Chairman & CEO, Shaftesbury
One of Canada’s most accomplished producers, Christina Jennings founded Shaftesbury in 1987 as a feature film company, producing such acclaimed titles as Camilla, starring Jessica Tandy and Bridget Fonda. Since then, Jennings has evolved Shaftesbury into a diversified, global business with offices in Toronto and Los Angeles, spanning the production of scripted drama, kids and branded entertainment for film, television and digital platforms.
Shaftesbury is known for its innovative international co-production, financing and distribution partnerships as well as award-winning storytelling. Sold in 120 countries worldwide, Shaftesbury’s slate includes David Shore’s new series, Houdini & Doyle, for Shaw Media, Fox, ITV and Sony; thriller series Slasher for Super Channel and NBCUniversal’s Chiller; nine seasons of Murdoch Mysteries for CBC, UKTV and ITV; and hit Kids’ CBC series The Moblees.
With a view to evolving media consumption habits and the impact of technology on traditional media, Jennings acquired groundbreaking digital studio Smokebomb Entertainment in 2008, which produces convergent experiences for television and original projects including branded entertainment. Smokebomb’s landmarks have included the creation of the first digital short-form scripted series in Canada to migrate to prime-time television, Backpackers, for top-five U.S. network The CW, and launching the world’s first scripted mobile App series, Totally Amp’d. Smokebomb recently launched V Morgan Is Dead, a new 20-part scripted supernatural drama series, and is in development on an Oculus Rift virtual reality extension for Slasher, launching in 2016.
In June 2014, Shaftesbury and Smokebomb launched co-venture brand agency shift2, focused on driving consumer engagement for brands through scripted storytelling and innovative social media campaigns targeting millennials. Branded entertainment projects include the hit U by Kotex-funded series Carmilla with 35 million views on the company’s VervegirlTV YouTube channel, which is now the largest millennial YouTube channel in Canada. Other branded entertainment series include fashion-focused comedy series MsLabelled, produced in partnership with Shaw Media and Tetley; and lifestyle series I Do, funded by Cotton Incorporated.
Jennings is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre and serves as Chair of the Centre’s Board of Directors.
Named to Maclean’s Power List of Canada’s 50 Most Powerful People, Jennings was recognized as Playback’s Producer of the Decade in 2010 and was honored with the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s prestigious Academy Achievement Award at the 26th Annual Gemini Awards. Jennings was a finalist in the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and received the PROFIT Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship at RBC’s Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards in 2008 and the Innovative Producer Award at the 2009 Banff World Television Festival.