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Trans Film Mentorship

An opportunity for transgender and/or non-binary film creatives to train with professionals and gain experience on set.

Apply April 11th - April 22nd, 2022.



SORT OF is a half-hour sitcom from CBC & HBO Max.

A refreshing comedy about a young gender-fluid caregiver, Sabi, whose life plans are disrupted when tragedy strikes the family they help to maintain.


There are periods in one’s life that feel more stable than others, or at least they seem that way in reflection. For many, the last two years have been full of instability and transition. In the new series Sort Of, creators Fab Filippo and Bilal Baig embrace different forms of transition, exploring the themes of gender, love, sexuality, family, career, and landscape.



The Opportunity

The Trans Film Mentorship (TFM) training program is working with the creators of SORT OF to provide five trans and/or non-binary* folks with paid training and work placement on the set of SORT OF.

From May 2nd to June 17th, 2022, trainees will engage in:

  • soft skills / personal development workshops 

  • production preparedness workshops (set etiquette, protocols, gear orientation)

  • apprenticeship-style training in their respective departments 

  • work experience in their respective departments

  • wellness coaching as needed


At the end of the program, trainees will receive pathways support and career guidance to support their industry wayfinding and determine the next steps in their career. 

*We understand the definition of trans and non binary identities to be open and evolving. We encourage all folks who self-identify within the trans and/or non binary umbrella to apply to this program.

The Details

The TFM will begin the week of May 2 with part-time group training and workshops led by the TFM facilitator, Anna Daliza and industry instructors.


After this initial training period, TFM participants will break out into their respective departments where they will observe, train then work four days / week on production over the course of four and a half weeks. Each week will contain one day of check-ins and wellness support for participants.

TThe program is open to seeking applicants who are interested in the following departments:

  • Props

  • Costumes

  • Set Decoration

  • Makeup & Hair

  • Camera

  • Sound

  • Lighting & Grip / Electrical

In the application, applicants will be able to indicate the department(s) that are of interest to them. Program participants will be selected based on their fit with the department.   

Production will take place in Toronto and trainees will be expected to travel to and from set on their own with some exceptions when transportation is provided. Trainees will be paid a rate of $20/hr for training and working. Meals and craft to be provided.


Outside of working directly with their respective departments, trainees will receive guidance from facilitator and coordinator, Anna Daliza, who will be available throughout the production. Additionally, Sapphire Woods will be available as a wellness support coach. For more information about the team, scroll to the bottom of this page. 

The Why

In an industry where “experience begets experience,” trans and/or non-binary folks often experience difficulty starting out. The Trans Film Mentorship combines community based research with lived experience to understand the difficulties as well as the needs which need to be met to overcome them. 


It is widely acknowledged that breaking into the industry requires access to sufficient capital, training and connections to work-relevant networks. The high level of systemic discrimination faced by trans and/or non-binary folks places them/us at a significant disadvantage in accessing the needed social and financial capital to gain experience, training, and eventually “break in.”  


While on-screen representation for trans folks has improved in recent years, the representation of trans and/or non-binary folks working behind the camera is still abysmally low. If trans and/or non-binary creators are going to be at the helm of telling their own stories, representation and experience behind the camera is a must.

Who is This Program For

This program is intended for folks who identify as trans and nonbinary and who are:


  • Passionate about pursuing a career in film and television production 

  • Available to work part-time for one week and full-time for six weeks in Toronto between May 2 - June 17

  • Can work 12-hour days on their feet and engage in repeated physical labour (eg lifting up to 25lbs) without compromising their health

  • Eager to learn and possess a positive attitude 

  • Posses a driver’s license (not required but a strong asset)

  • For the protection of all crew and cast, Sphere Media / SiennaFilms requires that all personnel working on the set of Sort Of are triple vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes program participants.

Our TFM Team

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Gabrielle Zilkha - square.jpg
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Anna Daliza is a published writer, artist and educator living in Toronto. Her writing practice, which is deeply connected to her passion for education, has received support from the Toronto Arts Council, and has recently been selected for the Windsor Arts Council’s New Voices public installation. 


Her experience as an educator includes working in traditional education settings, locally and abroad, as well as developing and facilitating community programming for youth, adults, and seniors.


Anna’s humanistic approach to education comes from her degree in Drama in Education & Community, a specialized program at the University of Windsor which focuses on making education and training more accessible for marginalized groups.

Gabrielle Zilkha is an award-winning independent film director with experience in long and short form documentary, scripted shorts and branded content. Gabrielle has directed work for CBC (digital), Shaftesbury, Hollywood Suite, OUTtv and Vision TV. Her credits include writing and directed the essay-driven pop culture documentary feature Queering the Script (2019, Outfest - Special Programming Award), the feature documentary Doing Jewish: A Story From Ghana (2016) and her short comedy, Stop Calling Me Honey Bunny (2013), which was shortlisted for the Iris Prize and the recipient of multiple audience and jury awards. 


Gabrielle’s work has been lauded for its mix of heart and humour, and been reviewed in The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, Globe and Mail, Indiewire, and other notable media outlets.


Passionate about equity and social justice, Gabrielle is a curriculum designer and media educator working towards equity and inclusion in the entertainment industry. She has worked with POV, LIFT, CEE Centre for Young Black professionals and currently serves as part of the leadership team for IMPACT.

Sapphire Woods (they/them) is a gender non-conforming writer, facilitator, and curriculum developer from the Black LGBTQ+ community. Sapphire retains an exceptional ability to create, connect, and inspire. Grounded in trauma-informed best practices, Sapphire works with participants, teams, funders, and community partners to establish and meet goals using internal and external collaboration.


As a meticulous, solutions-focused leader with a solidified anti-oppression framework and equity-focused lens, Sapphire holds superior service to marginalized populations from diverse communities.

Sapphire's passion for diverse experiences in education and systems’ navigation is evidenced in their career’s passions. Their lectures at George Brown College and Ryerson University explore ‘Anti-Oppression Best Practices’ as the first step to cultivating ethical and equitable leadership. Sapphire speaks on various academic panels - most recently the ‘Black Writers Matter’ panel - after their published work was released. Between writing and speaking, they continue to enhance, inform, and influence education for under-served communities.


Sapphire Woods curates Anti-oppressive and Black Affirmative Education workshops for teams and non-profit organizations. In addition to writing and lectures, Sapphire also designs and evaluates collaborative and compassion-centered programming for organizational teams and projects. Favourite phrase? - "Can I pick your brain?"

The Sort Of Team

Sphere Media

Sphere Media Toronto (Formerly Sienna Films Inc) is one of Canada’s preeminent scripted content companies, producing film and television internationally. Currently in release is critically acclaimed dramedy Sort Of for CBC and HBO Max, a current GLAAD Award Nominee for Outstanding New TV Series which was named one of TV’s top picks for 2021 in NOW magazine, the Hollywood Reporter, Time Magazine and Vanity Fair. 


Sienna Film’s previous television includes four seasons of the International Emmy nominated serialized crime drama Cardinal (Bell Media/ Hulu/ BBC2/ Canal+); three seasons of the hostage negotiation episodic Ransom (Corus/CBS/eOne) SOLD IN MORE THAN 100 TERRITORIES; Indigenous supernatural YA series Trickster (CBC/CW/Sundance/SkyUK/STAN/CANAL+) which premiered to critical acclaim at MIP and TIFF; medical series Combat Hospital (Corus/ABC/SONY INTERNATIONAL); and mini-series Diamonds (CBC/ABC).


Most recently, Sphere Media’s bold new medical drama, Transplant (CTV/NBCU), an award-winning series about a Syrian refugee doctor, aired to critical acclaim and ratings success on both CTV and NBC. For Transplant, Sphere Media won TBI’s 2020 Content Innovation Award for Best Debut Drama Series and was recently announced as an honoree by the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) for their annual Media Awards.


Bilal Baig (they/them) is a queer, trans-feminine, Muslim playwright, performer and workshop facilitator. As a community worker, Bilal is a core team member at non-profits such as Story Planet and Rivers of Hope, where they develop and facilitate workshops for youth in under-resourced neighbourhoods in Toronto focused on creative writing and literacy (Story Planet), and combatting Islamophobia through the arts (Rivers of Hope). Bilal is the lead and co-creator of the CBC/HBO Max/Sienna Films series ’Sort Of’.

Fab Filippo is also the creator of Sort Of. ​He is an award-winning actor/writer/director/producer who most recently appeared as an actor in the groundbreaking digital series Guidestones. He wrote on half-hour comedy Working The Engels, and before that he co-wrote the true crime indie, Perfect Sisters, starring Abigail Breslin and Mira Sorvino, and Too Late To Say Goodbye starring Rob Lowe. He has also starred in and directed three seasons of half-hour comedy, Billable Hours. Some of his past acting credits include the lead role in mini-series Lives Of The Saints, starring opposite Sophia Loren, as well as portraying violin prodigy, Ethan Gold, on the award-winning series Queer As Folk.

Interested in this amazing opportunity?

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