Empty Cup Media creates high quality digital cinema + photo content. Our team approaches each project with an empty cup. Every story is unique and to be able to capture the essence within is to have the capacity to listen for it.

We are professional storytellers producing documentaries, promotional films, art projects and commercial work. Our team of educators and community builders specialize in hands-on learning through story.

Developing workshops for all ages, we deliver digital media curriculum for corporate groups as well as public, private and post-secondary schools.

The company was started in 2005, by Colin Burwell – a budding entrepreneur then fresh out of college. Over a decade later the business has grown to be a trusted and recognized name throughout the Durham Region, Toronto and beyond.

The name “Empty Cup Media”  is inspired by a Buddhist story. An American professor sat down with a Japanese Zen Master for some tea and to learn about Buddhism, Zen and enlightenment. The Zen Master poured his visitor’s cup full, and continued to pour. The professor watched the cup overflow until he cried, “My cup is full. No more will go in!”

“Like this cup,” The Zen Master said, “you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I teach you unless you first empty your cup?”

Carla Sinclair

Director, Cinematographer, Editor, Teacher, Community Engagement

Carla Sinclair loves connecting with people in person and behind the lens.  This thirst for story collecting has become a lifelong interest. Creating unique films to share dynamic tales of people throughout her travels, Carla is driven by education through story.

Sinclair directed Empty Cup’s award winning documentary films “By Accident”, “Much Love Scott”, “Forget me Knots”, and first feature length documentary “Heal Myself”.

Carla shares her passion for building community as the Manager of Volunteer and Community Development at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery, as a teacher at Durham College, on the Durham Region Film Festival planning team and as an advisor for the City of Oshawa’s Cultural Leadership Council.

Colin Burwell

CEO, Cinematographer, Photographer, Teacher, Editor

Colin Burwell has been imagining through the lens from a young age. His skills today as a cinematographer have garnered him several awards for his documentaries “By Accident”, “Much Love Scott” and “Forget me Knots.”

Colin’s knowledge and engaging personality earned him a teaching position at Durham College in the School of Media, Art and Design. Much of his career has been spent dedicated to facilitating many types of education.

Colin writes and delivers customized photo and video workshops, volunteers with the Durham Region Film Festival and as a mentor for The Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s Media Team