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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
One of Christine’s first jobs was presenting sneak-peek screenings of summer blockbusters for Citytv Edmonton. She also hosted the movie reviews segment for Breakfast Television and moved on to becoming a video journalist in Vancouver at Shaw TV. Specializing in conceptualizing and creating content, she now joins the Reel Asian team after honing her marketing skills at places like NXNE and Momofuku. Christine is also an actor and writer.
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 and arts manager based in Toronto. Zaidi’s work has been funded and supported by the CBC, LIFT, TAC, OAC, Canada Council for the Arts, 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 and Executive Director at the Breakthroughs Film 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. Through her work, Monica creates with the intention of visually articulating feelings and translating thoughts by designing conceptual worlds for the audience to exist in. Most recently, Monica’s latest public exhibition was for Toronto’s Year Of Public Art (2021 – 2022) for her film series “Around The Corner, Behind The Sun.” Her films have been screened at festivals such as the New York City Women’s International Film Festival, The Toronto Film Review, whilst also winning the Best Production Design Award and Best Editing Award at Cinesiege hosted at Hot Docs. Her work has also been published in print and digital platforms such as Girl Gaze, Local Wolves, and Mimp Magazine.
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.
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.
Marketing and Communications Intern
Kelvin Rabella is an Indian writer, poet, and filmmaker based in Toronto. He worked in the Indian film industry for eight years before moving to Canada. He loves to listen to echoes of images, words, and sounds and translate them into stories and verses to depict realities around. He has a long history of working with non-profit organizations for curating and conducting different events and workshops for art and the community. He is curious about learning from new experiences and churning from the old learnings.