Welcome to the ACTRA Day in L.A. (ADLA '19) info page. Here, you'll find everything you need to know about your ACTRA members' conference including the agenda, panel details and our sponsorship partners. ACTRA staff will be able to assist you at the registration desk and on-site.

ACTRA National is thrilled to return to Los Angeles for our specially-designed ACTRA members’ conference directly followed by our exclusive Stardust Social – an evening mixer where we award our 2019 ACTRA National Award of Excellence to recipient Jay Baruchel. We hope you have a great day at ADLA ’19!


The members’ conference is located at The Beverly Hilton’s Executive Business Center.
All panels are located inside The Whittier Room.
9AM – 3:30PM

ADLA ’19 Registration Desk Open (The Whittier Foyer)

9AM – 10AM

Members’ Continental Breakfast (The Whittier Foyer)

9:30AM – 10:45AM

Have your questions ready for this not-to-be missed immigration and tax do’s and don’ts panel with renowned immigration lawyer Lorraine D’Alessio Esq., tax specialist Mo Ahmad and ACTRA members Elysia Rotaru (Dead Again in Tombstone, Arrow) and Xiao Sun (Ascension, Mother!).

Moderated by: Rahnuma Panthaky
Sponsored by: D’Alessio Law Group

With ACTRA National Vice President Keith Martin Gordey

11:05AM – 12:25PM

These panels give L.A.-based members the chance to catch up with their union and benefits providers in one place. Actra Fraternal Benefit Society President/CEO Bob Underwood, AFBS Chair Ferne Downey and AFBS CFO Ron Zammit keep you up-to-date with the latest developments from their organization, followed by news from ACTRA National Vice President Keith Martin Gordey, ACTRA National Trea$urer Theresa Tova and Director of ACTRA Performers' Rights Society and ACTRA Recording Artists’ Collecting Society Laurie McAllister.

Sponsored by: UBS Asset Management

Early attendees receive a ticket to the Early Bird Draw to be held during the WORKING FOR YOU panel. One lucky ACTRA member will win an Apple Watch (Series 3 with GPS + Cellular) courtesy of AFBS!

12:30PM – 1:55PM

THE ADLA '19 LUNCH SOCIAL (The Oasis Courtyard)
Join your ACTRA friends for a delicious lunch! The members’ conference will resume in The Whittier Room at 2PM sharp.

Sponsored by: Gallagher Insurance & Risk Management
2PM – 3:15PM

Hollywood casting directors Deborah Aquila (La La Land, Shawshank Redemption), Jason Kennedy (NCIS, NCIS: Los Angeles), international talent manager Marc Hamou and audition coach Ayumi Iizuka share valuable tips for auditions, call-backs and on how to nail the part.

Moderated by: Richard Leacock
Sponsored by: Gallagher Insurance & Risk Management
3:15PM – 3:30PM

Refreshments Available (The Whittier Foyer)

3:30PM – 4:45PM

Canadian stars Elisha Cuthbert (The Ranch,  Goon), Amanda Crew (Silicon Valley, Charlie St. Cloud), Roger Cross (Coroner, 24) and 2019 ACTRA National Award of Excellence recipient Jay Baruchel share their experiences, the challenges and the rewards of balancing successful careers on both sides of the border.

Moderated by: Naomi Snieckus
Sponsored by: SAG-AFTRA
5PM – 7PM

THE STARDUST SOCIAL (The Stardust Penthouse)
Join us on The Beverly Hilton’s famous rooftop Stardust Penthouse and Patio for the best Canadian party in Los Angeles! Mingle with ACTRA members and industry guests as the sun sets over the L.A. skyline, and gather together to celebrate as we present the ACTRA National Award of Excellence to Jay Baruchel!

Members who've registered at the members’ conference can use their ADLA 'Express Entry' badge. For all other guests, the Stardust Social Registration opens at 4:50PM in The Stardust Room (8th Floor).



Jay Baruchel is the recipient of the 2019 ACTRA National Award of Excellence. He is the voice of 'Hiccup' in the DreamWorks’s How To Train Your Dragon film franchise, and he co-wrote (with Evan Goldberg) and starred in the film Goon for which he was nominated for two 2013 Canadian Screen Awards in the Best Supporting Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay categories. Jay co-wrote and made his directorial debut with sequel, Goon: Last of the Enforcers, in which he also reprised his role as ‘Pat.’ Jay starred in Jacob Tierney’s comedy The Trotsky, which premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival to rave reviews and earned him a Genie Award Lead Actor nomination. He recently starred in the critically acclaimed FXX comedy series Man Seeking Woman, executive produced by Lorne Michaels. Other notable film credits include Knocked Up, This Is The End, Tropic Thunder and Million Dollar Baby. IMDB link


Elisha Cuthbert burst onto the scene as Kiefer Sutherland’s daughter “Kimberly Bauer” in the critically acclaimed, Golden Globe-winning FOX drama series 24, which earned her a nomination for a Teen Choice Award for Breakout TV Actress. She also received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination as part of the 24 cast in the category of Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.Elisha began her career at the age of seven in Canada. She was cast as a regular in the Nickelodeon series Are You Afraid of the Dark? and traveled the globe as a correspondent for the award-winning series Popular Mechanics for Kids. Her powerful performance in Lucky Girl earned her a Gemini Award for Best Actress in a Dramatic Program. Elisha's film credits include Old School, The Girl Next Door, Love Actually and House of Wax. Prior to starring as Lizzy in the NBC comedy One Big Happy, she starred in the ABC comedy series Happy Endings. Elisha stars in the Netflix comedy series The Ranch alongside Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson. IMDB link


Roger Cross currently plays Detective “Mac” McAvoy in the new CBC hit series Coroner. He starred as “Number Six” on the SYFY series Dark Matter and he captivated audiences as Jack Bauer’s fellow agent “Curtis Manning” on 24. Roger’s many series roles include CBC’s The Guard, the FX series The Strain, Motive, Arrow, Fringe, The L Word, Stargate SG-1 and The X-Files. Roger has guest starred on such shows as Orphan Black, Rush, Star Trek: Enterprise and Taken. Roger’s many film roles includeMad Money, War for The Planet of the Apes, The Day The Earth Stood Still, The Chronicles of Riddick and Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center. Roger will next grace the big screen in the comedy The Head Shop. Roger was born in Jamaica and moved to Vancouver at the age of 11. He studied aviation at Trinity Western University and acting at the Break Academy. IMDB link

Amanda Crew THE CANADIAN WAY Panelist

Amanda Crew can currently be seen as the series regular role of “Monica” on HBO’s Emmy and Golden Globe Award nominated series, Silicon Valley. On the big screen, Amanda will next be seen starring in Ricky Bate’s Tone Deaf which will be premiering at SXSW as well at Gut Instinct where she plays opposite Josh Hartnett. Amanda was also recently seen appearing opposite Anna Kendrick in the film, Table 19, as well as The Age of Adaline alongside Blake Lively and Harrison Ford, and, Race opposite Jason Sudeikis. Outside of acting, Amanda is a national advocate for eating disorder recovery and body neutrality. She is on the Board of Director's for Project HEAL, a non-profit providing access to treatment, education, awareness and support groups for those struggling with an eating disorder. IMDB link


An actor/writer/improviser/voice-over artist/director/ teacher, Naomi is a regular on CBC’s hit comedy, Mr. D. She is an alumnus of The Second City Toronto where she wrote/performed in five hit shows. TV and film credits include 12 Trees, Drunk and On Drugs Happy Fun Time Hour (Trailer Park Boys), The Listener, Degrassi, Train 48, Regenesis, Little Mosque on the Prairie, Ron James Show, Being Erica, She’s the Mayor, Alphas, Skins, The Jon Dore Show, Saw 7 3D, Dino Dan, AnneDroids, and CBC’s Canada’s Smartest Person. IMDB link
See all ADLA ’19 Panelists ▼


Founding partner of D’Alessio Law Group, Lorraine D’Alessio was named the 2017 Leader in Law by the Los Angeles Business Journal and is the recipient of the 2018 Enterprising Woman Award. A former Ford model turned legal powerhouse, Lorraine is a multi-award-winning, immigration expert that regularly contributes to the Los Angeles Times, The Hollywood Reporter, LA Business Journal, Playback and other leading outlets in the U.S. Lorraine serves on the board for Artists for Change and is the author of “Going Global: Investing in U.S. Immigration,” a highly anticipated guide to U.S. immigration expected to be published later this year. Lorraine has provided counsel to hundreds of prominent and award-winning entertainment agencies, unions, private companies, academic institutions, tech startups, entrepreneurs and enterprises including: Next Models, Food Network, SubPac, Pepperdine University, ACTRA, New York Film Academy, Plug and Play, Expert Dojo, and 500 Startups. In addition to these clients, Lorraine has worked on highly successful refugee and deportation cases earning awards for her work with immigrant communities across Los Angeles.


Mo Ahmad is a Partner at Westmark Tax Group. He has over 20 years of experience providing expatriate tax services to corporate and individual clients. Prior to joining Westmark, Mo spent over 12 years with Big Four accounting firms in Toronto, London, UK and Vancouver. He has extensive advisory experience on tax issues relating to global mobility including employee incentive plans such as stock options, restricted shares and other executive incentive plans.
Mo is also a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and received his law degree from the University of Toronto. He has an undergraduate diploma in managerial accounting from Wilfred Laurier University and an economics degree from the University of Western Ontario. Mo is the chair of the Pacific Regional Committee for the Canadian Employee Relocation Council (CERC).


Xiao Sun is a bilingual Chinese-Canadian actress based in Los Angeles who also travels between China and Montreal. She was in the Cirque Du Soleil's touring show Ascension. Xiao’s acting credits include Mother! with Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem and in she is the lead voice in in Panda vrs Aliens. IMDB


As a leading professional in her craft and a well-recognized member of the artistic community, Elysia Rotaru is an established Actor, Voiceover actor, coach and award winning filmmaker for the short films FWD and The Wall. She is known for her work on Arrow, Supernatural and in the feature film Dead Again in Tombstone. Most recently she was seen in the feature film Cold Pursuit.  Elysia has lent her voice to hundreds of projects, was the voice of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018 and you can find her in the newly released video game Anthem as well as FIFA 19 and many others. You can keep up with her on: Instagram & Twitter @elysiarotaru and on IMDB.


A proud Canuck who’s always looking for good poutine in LA, Rahnuma has Series Regulared, Guested and Recurred (are those all real words?) on several hit shows including Modern Family, NCIS, Scandal, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and Emmy nominated BBC series State Within. When not playing in front of the camera or with her kid you can find her sharpening her skills of playing the recorder through her nostrils (her talent runs deep). You can learn more fun facts about her (like how she used to be a Cher impersonator) by visiting www.rahnumapanthaky.com and following her @RahnumaP on IG & Twitter. IMDB link


Ferne Downey is the Chair of the Board of Governors at AFBS and has been a Governor since 2004. Ferne is also an actor and the National Past-President of ACTRA. In September of 2012, she was honoured to be the first North American elected President of FIA, the International Federation of Actors, which represents performers in over 100 countries around the world. Ferne has also served as an elected Vice-President on the Executive of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). She graduated from Dalhousie University's Theatre Program in 1978 and has spent the past 30+ years working extensively as an actor in theatre, radio, television, and film. Ferne is a proud graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Leadership Program, Class of 2012. IMDB link

Keith Martin Gordey WORKING FOR YOU panelist

Keith Martin Gordey is ACTRA National Vice President and the President of UBCP/ACTRA. Keith has also served as the past President of Western Gold Theatre and PAL Vancouver and he is a Director of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of British Columbia. Keith’s extensive film and television career includes roles on Stargate SG-1, Cold Squad, The Watchmen, Supernatural and a number of Hallmark movies. IMDB link

Theresa Tova WORKING FOR YOU panelist

Theresa Tova is ACTRA National Treasurer and the President of ACTRA Toronto. She is the Chair of the Entertainment Industry Coalition which is developing an improved code of ethics for talent agents. One of her most important contributions to safety in the entertainment industry has been her tireless efforts to protect child performers. An award-winning actor, writer and singer, Theresa is recognized for her Gemini-nominated role as Marge on the television series E.N.G. IMDB link


Ron Zammit joined AFBS in 2010 as Chief Financial Officer. In this role, Ron oversees AFBS’ financial and investment business, ensuring the organization’s stability and sustainability. A Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), Ron has extensive experience in successfully leading financial operations. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto.


Robert “Bob” Underwood is the President and Chief Executive Officer of AFBS, a position he has held since 1997. Over the course of his career, Bob has worked in Canada and the U.S. for a number of national and international benefits and actuarial consulting firms. As well, he founded a Vancouver-based consulting firm, which served the educational sector, and started a successful software development company.


Laurie McAllister is the Director of ACTRA Performers' Rights Society (PRS) and ACTRA Recording Artists’ Collecting Society (RACS), the division of ACTRA that collects and distributes remuneration to audiovisual performers and sound recording artists for the use of their work, and advocates for fair compensation for performers. Laurie came to ACTRA from Bell Media Inc. where she was Director, Business Affairs. With over 13 years in the media industry she has experience in negotiations, operations, governance, management, and copyright issues. Laurie is on the Board of Directors of Re:Sound Music Licensing Company, the Societies’ Council for the Collective Management of Performers Rights (SCAPR) and the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC).

Deborah Aquila CASTING YOUR CAREER Panelist

Casting director Deborah Aquila began her casting career in New York most notably on, Sex, Lies and Videotape and Last Exit to Brooklyn before moving to Los Angeles to cast The Shawshank Redemption. In 1993, she was named Senior Vice-President of Features Casting for Paramount Pictures. After departing Paramount in 1999, she returned to independent casting and began to resume her teaching career. Deborah has been recognized 15 times by the Casting Society of America, for their Artios Award. In 2011, she won the Artios Award for Outstanding Casting for the comedy feature, RED, in 2012 for My Week with Marilyn and in 2017 for La La Land. Deborah has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1994. In 2003, she was recognized by the Hollywood community with the Hollywood Film Career Achievement Award. IMDB link


Audition coach Ayumi Iizuka is an alumnus of The Second City National Touring Company in Canada and a former faculty member of the Second City Toronto and Hollywood, where she taught for 10 years. TV highlights include: Modern Family, Grey’s Anatomy, The Big BangTheory, S.W.A.T., Jimmy Kimmel Live!… oh, and winning a car on The Price is Right! Ayumi is co-owner of Connect Studios LA, an ActingStudio that offers improv, scene study, on-camera classes and more. She has been audition coaching actors for over 10 years. IMDB link


Marc Hamou was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec. He started his career in entertainment at the Just for Laughs Montreal Comedy Festival. It was there that he met his present day colleague, Willie Mercer who had just started a management company. Within a few years, Marc was running their Canadian office and splitting his time between LA and Montreal. He moved to Los Angeles in 2007 after the firm partnered with Thruline Entertainment and after a few short years, was made partner. Marc is mostly known for representing such notable Canadian talent as Jay Baruchel, Emily VanCamp, Keir Gilchrist, Mark O’Brien, Giacomo Gianniotti, Marc-Andre Grondin and Evelyne Brochu.


Casting director Jason Kennedy's credits include the long-running CBS series NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. He has worked on more than 50 television and film projects over the last 18 years. Jason is a proud member of the Hollywood Teamsters Local 399 and the National Board of Directors for the Casting Society of America. IMDB link


Richard Leacock is an award-winning actor who has appeared in film, television and stage. Starting with his first appearance on 21 Jump St, he has a career that has spanned many years. Richard starred on the tv series DOC with Billy Ray Cyrus for 5 seasons. He has also appeared in The X Files, The Dead Zone, Stargate, Saving God the feature film A Boy called Po. On stage Richard has portrayed Rev. Jesse Jackson in the play The Dream Continues, which showcased Martin Luther King’s non-violent philosophy and the role of “Louis McKay” in Lady Sings the Blues. Richard will be appearing in TV series Good Trouble and Good Girls and in the features Grace and Grit, Desert Shadows and Atlantic Rim: Resurrection. IMDB link
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ACTRA and AFBS would like to thank our generous ACTRA Day in L.A. 2019 sponsors whose support
develops and celebrates Canadian talent on both sides of the border.


The Beverly Hilton Hotel,
9876 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA
ACTRA Day in L.A. 2019 Members’ Parking Rate:

Self-Park = $15
Valet Park = $18

You must inform the Beverly Hilton Parking Attendant that you are attending “ACTRA Day in L.A. 2019” to receive this discounted rate.

ACTRA magazine

Enjoy your first fully digital edition of ACTRA Magazine! This issue is bursting with accolades, advice and stories plus links to multimedia content. Use your favourite digital device to read up on what’s happening across your favourite union.
Check out this issue’s highlights here ▼
Two thousand and eighteen was a year of true celebration marking 75 years of impressive ACTRA advocacy on behalf of performers and the arts in Canada. It was a chance to hear from talented ACTRAvists from every branch, who are excelling at their craft, projecting our Canadian talent to the world and working hard for their fellow members across this great land.
After 39 years as our Master Steersman of this mighty ship called ACTRA, our Stephen Waddell will soon be taking a step back from the helm. How to describe what he has done for this union, YOUR union, is somewhat impossible to describe in a 700-word essay. But here we go.
As if the setting and stories aren’t unique enough, Diggstown is headlined by Vinessa Antoine who is breaking ground as the first woman of colour to be ‘number one on the call sheet’ of a prime-time Canadian drama.
Q&A with Laurie McAllister & Theresa Tova.
To define our market value as performers, it is important we examine any changes that can affect how we get paid. This candid interview helps us better understand the challenges we face in the digital age.
I was called out for joking about an audience member when I was doing my comedy act on stage. My sensibilities still lie in the early 2000s even though today is a different day. My initial reaction was defensiveness, but clearly my actions impacted this person.
The new year is a time when some of us think about resolutions and new ways to improve our health and our lives. It is also a great time to freshen up our financial portfolios.
This year Canadian performers honour Jay Baruchel with the 2019 ACTRA National Award of Excellence. This special award recognizes a Canadian performer who has not only demonstrated excellence as an artist, but who has also made an outstanding contribution to Canada’s entertainment industry.
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