News & Updates

Reel Asian welcomes new board members

23 Jul, 2021

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is pleased to announce the recent appointment of four new members to the current board of directors (above, from L to R: Kristle Bautista, Michael Fukushima, Aron Levitz, Sydney Wong):

Kristle Bautista is an award-winning author, course director at York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies, and HR advisory within the Canadian Aerospace industry. Kristle’s published book, The Pivotal Moment, was celebrated as a #1 new release and bestseller within weeks of release in both Canada and the US, and is in the process of becoming a feature film. Her global HR advisory, mentorship and training experience spans across the aerospace, business consulting, not-for-profit, and food and consumer packaged goods industries over nearly 20 years. She has successfully delved into different industries, fascinated with what makes employees tick, and the common thread between HR professionals — the thing that makes us all human.

In his 36-year career, Michael Fukushima has been an animator, a filmmaker, a producer, and more recently, executive producer of the NFB’s English Animation Studio. He’s a member of the AMPAS® Academy, with over 200 films (and some nice awards) under his belt. His last films, by Oscar®-winners Alison Snowden and David Fine, and Torill Kove, were each Academy Award® nominees. His final NFB film is Joanna Quinn’s AFFAIRS OF THE ART. Freshly retired from the NFB, Fukushima is enjoying the freedom to ski all winter and cycle the rest of the time, cherry-picking the film work that most interests him. As a longtime member of Reel Asian’s advisory committee, Michael has already contributed to the organization as a years-long jury member for our Pitch! competition, a contributor to our AnimAsian award, and general all-around supporter.

Aron Levitz is President of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios, where he leads a visionary team of global entertainment and publishing experts to create data-backed, fan-driven hit TV shows, films, and books from WEBTOON and Wattpad. Levitz pioneered Wattpad’s adaptation business, launching Wattpad Studios in 2016 and serving as the company’s global studio head until the creation of Wattpad WEBTOON Studios. In just a few short years, Levitz grew Wattpad Studios from a concept to global leader in creating can’t-miss entertainment. 

 Prior to his role as Head of Wattpad Studios, Levitz was Head of Business Development at Wattpad, building the company’s monetization strategy and native advertising solution. He was also instrumental in launching the Wattpad Stars program that gives top influencers access to a variety of opportunities.

Sydney Wong is a Business Development Strategist at Corus Entertainment with the digital team. Her focus is on the Global News website and video licensing partnerships.

Her background in media and project management, has propelled her to work in television programming, producing live-action and animated shows, and short film distribution. Sydney has served on juries and panels at the Toronto Youth Shorts and Hamilton Film Festival. She is passionate about sharing the Asian experience through various forms of media in order to drive significant change in our community.

We very much look forward to working with these outstanding individuals as we move toward our special 25th-anniversary festival this fall, and beyond! WELCOME!

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