Filmmaker receives fellowship to attend foremost media festival

Rachelle Stein-Wotten

Sounder News

Tuesday, May 21 2013

Documentary filmmaker Tobi Elliott is off to pitch meetings and networking gatherings in Banff to talk up her idea for a television series.

The recent Gabriola transplant is attending the Banff World Media Festival this June as one of the recipients of the competitive Bell Media National Fellowship.

The fellowship helps emerging producers, writers and directors interested in the television industry attend the festival and take part in mentorship activities.

Without the fellowship, Tobi said she would not be able to attend Banff, a highly lauded television and digital media event, which offers face-to-face meetings with development executives and TV and digital media professionals.

“It’s basically the premier television and media festival. If you don’t go, you don’t know what [shows] are out there.”

Tobi is looking forward to networking with television executives about a series she is currently developing called Waterway Queens, a documentary series tracking the history of North America through its ships and underwater wrecks.

The project was partly inspired by one of the current films she and her partner Kate Bradford are filming on the island, Between Wood and Water, which follows wooden boat restorer and artist Tony Grove as he restores Dorothy, the oldest sailboat in B.C., right here on Gabriola.

Tobi has been producing documentaries for the last three years. In addition to Between Wood and Water, she is also working on a film called The Trapper of Peace River, about a trapper and wildlife advocate in northern B.C. up against shale gas development, the infamous practice of fracking; and produced a short film called Orphans - Brazil, where she and partner Charlotte Gentis spent three years following a Swedish woman give lessons on horsemanship to orphaned boys in the highlands of Brazil.

Tobi, who works at the Surf Pub while pursuing her film career, finds there is a common thread that emerges through all her work.

“I think all the stories that I follow are really profiles of extraordinary people who sacrifice a lot for their passion,” she said.

She hopes Banff will be the first step in breaking open the door to share her passion of storytelling with an audience.

Tobi’s website is