25 Years 25 Minutes Pitch Competition

Saturday, March 2
Broom Factory 
11:00 am 


Shortlisted from a number of applicants, these filmmaking teams with connections to Kingston have been selected to pitch their short film projects live in front of an audience and industry panel. The stakes: $25,000 toward their project and a premiere at the 25th anniversary edition of the Fest next year. Let the pitching begin!

Here are the finalists:

Adrien Benson is a French Canadian writer/director born and raised in Kingston, Ontario. With work that spans multiple genres and mediums, he is driven by a singular mission: to tell personal and entertaining stories. His award-winning filmography, featuring narrative shorts, documentaries, and music videos, has been screened worldwide to international acclaim. When he’s not making art, you can find him jogging, playing guitar and walking his dog, Augie. With a global audience in mind, Adrien is thrilled to share his creations and looks forward to unveiling upcoming projects.

Hanan Zeineldin, an accomplished Egyptian multimedia artist, actor, and filmmaker, boasts over 15 years of expertise in the realm of art and culture. Her journey began with a dedication to performance and directing studies, both in her native Egypt and the United States.

She has a background in theatre, film, and television. In 2022, Hanan made her debut as a director with the thought-provoking short film Inhalation, tackling the profound impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human lives. This marked a pivotal moment in her artistic career as she seamlessly transitioned into the directorial sphere, bringing her unique perspective to pressing societal issues.

After immigrating from France in 2018, Céline started her photography and videography company, offering professional-level content to artists in Kingston. Over the years she has worked on a documentary, many music videos, and with numerous local artists and festivals and governmental organizations. She loves connecting with new artists, creating adventurous filming atmospheres, and capturing the essence of any moment. She’s always ready to take on new challenges and make any project come true.

Suzanne Lacey is a filmmaker and media executive. A Queen’s Film studies graduate, she recently launched 35G Films as an homage to her family home in Kingston with stories inspired by growing up in Portsmouth Village. Her recent short films have screened at the Toronto Short Film Festival with upcoming screenings at the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and the Hollyshorts Screening Series in Los Angeles. 

Her collaborator is the accomplished musician and emerging writer-director-actor (and Suzanne’s daughter) Kate Stephens. A mechanical engineering grad, Kate recently composed the score for the TV series Sunshine City for Sideways Dog Productions and stars in 35G Films’ THE SCRAPPED.

Blain Watters grew up in Kingston and began his filmmaking career here. He has worked in TV rooms for shows like Lost Girl and Netflix’s Between. He wrote Sleeping Giant, which premiered at the Cannes film festival. He produced, directed and wrote the live-off-the-floor musical web series Haunters, which has over a million views. Blain teaches at Toronto Film School and the Creative Writing MFA at the University of Guelph. But he’s most proud of being a new father of two boys.

The winner will be announced at the Awards Show on Sunday, March 3.