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Catalyst Cohort Archive



Andy Alvarez, Colombian-Canadian, is an award-winning writer and director. Her short films have garnered awards from The Leos, Hot Docs Film Festival and Wilson Oakville Film Festival. She is one of the Co-founders of the Vancouver-based Studio 104 Entertainment Inc and is set to begin production on her first feature, Memoria, a Canadian-Colombian Co-Production, in January 2024.

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mona fani headshot

mona fani (she/her) is a persian-canadian multi-media artist with a focus on analog practices in photography, animation and visual design. Her practice is rooted in slowness and observation. She is interested in the vulnerable moments lived by or left behind in the human experience. She is based on unceded lands belonging to the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-waututh), and sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) First Nations; also known as vancouver, bc. Mona currently works as a producer at an animation studio called Ordinary Folk.

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Nisha Platzer headshot, director back home

Nisha Platzer is a queer artist and filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada. Her films meld sounds and imagery that you can dream and drown in. Her short film, Vaivén (2020) won the best film award at aluCine Latin Film & Media Arts Festival and competed at festivals worldwide including Raindance, Festival Nouveau Cinéma, FIDBA, and Ji.hlava. Nisha studied at the renowned Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión (EICTV) in Cuba. Her work has been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council and the National Film Board of Canada. She teaches handmade film workshops and is a member of Iris Film Collective. An alumnus of IDFAcademy, the VIFF mentorship program, and the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator Lab, her work can be found in music videos, narrative, and experimental films. Nisha’s first feature documentary back home is supported by Telefilm Talent to Watch and was presented at the Docs-in-Progress Canadian Showcase at Cannes Film Festival 2022.

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Sahand Mohajer headshot

Sahand Mohajer is a filmmaker, artist, and instructor. With an aesthetic sensibility that oscillates between conventional and experimental beauty, Sahand views artmaking as a balancing act between the subjective and the systematic. Sahand collaborates with impactful organizations around Canada, helping tell their stories and connect with their communities. His documentary and narrative films have been exhibited at Art Toronto, the Museum of Vancouver, and VIVO.

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Sasha Tomasky headshot

Sasha Tomasky is a filmmaker and film editor creating commercial, narrative, and experimental works. She is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s BFA Film Production Program and has 7 years experience in the commercial world. She is an alumni of the 2018 VIFF Catalyst Program, the 2022 CMPA Mentorship Program for Diverse Producers, and the 2023 Prime Time Mentee Program. She divides her time between editing works for companies/museums, and working with emerging artists across Canada editing and post producing independent productions. In her personal practice she creates experimental documentaries on little known communities in British Columbia.

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Caroline So Jung Lee is an award-winning diasporic Korean filmmaker, interdisciplinary artist and community arts worker. She is based in Tkaronto (Toronto, Canada) and sometimes works on unceded Coast Salish Territories (Vancouver, BC) and in Korea. Caroline experiments with 16mm handmade film, documentary and sound to explore kinetic, emotional and spiritual movement and affect in film. She obtained a degree in English Literature from the University of Toronto and a degree in Film and Integrated Media, and Social Practice and Community Engagement from Emily Carr University. Caroline won Best Canadian Short Film at VIFF in 2019 for her documentary short, At the Bottom of the Sea. She is a VIFF alum and past Hot Docs fellow.

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Dharra Budicha headshot

Documentary filmmaker. Film programmer. Food archivist.

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Emily Bayrock headshot

Emily Bayrock is an honours graduate of the film production program at SFU School for the Contemporary Arts in Vancouver, BC.

Emily’s work is based in collaboration, multimedia exploration, and ethnography. Throughout her undergrad she was lucky enough to work with artists from several other artistic practices such as dance, theatre, and visual arts to help create multimedia installations and performances such as Nomadas (2018), choreographed by Henry Daniel, which screened at the 2020 AAA Conference in Vancouver, BC. She was also a participant of the 2019 VIFF Catalyst Mentorship Program.

With her Honours BfA in film production, Emily obtained a minor in anthropology which has greatly informed her work in ethnographic study and auto ethnography. By using these anthropological practices as a basis for her films, she hopes to create a personal and engaging narrative and bring women’s experiences to the screen in new and intimate ways.

Emily currently works in marketing at Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam BC.

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Irina Lord headshot

Irina Lord is a Romanian-Canadian writer-director best known for exploring women-driven stories with an edge – “subtle, yet unsettling”. She holds a BFA in Fine Art from the University of Oxford, and an MFA in Contemporary Arts from Simon Fraser University. Her work was featured in international film festivals, by broadcasters and art institutions in both Canada and Europe, including the CBC, the Audain Gallery and Modern Art Oxford.

Lord’s debut feature film, Soft-Spoken Weepy Cult Child, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, and developed through the VIFF 2019 Catalyst program, is scheduled for North American distribution in Fall 2023. Nominated for a Borsos Award for Best Feature, Best Director and Best Screenplay, “with a visual style all its own, this is the sort of calling card feature that announces the arrival of a major new talent to the Canadian cinematic scene”.

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Jacob Pascoe headshot

Jacob Pascoe is a writer and filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. He holds degrees in film production and literature from the University of British Columbia and has since developed a body of work spanning narrative, avant-garde film, and music videos as well as fiction, criticism, and theory. His practice looks at notions of the beyond, the transcendent, and the apocalyptic primarily from a Jewish mystical perspective. He is currently researching and developing a feature film with the support of the Canada Council of the Arts.

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Kaayla Whachell headshot

Kaayla Whachell is a cinematographer currently living on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh nations (Vancouver, Canada). She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Film Production Program and was accepted into the Vancouver International Film Festival catalyst program in 2019.

Kaayla’s first feature film, Portraits from a Fire directed by Trevor Mack and funded by Telefilm, went on to win “Best Canadian Feature” at the Edmonton International Film Festival 2021. Whether it be a narrative film, commercial, or music video, Kaayla believes that the cinematography must represent the director’s vision and accurately showcase the individuals represented on screen.

As a woman of mixed descent (Okinawa, Red River Metis, Czech,) Kaayla continues to ally BIPOC filmmakers by showcasing their stories. She strives to produce a diverse film set for all people to thrive and create within.

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Kristina Mileska headshot

Kristina Mileska (she/her) is a Macedonian-Canadian filmmaker based in Toronto. Her latest short film, The Bear and the Beekeeper, premiered at the Whistler Film Festival in 2019. The Bear and the Beekeeper has been licensed by Canadian broadcaster SuperChannel and has collected many accolades including the Oscar-qualifying award for Best Short Film at the Edmonton International Film Festival. Her short film Afloat (2018) premiered at TIFF Kids. Kristina holds a BFA in Film Production from York University where her thesis film Asteroid (2015) was awarded the National Screen Institute’s Fearless Filmmaker Award and broadcast internationally on Air Canada flights. She is currently developing her debut feature film with support from Canada Council for the Arts.

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Lukas Maier headshot

Lukas Maier is a filmmaker from Delta (the unceded territories of the scəw̓aθən (Tsawwassen), xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), and other Coast Salish Peoples). His first feature Darkroom premiered at VIFF in 2021 and was programmed abroad (Sarajevo Film Festival ’22, FNC Montreal ’21). He is currently making a 16mm film about bees and writing screenplays.

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Sam Mohseni headshot

Sam Mohseni is an Iranian-Canadian filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC and holds a Master of Fine Arts in Film Production at the University of British Columbia.

During his undergraduate studies in the Film Production program at UBC, Sam made two short narratives, Saida (2018) and Poplife (2019), both of which dealt with issues of immigration and identity in Canada. Saida was an award nominee for Best National Film at UWpg Film Festival 2018, and Poplife, a music-driven drama, was an official selection at Vancouver Short Film Festival and MENA Film Festival in 2020.

Maple at Night (2018) is a short cultural documentary Sam made in China in two weeks as part of Looking China Filmmaking Project which turned out to be a Golden Lens Award winner for Best Film in 2018, the year he was also the recipient of North Shore Studios Scholarship in Film Production.

In 2019, Sam was one of the selected participants in Vancouver International Film Festival’s Catalyst Mentorship Program.

Persian Blue (2021), Sam’s intimate short film about his mother, a Persian Carpet artist, was an official selection at Whistler Film Festival in 2021 among other festival selections in North America and Europe.

Sam was the recipient of the H. Norman Lidster Prize in Documentary Filmmaking in 2021 for Persian Blue, and again in 2023 for his first feature-length film, Persia and I, an experimental documentary about war, cinema, and cultural identity.

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Zahida Rahemtulla headshot

Zahida Rahemtulla is a playwright, TV, film, and short story writer. Her two plays, The Wrong Bashir and The Frontliners have won many national awards and premiered to critical acclaim in 2023 (Vancouver) and will premiere in 2024 in Toronto. She has been a resident at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Stratford Theatre Festival, and the international Hedgebrook residency for women writers. For film and TV, Zahida has written, directed, and produced short films, including a short doc she directed which was shortlisted for the International World Nomads Lonely Planet Film Prize.

She loves working with new writers and currently works teaching playwriting with Tarragon Theatre’s East of Tarragon Project in Scarborough.

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Anaïsa Visser headshot

Anaïsa is a biracial (Dutch and Pakistani) filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. She 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 then completed her Masters Degree in Film Production and Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia in 2020. Anaïsa is the founder of “Women & Gender Diverse Filmmakers of BC”, which unites women, genderqueer, trans and non-binary folk working in film. She has won numerous awards, including the 2017 Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Artist in Film & New Media, and the 2018 Women in Film and Television Spotlight Award for Newcomer. Anaïsa has made several short films, primarily on topics of mental health and immigration stories. Most recently, Anaïsa had the opportunity to co-direct the first South Asian Canadian Heritage Minute. Currently, Anaïsa is in development on a feature film and in pre-development on other projects, including television and documentary. And by day, Anaïsa is the Interim Executive Director at Gender Equity in Media Society Vancouver, and teaches at Emily Carr University. In her spare time, Anaïsa enjoys catching up on TV shows, drinking copious amounts of tea, attempting to keep her plants alive, and hanging out with her cats, River and Ollie.

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Carolyn Yonge headshot

Carolyn Yonge is an actor, writer, and creative producer located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. Carolyn’s second short film After That premiered at WFF20 and her directorial and screenwriting debut film Baleful is an award winning thriller, including best twist and best actress. Carolyn is an established actor working for over 10 years and is featured in the V.C. Andrews – Ruby Landry Series. Her credits include So Help Me Todd, After That, Love at Sunset Terrace, Flora and Ulysses and Sensitive Parts.

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Carter Kirilenko headshot

Carter Kirilenko is an award-winning independent film Director & Producer, specializing in original and branded documentary production.

With a focus on telling stories of human resilience in the face of the climate crisis, he aspires to bring audiences closer to the natural world and evoke a universal impulse to protect it. Carter is based between Vancouver and Cape Town, from where he’s built a breadth of experience filming across different cultures and remote physical environments.

Carter’s films have screened at festivals globally, receiving multiple awards such as People’s Choice Award at VIMFF for his film Leuser: The Last Place on Earth and Best International Film at Oregon Documentary Film Festival for In Your Palm. Carter is a VIFF Catalyst Fellow, and has worked with brands such as Microsoft, WaterBear Network, SONY, CPAWS-BC, Culture Days and Planetary Health Film Lab. His work has been regularly displayed at the United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP) annual climate exhibitions. He is currently developing Protectors, an original conservation television series with Cape Town based production company, ReWild Africa.

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Evan Luchkow headshot

Evan Luchkow’s films delve into the texture and nuance of subjective experience using a heightened sensory lens. His work often explores relationships between human society and the natural world by incorporating the perspectives of non-humans. His short narrative and nonfiction films have screened at festivals around the world including Planet in Focus and Palm Springs International ShortFest. In 2022, Evan was selected for the RIDM Talent Lab at the Montréal International Documentary Festival. He is currently developing a feature-length documentary with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, The Day’s Work, that explores the spiritual toll of modern work. Evan lives and works on the unceded territory of the Coast Salish peoples including the Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh Nations.

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Jackson Wai Chung Tse 謝瑋聰 headshot

Jackson Wai Chung Tse 謝瑋聰 is an interdisciplinary artist, facilitator, and consultant who investigates bridging relationships across polarizing dynamics, queer intimacies coexisting with cultural values, and reverence for the Land. With both an engineer’s and an artist’s brain, Jackson keeps projects on time and on budget while demonstrating exceptional empathy, relational, and storytelling skills. His artwork draws from his lived experience to champion decolonization, equity, and inclusion, and has been featured on platforms such as Netflix, CBC Arts, and the Queer Arts Festival. Active in his community, Jackson has consulted on issues of cultural sensitivity with the UBCP/ACTRA, BC Arts Council, and the University of British Columbia. Jackson holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Queen’s University, a postgraduate teaching certificate from The University of the State of New York, and is an alumni of The Writer’s Studio: a Creative Writing certificate from Simon Fraser University. Born in Hong Kong, he is a settler on the stolen lands of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaɬ First Nations.

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Justin Ducharme headshot

Justin Ducharme is a writer, filmmaker and curator from the Métis community of St. Ambroise, Manitoba – Treaty 1 Territory. He was selected as a fellow in the Sundance Film Festival’s 2022 Native Film Lab with his television pilot Positions adapted from his short film of the same name. He was the recipient of TIFF’s Barry Avrich Fellowship and is an alumni of their 2021 TIFF Filmmaker Lab. Justin was the co-editor of Hustling Verse: An Anthology of Sex Workers Poetry published by Arsenal Pulp Press. His writing has been featured in Canadian Art, Room Magazine, Sex Worker Wisdom and Filmmaker Mag. He currently lives and works on the Unceded Coast Salish Territory of the xwməθkwəy̓ əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səlílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Nations colonially known as Vancouver, BC.

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Katrina Mugume headshot

Katrina Mugume (she/her) is a dynamic filmmaker, producer, and moderator who brings a passionate and creative approach to all her endeavours. Her artistic interests span across various creative fields, including filmmaking, audio production, art curation and Black community advocacy.

She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film Production from Simon Fraser University’s School of Contemporary Arts, where she gained extensive knowledge and experience in film and television production, editing, creative writing, project management, and event coordination. A storyteller at heart, she is committed to sharing nuanced and accurate narratives that explore the global African diaspora. She is fascinated by the power of the media and is deeply committed to using her platform to promote social justice and spark meaningful conversations.

Katrina works on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations, otherwise known as Vancouver, Canada.

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Kevin Feng headshot

Born in Taiwan, Kevin aspires to tell stories about his culture and family. Specialize in celluloid film and traditional animation.

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Michelle Kee headshot

Michelle Kee is a Vancouver-based director, writer and VFX Producer. Michelle is passionate about finding the weird in the everyday. Graduating from Simon Fraser University (BFA in Film Production), her directing career started by winning the Crazy8s 2014 edition to make her short film, Mattress, from shoot to post in 8 days. Her next film was directing the WWI musical short Send Us Smokes as part of the Hot Shot Shorts (2016). In 2019, Michelle’s script Blood for the Throne was selected for the Kyoto Filmmaker’s Lab. She participated in the CBC Arts Diverse Creators Workshop in 2016 and the Vancouver International Film Festival’s Catalyst Mentorship Program in 2020. Her latest work is the music video for Autograf + Kyle Reynolds’ Drifting Away.

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Omorose Osagie headshot

Omorose Osagie is an award-winning filmmaker from Brampton, Ontario. She studied Film Production at the University of British Columbia. Her animated short film, Glass Doll, has received the FAP grant from the National Film Board of Canada, the jury prize for Best Animation at Essence film festival, and premiered at the Fantasia International Film Festival. She also participated in the 2020 cohort of the Vancouver International Film Festival’s mentorship program. Her student film, The Right Swipe, has been shown at the Reelworld Film Festival and Whistler Film Festival. The film also appeared on the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television’s Where to Watch list for Black History Month.

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Anna Anaka headshot

Anna Anaka is a Canadian writer/director of Filipino + Spanish descent. She holds a Bachelor of Media Arts (Film + Screen Arts) from Emily Carr University of Art + Design. Upon graduation, she was awarded the Saralee James Memorial Award and the John C. Kerr Chancellor Emeritus Award for Excellence in Media Arts. Her final thesis film, Looking Back, won Best Student Production at the 2021 Leo Awards.

Her art practice in filmmaking explores themes of identity, memory and morality. With a cinematic style that plays with space and time, her character-driven stories examine the human condition and stimulate critical engagement from her audiences.

In addition to her work in the commercial film industry, she is currently developing her first feature length project.

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Ian Tan headshot

Ian Tan is a filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. He graduated with a BFA in Film Production at UBC. He is an Editor at Atomic Cartoons, one of Vancouver’s leading animation studios. Ian is a sought-after Editor within the Asian filmmaking community in Vancouver, with award-winning shorts that have screened around the world from Korea, Los Angeles, Singapore, Toronto and the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. His experiences being raised in Malaysia has made Ian passionate about telling stories from his unique Chinese-Malaysian perspective. When he’s not picking up a camera or chipping away at an edit, you’ll find Ian posing his Transformers action figures.

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Jamuna Galay-Tamang is a storyteller who wrote & directed the feature documentary Healing Nation (2022). She was a 2022 Doc BC/NWT/YT Breakthrough Mentee and a 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival Catalyst Mentee. She was also the recipient of a Fox International Fellowship at Yale University in 2019-2020. She holds a Master in Journalism and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

As a storyteller, Jamuna is most interested in exploring themes related to family, identity, public health equity, and transformational Indigenous/social/environmental justice. She also works as a facilitator and project coordinator at a nonprofit called Warriors Against Violence.

Jamuna’s lineage is Tamang (Nepal), (Dënësųłinë́ & Scottish) Métis, German & Ukrainian. Her Indigenous roots in Canada are tied to Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan and she was born on stolen Sḵwx̱ wú7mesh and Səlílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Territories.

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Jenny Lee-Gilmore headshot

Jenny Lee-Gilmore is a mixed Chinese Caucasian filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC. She completed her BFA in Film Production at the University of British Columbia in 2019. Her debut short film Breakaway played in festivals across North America including Whistler Film Festival, Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival and Vancouver Short Film Festival. It was selected in the Top 9 of the 2020 CBC Short Film Face Off. Breakaway is now being developed into a YA series and received development funding from the Canada Media Fund and Independent Production Fund. She recently wrote & directed a TELUS Originals mid-length documentary, entitled Overtime, about her mom’s 55+ hockey team. She’s currently in development with her next documentary Little Miss Sleepy. She’s passionate about telling female centric and Asian Canadian stories that are often overlooked or neglected by mainstream media and strives to create meaningful and authentic stories that resonate with audiences.

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KJ Edwards headshot

KJ Edwards (she/they) is a Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), mixed-settler filmmaker and media artist born and raised in Treaty 6 Territory, Edmonton, AB. KJ’s family is from Kahnawa:ké and Longueuil, QC, CA. KJ is trained in narrative, documentary, and experimental film production, using both analogue and digital workflows in their practice. KJ is currently adapting her premiere short film Meet the Sky (2021) in a feature, while their sophomore short film istén:’a (2023) makes festival rounds. KJ also works as a freelance video editor and arts worker, remotely and in Vancouver, on unceded stolen xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Territory.

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Morgan Strug headshot

Morgan (ze/zim) is a Jewish non-binary filmmaker born and raised on unceded mi’kmaq territory in Halifax. After earning an Honours BA in Anthropology and Gender Studies with a minor in Film from Dalhousie University ze moved to the Coast Salish territories (Vancouver) to pursue filmmaking. Morgan’s latest film Enby has screened VQFF, InsideOut Toronto and the Harvey Milk Festival. Morgan was selected as a participant in the 2021 Catalyst Mentee program through VIFF and as the Directing mentee on Spark (2022). Morgan’s work explores intersecting identities through uncertainty, grief and dark humour. Ze is currently developing zir next projects Birthday Spam and Simcha at a Shiva.

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Natalie Murao headshot

Natalie Murao is a yonsei (fourth generation) Japanese Canadian filmmaker and educator based on the unceded ancestral lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people – also known as “Vancouver”. Natalie’s work explores themes of generational disconnect, personal memory, and communication. She aims to expand the notion of Asian diasporic cinema by creating an in-betweenness of styles that embody the diaspora itself.

She received a BFA in Film Production from Simon Fraser University. Her graduating film, Floating Light (2017), won the ShortWork Student Award at Whistler Film Festival. Her follow-up film, No More Parties (2020), played at festivals such as Sundance, TIFF Next Wave, and Palm Springs Shortfest. It was exhibited online through the digital TIFF Bell Lightbox. Her latest film and first documentary, Blue Garden (2022), was selected for Telefilm Canada’s Not Short on Talent program at Clermont-Ferrand and is now available to watch on CBC Gem.

Natalie has received mentorship through Sundance Ignite, VIFF Catalyst, and Experimental Forest Films. In tandem with filmmaking, she has facilitated educational programs for local institutes such as The Cinematheque and VIFF.

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Rachel Rose headshot

Rachel Rose is a Vancouver-based filmmaker with a history of telling powerful stories and bringing together awesome queer and femme creatives. She identifies as a cis gay woman who is active within her community. Her directorial debut for the Crazy8s 2021 Film Competition, Tryst, is available on CBC Gem. Rachel’s latest short Are you Hungry premiered at the Voices With Impact Film Festival in June 2023. Currently, she is in pre-production for her upcoming film Little Booms, which is supported by the SIM Pride Pitch Competition and the Canada Council for the Arts. Rachel spent the first years of her career supporting the dreams of other indie filmmakers as a 1ST Assistant Director.

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Rosie Choo Pidcock headshot

Rosie is a biracial Chinese Canadian writer, director and actor from Vancouver, BC focused on stories of grief and hyphenated identities with a queer feminist lens. Her films have screened at CAAMFest and St. John’s International Women in Film Festival, and received distribution on Air Canada. She is in development on a scripted series (drama) and a narrative feature (dark comedy).

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