in house professionals as well as countless filmmakers on such funds as Writer’s First, the Theatrical Marketing Fund, the Alternative Distribution Fund and the regional Development portfolio.

Since then he has held the position of Business Analyst for the Canada Media Fund and E1 Entertainment where his portfolio included the Stephen King series Haven, MTV USA’s remake of the controversial UK series Skins, AMC’s Hell on Wheels and CBC’s Men With Brooms and as well was Head of Operations for Berkshire Axis Media, an equity and film distribution firm located in Canada.

Currently he works as Senior Production Executive at Buffalo Gal Pictures, where he runs their Toronto office and oversees the late stage development and packaging arm. His credits include the television series The Pinkertons and Sunnyside and feature films including Silent Night (a remake of 1980's horror classic Silent Night, Deadly Night, Dave Shultz's forthcoming Considering Love & Other Magic and Sean Garrity's festival hit Borealis.

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Liz Jarvis

VP of Post Production

Liz Jarvis joined Buffalo Gal Pictures in 1995 and has contributed to the company as a producer, production executive, production and post supervisor, and assistant director. Her first feature as a producer, SEVEN TIMES LUCKY, a film by Gary Yates, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004.  Most recently, Liz was supervising producer for Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson’s critically-acclaimed feature THE FORBIDDEN ROOM, which premiered at Sundance 2015, opened the Berlinale Forum, and won the Toronto Film Critics’ Association Best Canadian Film of 2015.   Additionally, Liz co-produced with Jonas Chernik the feature BOREALIS, starring up-and-comer Joey King and directed by Sean Garrity as well as CIUDADES DESIERTAS, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, co-produced with Mexican director-producer Roberto Sneider.   

Liz co-produced the US-Canada-Kuwait co-production AMREEKA, a film by Cherien Dabis, which premiered at Sundance 2009, and screened at Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, winning the FIPRESCI Critics' Prize. Liz also co-produced HIGH LIFE, a film by Gary Yates starring Timothy Olyphant, which premiered at Panorama, Berlin 2009. In 2007 Liz collaborated with writer-director Kari Skogland to produce the feature film THE STONE ANGEL, starring Ellen Burstyn, based on the beloved novel by Margaret Laurence.   

Currently Vice President of Post Production at Buffalo Gal Pictures, Liz is also actively involved as a mentor for upcoming filmmakers, and is a consultant for On Screen Manitoba. 

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MIchael Drabot

COO & SVP BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Michael Drabot is a consultant, business designer and coach for the screen-based media industry.

Michael knows how the motion picture industry functions from the inside-out, with a solid understanding of both the business and creative process. He brings 30 years of experience in film and television as a lighting designer, business owner/operator, and producer. His first business, Luminaire Production Services, evolved into Luminaire/PS Prairies with offices in Winnipeg, Regina and Edmonton, successfully establishing itself as the first film equipment rental company in the region. He then became General Manager for PS Production Services in Winnipeg, before relocating to take on the role of Vice President and General Manager for PS Production Services in Toronto.

 Throughout his career, Michael has worked on and/or consulted with hundreds of award-winning feature films, documentaries, and everything in between. He has produced several industrial, corporate, and art-based projects through his own production company, and has delivered dozens of workshops on lighting for schools and organization.

 Michael is a graduate of the Queens School of Business, Management and Leadership Program, and Film Studies at the University of Manitoba. He has been on several boards for arts, film and video organizations, and is past president of IATSE 856 Film Union.

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Lisa Cichelly

Senior Production Executive

Lisa has been active in the Canadian film and television industry for nearly two decades and has contributed to over 150 hours of content. Working in both factual and scripted genres, she moves between series’ and feature films with ease and is skilled in financial and creative leadership from development through to delivery.

Currently a Production Executive at Buffalo Gal, Lisa recently finished production on A Very Sordid Wedding as Production Manager. She was a full-time story editor on the 30 min. factual series, Polar Bear Town for OLN and its 60 min. counterpart for Smithsonian Channel USA. Lisa was a Production Executive on the feature film, Wait Til Helen Comes, based on the popular tween thriller novel and due in theatres soon.

Lisa was the development producer on the reality series, Ice Racer Showdown, which was subsequently greenlit and aired on CMT in winter, 2016. She was the consulting producer on the feature length documentaries, A Second Chance and the multi-award winning, Wolves Unleashed. Select credits also include roles as the Showrunner/Writer/Story Editor, for the (13x30) series, Employee of the Week and Story Editor/Writer for Paul Brandt’s Build it Forward (7x60) - both for CMT.

Lisa was the Supervising Producer (Showrunner) at Calgary’s White Iron Pictures on six seasons of the hit series, At the End of My Leash for Slice and numerous documentary and variety specials including Avril Lavigne: Exclusive for CBC. Lisa also helped develop the series, Til Debt Do Us Part for Slice and was instrumental in securing popular host, Gail Vaz-Oxlade.

Lisa’s projects have been nominated for Gemini Awards and Rockie Awards and have won Geminis, Golden Sheafs and Rosie Awards.

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Jen Beasley

Production Executive

Jen Beasley brings a wealth of experience in a multitude of fields to her present-day endeavours. A WGC-nominated Canadian writer with comedy and drama television as well as web-based screenwriting credits to her name, Jen has been active in the film communities in both Toronto and Winnipeg for almost two decades. Following a ten-year stint as an assistant cameraperson with various film and television productions (during which she learned the lay of the land when it comes to effective script structure) and before that as both an elementary and high school teacher (during which she learned the effectiveness of time-outs) Jennifer segued into the television story department, beginning with the Showcase comedy Billable Hours.

Upon graduating from the Canadian Film Centre’s Prime Time Television Program in 2009, Jennifer was hired as story coordinator on the award-winning Less Than Kind, studying comedy from no less than The Kids in the Hall’s Mark McKinney. Her co-written script for the finale of the second season was nominated for a 2011 Writers Guild of Canada Comedy Writing Award. From there she went on to work as a story editor for Season Four of the acclaimed series. Subsequent work included screenwriting credits on such series as Showcase’s Cra$h & Burn and CBC’s Men With Brooms as well as story editing on a number of Toronto-based projects in development.

In addition to her position in various television story departments, Jen was also employed as Creative Development/Project Manager for Paquin Entertainment Group in Winnipeg, during which time she penned their associated company Koba Entertainment’s live theatrical touring production of Mike The Knight, based upon the popular Treehouse children’s series.

Currently a Production Executive at Buffalo Gal Pictures, and most recently Supervising Producer on A Very Sordid Wedding, Jen is integral to both the development and production divisions and is adept at shepherding a project from the initial stages through financing to delivery.

In addition to the above, Jen has gained a strong online following detailing the precocious exploits and utterings of her 5-year- old in the popular blog “Mom Gives Me Scotch” and plans to retire on the proceeds from the book deal when it happens.

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Drew Scurfield

Production Associate

Drew Scurfield is a recent honours degree graduate from the Film Studies program at the University of Manitoba where he studied under Guy Maddin. Though he graduated in 2016, Drew has been with Buffalo Gal since May 2014, working both on set and in the production office.

In 2014 and 2015 Drew worked as a Script Coordinator for the Roger’s primetime sketch series “Sunnyside” airing on CityTV, working closely with established Canadian comedy writers. Following Sunnyside, Drew was offered a position as a writer for Buffalo Gal’s Original Content division under Jeff Beesley, where they conceive and create original film and television scripts for production. Drew also works as an in-house publicity coordinator, shooting and editing Electronic Press Kits. When Drew is not writing, shooting, or editing, he works in development, reading and evaluating incoming scripts for production.

 

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Devan Towers

Senior Vice-President Business & Legal Affairs, BGP Media

Representing film and multi-media clients, Devan Towers assists companies and individuals in contract negotiations and the development, financing, production, exploitation and protection of their intellectual property.

Prior to her call to the Manitoba Bar in 1994, Devan worked in the film and television industry as a production accountant before taking on administrative positions for commercial production companies.  In 1984 she worked for the Province of Manitoba and designed programs in support of various sectors in the cultural industries, including film, publishing and sound recording.  Devan was instrumental in setting up the film office for the Province of Manitoba, presently Manitoba Film and Music, where she was the Film Financial Officer, the Film Officer/Film Commissioner and the Executive Program Co-ordinator responsible for all film and sound recording programs, respectively.  During this period of time, she represented the Province on various provincial, national and international committees in the cultural industries.  Additionally, Devan has worked as a policy analyst for the Province, provided consulting services to federal and provincial organizations and many private production companies and from 1992 to 1994 she was the Executive Director of the then Manitoba Motion Picture Industries Association (MMPIA) (currently called On Screen Manitoba). 

From 1994 to September, 2013, Devan was in private practice with Taylor McCaffrey, LLP in Winnipeg, MB., where she was a partner for the last 7 years of her practice, and where, in addition to her corporate commercial practice, she provided services to clients from the film, music and publishing industries, including producers, artists, writers, distributors and lending institutions.  In 2004 she took a sojourn from private practice for 2 years and worked with Original Pictures Inc. as Executive Producer on A Bear Named Winnie, an international co-production with Powercorp TV, and spent 2005 as Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for Original Pictures where she assisted in setting up development and production systems, specifically providing services for the Global/ABC Family series Falcon Beach. 

Devan left Taylor McCaffrey, LLP in 2013 to join Buffalo Gal Pictures Inc. where she is the Senior Vice-President, Legal and Business Affairs.  During this time, she has been executive producer on many productions, including on a 22 one-hour episode series entitled The Pinkertons and a treaty animation feature film currently entitled Ozzy.

She has practiced entertainment law for many years from various perspectives, having represented both the financing and the production side of the industry, representing both the producer and the bank on a variety of financing structures, including gap financings, international co-productions and co-ventures and Canadian and Manitoba tax credit financings.  She was involved in various copyright related matters including errors and omissions reviews in the film and television industry. 

Devan is recognized in Best Lawyers in Canada in the area of Entertainment Law.

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