Join the team behind our Festival’s opening night feature, Black Conflux, for an intimate lunch panel where you can chat with the filmmaker and talent and discover the process, stories and secrets behind their work.
Featuring Nicole Dorsey (director/writer), actors Ella Ballentine (Jackie) and Ryan McDonald (Dennis).
Born in Mississauga Ontario, Nicole grew up in Burlington before moving to Toronto to attend Ryerson University’s film production program where she obtained her BFA. She’s worked extensively as a commercial and narrative director. Her debut feature, Black Conflux (2019), held its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film took part in the WIDC Story Program and was a finalist in Francis Ford Coppola’s Screenplay Contest. Dorsey also directed Arlo Alone (2016) through Canadian broadcaster Bell Media; the short premiered in competition at the Atlanta Film Festival and was a Vimeo Staff Pick and A&E Best Film Winner. With a strong penchant for character-driven material, Dorsey aims to present a realist portrayal of the human condition.
Ella Ballentine is Canadian film and stage actress with a Canadian Screen Award under her belt. She has already performed several leading roles that have partnered her with such recognized names as Martin Sheen, Zoe Kazan, Sara Botsford, Laurence Fishbourne and Jeri Ryan, just to name a few.
Even in her supporting roles Ella has been lucky to work with some of the film industry’s best talent in Canada and the US.
Ella is grateful to have been given the chance to portray many strong female roles, including Anne Shirley (L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables), Lizzy (The Monster), Bird (Standoff), in a wide range of TV and film genres from family classics through drama and horror.
Being part of the festival circle with Black Conflux is a dream come true for Ella and she would like to thank the producers, the whole cast and all the great crew of Black Conflux for their hard work and great support.
And lastly, Ella thanks Nicole for her vision and for trusting Ella to be able to bring Jackie, this vulnerable girl, to life.
At the young age of eighteen, Ryan McDonald was cast in Rebecca Miller’s The Ballad of Jack and Rose; starring alongside Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Dano, and Katherine Keener. Miller would later write a role specifically for McDonald in her film The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. Other notable moments in McDonald’s film career include Resurrecting The Champ, 2012, He’s Out There and most recently Black Conflux directed by Nicole Dorsey.
McDonald has a decorated career on the small screen as well, including Fringe for Fox, Rookie Blue for ABC and Global, iZombie for CW, The Magicians and Warehouse 13 both for Syfy, Saving Hope for CTV and Ion, as well as many others. McDonald received a Best Supporting Actor Gemini nomination for his work on Terry and another Gemini Best Actor Guest Star nomination that same year for ReGenesis. Ryan also received a Best Supporting Actor nomination at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards for his work as a regular on the comedy series What Would Sal Do for Superchannel. McDonald can currently be seen as a series regular in season 2 of the critically acclaimed Bad Blood for Netflix and City.