The Team

LANCE SAMUELS
President

After founding Out of Africa Entertainment in 2004, Lance Samuels went on to produce widely successful shows including HBO’s Generation Kill and Strike Back, as well as feature films like The Bang Bang Club, Inescapable and Lucky.

In 2010, Blue Ice Pictures purchased Out of Africa Entertainment, naming Lance as President of the company. Under his leadership, Blue Ice Pictures has produced internationally acclaimed projects, such as The Book of Negroes, a six-part mini-series for BET and CBC based on the award-winning Lawrence Hill novel. Other projects include the films October Gale, The Night Before Halloween, and Lake Placid: Legacy. Most recently, Lance has produced the critically acclaimed BET mini-series Madiba, starring Laurence Fishburne as Nelson Mandela, and the CTV series The Indian Detective, with Russell Peters and William Shatner.

Strike Back

Away from Her

DANIEL IRON
Vice President

Beginning his career as legal counsel at Telefilm, Daniel Iron proceeded to become a partner at Rhombus Media where he produced the television series Slings and Arrows, as well as several acclaimed feature films including The Red Violin and Last Night. In January 2004, Daniel left Rhombus to start his own production company, Foundry Films – behind Academy Award-nominated Away from Her, Manufactured Landscapes, Cairo Time, and numerous television series.

Now acting as the Canadian President of Blue Ice Pictures, he stands as one of the premier producers in Canada, attracting top writers and directors from around the world.

NEIL TABATZNIK
Partner

Neil is a partner and co-founder of the Blue Ice Group, and a producer with a wealth of experience in the film and television industry. As a co-owner of the Blue Lake Media Fund, Neil has executive produced a number of successful feature films including The Bang Bang Club and Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. Coming from a legal background in South Africa, Neil went on to found Cobalt and Oryx Pharmaceuticals and served as chairman until its sale in 2009. He is now a co-owner of Toronto’s Bloor Hot Docs Cinema, serves on the board of Hot Docs and the CFC, and heads up the Blue Ice team.

The Bang Bang Club

ARMAND LEO
EVP Production and Creative Affairs

Before joining Blue Ice Pictures as EVP of Production and Creative Affairs, Armand Leo was the Senior Vice President, Global Physical Production at Entertainment One from 2011 into 2018, where he was responsible for overseeing production across the studio’s film, television and digital slates. Over the years, Leo has worked with most broadcasters and networks throughout Canada and The United States. Most recently, he worked with HBO on their mini-series Sharp Objects starring Amy Adams, The Audience Network on season 2 of Ice, Hell on Wheels with AMC, CBS and CORUS on season 2 of Ransom, CTV on season 3 of Cardinal, CORUS on season 2 of Mary Kills People and Private Eyes, and with the CBC on Burden of Truth.

Prior to joining eOne in 2011, Leo worked as a TV and feature film producer. Some of his credits include Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, The Day Reagan Was Shot, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, Amelia, Hairspray and Shoot 'Em Up. Previously, Armand served as Executive in Charge of Production at Dufferin Gate Productions in Toronto, working on over 30 films for Showtime over a two-year span.

CERA ZIEGLER
Director of Production

Cera Ziegler is a producer, originally from Saskatoon, who has worked in the film and television industry for over 10 years. Cera is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Producers’ Lab and brings a wide range of experience to her role as Director of Production at Blue Ice Pictures, including producer on short film, Learn to Swim (Thyrone Tommy, dir.), casting director for comedy pilot Rogue Bride (Blue Ant Media), and co-producer on feature film The Singularity Principle (shot at the CLS in SK). After attending the Vancouver Film School, she started her career in Vancouver as a coordinator for top casting directors, moving into production, where she assisted Executives at Lark Productions and Showrunner Dennis Heaton on hit TV show, Motive.

DANIEL SACKS
Chief Financial Officer

Daniel Sacks joined the company as CFO in September of 2014. Working across many industries and sectors, Daniel has more than 40 years of financial experience in businesses ranging from sole proprietor owned companies to publicly traded entities.

FRANCA VISCONTI
Head of Business Affairs

With 20 years of experience as a producer and executive producer, Franca Visconti joins Blue Ice Pictures as the Head of Business Affairs. Some of her credits include the features Winnie Mandela, A Fish Story, and A Million Colours. Her entrepreneurial skills and past roles in a creative, legal, and financial capacity make her a great asset to the team.

SHERRY CHAFE
Production Financing

Sherry began her career as a corporate accountant in international distribution before moving into production, eventually leading Production Financing at Blue Ice. She has provided production finance services for numerous features and television series – both animation and live action. Many of these productions were inter-provincial and official treaty co-productions.

KADY A. BROOKS-BAILEY
Corporate Accountant

Before joining Blue Ice Pictures, Kady worked as an accountant in the finance sector for over ten years. With a degree in Management and Accounting from The University of the West Indies, she started as an accounts clerk, moving into financial management, budgeting, and management analysis.

SAMANTHA LEVINE
Executive Assistant

With a theatre degree from Concordia University, Samantha Levine moved to Toronto to pursue a career in film and television. After working on various sets as a production assistant, she went on to complete a Master’s degree in Media Production at Ryerson University. Samantha is the Executive Assistant to Lance Samuels and Daniel Iron.