Whether you choose to catch a flick at the cinema or on your sofa, you might find that Waterloo alumni shape your next movie-watching experience. Meet some of the creative minds who are transforming the entertainment industry.

Wattpad: Ivan Yuen (BASc ’00), co-founder and chief strategy officer

Entertainment company Wattpad, co-founded by Waterloo alumnus Ivan Yuen, has grown from a digital storytelling platform to a global content reservoir for the film, television and publishing industries. Wattpad Studios, a branch of Wattpad led by alumnus Aron Levitz (BASc ’01, MASc ’03), uses data on its vast story catalogue and user engagement metrics to find fresh ideas for media executives.

The Kissing Booth started as an original story on Wattpad before it was published by Random House UK and turned into a Netflix Original film.

Open Screenplay: Khaled Sabawi (BASc '06), founder and CEO

With an aim to create more diversity in the film industry, Khaled Sabawi founded Open Screenplay, an online platform where screenwriters can share and collaborate on stories. The company garnered support from award-winning writers and producers including Sandy Climan, CEO of Entertainment Media Ventures.

SideFX: Kim Davidson (BMath ’81), CEO; Cristin Barghiel (MMath ’94), vice-president of product development 

Founded in 1987, SideFX has become a world-leading software company, enabling artists to create sophisticated visual effects for movies like The Shape of Water, Toy Story 4, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and Black Panther. Among other accolades, the company received two Academy Awards in 2018: an Academy Award of Merit and a Scientific Engineering Award that recognized Cristin Barghiel and fellow Waterloo alumni Jeff Lait (BMath ’99) and Mark Tucker (BASc ’97).