The big pitch: Newfoundlanders off to L.A. for film industry conference

Sarah Smellie
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Emerging filmmaker and producer Allison White is hoping to bring new contacts and knowledge back to the province from her trip to Los Angeles, Calif., to participate in the Produced By conference. — Submitted photo

“The thing that I’m fearing the most is the thing that I’m looking forward to the most,” says Natasha Lawlor, associate producer at Take the Shot Productions, the production company behind “Republic of Doyle.”

This June, Lawlor is heading to the Produced By conference in Los Angeles, as part of an entourage of 10 emerging and mid-level television and film producers from Newfoundland and Labrador. The group was hand-selected by the Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development Corp. (NLFDC), who partnered with Film Nova Scotia to send them, along with 10 producers from Nova Scotia, to the prestigious conference.

In between talks and workshops led by film industry luminaries like Mark Gordon, executive producer of “Grey’s Anatomy,” and Lynette Howell, producer of “Blue Valentine,” Lawlor will sit down with big-time American producers to pitch the second season of “Republic of Doyle” for the American television market.

“I’m terrified!” she says. “But I’ll make sure I’m prepared as well as I can be, so that will override the nervousness.”

As part of the initiative, the NLFDC has invited Catherine Tait, a consultant and renowned film industry veteran, to come to

St. John’s and meet with the group April 18 and 19.

Tait will meet with producers individually to gauge where they are in their careers and discuss projects they hope to pitch to executives in L.A. Then, depending on her assessment, Tait will set up one-on-one or group meetings between the Newfoundland producers and Hollywood producers.

Lawlor, representing a well-established company, is hoping for a successful one-on-one meeting.

Filmmaker and producer Allison White, who is earlier in her career than Lawlor, has slightly different expectations.

“As a pretty green producer, I don’t know what kind of meetings I’ll get,” she says. “If I had the opportunity to pitch to producers in L.A., that would be invaluable. But the idea is that we go down there and we meet people and we learn, and then we bring that knowledge back here, while having helped show people in L.A. that Newfoundland is a place where we make great films.”

“Newfoundland is so unique, it’s like a pitch in itself,” agrees Lawlor. “The fact that it’s so far away from L.A. and a completely different place, but we still have crew and the resources here to do these projects — that will definitely speak for itself.”



Organizations: Newfoundland and Labrador Film Development

Geographic location: L.A., Newfoundland and Labrador, Doyle Los Angeles Nova Scotia Hollywood

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