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Originally from Winnipeg, Deanna spent many years volunteering and working in the not-for-profit cultural arts sector in Winnipeg prior to moving to Toronto in 1996. She has sat on the boards of Dreamwalker Dance Company and the Regent Park Film Festival and has participated in various film and arts council juries over the years. Most recently, she was the administrative director at REEL CANADA, and previously served as Reel Asian’s executive director from 2005 to 2008.
Aram Siu Wai Collier
Aram is a filmmaker, educator, and film festival programmer. Based in Toronto, Aram is a mixed race Asian Canadian/American (Chinese and English/Dutch/German) and a San Francisco native who has a BFA and MFA in Film Production from the University of California at Santa Cruz and York University respectively.
Senior Operations Manager
Chris Chin has completed eighteen festivals with Reel Asian, having started out as a Front-of-House volunteer back in 2003. He has been an Associate Programmer at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival and has worked and volunteered at other festivals including the Toronto International Film Festival, Images Festival, Calgary International Film Festival, and Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival. In addition to his festival commitments, he has provided event management and operations support to organizations including the Center for Asian American Media (SF), Pride Toronto, and the Canadian Film Centre. Chris sings with choir!choir!choir! and is always up for a night of karaoke.
Director of Creative Marketing & Communications
Christine Vu is an actor and writer based in Toronto. In addition to her role at Reel Asian, Christine looks to build equity in the film and tv industry as a CFMDC board member.
At any point, you can probably find Kelly with a camera in hand. She resonates with both photography and film as an active medium and accessible space to reclaim archive and documentation. She is a graduate from the Masters of Environmental Studies program at York University with research on placemaking, spaces of intimacy, citizenship and storytelling through food. Her favourite food is any kind of noodle soup.
Special Projects Programmer
Jasmine Gui (@jaziimun) is a Singaporean-born interdisciplinary artist and programmer living and working in Tkaronto. She is co-founder of TACLA, founder of Project 40 Collective and managing editor at LooseLeaf magazine. Her work includes two chapbooks and writing featured in sineTheta, GUTS, The Spectatorial, Panorama Journal, Hart House Review amongst others. She did her MA in English, Diaspora and Transnational Studies at the University of Toronto. Outside of the arts, she is widely known as a tea lady.
Industry and Education Programmer
Samir is a screenwriter, educator, and film festival coordinator based in Toronto. His love for character-driven cinema drove him to study Media Production at Ryerson University, so that he could learn to write television series with characters he wished he’d seen growing up. After completing the Kids’ TV Writing Bootcamp hosted by BIPOC TV and Film, Samir was hired to work on his first pre-school series. He was chosen to pitch his original tween animated series at the 2021 BANFF World Media Festival as a Netflix-BANFF Voices of Diversity recipient. His work in kids’ animation allows him to explore issues of empathy, social perspective, and the complex emotions children are faced with. After internships in scripted TV development at Rogers Media and Boat Rocker Media, Samir’s interest in programming grew. He is determined to help develop the voices of Asian storytellers and give the community opportunities to showcase their films with Reel Asian. Fun fact: Samir grew up on a tiny island called Mayotte and has swam next to a pod of dolphins.
Based in Toronto and Seoul, June is a film festival enthusiast and a subtitle translator. She has a long history with Reel Asian starting with her internship at the festival during her undergrad years at the University of Toronto. After volunteering and interning at festivals such as Images, Hot Docs, TIFF Kids, and Toronto Singapore Film Festival, she co-founded the first Toronto Korean Film Festival in 2012. She has worked for Toronto International Film Festival and Udine Far East Film Festival, specializing in programming films from East Asia and Southeast Asia.
Mariam Zaidi is a South Asian filmmaker, film programmer, and arts manager based in Toronto. Zaidi’s work has been funded and supported by the CBC, LIFT, TAC, OAC, CCA, BravoFACT! FACTOR Canada, and the NFB. Alongside her independent film work and programming at Reel Asian, Zaidi is currently Associate Programmer at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
Vidhya Elango is a Toronto-based South Asian-Canadian researcher and cultural worker. She is interested broadly in migration, language, place-making, and their intersections. She holds an MA in Linguistics from the University of Toronto and has worked as a curator with the Toronto Ward Museum. You can usually find her biking around the city or considering hot takes on the Internet.
Development & Partnerships Manager
Kyra Tudlong is a mixed-race (Filipinx and German) fundraiser and yoga enthusiast based in Toronto/Tkaronto. With a BASc in Family & Community Social Services and Graduate Diploma in Fundraising Management, her passion lies in advocacy and relationship building to support intersectional, community-based approaches to effecting change.
Partnerships and Stewardship Coordinator
John Bao is a Vietnamese-Canadian emerging writer/filmmaker based in Toronto. Holding a degree in cognitive science and psychology from the University of Toronto, he aims to explore human nature through a film lens but also isn’t afraid to explore the bizarre and surreal. You can find him on Discord almost 24/7.
Special Events Coordinator
Yohei Saka is a dynamic and passionate events coordinator. Born in Japan and raised in the city of Toronto, Yohei has developed a deep appreciation for bringing people together and creating lasting connections.
Abby Ho is a multidisciplinary artist working in Tkaronto. Her artistic practice uses sculptural drawings, paper cuts, and paintings to create alternative scapes of rediscovering “home” or as meditations on memory.
Samuel is a visual storyteller that primarily uses graphic design and photography to convey human experiences. Based in Tkaronto, he has a Bachelor of Design from York University & Sheridan College and hopes to continue amplifying the voices of marginalized communities through his creative work. If he’s not at home, he’s probably at the beach or hyping up a DJ (or both).
Unsung Voices Program Coordinator
Jennifer got her start in filmmaking through Reel Asian’s Unsung Voices program in 2016 where she made her first short film 36 Questions, which went on to win the DGC Ontario and WIFT-T Award. Since then, she’s participated in the DOC Institute’s New Visions Incubator and made her first documentary, Wave Hands Like Clouds, through the Festival of Recorded Movement’s Youth Commissioning Program. She is excited to return to Unsung Voices as a Program Coordinator to support emerging filmmakers from across the country. Besides filmmaking, she’s also a photographer and researcher, and will begin her PhD in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Toronto in Fall 2023.
Unsung Voices Coordinator
Haaris Qadri is an emerging filmmaker based in Brampton and a graduate from York University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production Specialized Honours. Haaris aims to create films featuring characters that are often unrepresented; focusing on mundane moments that spark emotion and change. Haaris is drawn to diasporic stories contemplating ideas of identity, familial disconnect and generational differences. As an alum of the Unsung Voices program led by the Toronto International Reel Asian Film Festival back in 2016 he comes back full circle as a coordinator for the program since 2020.
Unsung Voices Coordinator
Joseph Chung graduated from York University in Cinema Media Studies and has produced, directed and worked on films such as Mother’s Tongue (2018), Table for Three (2023) and Plantemic (2021). He has been previously involved for Unsung Voices from 2018 – 2019 and is excited to return this year. Outside of his time at Common Factor Media, Joseph is also an independent producer at Staircasewit. Joseph is very involved in the film community and wishes to work with new and seasoned artists to continue his craft.
Amanda (she/they) is an arts administrator working in the volunteer management sector. She is passionate about supporting young BIPOC in the arts. In the past, they have worked with Luminato Festival, DesignTO Festival, the Textile Museum of Canada. She was the Horse Girl in your high school class.
Delegate and Guest Services Manager
Gina is a Korean Canadian with over 15 years of experience in the Film Festival Industry. Once she volunteered for Reel Asian in 2008, she kind of never left. She’s been an interpreter & translator throughout the years, worked as a Volunteer Coordinator, Accreditations Coordinator and was part of the Programming Committee for Reel Asian. Gina also volunteered and worked for various Film Festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Inside Out 2SLGBTQ+ Film Festival, and Luminato Festival. She was the Guest Services Manager for imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival. Gina also loves being a programmer for the Toronto True Crimes Film Festival. You can usually find her surrounded by crystals and candles, yelling at her tarot deck to give her a better card.
Reel Ideas Coordinator
Emma Zuck is an aspiring filmmaker with a focus on directing and screenwriting. She has a BFA in Film Studies from Toronto Metropolitan University and has had the pleasure of working with CBC, Bell Media, and Postmedia. Most recently acting as an Associate Producer on Season Two of “1 Queen 5 Queers.” Her recent interest in programming inspired her to start “Homegrown,” a festival featuring all Saskatchewan filmmakers in her hometown of Saskatoon.
Vanessa Vigneswaramoorthy is a Tamil artist, writer, and researcher born and raised in what is now called the Greater Toronto Area. She has previously worked with the Tamil Archive Project, Tam Fam Lit Jam, and Heritage Toronto. Her writing has been published in Living Hyphen and NO NIIN. She is currently working on an MA in Adult Education and Community Development, focusing on Tamil experience in the GTA. Outside of work, you can find her crafting and imagining brighter futures.
Marketing and Communications Intern
Yanling Shi is currently a student at University of Toronto Scarborough, studying a Specialist in Arts Management and a Major in Art History. As a passionate lover of the arts and community, you can find her volunteering at numerous festivals around Toronto during the summer. They join Reel Asian after recently completing an internship at Toronto Arts Council and Foundation. They are also a passionate lover of sunsets and bubble tea.
Inside Ticketing Captain
Kelvin Rabella is an Indian writer, poet, and filmmaker, now based in Toronto after an eight-year stint in the Indian film industry. He transforms echoes of images, words, and sounds into captivating narratives that capture diverse realities, while his history of collaboration with non-profit organizations for event curation and community enrichment underscores his passion for nurturing artistic expression. Kelvin’s insatiable curiosity propels him forward on his journey of continuous learning and narrative exploration.