The Trans Film Mentorship (TFM) is delighted to present the 2nd annual Trans Filmmakers Summit x TIFF, which will be held on Sunday, September 10th at Malaparte at the TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Open to all trans and non-binary creators, filmmakers, actors, industry partners and allies, Trans Filmmakers Summit x TIFF is an afternoon to foster industry exchanges and dialogue and to reimagine trans storytelling as an opportunity to nurture emerging trans talent in the film and TV industry. The Trans Filmmakers Summit (TFS) will also spotlight the films at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) made by trans and non-binary directors and/or featuring trans and non-binary talent. 

The Trans Film Mentorship is pleased to present the CMF Barrier Breaker Award to Bilal Baig, star and co-creator of Sort Of, the CBC/Max Original Peabody Award-winning series. The award honors a trans leader who is actively challenging the limitations of the media industry and disrupting the system, paving the way for more and better trans representation and storytelling. The Barrier Breaker Award is sponsored by the Canada Media Fund and will be presented by Fab Filippo at the TFS.

Drawing from the roots of queer and trans community gatherings, TFS producers have created an energetic event that is celebratory, inspiring and accessible to all. Inspired by the format of a late-night talk show, the TFS will be co-hosted by TFM co-founders Luis De Filippis and Gabrielle Zilkha, host of the Toronto live show ‘A Late Night GAB with Friends.’

Director Jen Markowitz and film participant Isaiah Hurlbut of the Official TIFF ‘23 Documentary SUMMER QAMP, will be the special guests. SUMMER QAMP follows a group of LGBTQ+ youth at an idyllic lakeside camp in Alberta, Canada. The campers enjoy the traditional summer camp experience in a safe, affirming environment where they deepen their connections with their community and themselves.

Polaris Music Prize nominee Vivek Shraya will perform as the musical guest. The multi-disciplinary trans artist is a Canadian Screen Award winner, best-selling author of I’m Afraid of Men, founder of publishing imprint VS Books, which supports emerging BIPOC writers, and creator of the upcoming CBC Gem series, How to Fail as a Popstar.

After our inaugural year, we’re back for another edition of the Trans Film Summit. We’re so excited to return to the TIFF rooftop and serve laughter, joy, and connection. Last year the Barrier Breaker Award was presented to the luminous TS Madison, this year we have the honour to present the CMF Barrier Breaker Award to Bilal Baig for their groundbreaking work on their award-winning series Sort Of,” commented Luis De Filippis, the co-founder of the Trans Film Mentorship.

We are excited to put on an interactive and engaging show that centers the trans and non-binary community. The Trans Filmmakers Summit is a space to honour trans and non-binary talent in the industry, and we are thrilled to be working with the Trans Film Mentorship on this important initiative,” added Jessica Adams and Rua Wani from Adani Pictures, producers of the TFS.

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About The Trans Film Mentorship

The Trans Film Mentorship (TFM), founded in 2021, is an organization that runs career development programming for trans and nonbinary people, with the goal of increasing the participation of trans filmmakers, key creatives, and crew in the film and television industry, including the Trans Film Summit x TIFF. TFM works in partnership with production companies to turn their film, TV and media productions into hands-on learning opportunities and/or work-integrated training for trans and nonbinary emerging professionals. Each program provides participants with mindfulness-based soft skills development, requisite hard skills training / production orientation, and wellness coaching. All TFM programs conclude with career planning workshops that support participants in identifying their next steps and industry way-finding.

TFM has led training programs on the sets of CBC/Max series SORT OF; TIFF ‘22 and Changemaker Award-winning film SOMETHING YOU SAID LAST NIGHT; and Banger Films’ ANY OTHER WAY: THE JACKIE SHANE STORY, executive produced by Elliott Page. There are now 19 graduates of TFM’s training programs making strides in the industry, and more on the horizon. For more information, visit 

TFS is produced by the Trans Film Mentorship and Adani Pictures, and has received support from the Canada Media Fund, Toronto International Film Festival, CBC Films, Elevation Pictures, Inside Out Film Festival, Sphere Media, City of Toronto, NABET 700, Ontario Creates, Film Finances, and the National Screen Institute.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.