2021
PARTICIPANTS

 

STAND UP & PITCH 2021 : FROM SET TO SCREEN

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WES
CORWIN

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RENALDO
EVANS

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JOSH
JOHNSON

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ALIYA
KANANI

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SAM
KIMBRELL

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MATT
KLASCO

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LORIS
LORA

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JU'MARCUS
MASON

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SHAWN
PARIKH

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ANN
PORNEL

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HANNAN
YOUNIS

STAND UP & PITCH 2021 : BEYOND THE BOX

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AISHA
EVELYNA

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JORDAN
HAYES

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RABIYA
MANSOOR

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MARKOS
& FEIMAN

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RACHEL
MCKAY STEELE

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STEPH
OUAKNINE

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DANI
PAGLIARELLO

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SHREYA
PATEL

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ALLIE
PEARSE

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ALIYA KANANI

WRITER / CREATOR

Aliya Kanani is a Toronto-based comedian known for her playful and mischievous personality. Her solo show, "Where You From, From?", sold out at the 2019 Just for Laughs Festival, 2019 Melbourne International Comedy Festival and 2020 World Fringe Festival.

Aliya has performed in English and French on stages around the world, including New York’s Gotham Comedy Club and The Comedy Store in Sydney, Australia. She has showcased at NBC’s Breakout Comedy Festival, SiriusXM’s Top Comic and JFL42. You can catch Aliya’s jokes on CBC LOL.
 

After graduating from the Second City Conservatory and the Bob Curry Fellowship, Aliya went on to create the wacky web series, Juicy. She is a lead actor in the feature film Scarborough, to be released in 2021. 
 

Aliya still brags that her greatest accomplishment was making a man throw up from laughing too hard.

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HANNAN YOUNIS

CO-WRITER

Hannan Younis is an actress, comedian, and writer based in Toronto. She has appeared in various tv shows such as The Boys, What We Do In The Shadows, Kim's Convenience, JFL ROAST BATTLE, See, New Eden, and Odd Squad, as well as a contributing writer for CBC's Tall Boys and story consultant for Gary & His Demons. She has also made appearances at JFL42, NXNE, Montreal, and Austin sketch fest with her comedy duo, Definition Of Knowledge. Hannan is also the voice of Safra from the award-winning animated series People Watching and was nominated for best actress in the same year for the same role.

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ANN PORNEL

CO-WRITER

Described by the Globe and Mail as “a right hot blast of funny,” Ann Pornel cut her comedy teeth with Sunday Night Live, a weekly sketch show in Toronto. She continued creating biting satire at Second City Toronto Main Stage, writing three critically acclaimed shows. She joined the cast of She The People, which has toured at JFL, Edmonton Fringe, and Mirvish Productions (limited engagement). Ann has won a Canadian Comedy Award and 2017 Entertainer of the Year award from My Entertainment World. Her unique perspective on diversity, body image, and inclusion has garnered her spots at NBC’s Break Out Festival and JFL42. You can catch Ann on CBC’s Because News and shows including Odd Squad, The Baroness Von Sketch Show, The Beaverton, and This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She’s currently the co-host of The Great Canadian Baking Show.

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JOSH JOHNSON

CO-CREATOR

Rising Fort Worth comic Josh Johnson is seriously funny. His jokes range from contemplating suicide to a SWAT team raiding a neighbor's house -- heavy stuff that he manages to make light. Johnson recently traveled to Hawaii, where he filmed an appearance on an episode of Adam Devine's House Party on Comedy Central. He also performed recently in front of a sold-out crowd opening for Janeane Garofalo in Dallas.

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WES CORWIN

CO-CREATOR

Wes Corwin is a ball of pure nervous energy trying to pass itself off as human. Wes has had his unique brand of humor featured on Funny or Die. As a stand-up, he’s opened for nationally touring headliners like Brian Regan, Kurt Braunohler and Aparna Nancherla. He’s been featured on Altercation Comedy Festival in Austin and Memphis Comedy Festival. In 2018, Wes was awarded “Best Comedian in Dallas” by the Dallas Observer and also won the Addison Improv’s “Funniest Comedian in Texas” contest. In 2020, work he animated appeared on an episode of Conan on TBS.

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SAM KIMBRELL

WRITER, CREATOR, PRODUCER

Sam Kimbrell is a Los Angeles-based comedy writer, director, producer, and performer. He holds a degree in screenwriting from Chapman University and studied sketch and improv at iO West, UCB, and Second City Hollywood.  He’s created comedy content for Fullscreen, Crackle, Cartoon Network India, Top Story! Weekly, Second City Hollywood, iO West, WAVE.tv, and the El Rey network. Before the pandemic, Sam was performing in Second City Hollywood’s That’s The End of Our Time written by Marc Warzecha and directed by Ithamar Enriquez.

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LORIS LORA

ILLUSTRATOR/CHARACTER DESIGNER

Loris Lora is a Latinx illustrator and designer based in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of Art Center College of Design where she studied illustration. She is a multi-disciplinary artist who has worked in editorial publishing, book publishing, toy design, surface design, and has been featured in galleries across the globe. She’s currently illustrating Phenomenal AOC: The Roots and Rise of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez  for HarperCollins.

 

Past clients include Google, Airbnb, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, The Wall Street Journal, Portland Monthly, Pentagram, Crocodile Creek, Nobrow Press, Flying Eye Books, Lincoln Children’s Books, Middlebury Magazine, UCLA Magazine, and Imagine Entertainment.

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RENALDO EVANS

CO-CREATOR/WRITER

Renaldo Evans is comedian, writer, and actor from Jacksonville, Florida (Duuuuval!!). Since relocating to Los Angeles, he has filmed standup specials on Amazon Prime’s Laugh After Dark, and RevoltTV Funny AF. Renaldo’s ability to find humor in anything, especially his own life has led him to win multiple comedy festivals and competitions for LA Comedy Showcase, Bounce TV Standup Showcase, Showtime at Apollo Comedy Showcase, Best of Burbank Comedy Festival (2x), and Palm Springs Comedy Festival! Despite being a PhD Dropout, he continues to study his comedy craft with award winning Thespians, Directors, and Executives while writing and directing his own projects so he won’t have to play Thug #2 for the rest of his career. 

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JU’MARCUS MASON

CO-CREATOR/ WRITER

Ju’Marcus Mason is an actor, writer, producer, and director from Houston Texas who moved to Los Angeles to take his career to new heights. His specialty is comedy, and he has participated in multiple viral sketches on Instagram and Youtube. He has starred in a wide variety of comedic web series, and award-winning short films such as “Club Beige”  which recently won the ABFF Comedy Festival 2021, and he was comedic relief in the short horror film “Together” that was screened in many film festivals all around the world from Paris, Mexico City, Austin Texas, Montreal Canada, the UK and Korea. He has worked his way up through the industry landing many comedic lead roles for Revolver Digital, Next Insurance, American Family Insurance, Day one Vitamins, and Amazon Prime. Jumarcus can be seen in the feature film “Zoombies 2” on Amazon Prime and “Maternally Yours Series” directed by Nicole Collins currently streaming on Kweil TV, executive produced by Lil Rel Howery.

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SHAWN PARIKH

WRITER/CREATOR

After nailing a kiss and a single line in Bye Bye Birdie in 9th grade, Shawn Parikh knew two things for sure: he loved showbiz and he did not love women. Being a gay Indian-Texan-American pursuing a creative career, he is an uberbrown sheep—although, he did his best to make his parents proud with a forced-and-useless degree in PoliSci and a forced-and-sometimes-useful Master’s in Psych. A student of improv, standup and sketch at UCB & Groundlings, he appeared on shows like Outsourced, Cougar Town, What/If, and Mom. In addition to writing and starring in an independent pilot BAD INDIANS with Devanshi Patel and a spoof of HBO's The Night Of for Funny or Die, Shawn's short film KHOL (open), starring Sarayu Blue, played a global festival circuit. He is one of this year’s NBC Writers On The Verge.

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MATT KLASCO

PRODUCER

Matt Klasco is a literary manager and producer. While primarily focused on comedy, he represents a wide range of artists working across the industry on shows like PEN15 features like THE IRISHMAN, and running social media platforms with significant followings. Prior to working independently, he was an agent trainee at ICM Partners and a literary coordinator at Odenkirk Provissiero Entertainment. 

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SHREYA PATEL

CREATOR, WRITER, PRODUCER, ACTOR

Shreya Patel is a model turned writer, actress, and filmmaker. She’s a graduate of the Second City Conservatory and can be seen in hit shows such as Mrs. America and Grand Army.

 

Her directorial debut, the documentary “Girl Up”, brings light to domestic violence and human trafficking in Toronto and has been partnered with Toronto International Film Festival to showcase at Civic Action Summit.

 

During this pandemic, she has gathered 66 countries made a documentary called Unity- #LOVESPREADS Faster Than Virus showcasing the plight of the human spirit. 

 

Following Unity, Shreya directed a music video called Freedom Dance which hit over 12 million views on YouTube. The music video features a global cast showcasing what their inner freedom looks like during the lockdown. Rolling Stones India has reported about it too.

 

Currently, she is working on Layla is Relevant.

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RABIYA MANSOOR

CREATOR, WRITER, PRODUCER, ACTOR

Rabiya Mansoor (she/they) is a Pakistani-Calgarian comedian, writer, and producer. Her web series projects include: Get Up, Aisha (2020 IPF Production Fund) and Layla is Relevant (2020 WIFT-T Scripted Digital Series Incubator/2020 TAC Media Artists Grant). Her all-WOC sketch comedy troupe, the Don Valley Girls, received a 2019 Sketch Comedy Project Fund grant for their first sketch revue (coming soon in a post-COVID-19 world) and she was a 2019/20 member of the Second City Family Company for What the Elf?!. She is an alumnus of Second City’s Bob Curry Fellowship for emerging, diverse comedic voices and has performed at the Toronto, Chicago, and Montreal Sketch Comedy Festivals, most recently as a drag king solo act. Her TYA improv show, Education Know-It-All, was commissioned for Theatre Direct’s 2021 Forward March Festival. Her current obsession is making the perfect brownie. 

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RACHEL MCKAY STEELE

WRITER/CREATOR

Rachel McKay Steele is a writer and comedian who like many before her left bagels and Brooklyn for sunny Los Angeles. She has studied comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater and clown and acting with Completely Ridiculous Productions. She has performed improv and stand-up around the country, and her solo show, Shiva for Anne Frank, premiered at the 2019 Hollywood Fringe Festival to rave reviews and won a Producer’s Encore Award. She received the inaugural Jewish Writers’ Initiative Grant and was honored and humbled despite never spelling initiative correctly on her first try.

 

In addition, Rachel loves breakfast sandwiches and is a cat mom to two rescues, Roxy and Esther.

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STEPH OUAKNINE

PRODUCER

One of Canada's "Next Generation of Producers," Steph Ouaknine is an award-winning producer and development executive with 8+ years of experience specializing in short form, queer stories and international co-productions.

 

Steph has co-created and produced CARMILLA, the award-winning multi-platform series that ran for 108 episodes and spawned a global, engaged community. Financed by U by Kotex, the series topped 100+ million views, earning accolades from Cannes Lion, Rocky Awards, multiple Canadian Screen Award wins, Webby and Streamy, and MIPTV's "Brand Content of the Year" 2018 Award.

 

Her latest series was shortlisted for the Sundance Episodic Lab 2020. Previous the Manager of Development for Shaftesbury, she is now based in Los Angeles and a recent Producers Guild of America member.

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NEHEMIAH MARKOS & JED FEIMAN 

CO-CREATORS

Nehemiah Markos is a first-generation Ethiopian-American hailing from Northern Virginia. Jed Feiman is a New Yorker born and bred on the Upper East Side. Together, they are writers, comedians, and biological brothers who comprise the comedy pair Never Sad.  

 

Nehemiah and Jed regularly produce humor for The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts, and their live show, the Always Happy Video Comedy Bop, has been featured inThe New York Times. They’ve been finalists in the Sundance Episodic Makers Lab and Universal Cable Productions’ Pitch Fest. Never Sad has also performed live at the New York Comedy Festival, the Brooklyn Comedy Festival, and Montreal Sketchfest.

 

Previously Nehemiah and Jed were Comedy Correspondents for the cryptocurrency news network, BLOCKTV, and wrote for Nat Geo WILD’s late-night comedy special, “Wild After Dark.” In 2021, they revived a comedic board game about racism, now available for purchase at blacksandwhitesgame.com.

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DANI PAGLIARELLO

CREATOR/WRITER

DANI PAGLIARELLO is a director, writer, and actor with a BFA from York University’s Acting Conservatory.

 

She founded her production company, Food n’ Money Productions, and has since produced two digital series, which she wrote, directed, and starred in. FOOD N’ MONEY, which was reviewed as ‘Broad City on acid’. And SHITTY ROOMMATE, a humorous and poignant take on the lives of the ultra-rich.

 

As a recipient of the 2021 IPF Development fund, she is presently in development for THE DROP, co-created with none other than Aisha Evelyna. The Drop was a finalist in the CBC YA Breakthroughs competition and is a finalist in the Just for Laughs pitch competition later this summer!

 

Dani’s path to show-running is reflective of the work she wants to see on screen - Women directing comedy. She lives in Toronto.

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AISHA EVELYNA

CREATOR/WRITER

Born to parents of Caribbean descent, AISHA EVELYNA is an actor and filmmaker, passionate about bringing stories of the underrepresented to the forefront of our social purview.

 

She is presently developing her feature directorial debut Seahorse which was awarded the Indigenous Screen Office Solidarity Fund for racialized creators. Aisha is also a 2021 Whistler Film Festival Screenwriters Lab resident, the winner of the 2021 Cayle Chernin Award for Media Arts, and a 2021 IPF Development fund recipient for digital series, THE DROP, alongside her Co Creator (who she utterly adores) Dani Pagliarello.

 

When not dreaming about making ground breaking film and TV, Aisha can be found eating donuts in Toronto.

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ALLIE PEARSE

WRITER & CREATOR

Allie Pearse is a standup comedian and writer based in Toronto. She has performed at comedy clubs across North America and is a writer on the award winning show Letterkenny. Allie has been featured on Sirius XM radio, JFL’s Comedy 101 roast show and OFF-JFL. She is the winner of the ‘I Heart Jokes Awards’ 2020 Breakout Comic, was nominated for the COCA comic of the year in 2020, was runner up at the 2019 Toronto Comedy Brawl and and won the 2017 Comedyworks Invitational in Montreal. She is the creator and producer of SLUT PARADE: A Sex Positive Comedy Show, which sold out the Royal Cinema in March of 2020 and is the producer and host of House Comedy at Soho House in Toronto. Allie is a script reader for the LA based platform Coverfly where she offers story notes to writers from all over the world.

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JORDAN HAYES

PRODUCER

Jordan Hayes is best known for her leading role on the hit American SYFY show, Helix, opposite Billy Campbell. Her film credits include The F Word, with Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan and House at the End of the Street with Jennifer Lawrence, to name a few. In 2013, she made her directorial debut at TIFF, with her short film LayOver. That year, it went on to win several awards across North America and Europe. Since then, along with producing partner, Max Topplin, Jordan has gone on to write/direct and produce numerous films, both short and feature length. Jordan produced and starred in the upcoming psychological thriller, The Toll which premiered at SXSW in 2020 and sold to Lionsgate for theatrical release in March 2021. Jordan just finished principal photography on Fixation, which she produced. The film is directed by Mercedes Bryce Morgan, stars Maddie Hasson and is repped by UTA sales division.