Katie Ford – Principal and Big Picture
Katie Ford co-founded Ford Cassella Productions with Maggie Cassella. Katie keeps her finger firmly on the pulse of all things entertainment and leading edge, always looking for new ways to reach out, connect, and bring story into the picture.
•Co-wrote/co-produced the hit film Miss Congeniality which has empowered girls since 2001 and made over $200 million internationally.
•Wrote the Emmy and Golden Globe Nominated film Prayers for Bobby starringSigourney Weaver. Based on the true story of Bobby Griffith and his mother Mary, who tried to convert her gay son Bobby then, after his tragic suicide, became an activist for gay rights and PFLAG. The film was screened for European Parliament, has played at Outfest and also the St Petersburg Gay Film Festival (before the film festival was closed down by the government).
•Has written comedy and drama for TV (Head writer/Showrunner Family Ties, Desperate Housewives, co-creator and Showrunner Working the Engels) since she was 21 years old.
•Has performed Stand-up and spoken in NY, LA, and Toronto. Her message is one of hopeand tools for people – all told with humour and optimism
•CO founded start-up FLAGSHIPtv- A fan based website backed by AOL.
•Story consultant for the revolutionary US tech giant MAGIC LEAP.
Maggie Cassella – Principal and Driving Force
Maggie co-founded Ford Cassella with Katie Ford. While role overlap is considerable, Maggie’s focus is next steps and driving the engine forward.
•Maggie became an LGBTQ activist in 1979 when she came out marching.
•As a lawyer, Maggie fought for LGBTQ rights representing people with AIDS, trans clients, and tried the test case for gay adoption in Connecticut. She was twice featured in the New York Times for her work and activism.
•Appeared on every major news network as a commentator and “go to” person on LGBTQ issues as well as the American political scene.
•Started hosting and live-event producing in Toronto in 1994 with the NAFTA Cabaret. Founded The We’re Funny That Way Comedy Festival in 1997.
•Executive Produced, Produced and hosted We’re Funny That Way TV specials for the Comedy Network and OUTTV.
•Was the first out lesbian to host her own nationally televised talk show Because I Said So! (CityTV/Star).
•Hosted and executive produced her own radio show on the first ever LGBTQ radio network (ProudFM).
•Wrote and starred in the first gay sketch comedy show (In Thru The Out Door – Showtime/CBC)
•Created, Executive Produced, wrote, and starred in a six part series for OUTTV. The Vent featured interviews, shorts, sketch, round table, and a signature Maggie Rant.
•Built, programmed, and produced 5 shows a week at The Flying Beaver Pubareta cabaret venue awarded Top Ten Things to Do When you Go to Toronto by CanadianLiving.com and Top 5 Venues to eat and see a show by BlogTO.
•Co-wrote Lea’s Book of Rules for the World (Random House) with Lea DeLaria (Orange is The New Black).
•Established and continues to run and produce The We’re Funny That Way Foundation and Festival now in it’s 19thyear raising money for queer charities across Canada.
Elana Trainoff – Head of No Monkey Business (Production)
Elana’s role at Ford Cassella is to insure there’s no monkey business, that no resources go wasted, and it all gets done on time and on budget.
Elana Trainoff has been out in the world making a difference (or at least trying to) for as long as she can remember. Her career started 20+ years ago, working 18 hour days, slogging her way through production and development of bad MOW’s and reality shows until she discovered she could stay creative and find some meaning at the same time. She was pivotal in spearheading the CFC’s (Canadian Film Centre) wildly popular television training and production division and ran it for many years until she was plucked by an LA based agency representing screenwriters and directors to open and run a Canadian office for them. Five years and many happy clients later, Elana high tailed it overseas where she knew in her heart she would learn first hand how to work in a way that effects positive social change. She taught filmmakers from Latin American countries at the Havana Film School in Cuba, she oversaw production of all film and television projects on a Namibian wildlife sanctuary in Southern Africa, she worked deep in the arts community with writers and musicians on the exotic island of Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania, running a music and writers festival and foundation.
Elana has been back in Canada for a few years where she has worked as the Executive Director of the Regent Park Film Festival and was most recently the Head of Social Impact Engagement and Partnerships for the Reelworld Film Festival. She lives and breathes film, has mentored filmmakers and artists for over 20 years and wants to continue to focus her creative energy on producing content that touches hearts and effects change.