Carving a Path Behind the Scenes |

Technical Careers in the Screen Industry

Presented by


Representation at all levels, both in front of and behind the camera, is essential to authentic storytelling. This panel, presented by NABET 700-M UNIFOR, is a roundtable discussion with a diverse group of emerging creators on finding and defining their place on the technical side of the industry. Listen in as they share their path to achieving success in their chosen field and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Thursday, April 13, 2023
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM (EDT)
Session Language
English language session
Scenic Painter

Alva Paul-Larbi is an African Canadian woman born and raised in the city of Toronto, Ontario. Mother of two, a member of NABET-700 UNIFOR, and inside sales rep. of Primetime Paint & Paper - taking the paint world by storm. Learning all that she can to become well versed in all aspects of paint.

Props Master and Scenic Carpenter

Polly Jean Vernon (she/her) has been working in the film and television industry since 1998. As a props master she has made films with directors Atom Egoyan, Sarah Polley, and Brian DePalma; as a scenic carpenter she has built offices and caves and spaceships and apartments on all sizes of shows. She has worked as a construction coordinator and head carpenter building scenery for television, films, and commercials. She has traveled to Eastern Europe, Central America and South Africa as a production designer, and to northern Ontario as an art director. Most recently she worked as a carpenter on CTV’s Shelved, with a core construction department consisting of more women than men for the first time in her career. She is an advocate for transgender folks and women in the trades, by necessity; in 2021 she founded the Alliance of Transgender and Gender-Nonconforming Tradespeople, to connect and support transgender people in the trades. She is also a musician and will be releasing her third full-length album next month on her own label, No Dogma Records. 

VP Costumes

Sam Rice is the costume VP at NABET 700-M Unifor, and co-chair of their Black, Indigenous and Workers of Color Committee. She has been working as a costume technician since 2014, and is passionate about helping folks learn about the ins and outs of costuming for film & television. Her favorite credit to date is as assistant costume designer on CBC's hit comedy Kim's Convenience.

Grip Permittee

Sequoyah Oakes is a registered member of the Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation in northern Ontario. He recently completed the NABET UNIFOR 700M and Miziwe Biik training program for the film industry technical skills. He did his Grip Apprenticeship with NABET Unifor 700M on Season 3 of the Hardy Boys. He has now been accepted as a Permittee and is looking forward to having a career within the grip department in the film & television industry.

Moderated by:


Ayesha Mansur Gonsalves is a Canadian actor, born and raised in Toronto. She currently recurs as Sarita Stark in CTV’s The Spencer Sisters and has played recurring roles in HBO Max/CBC Gem’s award-winning comedy, Sort Of, FX’s Y: The Last Man, and National Geographic's The Hot Zone. Guest star roles include Star Trek Discovery, Kim’s Convenience, Private Eyes, and Designated Survivor, among others. Select film credits include Tammy’s Always Dying starring Felicity Huffman, Brandon Cronenberg’s Possessor, and Don’t Hang Up starring Wendell Pierce and Lauren Holly. She is currently writing her first comedic series titled, Disagreeable.