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VIFF 2023 Juries

Best BC Film

Chandler Devon Levack headshot

Chandler Levack

Chandler Levack lives in Toronto, where she studied cinema at the University of Toronto and screenwriting at the Canadian Film Centre. She has directed numerous music videos, earning two JUNO nominations, and is a film critic for The Globe and Mail. In 2022, her debut, I Like Movies, premiered at TIFF and was selected for Canada’s Top Ten. She is currently working on her second feature Anglophone, a portrait of the 2011 Montreal music scene, with Zapruder Films.

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Jason Karman headshot

Jason Karman

Jason Karman is a University of British Columbia graduate with an MFA in Film Production and Creative Writing. His award-winning shorts include State of Yo, Kimchi Fried Dumplings, and Lions in Waiting, a Canada Not Short on Talent selection at Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival. Jason’s debut feature, Golden Delicious, an official selection of VIFF 2022, is supported by Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch program and was theatrically released nationwide in September 2023.

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Dr. Joseph Clark

Joseph Clark teaches in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University where his research and creative practice focus on archival and non-theatrical media. He is the author of News Parade: The American Newsreel and the World as Spectacle (University of Minnesota Press, 2020) and director of Persistence and Loss (2021), an experimental short film about memory and deforestation. Joe is a long-time member of the programming committee at DOXA Documentary Film Festival. 

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Best Canadian Documentary

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Elad Tzadok

Elad is an award-winning director (DGC) and editor. He co-founded Scopitone Films and is an alumni of the TIFF Filmmaker Lab and WFF Doc Lab. Recent work includes editing: Corrective Measures, Portraits from a Fire which won him a Leo, The Shipment and She Who Must Burn, as well as Hayashi Studio, which he also produced. Elad’s directorial work includes the documentary Unarchived which premiered at VIFF 2022, as well as the narrative short Run.

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John Bolton headshot

John Bolton

John Bolton is an award-winning filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada. He is best known for his documentary Aim for the Roses, about Canadian musician Mark Haney and Canadian daredevil Ken Carter. John’s latest documentary is King Arthur’s Night, inspired by a medieval musical play created by an amazing company of artists living with and without Down syndrome, including award-winning playwrights Niall McNeil and Marcus Youssef, and iconic musician Veda Hille. 

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Kier-La Janisse headshot

Kier-La Janisse

Kier-La Janisse is a film writer, programmer, producer and founder of The Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies. She is the author of House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (2012/2022), A Violent Professional: The Films of Luciano Rossi (2007), and has been an editor on numerous books. She was a producer on David Gregory’s Tales of the Uncanny (2020) and wrote, directed and produced the award-winning documentary Woodlands Dark and Days Bewitched: A History of Folk Horror (2021) for Severin Films, where she is a house producer. She is currently at work on several books including a monograph about Monte Hellman’s Cockfighter.

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Best Canadian Film

Mina Shum headshot

Mina Shum

Mina Shum has directed five award-winning feature films. Double Happiness won Best First Feature at the Berlin Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Torino Film Festival. Her latest film, Meditation Park won the TIFF Film Circuit’s People Choice Award, and the San Francisco Asian American Festival’s Audience Award. She has also directed episodic television for networks including Netflix and MTV/Logo. Shum was also newly awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts from Simon Fraser University.

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Sophie Jarvis headshot

Sophie Jarvis

Sophie Jarvis is a writer and director. Her first film job was reading fan mail for The L Word. Her feature debut, Until Branches Bend, premiered at TIFF in 2022, winning “Best BC Film” at VIFF the same year. It went on to play SXSW and Locarno in 2023 and won “Prix de Soleure” at the Solothurner Filmtage. She resides on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories.

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Zoe Hopkins headshot

Zoe Hopkins

Zoe is a mother, writer, and director working in film and television in both comedy and drama. Her titles include the award-winning series Little Bird (CRAVE, APTN Lumi and PBS), for which she is nominated for Best Director, limited series, at the upcoming 2023 Director’s Guild of Canada Awards. Zoe’s award-winning feature films Kayak to Klemtu and Run Woman Run, are set in each of her home communities of Bella Bella and Six Nations.

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Best Canadian Short

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Brendan Prost

Brendan Prost is an actor turned filmmaker from Calgary, currently based between Vancouver and Toronto. His four features and more than a dozen shorts have played major international, Oscar qualifying, and queer film festivals around the world. He holds a BFA in Film from Simon Fraser University, an MFA in Film and Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and he is an alumnus of the Directors’ Lab at the Canadian Film Centre.

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Liz Cairns headshot

Liz Cairns

Liz is an award-winning filmmaker and a graduate of the Director’s Lab at the Canadian Film Centre. Her short films have played at festivals including TIFF, Interfilm Berlin, Female Eye Film Festival and VIFF, among others. Her short film The Horses is currently making its festival run, playing Palm Springs ShortFest, HollyShorts, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, and VIFF, where it won Best BC Short Film. Liz is currently in post-production for her first feature, Inedia.

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Pawan Deol

Pawan Deol (she/her) is devoted to exploring the truth that connects us all and is particularly drawn to themes of identity, belonging, and brown-ness. She believes deeply that art has the power to heal. Deol has written/produced several Leo award-winning short films. She has worked in TV/radio to bring more representative storytelling to the forefront. Currently, Deol is the Executive Director of Programming at Indian Summer. She is (re)writing her first feature.

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Emerging Canadian Director

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Charlie Hidalgo

Charlie Hidalgo is a Colombian-Canadian film curator, trans-media consultant, and an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre’s Producer Lab. He is the Artistic Director of the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, where he is committed to programming stories that shift culture and expand society’s perception of 2SLGBTQIA+ identities.

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Daniel Montgomery headshot

Dan Montgomery

Dan Montgomery is a Toronto-based film producer. In 2009 he co-founded the production company MDFF. His short and feature length films have screened at some of the world’s top festivals including: the New York Film Festival, Cannes Critics’ Week, Berlinale, Venice, Locarno, SXSW and TIFF. His most recent feature, The Maiden, premiered in competition as part of Giornate degli Autori at the 79th Venice Film Festival where it won the Cinema of the Future Award.

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Nisha Platzer headshot

Nisha Platzer

Nisha Platzer is a queer filmmaker from Vancouver. Her short film, Vaivén, won the Best Film award at aluCine Latin Film Festival and competed at Raindance, Festival Nouveau Cinéma and Ji.hlava. Nisha studied at the renowned Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión. An alumnus of IDFAcademy, and the Hot Docs Accelerator Lab, her first feature documentary, back home, was supported by Telefilm Talent to Watch and presented at the Docs-in-Progress Canadian Showcase at Cannes Film Festival.

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Vanguard Award

Clement Virgo headshot

Clement Virgo

Clement Virgo is Canada’s foremost Black film director. His recent feature Brother won 12 CSA awards and premiered at TIFF 2022. His first feature, Rude, premiered at Cannes in 1995 in Official Selection. Other films include Poor Boy’s Game (TIFF, Berlinale 2007), and Lie with Me (TIFF, Berlinale, Busan 2005). TV credits include The Wire (HBO), Monster (2022 for Ryan Murphy & NETFLIX) and OWN’s Greenleaf (2017), where he served as an EP with Oprah Winfrey. In 2015, Virgo’s six-part series The Book of Negroes opened MIPCOM and was nominated for a Peabody Award.

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Nadia Shihab

Nadia Shihab is an artist and filmmaker and the director of Echolocation, Amal’s Garden and the feature documentary Jaddoland, which was awarded five festival jury awards including the Independent Spirit Award “Truer than Fiction” award. Her films have screened internationally, and her creative practice is supported by a decade of work as a community practitioner. She is an Assistant Professor in Film in the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.

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Shaun Inouye

Shaun Inouye is the artistic director of The Cinematheque, a non-profit film institute located on the unceded, ancestral homelands of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. He holds an MA in film studies from the University of British Columbia and has published essays on Jean-Luc Godard, Harmony Korine, Ellie Epp, among others. At The Cinematheque, Inouye has programmed numerous retrospectives devoted to Canadian and international film and filmmakers.

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