Founder & Mama Cat | Actor | Director | Screenwriter
Emily Schooley is an award-winning actor, emerging filmmaker, and badass creative changemaker working to build a kinder and more inclusive world. In 2020, she was selected as one of just 100 women from across Canada to be part of Banff Spark, a development accelerator for women in media. She is the founder of Laughing Cat Productions, a Toronto-based production company that focuses on telling bold, intelligent, and entertaining women-led stories.
Emily’s previous short films as writer/director/producer - Psyche, and Life and the Art of Lying - have both been recognized with festival awards, the latter also being included on CFMDC’s 2019 Queer Compilation. As a true polymath, Emily also played the titular role in Psyche, alongside writing and directing the award-winning short film. Her original films have screened internationally, including festivals in the US, UK, Europe, Africa, and China. Other project that Emily has worked on - along with projects that Laughing Cat Productions was hired to help create - have also been recognized with festival awards and VOD acquisitions. These include the short films Mom Jail, Sidney, Abnegation, and Two Mates, and the feature film Blood Child.
After graduating from the University of Waterloo with an honours B.A. in Theatre Arts, Emily has worked extensively on both sides of the camera in independent stage and screen media, on projects ranging from small, intimate sets to large-scale productions involving over 100 cast and crew members. She has been invited to lead guest workshops and lectures within Canada and the United States on the practices of independent filmmaking and performance.
To encourage more authentic diversity in the entertainment industry, Emily founded the Queer and Trans Actors, and the Neurodiverse Actors casting groups on Facebook - places where casting directors can post to find authentic casting for stories with LGBT and neurodiverse characters. She is also a proud associate member of Film Fatales Toronto, and has appeared as an on-camera expert in several documentaries, including A Big Set of Lungs (examining the horror genre) and MeAfterToo (discussing the MeToo movement).
Outside of her creative projects, Emily is an activist and animal enthusiast. She strongly supports gender equality and women escaping abusive situations, is an avid watchdog against police misconduct, and frequently speaks out for LGBTQ rights and equity-focused representation in media. She also fosters rescue cats with Team Cat Rescue, an organization that focuses on saving animals from high-kill shelters.