R2R Bios

Meet the people who make the magic happen:

The Creative Team

Venay FeltonVenay Felton (Executive & Artistic Director)

Venay has been the Artistic and Executive Director of the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth since its inception in 1998. A fervent advocate of children’s media for over thirty years, she has worked at the Media Center for Children in New York City, curated film programs for museums and community centres, and conducted film appreciation workshops. She has served as a Juror of the International Festival of Film & Video for Children in Isfahan, Iran, and was invited to participate as a discussant on “Documentaries for Young Audiences” at the Flaherty Film Seminar in Claremont, California. Her work is directed to engaging a network of educators, artists, film industry professionals, and community arts leaders. The purpose of this engagement is to broaden knowledge, sharpen perceptions, and stimulate the imaginations of youth about media arts.

Tammy Bannister (Director of Programming) Tammy Bannister

Tammy has been a part of Vancouver’s film industry for over fifteen years. In 2009 Tammy was the education and youth program coordinator with DOXA – Documentary Film Festival. She was responsible for programs promoting media literacy and critical dialogue to a new generation through non-fiction media arts, and helped establish the Kris Anderson Connexions Outreach Program. She’s been a team member at R2R since 2010 as a producer and programmer. And has contributed to the programming at VQFF since 2012. Tammy’s cinematic taste goes well beyond family fare, due in part to her role as the international program coordinator at the Vancouver International Film Festival (since 2008) — where she is also a consultant and writer for the international program. Before her festival career, as an associate member of the DGC – BC, she worked as an assistant director on numerous films, TV series, independent projects, commercials, and music videos, including: Tegan & Sara, and Nardwaur: The Human Serviette. Tammy makes films too, and enjoys wearing hats.

Jessica Bradford Jessica Bradford (Program Associate & Youth Jury Coordinator)

Jessica is an award-winning writer and director based in Vancouver, Canada. She is a graduate of Canadian Film Centre and an alumna of the Women In the Director’s Chair program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. She holds a B.A. (Hons) in English Literature and American Studies from Hull University UK and a diploma in Film Production from Vancouver Film School. Jessica’s films have won numerous awards including a Gemini, several B.C. Leo Awards and the Kodak Image Award for Excellence in Visual Storytelling. Jessica has spent over 15 years in the industry as a writer, director and producer. Currently she teaches in the Writing Department of the Vancouver Film School and is the past-president of Cineworks Independent Filmmakers Society. Jessica grew up in Cambridge, England, which resulted in a love for choral music, riding bicycles and drinking beer – but not necessarily in that order, though possibly all at the same time. She is currently writing a kids’ heist movie and is in post-production on her latest short film.

Maria Cecilia Saba (Festival and Outreach Coordinator)

Before coming to Vancouver, Maria Cecilia worked as an instructor at University of Lima (Peru) teaching video and documentary production. She also joined Markham College as they launched their first class of Film Studies within the International Baccalaureate program, and collaborated as instructor and program advisor. Maria Cecilia earned her BA in Communication from University of Lima, where her documentary “Sarita Colonia, The Customized Saint” won Best Original Production in the Puntos de Vista Documentary Festival hosted by the University of Texas at San Marcos. She furthered her education with a Diploma in Cultural Management from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP) and in August 2014 she moved to Vancouver to pursue the Master of Arts degree in Comparative Media Arts at SFU. In October 2015 she curated and produced the first Andean Horror Film Fest in Vancouver.

Jessica Johnson (Programming Assistant)

Jessica Johnson is an filmmaker based in Vancouver, B.C. She graduated from Simon Fraser University where she completed a Film Honours Degree with an extended minor in Archaeology. Her films have screened internationally at festivals such as Edinburgh International Film Festival and Festival du Nouveau Cinema.  Jessica has volunteered and worked for varying film-related non-profit organizations in Vancouver over the past six years including the Cinematheque, Cineworks, VIVO and DOXA Documentary Film Festival. She has worked as a film instructor, as a facilities and equipment manager and has volunteered as a film festival screening committee member. Her broad range of work experience at these organizations has allowed her to engage with much of the local film community. She plans to continue to develop her experience in curation and festival programming before continuing her studies in film production and theory at York University in 2018.

Amanda Kerr (Print Designer)

A professional designer since 1996, Amanda bleeds creativity and adventure.  For many years, she has wandered in the realm of front-end design and visual communications for web and print. Amanda loves design, not just for it’s own sake, but for what it can do for people.   Complex patterns, imaginative concepts and simple solutions to visual challenges are some of the things that inspire her every day. Free of any particular style or perspective, nothing excites her more than a new design problem to solve, and, to her, any challenge can be conquered with deep creative thought. // web. www.akcreative.ca

LaurelTerleskyphotoLaurel Terlesky (Web Designer)

Laurel Terlesky is an artist, designer and educator with a Master of Fine Arts. Since 2011 Laurel has taught Visual Effects in the New Media program at British Columbia Institute of Technology. As an independent contractor, Laurel has contributed to various motion graphics projects both for film, TV and live events, designed and programmed websites and designed print materials. Her clients include TBA Global, POV Works, Anaid Productions (where she worked on the series X-Weighted creating an animated flash series for their website) and various projects for both CBC Television and Radio-Canada, including CBC’s late night innovative cross-platform project, Zed — allowing her to jump between web, print and broadcast motion graphics.  You can find her work at studioblanc.com

Helen YagiHelen Yagi (Publicity)

Helen Yagi has been working in Film Publicity and Marketing for several years for the Vancouver International Film Festival, Leo Awards and Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth. She has also been the Publicist for many Canadian filmmakers including award winning directors Bruce Sweeney and Charles Wilkinson, local productions companies and film organizations such as Women in Film, The Cinematheque and Cineworks. Helen was also an Associate Producer on a feature documentary about fashion modelling, How to be a Model, which premiered at the VIFF and was broadcast on CBC TV. A visual art photographer when she’s not promoting movies, Helen has exhibited her work at the North Shore Arts Council, Firehall Arts Centre, Roundhouse Community Centre, and the Vancouver Museum.

Board of Directors

Jodi Derkson, MEd

Jodi is a Certified teacher, with over fifteen years of professional teaching experience. Throughout her fulfilling career she has worked very diligently to keep her students engaged, focused, and enthusiastic about their own education and their place in the world.  Jodi holds a Masters of Education from UBC and is the BC Regional Director of Educational Programs for the non-profit FAST.  Jodi is also the founder of !mperative Education which offers a variety of workshops/presentations on bullying, social emotional intelligence, mindfulness and negotiation empowerment for women in business.  She is very honoured to be involved with R2R!


Jessica Fairbairn (Vice-President)

Jessica recently moved to Vancouver from San Francisco. She is a lawyer, practicing at Harris, where she advises and represents employers in both the private and public sector on various workplace issues including employment standards, workplace investigations,employment contracts, and human rights.


Nicole Koller (Board President)

Nicole holds a BA from Western University, and began her career in the fashion industry working internationally as part of a design creative team. Her love of the West Coast brought her back to Vancouver where she continues to live. Her career path has evolved from video games to animation and eventually to tourism. Passionate about the arts, and an active member of the community, Nicole joined the board of the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth in 2016 and is currently board president.


Robyn E. Ludwig (Treasurer)

Robyn Ludwig holds a Master of Film and Literature from the University of York, U.K., and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of British Columbia, Canada. For the past decade, Robyn has been a manager and fundraiser in the charitable arts and culture sector, a consultant to media arts festivals, and has served as a board member for several Vancouver-area arts organizations. She has been a board member at R2R since 2006.


Zoe Quinn

Zoe Quinn specializes in marketing and publicity in the arts. She has held positions at the Arts Club Theatre Company, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, PuSh International Performing Arts festival, SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts, Vancouver International Film Festival, and Vancouver New Music. She holds a BA from the University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand) and a certificate in Arts and Entertainment Management from Capilano University. She has been a board member at R2R since 2009.

Alison Wick, Secretary

Ali joined the Board of Directors in 2016 after being on the R2R’s Senior Youth Jury for four years. Winner of the 2015 Vancouver Odd Fellows Pilgrimage for Youth Speak Off, she is passionate about how film can be a tool for free and accessible information and journalism. Ali is currently on scholarship at SFU in the Art, Performance, and Cinema Studies program.

Program Advisors

Renate Zylla 

Renate holds a Master of Pedagogy, with a concentration in media, from the University of Bielefeld. She has had professional experience in film and media since 1983 and since that time has held a has been a director, organizer, manager of film projects and events, festival agent and jury member in countries around the world. She has been the director of the Kinder Film Fest of the Berlin International Film Fest and of Kodomotachino Kinder Film Festival Tokyo. In 2010, she became a program advisor for international film festivals for children and young adults in Jakarta (Indonesia), Mexico City (Mexico), Montevideo (Uruguay), Seattle (USA), Winnipeg (Canada) and Kathmandu (Nepal). She is currently the official program advisor for Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth in Vancouver and the Golden Elephant Film Festival in Hyderabad (India).

Harry KillasHarry Killas

Harry is in his eleventh year at Emily Carr University, where he has taught courses in Film, Video + Integrated Media, and Media History.  His award-winning dramatic films have been screened at several international festivals including Bilbao, Toronto, Palm Springs, Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, Torino and Vancouver. His documentaries have been broadcast on the BBC, CBC, Bravo!, NHK, CTV, Knowledge Network, and SCN. He is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Barb Cranmer
Barb is a documentary filmmaker from Alert Bay, BC. Her works document cultural renewal and traditional knowledge of First Nations of Canada’s North Pacific Coast. Cranmer has co-produced, written and directed five documentaries, which have won awards from the American Indian Film Festival and Telefilm Canada. She has also produced segments for television series such as APTN’s Creative Native. Cranmer was a consultant for NMAI’s exhibtion Listening to Our Ancestors: The Art of Native Life Along the North Pacific Coast. She holds certification through the Aboriginal Film and Television Program at Capilano College and has served several terms as an elected council member for ‘Namgis First Nation. She belongs to the U’mista Cultural Society and the T’sasala Cultural Group, which presents songs, dances and cultural education in Alert Bay every summer. She is also president of the Indigenous Arts Service Organization, which programs indigenous art festivals in BC.

Workshop Mentors

blank_avatarTasha Brotherton

Bio coming soon!



Jenna Brown

Jenna Brown

Jenna has been an instructor at Digital Media Academy, Capilano University Summer Fun Camps, Evergreen Cultural Centre, and R2R (teaching animation and producing the digital literacy panel), game design, and cartooning. Some of the courses she has taught include: stop-motion animation, game design for Minecraft, game development with Macromedia Fusion, and cartooning. Jenna earned her Bachelors of Fine Arts in Animation from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a citation of Animation Fundamentals from Capilano University. Jenna has directed the short film,  Looking Up To You; created the graphic novel project, The Tea Merchant; and The collaborative student project “NOVA” was featured in the 2011 Siggraph Dailies.

Elisa Chee

Elisa graduated from the animation program at Emily Carr in 2003. Since then, she has created animated segments for documentaries such as 100 Years of the BC Court of Appeal for the Knowledge Network, directed and animated Scenes, a music video, and worked in various supportive roles on films made at the National Film Board. Elisa has a wide range of experience with experimental as well as traditional animation techniques. Recently, Elisa has mentored with Aboriginal youth in Our World workshops, emerging filmmakers for Doxa’s Connections, and elementary school aged children for Reel 2 Real. She enjoys sharing her love for storytelling and animation with her students, and helping others express themselves through filmmaking. Visit her website The Art of Chee.

Jeff Chiba Stearns

Jeff is an Emmy® nominated and Webby award-winning animation and documentary filmmaker. He is also an accomplished illustrator, educator and artist. After graduating from the Emily Carr University with a degree in Film Animation, he founded Vancouver based boutique animation studio Meditating Bunny Studio Inc. in 2001. Jeff’s work has broadcast around the world, screened in hundreds of international film festivals and garnered 33 awards — a few of which were awarded by the R2R Youth Jury! He’s also taught college and high school animation as well as animation workshops around the world. A number of Jeff’s films have screened at R2R including: One Big Hapa Family (2010), Yellow Sticky Notes – Canadian Anijam (2013) and Cats (2014).

Stephen Gladue

Stephen is a talented artist from the Fishing Lake Metis settlement in Alberta. He attended the Vancouver Film School to study Classical Animation, later enrolling to the Art Institute of Vancouver, where he would graduate in 3D Animation and Design. His Animated shorts can be seen on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network children’s series Nehiyawetan, where he was the lead artist on the animated series Amy’s Mythic Mornings, also currently airing on the APTN on Saturday mornings. Also a filmmaker, Stephen produced and shot a 45 min documentary on the experiences of one family’s ordeal within the Indian residential school system in the 1950’s. Stephen has also illustrated a series of children’s books, before making his foray into comic books late last year, delivering nine titles in the period of just a few months.  

Ewan Green

Ewan is an animator and illustrator from Scotland, currently working on an animated anthology of poems for ebook. He has previously made animation for the multimedia ebook Don’t Be Alien. His film credits include Titeuf: Le Film (2011) and L’Illusioniste (2010).

Flick Harrison

Flick is a self-made nobody, a renegade artist, an underpreneur, a premiere Vancouver poorfessional, and a member of  “Something Collective.” His film, theatre, video, acting, writing and camera work has been seen by millions, been nominated and won awards internationally, and slipped into, under and through almost every Canadian funding niche. Chretien’s chief strategist Warren Kinsella called Flick “offensive” and “unfair,” the Globe and Mail called him “hilarious,” and the Georgia Straight called his work “gorgeously sophisticated.” His work includes teaching media art to kids, engaging community through art, designing projections for theatre and dance, and international journalism and criticism.

Scott Kiborn

Soccer Coach, Professional Animator, Skateboarder. For his entire life, Scott has been animating anything and everything he can get his hands on. His NFB production Animate Everything invites young folks to learn stop-motion animation by using everyday objects to create their imaginations’ desire. Scott teaches Pixilation for R2R.

Ariel Kirk-Gushowaty

Ariel KG is a filmmaker and photo-based artist living in Vancouver BC. A founding member of the Iris Film Collective, she is interested in exploring experimental film and photography, as well as interactions between analogue and digital media. Ariel also works in communities as an artist/mentor for projects/organizations as Vancouver Stories 125, Kerrisdale Collective Memory, Media Lab at the Richmond Arts Centre, Diverse Voices & Portraits, and R2R. Ariel has a BA in Philosophy and Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto, and a Photography Certificate from Langara College. Her work has been shown in Canada and internationally. Check out her website.

blank_avatarJody Kramer

Jody Kramer is an independent animation filmmaker, illustrator and arts educator living and working in Squamish, British Columbia. Jody’s films have screened all over the world at prestigious festival such as Annecy, VIFF, and R2R! Jody was a Programmer at R2R in 2014, and now teaches animation part-time. You can find out more about Jody’s work on her website.

alex_mackenzie3Alex MacKenzie

Alex is an experimental film artist working primarily with analog equipment and hand processed imagery. He creates works of expanded cinema, light projection installation, and projector performance. His work has screened at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, the EXiS Experimental Film Festival in Seoul, Lightcone in Paris, Kino Arsenal in Berlin and others. Alex was the founder and curator of the Edison Electric Gallery of Moving Images, the Blinding Light! Cinema and the Vancouver Underground Film Festival. He has been invited to residencies at Atelier MTK in Grenobles, France and Struts Gallery/Faucet Media in New Brunswick. See more of Alex’s work on his wesbite alexmackenzie.ca.

Cindy Mochizuki

Cindy is an interdisciplinary artist who makes work that crosses several disciplines including installation, animation, drawing and performance. Her artistic practice often involves collaboration and is process-based, integrating interviews and archival materials.  She has exhibited and screened her work nationally and internationally and holds a MFA from SFU’s Interdisciplinary Studies program at the School For Contemporary Arts. Visit her website cindymochizuki.com.

Lisa g. Nielsen
A community artist and filmmaker, Lisa g creates media that has historical reference, social relevance, and humour. She has been working in film and digital technology since 1999 and leading filmmaking workshops since 2007. Examples of her diverse work include: an award winning stop motion animation about heartbreak (Blue Tuesday), an award winning live action video that challenges gender stereotypes (Girl on Girl), a trilogy of films about Riverview Mental Hospital  (Asylum, Bedlam, Consciousness), and a performance incorporating film and live sound to discuss racism (Not Just Black and White). She is currently working with the Musqueam people creating a experimental film exploring the meaning of the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word: nə́c̓aʔmat ct (we are one) for the new Strathcona Library. Lisa was lead artist in community projects collecting video/multi-media stories: Vancouver Stories, Kerrisdale Collective Memory and Riley Park Stories. She leads workshops with at risk youth, mentally and physically challenged youth, seniors, children, and First Nation elders and youth. She enjoys being organic and flexible with every new community she accesses. Under Lisa’s direction, Our World (started in 2007 with the National Film Board) continues to gather momentum. Our World hosts workshops across Canada, guiding youth to tell their own stories, celebrating indigenous culture, language, and life through film.  Lisa is also a founding member of Vancouver’s Iris Film Collective, which promotes the creation and sharing of analog film.

Sebnem Ozpeta
Sebnem Ozpeta is a Vancouver based visual artist, video editor, and videographer. She has also been involved in VIVO’s digital archiving projects. She worked as a graphic artist in Turkey from 1996-2001 and earned her Digital Film Program Certificate at The Art Institute of Vancouver in 2002. She has been producing short experimental films and video installations that have been exhibited internationally including screenings and installations featured in festivals and galleries in Canada, England, Portugal, France, Germany, Hungary and Turkey. She has been collaborating and working with artists, performances, storytellers, dancers and filmmakers for more than 10 years. Currently, she is working on “Art Talking Women,” a short documentary series with Margaret Dragu and Cinevolution Media Society. 

blank_avatarJacquie Rolston

Bio coming soon!



Moira “Mo” Simpson

Mo has been a freelance director, cinematographer and editor for over 35 years. It’s a natural fit for her to combine filmmaking with teaching and mentoring. She has taught at the University of British Columbia, Emily Carr University, and Simon Fraser University. The subjects of her documentaries range from strife in Kosovo, to youth and drug addiction, to the complexities of offering aid to Africa. Mo’s work in film, video and new media has always been informed by a passionate belief in using film as a tool for social change.

Odessa Shuquaya, Mentor
Odessa Shuquaya is a professional actor for the stage (Unnatural and Accidental Women, The Rez Sisters, Egni’s Eye) and screen (Dr. Barlow, Grace Point, Morning Together), and is a digital filmmaker and mentor. Odessa’s short films have been screened across Canada: in Haida Gwaii, Dawson City and Halifax, and broadcast on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. She is committed to creating opportunities for Indigenous artists in theatre and film. Odessa holds a BFA in Acting from UBC and is certified in both Indigenous filmmaking and cinematography at Capilano University. She is the recent recipient of the Aboriginal Arts Development Award from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council to be mentored with Marie Clements’ company, MC Media, on documentary and dramatic filmmaking. Odessa is a member of the Kluane First Nation from Yukon Territory. Although raised in the Kootenay Region of British Columbia and making Vancouver her home for many years, she still retains familial and cultural ties to her traditional territory in Yukon.

blank_avatarWeronika Stepien

Weronika is a Polish-American interdisciplinary artist who graduated from Emily Carr University’s Film and Video + Integrated Media program in 2009. Her artwork incorporates different forms of visual story telling and experiments in shape and movement. Her work has been exhibited in Chicago, Amsterdam, Germany, Singapore, and Vancouver. She has been teaching animation to children and young adults since 2008. Weronika lives and works with her husband, Stephen Wichuk, and daughter in Vancouver, B.C, Canada. She also teaches R2R’s Animating History workshop at the Museum of Vancouver. Find out more about her work on her website. 

Kaho Yoshida

Kaho Yoshida grew up in Tokyo, and moved to Canada in her teen years. She studied the various mediums of animation at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and graduated with a bachelor of Media Arts. Her graduation film, Michi, is being screened at many film festivals world-wide. Since graduating, Kaho has been working successfully as a freelance animator/illustrator in Vancouver BC. She has worked on many projects including: a stop motion TV show for Kid’s CBC, independent documentary film, TV commercial, NFB’s VR project, and music videos. Visit her website.


Ryder Thomas White

Ryder is a Canadian-American filmmaker and multimedia artist currently working in Vancouver, British Columbia. He tends to work with analog projection and celluloid with a modern twist. Find out more about Ryder at his website.

2018 Adult Jury

Norman Armour
Norman Armour is the Artistic & Executive director of the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. He is the co-founder of the PuSh Festival, as well Rumble Productions, a mainstay theatre company in Vancouver. His career includes credits as director, actor and producer, covering a range of creative interests for the stage and screen. You can catch him on the odd rerun of X Files, as well as the Phillip Seymour Hoffman starrer, Capote. He recently directed the premiere of Pauline, an opera by Tobin Stokes and Margaret Atwood on the life and art of Métis poet Pauline Johnson.

Anne-Mary Mullen
Anne-Mary Mullen is the Senior Programmer & General Manager of the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival. She has worked at festivals all over North America including the San Francisco International Film Festival, VIFF, Frameline, Tribeca, Sundance, and the Durango Festival of New Mexican Cinema. She holds a Master’s Degree in Literature, and was one of the directors of the Robson Reading Series at UBC Robson Square. As a programmer for VLAFF, she specializes in Latin-Canadian cinema and has participated in festivals in Argentina, Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, and Spain.

Shana Myara
Shana Myara is a writer and cultural worker who has led the artistic programming of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, The Roundhouse, and directed the movies acquisitions strategy for the Canadian broadcaster, OUTtv. Her short stories have been shortlisted for the Journey Prize and featured in Coming Attractions 13 (Oberon Press). Her work has also been shortlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize and won awards from Prism International, subTerrain, Geist, Glimmer Train, and appeared Matrix, Room, the Georgia Straight and more.

2018 Youth Filmmakers Showcase Jury

Kryshan Randel
Born and raised in BC, Kryshan Randel has been making and watching films for as long as he can remember. Several of his short films have toured the genre festival circuit worldwide including Sitges, Fantastic Fest and Fantasia; and screened on Amazon Instant Video and the Sundance Channel. He is also the creator and producer of the Vancouver’s fast film events The 24 Hour Film Contest and The Great Canadian Commercial Contest; and co-founder of the film program for vulnerable youth, Frames Film Project. As a director for hire, and IATSE 669 member, Kryshan also does freelance shooting and/or editing work for clients such as BBC America, Netflix, Legendary Pictures and Disney, and develops his own projects in between.

Milena Salazar
Milena Salazar is a Costa Rican filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. Her short documentaries Mars Barb (2015) and the award-winning Do I Have Boobs Now? (2017) have screened in festivals across the globe. She is regular contributor for the CBC Arts TV show Exhibitionists. A fellow of the 2016 Hot Docs documentary Channel Doc Accelerator program and the 2017 RIDM Talent Lab. Milena is currently developing new projects in Vancouver and her hometown of San José, Costa Rica.

Anaïsa Visser
Anaïsa Visser grew up all over the world, namely in Mozambique, the United States, then France, before moving to Vancouver to pursue an undergraduate degree at Emily Carr University. She graduated in 2013 with a BFA in Film, Video and Integrated Media. She dedicates all of her spare time to helping others make their independent films, and to writing, directing, and producing her own independent work. Her short script Send Us Smokes won the Hot Shot Shorts contest in 2016, and she was a finalist in NYC Midnight’s 2017 International Screenwriting Challenge. Anaïsa received the 2017 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist in Film and Media, and won the Crazy 8’s 2018 film competition for her script Bordered.