The Principals

Jeffrey Steiner
(President & CEO)

Jeffrey Steiner is a Toronto lawyer and business leader who has developed real estate for the film and media industries, including as the driving force behind Toronto’s new, state-of-the-art film studio on the waterfront (“Filmport”), now operated by Pinewood-Shepperton Studios.

In his role from 2002-2009 as President & CEO of the Toronto Economic Development Corporation (TEDCO) he also developed the new Toronto headquarters for Corus Entertainment Inc to converge their various TV, animation, publishing and radio operations into a new 500,000 sq. foot LEED-Gold green building also on Toronto’s waterfront.

In 2011 Mr. Steiner joined the board of directors of Canada’s official export-import bank Export Development Canada (EDC). He previously served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE Inc.) which oversees government investment in the commercialization of university R&D through industry collaboration and venture capital in Information, Communication & Telecommunications technology, digital media, energy and environmental innovations. He has previously served in the federal government as Chief of Staff to the Minister of Indian Affairs & Northern Development and at the Department of National Defence.

In 2010 he and his colleagues established New Franchise Media Inc. to develop and exploit for features & television the bestselling novels of British author Jeffrey Archer.

Mark Romoff
(Executive Producer)

Mark Romoff is a senior business executive based in Toronto who leads the Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships. He serves as an advisor to governments in Canada and abroad and is an active angel investor and mentor to young entrepreneurs.

As Founding President and CEO of the Ontario Centres of Excellence from 2004 – 2009, he led Canada’s premier innovation organization, driving successful commercialization of new technologies, development of next generation entrepreneurs and enabling new company start-ups through seed capital investments.

Previously, as Executive Director at Industry Canada, he was responsible for building the export readiness of Ontario companies, encouraging foreign investment and strengthening the global competitiveness of industry across the province.

Mark has also had a distinguished career in the Foreign Service, serving as a senior Canadian diplomat in Nigeria, Mexico, Malaysia, Japan and the United States with responsibility for Canada’s trade, investment and science and technology relationships. As Consul General in Buffalo, New York, from 1996 – 2001, he helped establish and implement the framework and policies governing cross-border relations between the United States and Canada – the world’s largest and most diverse bilateral trade and economic relationship.

Mark is a member of the Board of Career Edge Organization, Quebec City Conference (formerly Strategic Investors World Summit); Central Canadian Public Television Association; Zerofootprint Software Inc; National Research Council Institute for National Measurement Standards; Ontario College of Art & Design President’s Council; and the Impact Entrepreneurship Group.

He has a Bachelor of Science from McGill University, a Masters in Applied Science from the University of Waterloo, and is a graduate of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Senior Executives Program and the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD) Directors Education Program.

In 2010 along with Jeffrey Steiner he established New Franchise Media Inc. to develop and exploit the bestselling novels of British author Jeffrey Archer for feature film and television.

Dianne Schwalm
(Vice-President of Partnership Development)

With more than 25 years as an executive at Warner Bros and 20th Century Fox, Dianne Schwalm brings invaluable industry experience to the New Franchise team.

An expert in marketing, advertising and publicity, Dianne was instrumental in promoting the theatrical releases of movies in the Canadian marketplace, including such notable titles as Star Wars, Unforgiven, the Harry Potter franchise, Blood Diamond, The Departed, The Dark Knight, Superman and The Matrix trilogy.

As a lobbyist, Dianne worked closely with industry associations to secure anti-piracy legislation in Canada, and served as a government liaison for Time Warner and AOL/Time Warner mergers with Investment Canada and the Ministry of Heritage Canada.

Dianne is an industry pioneer as one of the establishing partners of the Toronto International Film Festival and a co-founder of Canada’s Walk of Fame.Her talent and expertise earned her a seat on the boards of some of Canada’s most prestigious entertainment organizations, including the Canadian Film Centre, Women in Film & Television (Toronto), the Canadian Picture Pioneers, and the Toronto Blue Jay Foundation.

Dianne has won numerous awards but is especially honoured by her Women of Distinction YWCA Award, and the Crystal Award from Women In Film and Television (WIFT). Besides supporting the industry outside her studio duties, she has devoted many volunteer hours to her community, earning her the Women of the Motion Picture Industry Humanitarian Award.

Gail Thomson
(Senior Advisor)

Gail Thomson is a broadcast and cultural media industry professional.

Ms Thomson was most recently Director of Audience, Brand and Marketing for ZoomerMedia Limited, Television Division, formerly the S-VOX Group of Channels including VisionTV, One:  the Body, Mind & Spirit channel and Joytv.  In that role she managed all marketing, communications, advertising, promotions, special events and broadcast research for all channels and stations.

Previously, she was a Project Manager on the pre-bid phase of Toronto’s 2015 World Expo and prior to that, Ontario’s Film Commissioner and Director of Industry Development at the Ontario Media Development Corporation where she was responsible for promoting the growth of the film, television, music, book and magazine publishing, and digital media sectors.

Gail represented Ontario and Canada on the board of the Association of Film Commissioners International where she was awarded its highest honour, the Crystal Vision Award in 1996 for exemplary work in furthering the movement of film commissions worldwide. She is the only recipient of this award in Canada.

Gail has written and produced a feature film and several documentary television series, as well as a story producer for W-5 and Canada A.M. at CTV.

In her volunteer work, she was the president of the Learning Disabilities Association of Toronto, a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee of the Toronto District School Board and the founder and chair of the Quilt of Honour Charity Ball for Parents for Children’s Mental Health.

Gail graduated with a Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in film from York University.

Wendy Bernfeld,
(Senior Advisor)

Wendy Bernfeld, a passionate film buff and founder of Rights Stuff BV, is a Senior Advisor to NFMI on digital markets and “transmedia” programming. Wendy specializes in content acquisition & distribution, licensing negotiations, and related international strategy and deal advice, for traditional media (film, TV, Pay TV/pay per view, formats) and digital new media (Internet, IPTV, VOD, mobile/handhelds, etc.).

Originally an entertainment lawyer from Montreal, Canada, but living in Europe since 1991, Wendy founded her consulting company Rights Stuff BV, in 1999, with offices in Amsterdam and Dublin. Rights Stuff has specialized for over a decade in content licensing primarily for this new media/digital sector. Before that, Wendy had devoted 15+ years as an in-house movie buyer/senior executive in traditional pay TV, VoD, and distribution (including as CEO Canal+ International Acquisitions, MD of Alliance-Atlantis Europe, and SVP Acquisitions for The Movie Network in Canada).

In December 2010, Wendy was named as one of the “Brave Thinkers of Indie Film, 2010” by Ted Hope of Hope for Film

The Properties

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