See the world and yourself differently

HitPlay Productions

about HitPlay Productions

At HitPlay Productions we are passionate about telling stories that challenge people to see the world and themselves differently. We believe that sharing our stories whether in film, on television, or through interactive media has the power to change lives.

Because great filmmaking is a collaborative process, our strength is our team. We work with award-winning producers, directors, cinematographers and editors to create critically acclaimed projects that inspire, captivate, and entertain audiences.

Our work has been screened at film festivals around the word from Toronto, to Milan, to Auckland and Sichuan, China.

Over the past 20 years the company’s founder, Nadine Pequeneza, has built strong relationships with Canadian and international broadcasters; including CBC, SRC, RDI-ICI, PBS, ARTE, TVO, Knowledge Network and Canal D. The company’s projects have been supported by Telefilm Theatrical Documentary Program, Ontario Creates Film Fund, National Film Board of Canada, Canada Media Fund, Rogers Documentary Fund, Bell Media Fund, and Fledgling Fund.

HitPlay collaborates with foundations and non-profits to develop film engagement campaigns that promote social and environmental justice. Past campaigns have worked with outreach partners on a wide range of issues, including; criminal justice reform, impact investing and wildlife conservation.

about Nadine Pequeneza

President, Founder

Nadine Pequeneza is an award-winning Producer/Director/Writer specializing in character-driven films that offer unique access to stories about social justice and the environment.

With more than 15 years international experience, she has garnered multiple nominations and awards, including: a Canadian Screen Award for Best Writing in a Documentary, nine CSA and Gemini nominations, a Gold and Silver Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival, a Golden Sheaf Award from the Yorkton Film Festival, and a Silver Gavel honourable mention from the American Bar Association.

Her films have screened at festivals around the world, including: Hot Docs, RIDM, DocEdge, Milan Film Festival and Florida Film Festival.

Nadine is past Chair of the Documentary Organization of Canada and a member of the Hot Docs and DOC Ontario board.  She is also a graduate of the Fledgling Foundation’s inaugural engagement lab 2014-15.

She began her career as a television journalist working for CBC’s flagship current affairs program The National and Canada’s longest running investigative series, CTV’s W5.

about Nadine Pequeneza
  • Trying to reach across a gulf with empathy, humanity and reason is just about the last thing to expect in Canada's gun control debates.

    Mark Kay, Torontoist

  • The best thing about Pequeneza's approach is her slow, methodical style that gets us right into the debate and her refusal to go for quick fix answers.

    Jim Bawden

  • The gun lobby is becoming a Canadian NRA... this documentary will chill your bones.

    Heather Mallick, Toronto Start

  • Powerful, provocative, philosophical... Road to Mercy is a rumination on assisted death.

    John Doyle, The Globe and Mail

  • Road to Mercy is a deep, aching, finely drawn film.

    Shannon Proudfoot, Maclean's Magazine

  • Road to Mercy gives us a glimpse into the realities - messy, complicated, and heartbreaking - of a national debate that may finally be coming to a head.

    Frederick Blichert, The Tyee

  • Road to Mercy will cause viewers to pause and consider, not only where they stand on the subject of doctor-assisted death but if they'd consider it an option.

    Greg David, TV, Eh?

  • I was struck by Road to Mercy's absolute compassion and balance.

    James Bawden

  • Road to Mercy brings faces, names and emotions to the topic of assisted dying in Canada, where the practice is in its infancy.

    Rachel Phan, Dying with Dignity Canada

  • Road to Mercy explores ethical frontiers of doctor-assisted death.

    Sheryl Ubelacker, The Canadian Press/The Toronto Star

  • Invisible Heart tackles social inequality with vigour. I was enthralled for the entire run-time.

    Jordan Parker, Parker and Pictures

  • Approaching this polarizing issue Pequeneza doesn't insert herself into the film but you can see her own invisible heart as she follows two very human stories about people whose lives have been affected by SIBs.

    Alison Gillmore, Winnipeg Free Press

  • The first documentary on Social Impact Bonds - a two-part interview with Nadine Pequeneza - Director/Producer of The Invisible Heart.

    Government Outcomes Lab, University of Oxford

  • A good documentary enthralls and informs you, even if you went into it without any clue of what it was about. The strength of The Invisible Heart lies within its cast of characters... the faces of real people are what makes the Heart so potent.

    Trent Wilkie, The Trent Wilkie

  • The Invisible Heart has come to offer both sides of the ongoing SIB debate with sober judgement and a human face.

    Sierra Bilton, Vue Weekly

  • The names Bond: Social Impact Bond. The Invisible Heart questions investors profiting form social services.

    Lee Mannion, Thomson Reuters Foundation News

  • A new documentary shines an important light on a new approach that seeks to radically reshape the way social services are provided.

    Tom Baker, The Spinoff

  • The Invisible Heart takes a deep look at social impact bonds and raises multiple questions for governments, including the idea of the government paying profits to investors.

    Jordan Press, Canadian Press

  • Social impact bonds 'problematic' says director of new social finance documentary The Invisible Heart.

    Danny Glenwright, The Philanthropist

  • The Invisible Heart weighs the ethics of putting human rights causes like housing and education in a relationship with capitalist interests.

    Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

  • This is a very emotional issue for people. There are ideological attachments regarding the role of the state and a mistrust of the motives of the business community.

    Audience Member, Toronto Screening

  • The investors appear clueless about the systemic issues they think they can resolve.

    Eleanor Lipov, Toronto Screening

  • Care is needed to explain how they can be structured terribly, how they can be structured well and that being a new mechanism, a lot of experimentation is to be expected.

    Marie Ang, Ottawa Screening

  • I will be more vigilant about the funding mechanisms for projects in my community.

    Barbara Byers, Vancouver Screening

  • An amazing piece of work, The Invisible Heart, makes a strong case for action on the underlying issues that SIBs seek to address, while illuminating the complexity of the questions about whether profit and social good of this kind can go hand in hand. It raises all the important questions about the role of the state and the role of markets.

    Danielle Martin, Physician, Educator and Author

  • The Invisible Heart offers a provocative and timely account of a critical policy issue that has largely escaped public discussion and debate. Taking the viewer on a fascinating journey from corporate boardrooms to the frontlines of social service delivery, the documentary brings to life the complex story of social impact bonds and is a must see for anyone interested in how markets and finance continue to transform the world in which we live.

    James Williams, Professor York University

  • An important film that highlights both the intended benefits and potential pitfalls of Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). If SIBs are to become as prevalent as their champions hope, then it is crucial that member of the public are well informed about them. This excellent film serves that purpose very successfully.

    Alec Fraser, Policy Innovation Research Unit, University of London

  • Focusing on the US and Canadian experience with Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). The Invisible Heart starkly contrasts the ongoing debate between supporters and detractors of SIBs with the real lives of the people delivering and receiving the services on the ground. This raises some difficult questions pertinent to the times we live in, and the lack of simple answers is reflected in the film's portrayal of the polarised nature of the debate. The documentary highlights the clear need for a more nuanced understanding of when SIBs might be useful, and how to make sure they are effective.

    Nigel Ball, Deputy Director, GO Lab

  • Incredibly important.

    Melissa Harris-Perry, host, MSNBC

  • Top 5 Staff Pick.

    Christian Science Monitor

  • The most chilling documentary I've seen in a long time... Worth every minute... I have been moved, and I'm going to start moving some people.

    Judge Laura Blackburne, host, NAACP "The Crisis Today" radio show

  • Social-justice documentaries aren't always as engaging as you'd like them to be - they can be preachy, decidedly one-sided or two-dimensional. Not so for this little gem... it does a fine job of using one very human story to make a larger point about the criminal justice system. 4 starts (out of 5).

    Erin Sullivan, Orlando Weekly

  • Harrowing... Depicts a justice system that only perpetuates the sort of violence it was intended to keep in check.

    Nina Liss-Schultz, Mother Jones

  • Inside Disaster Haiti really delivers... This is terrific documentary work, not just news reporting. We are truly inside the biggest humanitarian relief effort ever, focusing on the Red Cross and some really great characters. You are really there with them, experiencing their challenges, difficulties and emotions.

    Filmmaker Magnus Isacsson

  • They were determined to cover disaster-relief efforts from the inside, completely embedded with the international Federation of Red Crosses. The result is a gripping three-part documentary... Inside Disaster Haiti deftly captures not only that drama, but the quirks of Haiti itself.

    Kenneth Kidd, The Toronto Star

  • The Haiti earthquake has generated a mountain of news and information, but little in the way of thoughtful documentary coverage has surfaced until now... a more complete, nuanced story of Haiti and its people as they rebuild from the earthquake.

    Sudha Krishna, Now Public

  • Spares viewers nothing in this raw look at life in Haiti after the quake.

    Constance Droganes, CTV

  • If you want to know more, if you want to be moved, don't miss this searing documentary series.

    Chris Jones

  • Next of Kin should inspire audiences to look at their communities and neighbourhoods a little differently - and to appreciate their family members near and far.

    Pat Mullen, POV Magazine

  • How youth support staff are using their sleuthing skills to connect teens with family.

    CBC The Current, Host Piya Chattopadhyay

  • The documentary is an eye-opener into our fraught child welfare system and hints at ways of breaking the negative cycle that so many families fall into.

    Tiffy Thompson, She Does the City

  • A unique program offered by a St. Catharines program for at risk youth is the focus of a new documentary, premiering on CBC.

    Allan Benner, The St. Catharines Standard

creative collaborators

Dave
Draper

Sound Recordist

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Dave
Draper

Sound Recordist

David Draper is a Toronto based Location Sound Recordist. Over the last 25 years 41 countries have been visited and many Production Companies and Networks collaborated with. When not working in Documentary, Feature, Series or Commercial settings David enjoys music production and development in his home studio.  His top-level equipment package and sincere dedication to his craft has established him in the world of Sound Recording. Teamwork above all.

Ricardo
Acosta

Editor

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Ricardo
Acosta

Editor

Rocardo Acosta immigrated to Canada from his native Cuba in 1993. Before coming to Toronto, he studied and worked with the world-renowned Cuban Film Institute in Havana. For the past fifteen years Ricardo has edited both documentary and dramatic films, which have been shown around the world. His outstanding work has contributed to the making of several award-winning films including: THE TAKE directed by Naomi Klein and Avi Lewis - Official selection Venice Film Festival, 2004, nomination for Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series, 20th Annual Gemini Awards; RUNWAY GROOM directed by Ali Kazimi - Winner of The Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary, 2005; and ARGENTINA'S DIRTY WAR directed by Nadine Pequeneza - Winner Yorkton Golden Sheaf Award, Official selection One World International Human Rights Documentary Festival and Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, 2001. His most recent film, HERMAN'S HOUSE, premiered at the Host Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, and will air on POV in 2013.

Katie
Chipperfield

Editor

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Katie
Chipperfield

Editor

Katie Chipperfield is a film and television editor who is passionate about collaborating on stories that spark empathy in audiences and generate social and cultural change. Her work has screened at festivals around the world including Sundance, Berlinale, and TIFF. Katie's most recent credits include the dramatic CBC mini-series TRICKSTER, and the theatrical documentary INCONVENIENT INDIAN, adapted for the screen by award-winning director, Michelle Latimer. Both titles premiered at the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival, with INCONVENIENT INDIAN winning the People's Choice and Best Canadian Feature Awards. Other credits include the indigenous resistance series, RISE (Viceland), which won the 2018 Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Series; NEXT OF KIN (CBC), directed by Nadine Pequeneza and ONE LEG IN, ONE LEG OUT (CBC), directed by Lisa Rideout. Katie was nominated for a Canadian Cinema Editor Award for her work on NUUCA (Field of Vision/Laura Poitras) and CLOSE ENCOUNTERS(Discovery).

Christian
Bielz

Director of Phtography

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Christian
Bielz

Director of Phtography

Christian Bielz has been shooting award-winning projects over the last 15 years, straddling the worlds of feature film, documentary and commercials. Past clients include Sony Playstation, Virgin Radio, RBC, and Rogers. In 2013, he received both a Latin Grammy for Best Music Video: Eres Tu (Alex Cuba) and Best Canadian Feature at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival for Silent Retreat. In 2014, his work on the feature film Backcountry (dir. Adam MacDonald) premiered at TIFF. Christian is based in Toronto.

Stan
Barua

Director of Photography

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Stan
Barua

Director of Photography

Stan Barua CSC is a versatile cinematographer who is as comfortable with lyrical cinema, bold television and crisp commercials as with tough documentaries. His extensive experience as Director of Photography spans over 20 years’ diverse work with European, North and Latin American, as well as African directors, producers and crews across five continents. Stan’s skill with digital cinematography, film and HDTV camera systems comes with calm and detailed collaboration with all departments of production to realize artistically and technically challenging, award-winning stories – without stylistic limits. Stan has won multiple awards for his dramatic, documentary and commercial work including: Best Photography in Docudrama from the Canadian Society Of Cinematographers and 4 Gemini nominations and a Canadian Screen Award nomination for his photography. Stan holds an MA in Cinematography degree from the Lodz Polish Film School, speaks fluent Swahili, is happily married with children and is based in Canada.

Sarah
Bachinski

Editor

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Sarah
Bachinski

Editor

Sarah Bachinski has been editing documentaries for the past fifteen years. She has worked with Canada's top directors and producers, including Matt Gallagher, Scott Harper, Ann Shin and Steven Silver. In 2002, Sarah received a Gemini nomination (now known as the Canadian Screen Awards) for best editing on a documentary program for The Last Just Man (dir. Steven Silver). Sarah most recently edited Undercover Jihadi directed by Barry Stevens for TVO (2017) and Road to Mercy directed and produced by Nadine Pequeneza for CBC Firsthand (2016). Sarah is an alumnus of Concordia University's filmmaking program and the Canadian Film Centre's Director's Lab.

Stefan
Randström

Cinematographer

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Stefan
Randström

Cinematographer

Stefan Randström started his career as a Finnish TV host and journalist before immigrating to Canada in 1993. Since settling in Toronto with his family, Stefan has worked as a DOP for television and film productions, shooting everything from independent documentaries, to observational television series, to high-end international co-productions. In 2011 Stefan was nominated for Best Documentary Cinematography by the Canadian Society of Cinematographers for his work on INSIDE DISASTER: HAITI. In the two previous years he was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for Best Cinematography: in 2010 for WHICH WAY TO ARVIAT, a travel adventure series for National Geographic Channel, and in 2009 AT THE TABLE WITH…, a biography series for the Food Network. Stefan has worked as a DOP on the following documentary series: Mother Tongue, a 6×30 minutes series about female immigrant stories in Canada, and Living Stories 6×30 minutes about cancer survivors. Before immigrating to Canada, Stefan wrote five books in his mother tongue Swedish; including a textbook in investigative journalism, two reportage books, a children’s book and a novel.

Frances
Darwin

Social Media Director

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Frances
Darwin

Social Media Director

Frances Darwin graduated from the Queen's University Film Porgramme in 2007. She worked as a Film Critic for Korea's only English-language magazine "10" from 2009-2010. In late 2010, Frances returned to Toronto and founded Henna Heals, an organization that promotes temporary henna art for people experiencing hair loss due to cancer treatment. Frances' strong knowledge of marketing, photography/video, and social media enabled her to promote Henna Heals internationally on virtually a $0 budget. Leveraging online tools such as Talenthouse, she was able to promote the organization to nearly 200,000 people in a two-week time period. Her campaign was so successful that it was featured on the Talenthouse blog. Using ISSUU Frances pushed the boundaries of traditional publication by creating an online book about Henna Heals that has been read over 10,000 times. Frances's strong photography skills also managed to entice a visually-hungry international media, and soon Henna Heals was featured in MSNBC, Glamour, The Times of India, The Daily Mail and NPR, each article averaging 7000 Facebook "likes" or "shares". Frances returned to her Film background by participating in the 2013 Hot Docs Festival "Doc Accelerator" mentorship programme.

Alex
Khaskin

Composer

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Alex
Khaskin

Composer

Alex Khaskin received his undergraduate education at Glinka’s School for The Musically Gifted (piano and conducting), before studying composition and conducting at The St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Alex worked as guest conductor for the Radio and Television Orchestra of St. Petersburg, the Lenfilm Stage Orchestra, and the Orchestra of the St. Petersburg State Conservatory. Inspired to seek a career as a film composer, he attended master classes by the famous Russian film and classical composer Andrei Petrov. From 1985 until his immigration to Canada in 1993, Alex scored 14 theatrical and television films and documentaries in Russia. Since settling in his Toronto studio, Alex has composed music for over 50 hours of documentary and narrative productions.