R2R Bios

Meet the people who make the magic happen:

The creative team

Venay Felton (Executive & Artistic Director)

Venay Felton has been the Artistic and Executive Director of Reel to Real since its inception in 1998. Dr. Felton has been a fervent advocate of children’s media for over twenty-five years. She worked at the Media Center for Children in New York City where she developed a film series that included documentaries, experimental shorts, and animated films, which were screened in public schools. She curated film programs for museums and community centres, reviewed films for Young Viewers Magazine, and conducted film appreciation workshops. Ms. Felton has a doctorate in Museum and Community Arts Administration from Columbia University. 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 (Festival Coordinator)

Tammy Bannister has been a part of Vancouver’s film industry for over nine years. In 2009 Tammy was the Education and Youth Program Coordinator with DOXA. She was responsible for youth programs promoting media literacy and critical dialogue to a new generation through non-fiction media arts. Currently the International Programming Assistant at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Tammy is also a member of the International Screening Committee. She is an Associate Member of the Directors Guild of Canada, and was recently invited to SFU to discuss ‘Assistant Directing’ with the 2nd year film students at the new Woodwards campus. Tammy continues to pursue work that inspires her, and is constantly inspired by her work.

Jessica Bradford (Program Associate)

Jessica Bradford is an award-winning director based in Vancouver, Canada. She is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab and an alumna of the Women In the Director’s Chair program at the Banff Centre for the Arts. Jessica’s first short dramatic film, “When I Was Seven” won numerous awards, including three Leo Awards and a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Experimantal Film. It has screened at festivals worldwide and was broadcast on the CBC. Her other award winning films are “The Telescope” and “Winter Sun.” More recently Jessica’s projects include directing the CBC and BC Film – Signature Shorts film, Beachbound, written by Michele Adams and several projects on digital video for Tarlington Training. She has also directed several short WebTV films as part of Vancouver Film School’s screenwriting programand written and directed an experimental film in Super 8mm for the Vancouver International Film Centre.

From 2002 – 2005 she taught a script work-shopping and acting class to youth actors at Tarlington Training. Since 2008 Jessica has been working as anacquisitions executive for the start-up children’s movie and social-networking web-site, 2POP. She is a past President and current member of Cineworks Independent Filmmakers’ Society, a member of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Women in Film and Video and Praxis Centre for Screenwriters.

Jody Kramer (Education Director)

Jody Kramer works part time as Educator/Interpreter in the Family and School Program at the Vancouver Art Gallery. She’s an old school, pen-on-paper animator living in Vancouver, BC. Since completing her degree in animation at Emily Carr in 2006, she has made four short filmsthat have screened at film festivals around the world, including the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Ottawa International Animation Festival and the prestigious Annecy International Animation Film Festival. She has recently collaborated with director Lisa Jackson to produce The Visit, a short animated film produced by the National Film Board and the APTN television network. Jody worked with the 100 Mile Diet Society to make Home Is Where The Food Is, a cartoon promoting local eating. “Don’t Tell Santa You’re Jewish!” has been screened in Anchorage, Vancouver,  Detroit, and most recently at the 2011 Annecy festival. Reel 2 Real had a retrospective of all her work in 2011. Descriptions of her animated films can be found on her website: http://www.jukimuseum.com/bio.html.

Renate Zylla (Program Advisor)

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).

Laurel Terlesky (Print & web designer)

Laurel Terlesky is a professional visual artist and designer. Over the last five years she 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.

From 2001 – 2005 Laurel was a full time designer on CBC’s late night innovative cross-platform project, Zed, allowing her to jump between web, print and broadcast motion graphics. Zed wonnumerous awards, including many Leos and was nominated for an Emmy award. Laurel also builds various website applications from CMS based platforms such as drupal, wordpress, flash based content and static HTML / CSS sites. Her broad range of clients include Red Storm Productions, Reel to Real International Film Festival for Youth, Ultimate Promotions  and many more.

Helen Yagi (Publicity)

Helen Yagi has been a publicist for the Vancouver International Film Festival for 10 years and also works regularly with Reel 2 Reel, the Pacific Cinematheque, and several local production companies. She’s done the publicity for award winning films such as Screen Siren Pictures’ Flower and Garnet; Luna:   Spirit of the Whale and the National Film Boards’ Warrior Boyz. Her TV credits includes the long running nature series by Omni Film Productions, Champions of the Wild.

 Board of directors

Eric Sanderson (Board Member)

Eric Sanderson is a graduate of the Simon Fraser University Film Program.  His thesis film Slack Water debuted at the Montreal World Film Festival in 2009. In 2010 he lived in Ghana, documenting the implementation of education and water infrastructure projects. After returning from Africa, he produced several short projects for the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation, and was a contributor to the Royal Roads Digital Stories Project of Tsawout First Nation as well as a media workshop with Ehattesaht First Nation.  He is currently in postproduction on a documentary about a former Zen monk teaching meditation to incarcerated youth and volunteering with the Nathan Cullen NDP leadership campaign.

More to come…

Workshop mentors

Elisa Chee

Elisa Chee graduated from the animation program at Emily Carr in 2003. Since then, she hascreated 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 invarious 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. The versatility of her filmmaking skills allows her to find visual solutions for storytelling through animation. In the past five years, Elisa has mentored with Aboriginal youth in “Our World” workshops, emerging film makers for Doxa 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. For more on Elisa, visit her website The Art of Chee.

Gordon Cobb

Gordon received his BFA from SFU and his MMus in Composition for New Media from the London College of Music in the UK.  He is currently a PhD students in Arts Education at Simon Fraser University where his research, based on his work with youth, explores transformative engagement and emergent curriculum through the research methodology of arts-based inquiry.  His work as a music composer has been showcased in many public venues, including two Olympic Games commissions (Torino 2006 and Vancouver 2010), the New York City Ballet, and the Cedar Lake Ensemble, New York; on television with The Knowledge Network and the NFB; on various websites, and locally with various progressive dance companies. In 2005 Gordon launched “Cobb House Studio” (web.me.com/cobbhousestudio), a multi-media production company specializing in the development of multimodal and collaborative programming for children and youth.  He has also worked for over a decade in children’s arts education for various arts institutions such as The Sarah McLachlan School of Music, The Arts Umbrella, and the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts.

Chris Gilpin

Chris Gilpin is a spoken word performer, videographer and arts educator living in Vancouver, Canada. He works as the Onsite Program Facilitator for Animating History at the Museum ofVancouver and as the Program Coordinator for VPH’s Word Play, Poetry in Schools. Chris graduated from the University of British Columbia with a B.A. Film Studies. His graduating film, “Remembrance Dance,” was an official selection of the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival and showed at other film festivals around the world.

Catrina Megumi Longmuir

Catrina graduated from Concordia University with a BFA in Studio Arts (Minor in Anthropology). While and since working at the National Film Board of Canada (2005-09), she has spent much of her time facilitating ‘digital storytelling’/animation workshops that encourage community-based media making. She produced and conducted various digital storytelling initiatives for underrepresented youth, including Our WorldTales from BridgeviewThe Colouring Book, & the annual DOXA Youth Connexions program. In addition to these workshops, she worked on several productions at the NFB including Finding Farley and Kids in Jail.

Catrina is currently working with the Gwa’sala ‘Nakwaxda’xw First Nations co-producing a documentary about their history with filmmaker Lisa Jackson and Bliss Pictures, and is developing a short hybrid docu-animation film with artist & animator, Cindy Mochizuki. Her passion lies in working with diverse communities to create aesthetically, socially and culturally informative films & art.

Alex MacKenzie

Alex MacKenzie 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 theVancouver Underground Film Festival. He was an artist in residence at Atelier MTK in Grenobles, France and Struts Gallery/Faucet Media in New Brunswick. Alex co-editedDamp: Contemporary Vancouver Media Art(Anvil Press 2008), and interviewed David Rimmer for Loop, Print, Fade + Flicker: David Rimmer’s Moving Images (Anvil Press 2009). Alex was recently Artist in Residence at Cineworks’ Analog Film Annex in Vancouver.

Cindy Mochizuki

Cindy Mochizuki 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.  Please visit www.cindymochizuki.com.

Moira Simpson

Moira Simpson has been a freelance director, cinematographer and editor for over 35 years. Mo has often combined 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. She was recently DOP and location sound recordist on the National Film Board’s Finding Dawn, looking at the epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada. 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.

Since 2009 Mo has been a mentor in DOXA’s Connexions Youth Forum, a programme designed to foster documentary filmmaking and storytelling skills in youth who face barriers in attaining their career goals. Lately Mo has also been creating short web docs with groups such as Fearless City Mobile, W2, Remember Our Sisters Everywhere and Artscape in Toronto. She recently completed a community youth-based project at Lucerne School in Denver BC telling the story of the Japanese Internment during the Second World War and is currently helping the Lucerne Students create short films exploring the values of the Doukhobor people.

Adult jury

Michael van den Bos is movie mad and has been so ever since his first viewing of Walt Disney’s FANTASIA at Vancouver’s Stanley Theatre as a child.  Michael is a Vancouver film history teacher, critic, historian and speaker.  He teaches film theory at the Vancouver Film School and animation history at Capilano University in North Vancouver.  For five years, Michael taught motion picture history at the Pacific Audio Visual Institute, including a course in the history of 20th Century pop music.  Through the 1980s, ‘90s and early 2000s, Michael worked in the Vancouver animation industry as a producer of animated films and TV programming.  Michael is a popular live speaker and commentator about classic movies, appearing frequently at a variety of special film events and film festivals; including engagements at the Orpheum Theatre, the Stanley Industrial Alliance Stage, the Retro Vancouver Cinema Fest, Videomatica’s Rewind Film Weekend and the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club.  Michael is a recurring host of Cinema Sunday at Vancouver’s home of essential cinema, The Cinematheque, where he introduces classic family films.  For seven years, Michael wrote a column about classic films for Vancouver View magazine and he writes film reviews for his website, Movie Mad:  http://michaelvdb.shawwebspace.ca.  His favourite movie is Singin’ in the Rain, his favourite director is Alfred Hitchcock, his favourite single movie shot is the close-up of Charlie Chaplin that ends City Lights, and his ideal of movie perfection is Fred Astaire dancing.

Peggy Lam has been involved in various digital media projects since 2009. Her first access to media making started with AMES, in the Youth M.A.D.E (Media Arts and Diversity Education) program, in which she created a 4-minute digital story about racism and discrimination with her peers titled “Metamorphosis.” That same summer, Peggy decided to take on an amateur film project with Neelam Khare, and spent 60 days travelling across the nation to film a documentary on social justice and environmental problems and examine the issues of resource extraction in Canada. Peggy has also been involved in digital story-telling initiatives to promote community development. Working alongside with Rosanne Lambert and Janet Mcleish (http://takingstock.tv/), she has assisted in creating digital stories for the Collingwood Neighbourhood House Intercultural Project. In May 2012, she became a selected participant in the DOXA Kris Anderson Connexions Youth Forum, which is an intensive program that develops professional documentary filmmaking and storytelling skills in young women. As a result of this experience, Peggy directed and edited her own 90 second short film, titled “Good Morning Mama,” which was screened alongside with Brishkay Ahmed’s feature length documentary, Story of Burqa: Case of a Confused Afghan at the Granville 7 Cinemas. Peggy’s future aspirations consist of pursuing a career in journalism and becoming a filmmaker who can use the aesthetics and art of documentary film-making and digital storytelling to promote and encourage societal change. You can view samples of her work here: https://vimeo.com/peggylam

Janos Sitar was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, grew up in Prince George BC, completed his undergraduate at the University of Victoria, and his MA in Film Studies at Concordia University in Montreal. Since he’s good at analyzing things, he began working as a Usability Analyst and Graphic Designer. When he wasn’t conducting human experiments for the purpose of making websites and software more user friendly Janos was helping out with Reel 2 Real’s Animating History program at the Museum of Vancouver. Currently, Janos is a Business Analyst for AeroInfo Systems, A Boeing Subsidiary, and a sessional instructor at Emily Carr University of Art + Design. At ECUAD Janos teaches Animation History where he tries to map out the disparate arms of a constantly widening field.