ABOUT

ABOUT PIER 21 FILMS

Pier 21 Films is an established television production company committed to bringing unique Canadian content to the international marketplace. We develop, produce, finance and package drama, comedy and factual programming for broadcasters in Canada and around the world. Our focus is creating unforgettable, entertaining and engaging storytelling for the world. At Pier 21 Films we move the plot forward. 

OUR TEAM

LASZLO BARNA  

FOUNDER

Gemini award-winning producer Laszlo Barna has 30 years of experience in the film and television industry. The dramatic and documentary programs that bear his imprint are well-known for their creative excellence, exceptional craft, and dedication to gripping storytelling. Laszlo’s productions have been recognized worldwide and have received numerous national and international awards.

Following the acquisition of his company Barna-Alper Productions in 2008, Laszlo became President of Entertainment One’s (eOne) Television Division. At eOne, he was involved in an extensive slate of projects for both Canadian and American television networks. After successful years at eOne, he left the company and returned to his roots, forming the independent production company Pier 21 Films Ltd.

Since forming Pier 21 Films, Laszlo has Executive Produced mini-series, MOWs, and factual programming. He continues to work with the company developing a healthy slate of hour-long dramas and half-hour comedies. Firmly committed to the Canadian production industry, Laszlo has served as Chair of the Canadian Media Production Association. He has also served on the boards of the Banff Television Festival, the Canadian Television Fund and Film Ontario. 

NICOLE BUTLER

CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER

With more than 20 years of experience developing, producing and delivering television, Nicole Butler brings a skill set to Pier 21 Films encompassing both a creative and financial point of view. 

Nicole headed Business Affairs at Barna-Alper Productions, moving on to the role of VP of Production in 2006. With a focus on drama, comedy and factual TV series, Barna-Alper allowed Nicole to work with co-producers and broadcasters in Canada and internationally, actively participating in the production of hit shows such as CELINE (CBC), GSPOT (Showcase/TMN/Movie Central), FRONTIERS OF CONSTRUCTION (Discovery), WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? (CBC), and ‘DA KINK IN MY HAIR (Global). 

In 2009, Nicole moved to the role of VP of Production at Entertainment One, where she oversaw set-up, production, and delivery of 4-5 television projects each year including CALL ME FITZ (TMN/Movie Central), MADE (MTV), MEN WITH BROOMS (CBC) and ALMOST HEROES (Showcase). 

Deciding to take a plunge into the freelance world, in 2011, Nicole turned her mind to the production floor. She line and co-produced factual series for HGTV and SLICE at RTR MEDIA. And, followed this by writing/directing and series producing three lifestyle series for BLUE ANT, while still continuing to consult on the business end for various production companies. 

In early 2016, Nicole re-connected with Laszlo Barna to set-up the first season of THE BEAVERTON (Bell Media). She is COO/Executive Producer for the company, involved in all new project development, business strategy, and financial oversight of Pier 21 Films.

Karen tsang

SVP OF CREATIVE AFFAIRS

As SVP of Creative Affairs at Pier 21 Films, Karen Tsang works with some of Canada’s most exciting talent to develop comedy and drama series for the Canadian and international marketplace. She’s passionate about creator-driven stories and fostering shows that explore characters and themes that have been underrepresented on screen. She is an executive producer of the ½ hour comedy series, RUN THE BURBS, created by and starring Andrew Phung, currently available on CBC.

Before joining Pier 21 in 2020, Karen spent eight years working in scripted content at the CBC. In her most recent role as Executive in Charge of Production, Comedy, Karen oversaw the creative development and production of over 150 episodes of original television series including all five seasons of the Rose D’Or and Rockie Award winning BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW, which was acquired by IFC. Her slate also included TALLBOYZ, MR. D, and Canada’s iconic political satire show THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES. Karen managed several short-form digital series such as the International Emmy-nominated HOW TO BUY A BABY, BIT PLAYAS, and MY 90-YEAR-OLD-ROOMMATE.

Originally from Vancouver, Karen graduated from USC’s Business of Cinematic Arts program. She started her career as a TV Packaging Assistant at Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles.

KRISTEN DE FILIPPIS

HEAD OF BUSINESS AFFAIRS

Kristen spent the first six years of her career as a story coordinator, working on such shows as Little MenPeter Benchley’s AmazonThe Zack FilesRadio Free Roscoe1-800-Missing and The Blobheads. In 2004 Kristen joined the corporate side of the business as a Drama and Factual Coordinator for Barna-Alper Productions where she oversaw their various projects from development to completion. In 2008 she made the move over to documentaries, working seven years as an Operations Manager, handling distribution and publicity. After a brief stint in children’s programming at Radical Sheep Productions, Kristen is please to be back in scripted programming with Pier 21 Films.

NAFISA MURJI

DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT

Driven by her love of storytelling and passion for working closely with creators of all disciplines, Nafisa has over eight years of experience in content and talent development within the Canadian film and television industry.

Before joining Pier 21 Films, Nafisa was the director of talent development programs at the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, where she implemented content and professional development strategies across a number of initiatives. In this role, Nafisa forged relationships with creatives, partners, and industry experts to design and deliver the inaugural Women in Post, Executive Residency, and WarnerMedia Access x Canadian Academy Writers and Directors programs. Prior to this, Nafisa was the programs manager at the Canadian Film Centre, where she supported filmmakers, actors, and composers to develop original projects and hone their craft, both individually and as a group.

Nafisa holds a B.A. from McGill University and a M.A. in Cultural Studies from Queen’s University. She enjoys travelling, is an amateur plant parent, and loves reading (seriously, she will join any book club…).

JENNIFER CARSON

BUSINESS AFFAIRS COORDINATOR

A graduate from the University of Windsor with an Honours BA in Communications, Jen’s a Film and Television professional with over 10 years of experience in the production offices of such major studio feature films as Jumper and Cheaper By the Dozen 2, as well as Canadian and US Studio television productions like Dark Oracle, Kojak and The Famous Jett Jackson.  Taking a break from production to raise two sons, she spearheaded silent auction fundraising events for their school, contributed millions of calories to bake sales, and went on countless class field trips, while managing the bookkeeping for a small office. During Covid lockdown, Jen decided to dust off her production savvy, and upgraded training in production management, production accounting, and business affairs through Centennial College’s Post Graduate Film and Television Business Certificate program. Bringing a wealth of production knowledge, foreign location experience, as well as current industry-specific training into the areas of production development and business affairs, Jen’s excited to be able to help produce new and innovative independent Canadian programs with Pier 21 Films, and to be part of the Pier 21 team where she turned her internship into an extended bout of happy employment as Business Affairs Coordinator.

9 Price Street, Toronto, Ontario M4W 1Z1
+1 416 967 7091