Meet the mentors
The backbone of the Mentorship Program is a group of extremely talented and dedicated mentors, all of whom are producers on CBC Radio One shows. Each of our mentors has a distinct style and approach to doc making. They are fantastic people to learn from and to collaborate with.
Each mentor is affiliated with a specific CBC Radio program. It's expected that the docs they produce in collaboration with the Doc Project Mentorship Program will air on their home program (e.g. Alison Cook produces docs that air on The Doc Project, and Joan Webber produces docs that air on The Current).
Our 2021 mentors are:
Alison got her start in journalism at Australian Associated Press in the 80s. But an encounter on a kibbutz in Israel prompted a move to Canada in 1990, where she has been ever since. Based in Montreal, Alison produced C'est la vie for many years, honing her storytelling and mentoring skills. She has since produced award-winning documentaries for Ideas and The Doc Project.
IN HER OWN WORDS
I try to make docs that... surprise and move, and have a strong narrative arc. I am drawn to personal stories.
My home program, The Doc Project, tells stories that... you can't stop thinking about, that transport you to unexpected places, surprise you, or allow you to eavesdrop on someone's life.
Doc pick: It's impossible for me to pick a favourite documentary, but one I worked on recently through the mentorship program was Meghan Mast's documentary, The Hutterite Runner. I love hearing such an unexpected voice, and the intimacy of the storytelling.
Want Alison to be your mentor? Run your application by her before deadline! email@example.com
Ron Desmoulins is the current Executive Producer of CBC Thunder Bay and a proud member of Biigtigong Nishnaabeg First Nation. Ron spent many years as the Producer of Superior Morning, and was instrumental in the show's long-running popularity in the region.
He is a skilled audio and visual storyteller and has won regional and national awards for his long form radio documentaries. Ron is also an active member of the All Nations employee resource group.
Are you an emerging Indigenous doc maker with an idea to pitch to Ron? Get in touch before you apply: firstname.lastname@example.org.
As network producer for Manitoba and Saskatchewan Suzanne pitches and produces stories for The Current, As It Happens, and Ideas, to name a few. Past lives include helping launch CBC Television's all-news network, managing Winnipeg's radio current affairs area for a time, and creating new programs for local radio and TV.
IN HER OWN WORDS
I try to make docs... with authentic characters and conflicts, that illustrate shades of grey, and broaden our understanding of the world and our humanity.
My home program, The Current, tells stories that... add depth and discovery to the stories of the day.
Doc pick: Being Jacqueline (2015), a multi-award winning documentary I produced with Joan Webber at The Current. I picked this documentary for what it reveals about loving yourself and each other.
Are you an experienced doc maker interested in working with Suzanne? Get in touch before you apply: email@example.com
Jeff is a radio producer and host with twenty-five years of experience.
Currently, he works with White Coat Black Art, an award-winning nationally broadcast medical program on CBC Radio One. The show examines stories such as living with dementia, physician-assisted death, and PTSD among first responders. Jeff is also the voice of CBC Radio Overnight. His Tapestry documentary on the bombing of Peterborough's mosque received a Wilbur Award. His work with White Coat Black Art has received a Gabriel Award, Gracie Award and an Ontario Association of Midwives Media Award.
IN HIS OWN WORDS:
I make radio docs that... bring isolated voices to the airwaves.
My home program, White Coat Black Art, tells stories that... reveal the culture of medicine and the healthcare system from the point of view of patients and healthcare providers. We tell stories with a refreshing and unprecedented level of honesty.
Doc pick: Endometriosis: My painful search for answers is a powerful first-person doc that was produced for White Coat, Black Art through the Mentorship Program last season. It's a great personal story that deals with an important health-care issue. We also created this cool digital animation to promote the doc online - it went crazy on Facebook
Think Jeff is the mentor for you? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Jim's a lifer at Quirks & Quarks, where he's worked, with a couple of short interruptions, since 1993. He's been the senior producer on the show for the last couple of years. He's seen space shuttle launches at Cape Canaveral, dug up extinct bison bones in the Yukon and explored the Beaufort sea on an icebreaker. He was a Massey Journalism fellow in 2016, which was a blast. Jim's a native Newfoundlander but was asked to leave because he wasn't funny enough, can't carry a tune, and hates fish.
IN HIS OWN WORDS
I try to make docs that ... give a different sound to the science on our show - with more sense of place, more sense of the personality of the people working on and around science and maybe less of a "just the facts" presentation than you'll sometimes hear in a one-on-one interview.
My home program, Quirks & Quarks, tells stories that... fascinate, entertain, educate and intrigue. We're after surprises and moments of awe, wonder and bleeding cool. We want to make you say "wow" and tell people about that thing you just heard.
Doc pick: Last year we had the opportunity to do several docs looking at how local communities in Canada were dealing with the unique challenges of climate change. We did one on prairie agriculture, one on the northward migration of animal-borne Lyme disease in Quebec, and Moira Donovan in Halifax did a great one about sea level rise in Nova Scotia. It really brought us to the edge of the water.
Get in touch with Jim to discuss your pitch: email@example.com.
Naheed is an award-winning producer based at Ideas. She started her career as a writer working for a variety of newspapers and magazines but after nearly a decade, made the shift to broadcasting. Her first radio documentary was for a then-fledgling program on CBC Radio called The Current in which she followed a family as they moved through the refugee process in Canada after 9/11. Since then, Naheed has worked on a variety of programs at CBC Radio including As It Happens, Dispatches, and The Current. She spent the years between 2008 and 2013 covering the war in Afghanistan as a freelance writer and documentary producer. She began working for Ideas as a documentary contributor in 2014 and joined the program full time in 2016.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
I try to make radio docs that... make people think about how they are connected to each other and to the world.
My home program, Ideas, tells stories that... take a deep dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history.
Doc pick: A recent doc I was honoured to mentor was The Gift of Maryam Mirzakhani, about a gifted mathematician who was the first woman to win the Fields Medal. It was made by Doc Project mentee Samira Mohyeddin.
Get in touch with Naheed to discuss your pitch: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sara is the senior producer of the award-winning Now or Never, one of the newest CBC Radio shows on the block. Before that she spent 14 years at DNTO, with stints producing the summer shows Hidden City, Being Jann, Under the Covers, and That's Capital. When she's not making radio, Sara is running, devouring podcasts, spending time with her fam, being loud and opinionated at dinner parties, and knocking things off her #50x50 personal bucket list.
IN HER OWN WORDS:
I try to make radio docs that... have heart, humour, and surprise, revealing something about human nature - and why we do the things we do.
My home program, Now or Never, tells stories that... jump into the action with Canadians from all walks of life as they're about to do something they've never done before. Our stories are personal, vulnerable, and sometimes messy - and hopefully inspire listeners to do something outside their comfort zone, too.
Doc Pick: This is an emotional story I produced last year, which includes tears, laughter...and one unexpected goose attack.
Email Sara - email@example.com - to let her know you have a pitch for Now or Never!
It's not required that you reach out to your proposed mentor before you apply, but it's a good idea. Why? Think of it as an open-book exam.
It's your chance to make first contact with the person you'd like to work with and learn from, and their chance to get to know you and your pitch a bit. Meanwhile, your proposed mentor can give you their take on whether your pitch needs re-working before you submit — or possibly recommend another mentor if your pitch isn't right for them.
Still unsure about the right home for your documentary idea? No worries. Email us and we'll help you out.