Courtney Noble, a TV Executive and Producer with over fifteen years of international experience across the realms of development, production, acquisition, sales, and distribution, has a story as diverse as the films she's been involved with.
Born and raised just outside of Singhampton, she embodies the spirit of a small town girl and is about as close as you can get to being a “true” Collingwood local.
"I went to school in Flesherton, but I spent a lot of time in Collingwood. It was the closest town growing up, so I like to think I am a local. If you are born in the Collingwood hospital, I like to think you are considered a local,” Courtney laughed.
Yet, her journey into the world of film and television is an even truer tale of seizing opportunities and following one's passion.
After completing her undergraduate education at Queen's University, she returned to Collingwood, initially unsure of her career path. Her love for film history eventually led her to accept a role on a travel show, Alternate Routes, where she started as an editor and then got the opportunity to host one season.
While she was in university, Courtney spent a semester studying in Scotland, and it ignited a lifelong wanderlust. Through her work on Alternate Routes she continued to travel extensively, and after her time on the show was complete she decided to stay in Australia for a little longer — or more accurately, until she ran out of money.
“I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said. “I loved Canada but I wanted to experience other places.”
When she returned home, she spent some time working for a children’s television company in Toronto before she got an opportunity to be an assistant for a film sales agent at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
When TIFF concluded, the company, which had offices in Hong Kong and Amsterdam, offered Courtney a job. So, at the age of just 26-years-old, Courtney moved to Hong Kong to work for a film sales agent, connecting independent films with audiences worldwide.
“I didn’t know anyone. The closest person I knew was in Australia,” she said. “It was quite the experience.”
The years that followed took her on an incredible journey through Hong Kong, Amsterdam, London, and beyond, as she ventured into different facets of the film industry, including acquisitions and project financing.
She worked with arthouse sales agent Fortissimo Films, spearheading box office successes such as Martin Scorsese's Shine a Light, John Cameron Mitchell's Shortbus and the critically acclaimed Winter’s Bone.
Her experiences at major film festivals like Cannes and her role overseeing film circuits worldwide enriched her understanding of the global film landscape even further.
However, it was a twist of fate that brought her back to her hometown — initially as a temporary move — when she rekindled a connection with a childhood friend. Love grew, and Courtney's life took an unexpected turn as she married and started a family in the countryside.
“It sort of changed the whole trajectory of my life,” she said. “He kept me here, and then the question was, what was I going to do here?"
Intrigued by the idea of making a difference in her local community and the Canadian film industry, Courtney founded Elbon Media, leveraging her vast network and industry knowledge to consult with emerging filmmakers and production companies.
She also found a second home at the Collingwood Foundry, a place that provided both a sense of belonging and the entrepreneurial spirit she craved.
“I started the company to really use my network to help and do what I could within the industry. I wasn’t sure what Canada needed, I wasn’t sure how I could be useful, but I had all this knowledge,” she said.
Her work expanded further when she joined forces with a UK-based partner to launch Article 1 Productions, which focused on funding and producing film and TV projects that carried a strong message. They sought to empower emerging and established filmmakers alike, aiming to create content with a purpose.
“We wanted to make stuff that actually matters, stuff that has something to say,” she said.
Despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and industry disruptions, Courtney's ability to pivot and adapt has allowed her to continue making a meaningful impact. Her consultancy work, guiding emerging talent and connecting them with industry resources, keeps her engaged and passionate about nurturing the next generation of filmmakers.
But, when she sits down to watch a movie with her family, she said she’s just as much of a consumer as anyone.
“I don’t think I have a different experience watching movies when I sit down to enjoy them. I get lost in it just as much as everyone else,” she said. “That’s the beauty of it, if it’s a good story.”
And it’s Courtney's love for storytelling, both as a craft and as a business, that continues to drive her.
As she looks ahead, she is excited by the entrepreneurial spirit and curiosity that permeates the Foundry and the broader community around her. She remains dedicated to supporting Canadian filmmakers and helping them navigate the complex landscape of the industry.
“The crafting of the story itself, and then figuring out how you bring that story to the world, that’s my favourite part,” she said. “It’s fun, it’s painful, it’s stupid at times and it makes no sense. But nevertheless, it’s been a fun ride.”