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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 South Asian-Canadian researcher and cultural worker, usually based in Toronto. 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 inhaling hot takes on Twitter.
Monica Thi is a film & art director, and editor based in Toronto. Spanning from the specializations in the industries of film, advertising, fashion, print and digital publishing, her work ranges from editorial campaigns, fashion films, music videos, commercials, and documentaries, to multi-media experimental art.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Weeda Azim (@wozymo) is an Afghan-Canadian writer-filmmaker based in Toronto. Her ultimate goal is to embrace chaos and failure in her work, to create in order to understand herself, and to meet like-minded individuals along the way.
Marketing and Communications Intern
Adam is currently on placement at the film festival as a part of his RBC Career Launch Program. With an interest in marketing and communications, he hopes to support the Reel Asian team while also gaining valuable experience in the field. In his spare time he’s either writing music, playing shows with his band or searching for his new favourite movie.
Fundraising and Administration Assistant
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.
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. She is excited to be returning 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 is currently an MA student in socio-cultural anthropology at the University of Toronto.
Unsung Voices Program 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 those mundane moments that spark emotion and change. Being born in New York and raised in Brampton to Pakistani parents, Haaris is drawn to diasporic stories, contemplating questions of identity, home and belonging. As an alum of the Unsung Voices, the filmmaking mentorship program led Reel Asian, he has gone to sit on the shorts programming committee and as a features pre-screener for the festival. Haaris has been an Unsung Voices program coordinator since 2020.
Amanda Low (she/they) is an arts and cultural programmer and independent curator. They are interested in how people build connections with and within the spaces they occupy, physically and virtually. She is also passionate about opportunities that showcase the talents of BIPOC, especially youth. As Volunteer Coordinator, she is excited to get to know the stories of each person who volunteers with Reel Asian!”
Delegate & Guest Services Manager
Gina is a Korean Canadian with over 14 years of experience in the Film Festival Industry. Once she volunteered for Reel Asian back in 2008, she kinda 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. Gina also volunteered and worked for a variety of Film Festivals, including Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, Inside Out and Luminato Festival. Most recently, she worked as Guest Services Manager for imangineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival and the Indigenous Fashion Arts Festival. She’s also 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.
Sarah joined the Reel Asian community as a TACLA youth critic in 2020 and later Shorts Programming committee and Outreach Coordinator in 2021. She recently completed her role as an Industry Coordinator for Inside Out’s Finance Forum 2022. Sarah co-founded The London School of Racialized Leaders in response to the June 6th, 2021 domestic terrorism tragedy in her hometown of London, ON. Her equity advocacy and written work have been featured in CBC London, CTV, and TVO The Agenda.
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.
Junior Events Coordinator
Yohei Saka is a Japanese events coordinator, producer and DJ in Toronto. You can find him playing music and organizing visual/performing arts locally. With 5+ years in the industry, he looks to keep growing in the field and connect with other people of the same mind.
Born and raised in the GTA, Jeremy found photography while he searching for identity at Queen’s University. Today, he focuses on validating the expression of others through portraiture and fashion. He also teaches photography through various Toronto programs (Access Alliance, JAYU) and focuses on creating spaces for POC by adapting social justice education into his programming.