Youth Media Alliance (YMA) is looking for a promising entrepreneurial Canadian student at the university or college level who shows talent and passion for creating innovative children’s content. One outstanding Canadian student planning to pursue a career in children’s, television (animation or live action) or digital media production will be selected to receive the YMA Andra Sheffer Scholarship. The award enables the recipient to attend the Kidscreen Summit in Miami and Banff World Media Festival in Alberta, as well as access mentorship resources throughout the year.

The scholarship includes $4,000CAD in cash to cover travel costs, one Kidscreen Summit conference registration (valued at approximately $1,995USD) and one Banff World Media Festival registration (valued at approximately $1,995CAD). The total value is approximately $9,000CAD, cash and in-kind. Mentorship, provided to ensure the recipients benefit fully from the events, will be offered by YMA staff, Board of Directors members and children’s industry stakeholders and may include the following: help with choosing the most appropriate sessions, event orientation, personal introductions to industry members, attendance of networking meetings and, as appropriate, a review of the student’s pitch documents.

The Kidscreen Summit, the children’s entertainment industry’s most important annual conference, will be held from Feb. 4 to 7 2024 in San Diego CA USA..

The Banff World Media Festival provides delegates with the opportunity to meet global leaders and celebrate the world’s best content and talent. It is held in Banff, Alberta.

Both conferences include workshops, keynotes, presentations and panels exploring trends, innovations, critical issues and business solutions for the industry. The award recipient will have complete access to all events along with networking opportunities under the guidance of an Alliance member.

Attention! Applications for the 2025 edition of the Andra Sheffer Scholarship are CLOSED now and will open in September 2024



  1. Canadian citizens and permanent residents who are senior-level (3rd or 4th year) undergraduate or graduate students in animation, film, television or digital media production and who show a strong interest in children’s media.
  2. The online application form must be submitted by October 28, 2023.
  3. Applicants must provide a letter of support from at least one professor. Optionally, the applicant may also provide letters from children’s media industry firms for whom they have worked or where they have held paid or unpaid internships.
  4. Personal expression of interest and need: applicants must submit a short essay outlining their specific interest in the children’s entertainment, television or digital media industries and how the scholarship could benefit their career.
  5. Outline of at least one project the applicant would like to develop and pitch (200 words), which will require to be presented to members of the Selection Committee during a phone meeting.
  6. Describe specific goals for attending the Kidscreen and Banff markets, and how your attendance would help to advance your project.
  7. Availability to attend the events in Miami (February 4-7 2024) and Banff (June 2024-Dates TBC).
  8. A final report about the experiences provided by this scholarship (200 words) to be returned by August 18, 2024.

Selection Process: A committee formed of Youth Media Alliance members will evaluate all applications and select the recipient. Applicants will be notified in November, 2023. For further information, please contact


The YMA Andra Sheffer Scholarship has been made possible thanks to the following financial partners:

  • 9 Story Media Group
  • Apartment 11 Productions
  • Breakthrough Entertainment
  • Brunico
  • CMPA National
  • CMPA-BC Producers Branch


  • DHX Television
  • Give me Chocolate
  • Guru Studio
  • marblemedia
  • Portfolio Entertainment
  • Radical Sheep-une compagnie de Boat Rocker Media
  • Secret Location
  • Sinking Ship Entertainment
  • Shaftesbury
  • Fonds Shaw-Rocket

About Andra Sheffer

Andra Sheffer is the former CEO of the Independent Production Fund, which invests in drama series created for digital platforms and the Cogeco TV Production Program for the production of television drama series. Previously, her achievements included founding the Bell Fund, for which she served as Executive Director (1997–2014). When she retired from this position in 2015, Andra was honoured with the YMA’s Outstanding Achievement Award. This scholarship in her name was established by members of the Canadian children’s TV and digital media industry.

Winners of previous years

2024 Recipient - Sheridan Riggillo

Sheridan Grace Riggillo comes from the musical theater space with eight years of experience working closely with kids as a performer, choreographer, and instructor. Now a scriptwriter, she is also a dedicated volunteer at the YMA and a member of The Children's Media Lab, a research group focused on bridging the gap between academic research and content creation. Her credits also include a development internship at marblemedia where she collaborated with the Unscripted Development Department on upcoming projects providing research and support. Being the daughter of a DeafBlind father has been a driving force in her pursuit to be integral to bringing new voices to screens. Specifically in children's content, where that representation can help build a more educated future generation and encourage kids from the disabled community.

2023 Recipient -Roxy Macdonald

Roxy Macdonald

Roxy Macdonald, a student enrolled in Centennial College’s Children’s Media program in Toronto, is originally from Nova Scotia and holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of King's College. Roxy has been working with children for years in various ways, including child-care and after-school programs, and has also worked as a writer, blogger, and viral content creator. She is now focusing on combining her two passions of working with children and screenwriting.

2022 Recipient - Maia Jae Bastidas

Maia Jae Bastidas

Maia Jae, a recent graduate of Ryerson University* in Media Production., is a Toronto-born Ecuadorian/French-Canadian actress. Her screen credits include CBS’s Ransom, CW’s In the Dark, and Paramount’s Mayor of Kingstown. In 2016, her short-film Thumbs screened at TIFF’s NextWave Showcase. In 2017, she started MK Productions with her twin-sister and spearheaded an ACTRA + TIFF Industry Gala. In June 2021, she graduated from RTA Media School at Ryerson University, with Dean’s List accolades, a major in film and minor in Spanish. She now focuses on acting and producing painfully entertaining content.

Jadiel Dowlin

Jadiel Dowlin
As the youngest Writer's Guild of Canada member, Jadiel's journey as a teen actor has sparked a passion to create innovative children and youth content that entertains, educates, and empowers viewers, while reflecting a unique Canadian culture. He produces stories that include dynamic, diverse, and memorable characters that undergo transformative arcs and his compelling narratives aim to balance pertinent social issues with suspenseful cinematic themes. He has written several episodes for Dino Dana, participated in Endlings Writing Room (Season 2) (both produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment), and wrote the script for two shorts/teasers: Pendulum and Gameplan (produced by KalKaden Productions). Jadiel has been recognized for several awards. 

2020 Recipients Caitlin Aherne and ...

Caitlin Aherne
Student at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, currently completing a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Film Studies, Caitlin is combining her love of film studies and children’s education by immersing herself in the field of children’s media production. She was chosen by the selection committee members for the quality of her project currently in development and for her commitment to using film as an educational resource in the classroom. She aims to provide a platform to empower children across Canada by enabling them to share their stories with an international audience.

Nour Mallouh

Nour Mallouh
(Student at Centennial College in Toronto with a Certificate in Screenwriting from Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario)

Nour is passionate about all aspects of youth production. The committee members were impressed by the originality and quality of the characters in her project under development. She is determined to create content for young people that will give voice to unusual and inspiring characters.

2019 Recipients Julia Dillon-Davis and ...

Julia Dillon-Davis
(Student at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and holder of a Masters in Screenwriting from York University, Toronto, Ontario)

Julia has been developing her talent and exploring an affinity for youth production for the past several years. The selection committee members chose her for her screenwriting and production experience along with the high quality of her projects in development.

2018 Recipient -Elizabeth Nunan

Elizabeth Nunan is actively researching and living in the world of children’s entertainment. She was selected by our jury for the quality of her project currently in development and her strong motivation to a career in the children’s media industry. She's a new student from Centennial College’s Children’s Media Program in Toronto and is completing an undergraduate degree in Social Sciences – Specializing in Psychology at University of Ottawa.

In 2018, she received accreditations and a travel grant to attend the Kidscreen Summit in Miami and the Banff World Media Festival. The Scholarship includes mentorship and networking opportunities with YMA members, a meeting with Andra Sheffer and Kim Wilson, a visit to the Kids’ CBC studios with Marie McCann, and a subscription to Kidscreen magazine.

2017 Recipient - Anthony Suen

Anthony Suen is a young professional with interests in the interactive and multi-platform industry. He was selected by a jury of YMA members for the quality of his project currently in development and his deep commitment to a career in the children’s media industry.

Anthony Suen received accreditation to attend Kidscreen Summit 2017 in Miami, a cheque for $1500 to cover transportation and accommodation, accreditation at the Banff World Media Festival 2017, mentoring under Ira Levy and Breakthrough Entertainment and the Youth Media Alliance representatives, a meeting with Andra Sheffer and Kim Wilson, a visit to the Kids’ CBC studios with Marie McCann, and a subscription to Kidscreen magazine.

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