Visiting Filmmakers at DOXA 2024

DOXA is proud to welcome filmmakers from Canada and beyond to this year’s festival; audiences and doc creators alike will have the chance to meet, chat with, and learn from each other throughout festival dates. Keep reading to learn more about the visiting filmmakers, including which screenings will have filmmaker Q&As!


May 2, 3, 4 & 5 | Cédric Dupire

Kings of the Wind & Electric Queens | May 2 at 7:15 PM | The Cinematheque
The Real Superstar | May 3 at 6:00 PM | The Cinematheque
We Don't Care About Music Anyway... | May 4 at 2:05 PM | VIFF Centre
Prends, Seigneur, Prends | May 5 at 11:45 AM | VIFF Centre

Cédric Dupire is also participating in an Industry event (In Conversation with Cédric Dupire) on Sunday, May 5 at 3:00 PM. More info

Cedric Dupire headshotCédric Dupire made his debut in 2005 with the award-winning Musafir (Jean Rouch Film Festival), a musical film which focuses on traditional music of the Rajasthan region (India). Most of his films explore the link between music and the environment, and envision music's magical and revolutionary power in terms of visual pleasure, political projections and metaphysical endeavors. This is illustrated in his award-winning We Don't Care About Music Anyway... (2009) which depicts the innovative and "radical" music of the underground scene in Tokyo, and in Kings of the Wind & Electric Queens, awarded at Hot Docs in 2014. Always behind the camera on his own work, Cédric has also collaborated in recent years on numerous documentary films as director of photography (Les Enfants du 209 rue Saint-Maur, 2017, by Ruth Zylberman; The Pathan Sisters, 2023, by Eléonore Boissinot, etc). These collaborations have challenged his own relationship with images and his practice of filmmaking. His latest works use visual and audio archives as the only material to recreate parallel worlds where memories, illusions and fiction question the notion of reality: Afghan Journal (2015) and The Real Superstar (2023).


May 2 | Christopher Pavsek

As Grey Falls in Shorts: An Animal Gaze | May 2 at 9:20 PM | The Cinematheque

Christopher Pavsek headshotChristopher Pavsek is a filmmaker and film scholar living in Vancouver, Canada. His films have shown at top international festivals including IDFA, the Internationale Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen, the International Film Festival Rotterdam, and the Ann Arbor Film Festival, amongst many others. He is a professor of film in the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. His academic training includes a BA in German Literature from Cornell University, a PhD in Literature from Duke University, and a Masters Degree in natural resource management and conservation from Simon Fraser University. His most recent film, As Grey Falls (2023), is a single-channel film about the Fraser River delta. His recent works focus on the transformations in the landscape of the American and Canadian west and the relationship between humans and non-human beings. His work brings together the aesthetics of landscape photography and avant-garde cinema, and increasingly he works with high-quality field recordings of the locations where he shoots. He seeks to combine his scientific training with his aesthetic training to create works of cinema that find beauty in the scientific understanding of the natural world and that encourage audiences to devote a deep attention to the places we live in common with many wild creatures.


May 3 | Rachel Epstein

The Anarchist Lunch | May 3 at 5:15 PM | VIFF Centre

Rachel Epstein headshot

Rachel Epstein grew up in a secular Jewish household imbued with politics, social justice and the music of Pete Seeger, Tom Lehrer and the Wobblies. Her work and activist life have included 10 years working with migrant domestic workers, 25 years as a 2SLGBTQ+ parenting activist and 5 years as Executive Director of a community-based secular Jewish organization. She currently works as a workshop facilitator, mediator, coach, wedding officiant and filmmaker.



May 3 | Niall Patrick McNeil and Mike McKinlay

The Originals | May 3 at 7:00 PM | VIFF Centre

Niall Patrick McNeil headshotNiall Patrick McNeil is an artist living with Downs Syndrome who has been involved with theatre from an early age through his lifelong association with the Caravan Farm Theatre. As a youngster he performed in As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet, Bull by the Horns and Strange Medicine. Niall was an ensemble member of Vancouver's Leaky Heaven Theatre's shows since its inception in 1999 under the direction of the company's founder, Steven Hill. In 2010 Niall performed in A Christmas Carol as a member of the English Acting Company of the National Arts Centre in Ottawa under the direction of Peter Hinton. Niall and Marcus Youssef have written two Jessie Richardson Theatre Award winning plays together: Peter Panties (2011, Leaky Heaven/Neworld Theatre) and King Arthur's Night (2017, Neworld Theatre). Peter Panties received a Critics Choice Innovation award, and King Arthur's Night received an award for best play by a Large Ensemble. In 2018 Niall was awarded a Certificate from Studio 58 acting school in Vancouver. Niall acted in Marie Clements short film Pilgrims in 2013, which screened at the Toronto International Film Festival and Telefilm Canada's Not Short on Talent at the Cannes Market. And in 2022, Niall worked with Marie again—both as creative collaborator and subject of the NFB documentary Lay Down Your Heart which won an audience favourite award at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Mike McKinlay headshotMike McKinlay is a multi-award winning cinematographer living and working in Vancouver, BC with over 20 years of experience. Committed to bringing quality, awareness, and global thinking into all aspects of his productions, Mike has carved out a respectable niche in the Canadian documentary scene—taking part in some of the top documentary stories spanning the west coast.



May 3 | Myriam El Hajj

Diaries from Lebanon | May 3 at 8:45 PM | VIFF Centre

Myriam El Hajj headshotMyriam El Hajj is a Lebanese filmmaker whose first feature documentary, A Time to Rest, premiered at Visions du Réel-Nyon in 2015 and screened at several international festivals, winning multiple awards. Her second feature documentary Diaries from Lebanon is set to premiere at Berlinale Panorama in 2024. Additionally, Myriam teaches Cinema at the Lebanese Academy of Fine Arts. She’s a member of several film commissions, including the CNC and Doha Film Institute and she’s a founding member of Rawiyat-Sisters in Film, a collective of women filmmakers from the Arab world and the diaspora.


May 4 | William Brown

Cake and Death in Shorts: LAND CONTINUING / ARCHIVES OF LAND | May 4 at 3:00 PM | The Cinematheque

William Brown headshotWilliam Brown is a British filmmaker based in Vancouver, Canada, where he teaches film at the University of British Columbia. He has directed numerous no-budget films spanning fiction, documentary, video-essays and a mix of all three. He is also a film scholar who has published various books and numerous essays on film, including how it intersects with philosophy.



May 4, 5 & 6 | Gianluca Matarrese

The Zola Experience | May 4 at 11:45 AM | VIFF Centre
The Zola Experience | May 5 at 6:45 PM | The Cinematheque

Gianluca Matarrese is also participating in an Industry event (Case Study: Hybridity in Documentary) on Monday, May 6 at 4:30 PM. More info

Gianluca Matarrese headshotGianluca Matarrese was born in Torino and moved to Paris in 2002 to study cinema and theatre. In 2019 his documentary Fuori Tutto won the award for Best Italian Documentary at the Torino Film Festival. His film La dernière séance had its world premiere at the last Venice International Critics' Week, winning the Queer Lion Award. In 2021, he directed the documentary Fashion Babylon which explores the world of fashion through the lives of three artists; the film was selected for about 20 international festivals. In 2022, Matarrese directed Il Posto (ARTE/NDR), which follows unemployed nurses travelling from southern to northern Italy in search of work amidst a country grappling with a health crisis. His short film Pinned Into a Dress, co-directed with Guillaume Thomas, opened the International Critics' Week in Venice in 2022. His film The Zola Experience is an official selection at the 2024 DOXA Documentary Film Festival. He is currently preparing his ninth film, GEN_.


May 4 & 9 | Ryan Dickie

Tea Creek | May 4 at 4:15 PM | VIFF Centre
Tea Creek | May 9 at 8:45 PM | SFU Cinema

Ryan Dickie headshotRyan Dickie is an Indigenous photographer, filmmaker, director and Land Steward based in Fort Nelson, British Columbia. A descendant of the culturally strong Dene people from northern Canada, he has developed a strong desire to convey the story of his people. In its essence, the Dene have a deep and profound connection to the land they call home. It is this connection and inherent worldview that has formed the sub-structure of Ryan’s visual and documentary style. With a growing portfolio that includes both film and still imagery clients, Ryan aims to inspire others to find a deeper connection to the land, indigenous ideologies, and cultural values through each photo, film, conversation, and story. An emerging presence across a wide spectrum of media, Ryan has produced content for international and domestic brands and broadcasters including; CBC, CNN, The North Face, CBC Network, APTN, The Narwhal, Canadian Geographic, Photolife Magazine, Destination BC, Explore Canada, Travel Northern BC, First Peoples Cultural Council, Treaty 8 Tribal Association, and many more.


May 4, 6 & 11 | Shannon Walsh

Adrianne & the Castle | May 4 at 7:00 PM | The Playhouse  *OPENING NIGHT*
Adrianne & the Castle | May 11 at 1:45 PM | VIFF Centre

Shannon Walsh is also participating in two Industry events: In Conversation with Shannon Walsh on Monday, May 6 at 12:30 PM (more info), and Case Study: Hybridity in Documentary on Monday, May 6 at 4:30 PM (more info).

Shannon Walsh headshotShannon Walsh is a director and writer of multiple award-winning documentaries, on topics ranging from labour rights, to grief and climate change. Walsh's films have been theatrically released and broadcast globally, and screened in festivals such as SXSW, Hot Docs, CPH:DOX, IDFA, Doc NYC, and many others. Walsh teaches film production as an Associate Professor at UBC. She was a 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, and was awarded the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2023. Her new book, The Documentary Filmmaker's Intuition, was released in 2024, and her latest feature doc Adrianne & the Castle premiered at SXSW in March.


May 4, 5 & 7 | Pablo Alvarez-Mesa

Adrianne & the Castle | May 4 at 7:00 PM | The Playhouse  *OPENING NIGHT*
La Laguna del Soldado | May 5 at 4:30 PM | VIFF Centre
La Laguna del Soldado | May 6 at 6:30 PM | The Cinematheque

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa is also participating in an Industry event (Spotlight on Editing) on Tuesday, May 7 at 12:30 PM. More info

Pablo Alvarez-Mesa headshotPablo Alvarez-Mesa's films have played at international film festivals including Berlinale, IFFR, MoMA Doc Fortnight, Visions du Réel, and RIDM. His film Bicentenario explores Simón Bolívar's battles of Independence, and was played at the 2021 Berlinale, MoMA Doc Fortnight and Viennale, among other festivals. It earned a Jury Mention at Festival Punto de Vista in the Main Competition. Pablo is also a cinematographer and editor and is currently editing with Sofia Bohdanowicz her new feature film Opus 28. Pablo's latest film, La Laguna del Soldado (The Soldier's Lagoon), was recently awarded with The Docs in Orbit Invitation Award at the Docs in Progress showcase at Festival de Cannes. Pablo's interest in documentary lies in the relationship between facts and fiction; between what is recalled and what is inevitably constructed. His films touch in one way or another, issues of displacement, history and collective memory.


May 5 | Peter Hošták

Cold and Dark in Shorts: Storytelling Reimagined | May 5 at 1:45 PM | The Cinematheque

Peter Hostak headshotPeter Hošták is originally from Slovakia. He graduated with an MFA in Film Production from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. As a filmmaker, he is interested in experimenting with forms and materials while finding unique textures through images and sounds and blending approaches of documentary cinema and poetry.



May 5 & 9 | Cindy Mochizuki

Between Pictures: The Lens of Tamio Wakayama | May 5 at 4:15 PM | The Cinematheque
Between Pictures: The Lens of Tamio Wakayama | May 9 at 12:30 PM | SFU Cinema

Cindy Mochizuki headshotCindy Mochizuki is a visual artist and a film maker and creates multi-media installation, audio fiction, performance, animation, drawings and community-engaged projects. She has exhibited, performed and screened her work in Canada, US, Australia, and Japan. Recent exhibitions include the Nanaimo Art Gallery, Surrey Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery, Burrard Arts Foundation, Richmond Art Gallery, Frye Art Museum, and Yonago City Museum. Her most recent multi-media installations Tides & Moons: Herring Capital (12 minute animation, 2023) and Autumn Strawberry (60 minute animation, 2021) explore the labour of Japanese Canadian labourers in the industries of berry farming and herring salteries. Her artistic practice and process integrates memory work, oral histories, public archives and ephemera found in familial collections. She has received the Vancouver’s Mayor’s Arts Award in New Media and Film (2015) and has received the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts VIVA Award (2020). She has worked as a scenographer, dramaturge, and animation design for theatre and dance companies including Theatre Replacement, Little Onion Puppet Co. Lisa Mariko Gelley, Rumble Theatre/Veronique West, Sophia Wolfe, Dreamwalker Dance Company, the Arts Club and Theatre Calgary.


May 5 | Chadi Bennani

Here and There | May 5 at 4:15 PM | The Cinematheque (screening prior to Between Pictures)

Chadi Bennani headshotChadi Bennani graduated in 2022 from the UQAM’s film production program. During his studies, he directed his first short film, Nicole (2023), presented at Hot Docs 2023 as part of the Best Short Documentary competition. In 2022, he received the ACCT’s “Bourses de l’Académie pour la relève” grant. Recipient of the Regard sur Montréal film residency in 2023, Chadi directed his next short documentary film D’ici, d’ailleurs (Here and There).



May 5 | Saber Zammouri

The Wasp and the Orchid | May 5 at 2:05 PM | VIFF Centre

Saber Zammouri headshotSaber Zammouri is deeply passionate about exploring the complex relationships between France and Tunisia, with a particular focus on the dynamics of migrant movements and their impact on both societies. He delves into the cultural, social, and political dimensions of these connections through the stories of individuals navigating between these two countries. His first film, The Wasp and the Orchid, had its world premiere at IDFA 2023 and will be featured at Hot Docs and DOXA in May.



May 5 & 6 | Shiori Itō

Black Box Diaries | May 5 at 6:45 PM | VIFF Centre
Black Box Diaries | May 6 at 8:00 PM | VIFF Centre

Shiori Ito headshotShiori Itō is a journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. Her primary focus is gender-based human rights issues. For her contribution to Japan's #MeToo movement, she was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine in 2020. She was also selected for Newsweek 2019 The Most Respected Japanese 100. At the 2018 New York Festival, Shiori won a silver award for the film she directed, Lonely Death, in the Social Issues category. In 2017, she wrote the book Black Box based upon her own experience of rape. The book reveals the sexism in Japan's society and institutions and she won the Free Press Association of Japan Award for Best Journalism in 2018. Black Box is now available in ten languages, including English.


May 6 | Mustafa Uzuner

La Cancha | May 6 at 8:45 PM | The Cinematheque

Mustafa Uzuner is also participating in an Industry event (In Focus: International Sales and Distribution) on Monday, May 6 at 2:30 PM. More info

Mustafa Uzuner headshotMustafa Uzuner, a Montreal-based filmmaker, curator, producer and distributor, holds a Masters in Film Studies from Concordia University. He served as Programming Director for the !f Istanbul Independent Film Festival (2011-2018) before founding Acéphale, a boutique distribution company highlighting global contemporary cinema, Mustafa's producer credits include acclaimed films like Belonging (2019) premiered at Berlinale, Yurt (2023) premiered at Venice, and An Evening Song (for three voices) premiered at Fid Marseille in 2023. His directorial debut, La Cancha, premiered at IDFA in 2023. He also co-directed Orpheus (2023) with Malaika Shostakovich and currently works as a freelance grant reader for The Sundance Institute Documentary Fund.


May 6 | Brett Story

Union | May 6 at 5:00 PM | VIFF Centre

Brett Story headshotBrett Story is an award-winning filmmaker and writer based in Toronto. Her films have screened in theatres and festivals internationally, including at CPH:DOX, SXSW, True/False, and Sheffield Doc/Fest. She is the director of the award-winning films The Prison in Twelve Landscapes (2016) and The Hottest August (2019), and author of the book Prison Land: Mapping Carceral Power Across Neoliberal America. The Hottest August was a New York Times Critics' Pick and was called on of the ten best documentary films of 2019 by over a dozen publications, including Variety, Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. Brett has held fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Sundance Institute, and was named one of Variety's 10 Documentary Filmmakers to Watch. In 2020 she was nominated for a Cinema Eye Award for Best Director. She holds a PhD in geography and is currently an assistant professor of Media Praxis at the University of Toronto. Her most recent film, Union, co-directed with Stephen Maing, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2024.


May 7 | Matt Finlin

The Movie Man | May 7 at 6:30 PM | The Cinematheque

Matt Finlin headshotMatt Finlin is a Canadian director and producer known for his exceptional work in the film and television industry. He has gained a reputation as an award-winning documentary filmmaker and television producer with a passion for producing content for charities. Finlin has collaborated closely with several high-profile celebrities, including Eddie Vedder and Selena Gomez, in their philanthropic endeavors. He is highly respected for his dedication to social causes and is always looking for ways to use his talents to create positive change in the world. Overall, Finlin's passion for creating content that makes a difference is an inspiration to many, and his work is sure to continue captivating audiences around the world for years to come.


May 7 | Hejer Charf

Années en parenthèses 2020-2022 (Years in Brackets 2020-2022) | May 7 at 8:40 PM | The Cinematheque

Hejer Charf headshotHejer Charf is a Canadian director, screenwriter and producer of Tunisian origin. She founded Nadja Productions in Montreal in 1996. She has made several short, medium and feature-length documentaries, as well as visual installations. She has produced Victoria, a drama written, directed and performed by Anna Karina. She also produced the concerts of Anna Karina and Philippe Katerine in Québec. Hejer Charf regularly publishes articles on art and politics. Her film Années en parenthèses 2020-2022 is an official selection at the 2024 DOXA Documentary Film Festival.


May 7 | Julian Brave NoiseCat and Emily Kassie

Sugarcane | May 7 at 5:00 PM | VIFF Centre

Julian Brave NoiseCat headshotJulian Brave NoiseCat, a member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen and a descendant of the Lil’Wat Nation of Mount Currie, is a writer and filmmaker based in the Pacific Northwest. A fellow of the Center for Racial Justice at University of Michigan’s Ford School of Public Policy as well as New America and the Type Media Center, he is currently writing his first book, We Survived the Night, which will be published by Alfred A. Knopf in North America, Profile Books in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, Albin Michel in France and Aufbau Verlag in Germany. A columnist for Canada’s National Observer, his work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The New Yorker among other publications and has been recognized with numerous awards including the 2022 American Mosaic Journalism Prize, which honors “excellence in long-form, narrative or deep reporting on stories about underrepresented and/or misrepresented groups in the present American landscape.” In 2021, he was named to the TIME100 Next list of emerging leaders alongside the starting point guard of his fantasy basketball team, Luka Doncic.

Emily Kassie headshotEmily Kassie is an Emmy and Peabody-nominated investigative journalist and filmmaker. Kassie shoots, directs and reports stories on geopolitical conflict, humanitarian crises, corruption and the people caught in the crossfire. Her work for The New York Times, PBS Frontline, Netflix and others ranges from drug and weapons trafficking in the Saharan desert, to immigrant detention in the United States. In 2021, she smuggled into Taliban territory with PBS Newshour correspondent Jane Ferguson to report on their imminent siege of Kabul and targeted killing of female leaders. Her work has been honored with multiple Edward R. Murrow, National Magazine, World Press Photo and National Press Photographers awards. Her multimedia feature on the economic exploitation of the Syrian and West African refugee crises won the Overseas Press Club Award. She previously oversaw visual journalism at Highline, Huffington Post’s investigative magazine, and at The Marshall Project. Kassie was named to Forbes 30 under 30 in 2020 and is a 2023 New America fellow. Her first documentary, I Married My Family’s Killer, following couples in post-genocide Rwanda, won a Student Academy Award in 2015.


May 7 | Jennifer Wickham, Brenda Michell and Michael Toledano

Yintah | May 7 at 8:00 PM | VIFF Centre

Jennifer Wickham headshotJennifer Wickham Cas Yikh (Grizzly House) from the Gidimt’en (bear/wolf) clan of the Wet’suwet’en people. Jennifer grew up in and around Wet’suwet’en territory and has actively participated in her nation’s governance system since 2008. Jen's background is in writing and Indigenous resurgence, with a BA from the University of Victoria and an Education degree from the University of Northern British Columbia. She has worked as an educator, a mental health advocate, and a community support worker. She is a founding member of the Indigenous Life School on Wet’suwet’en territory. From 2018 to 2020, Jen worked as the Executive Director of the Witsuwit’en Language and Culture Society. Since 2018, and currently, Jen has been the Media Coordinator for the Gidimt’en Checkpoint.

Brenda Michell headshotBrenda Michell is Tsakë ze’ K-eltiy of the Unist'ot'en people of the Wet'suwet'en Nation. She has lived in the Wet'suwet'en communities of Witset and Burns Lake all her life and was groomed to participate in Wet'suwet'en governance from a young age. Brenda is trained as a Wet'suwet'en language instructor and has worked as a post-secondary education coordinator for the Lake Babine Nation Band for decades. Brenda is a grandmother of ten and this fight is about protecting the Yintah for her grandchildren. She believes that Yintah is an important way to tell her people’s story and listen to the words of her Grandmother Knedebeas who always told her children, “Don’t let no white man take my yintah.”

Michael Toledano headshotMichael Toledano is an award-winning filmmaker and photojournalist based in British Columbia Canada. His work has been published by outlets including VICE, Al Jazeera America, and Democracy Now!, and has been shown across every major Canadian television news network. He is known for vibrant, ground-level documentation of social movements ranging from Black Lives Matter to the Wet’suwet’en resistance to pipelines, which he has documented since 2014.



May 8 & 9 | Tasha Hubbard

Singing Back the Buffalo | May 8 at 5:00 PM | VIFF Centre
Singing Back the Buffalo | May 9 at 10:00 AM | SFU Cinema

Tasha Hubbard headshotDr. Tasha Hubbard is a writer, filmmaker and associate professor at the University of Alberta. She is from Peepeekisis First Nation in Treaty Four Territory and has ties to Thunderchild First Nation in Treaty Six Territory. She is also a mother to her son. Her academic research has focused on Indigenous efforts to return the buffalo to the lands and Indigenous film in North America. Her first solo writing/directing project, Two Worlds Colliding (NFB), about Saskatoon’s infamous “starlight tours,” premiered at imagineNATIVE in 2004 and won the Canada Award at the Gemini Awards in 2005. In 2017, Tasha directed the NFB-produced feature documentary Birth of a Family, about a Sixties Scoop family coming together for the first time during a holiday in Banff. It premiered at Hot Docs and landed on the top-ten audience favourites list. It also won the Audience Favourite for Feature Documentary at the Edmonton International Film Festival and the Moon Jury prize at imagineNATIVE. Her latest feature documentary, nîpawistamâsowin: We Will Stand Up, is a personal exploration of the cost of the death of Colten Boushie, which opened Hot Docs in 2019, won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Feature Documentary, and many, many awards.


May 8 | Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky

A Man Imagined | May 8 at 6:30 PM | The Cinematheque

Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky headshotThe films of Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky have screened at the Sundance, Berlin, Toronto, Locarno and Rotterdam film festivals, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art, the Musée de la Civilisation, ICA London, the Museum of the Moving Image, the Rio de Janeiro Museum of Modern Art, and Lincoln Center. They’ve won numerous awards for their work and have held fellowships at MacDowell, Yaddo and IFP. Their feature debut, Francine, starring Academy Award winner Melissa Leo, was described as “raw, intimate and observed with penetrating acuity” by The Hollywood Reporter and was selected as a New York Times Critic’s Pick. Their documentary The Patron Saints was called “one of the most powerful Canadian documentaries of recent years” by POV Magazine.

Cassidy and Shatzky also maintain an active photography practice and in 2015, the Montreal International Documentary Festival (RIDM) invited the duo to guest curate “A Photographer’s Eye: Photography and the Poetic Documentary,” a special program about the intersection of photography and documentary film, which was showcased at the Cinémathèque Québécoise. Both Cassidy and Shatzky hold an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC.


May 8 | Conor McNally

nanekawâsis | May 8 at 7:45 PM | VIFF Centre  *MID-WEEK GALA*
nanekawâsis | May 10 at 8:30 PM | SFU Cinema

Conor McNally headshotConor McNally is a filmmaker based in amiskwaciy, also known as Edmonton. Bypassing formal film training, he creates works through a process of instinct and hands-on trial and error. With an emphasis on cinematic form and texture, Conor's films explore themes of sovereignty, artistry, and identity. Conor's works have screened nationally and internationally. His films include the 40 min. experimental documentary ôtênaw (2017), following the oral storytelling of Dr. Dwayne Donald, IIKAAKIIMAAT (2019), a short documentary focusing on the life and work of Blackfoot and Dene artist, Lauren Crazybull, Very Present (2020), commissioned by the National Film Board of Canada as a reflection on isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Gift of Being Different (2023), following the work of Indigenous researcher Grant Bruno as he explores the nehiyawak relationships with autism, and I Pity the Country (2023), co-directed with Lisa Jackson and based on Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s inspired version of the classic Willie Dunn song. Additionally, Conor has directed episodes of the series Farm Crime (CBC Gem, CSA winner for Best Non-Fiction Web Series) and AMPLIFY (APTN). Conor is a father and a proud citizen of the Métis Nation of Alberta and holds a degree in Native Studies from the University of Alberta.


May 9 | Lisa Jackson

Wilfred Buck | May 9 at 7:45 PM | VIFF Centre

Lisa Jackson is also participating in an Industry event (Case Study: Hybridity in Documentary) on Monday, May 6 at 4:30 PM. More info

Lisa Jackson headshotLisa Jackson is an Anishinaabe (Aamjiwnaang) filmmaker and media artist whose work has garnered two Canadian Screen Awards, been nominated for a Webby and screened at top festivals including Sundance, Tribeca, SXSW, London BFI and Hot Docs. Her 2018 NFB VR experience Biidaaban: First Light was viewed by more than 25,000 people worldwide, while her film Indictment won Best Doc at imagineNative and is one of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's top watched documentaries. She won the 2022 Chicken & Egg Award and the 2021 DOC Vanguard Award, and has an MFA from York University. She's a member of the Indigenous Screen Office's Membership Circle and an alumna of the CFC Directors Lab and the TIFF Talent Lab and Writers Studio.


May 10 & 11 | Claire Sanford

Twig | May 10 at 6:30 PM | The Cinematheque
Twig | May 11 at 1:15 PM | SFU Cinema

Claire Sanford headshotClaire Sanford is a Canadian documentary filmmaker, cinematographer and video artist working as a two- and three- dimensional storyteller. Her practice focuses on sensorial stories exploring the natural world, human identity, and how they overlap. Originally from Texada Island on the west coast of Canada, Claire grew up immersed in nature and became versed in the quiet art of observation, a skill she brings to her everyday work. Her films and immersive installation work have been exhibited at film festivals and galleries internationally. Most recently, her first virtual reality documentary Texada, produced by the NFB and co-directed by Josephine Anderson, premiered at IDFA DocLabs (2023). Her intimate documentary Violet Gave Willingly was featured at IDFA, DOC NYC and Hot Docs, was selected as a TIFF Top 10 short and selected for the Best of Vimeo Staff Picks (2024), won the EDA Award for Best Female Directed Short at Whistler Film Festival (2022), and has been nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Her short documentary Wind Should Be Heard Not Seen was showcased at Hot Docs, DOXA, the NY Imagine Science Film Festival and the San Francisco Green Film Festival (2018). She is a fellow of filmmaking initiatives including the Redford Centre Grant Program for Environmental Storytelling, the Women Make Movies Production Assistance Program, the Catapult Film Development Program, the Hot Docs Accelerator program, the CIFF Points North Fellowship and the RIDM Talent Lab. She has been selected for pitches around the world including the Hot Docs Forum where she won the First Look Prize, CPH:DOX Science Forum, DOK.fest Munich Pitch, Asian Side of the Docs, EIDF Pitch Seoul and DMZ Docs Pitch. Claire holds a BFA in Film Production from the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver (2009). She now lives in Montreal where she is creating documentary and virtual reality work that explores and distorts anthropocentric visions of the natural world with the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the National Film Board of Canada and international partners.


May 10 | Nathalie Baird and Toby Gillies

Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying in Shorts: "Love was here... love still is" | May 10 at 12:30 PM | SFU Cinema

Nathalie Baird and Toby Gillies headshotNathalie Baird and Toby Gillies are a visual art duo from Winnipeg, Canada. For 10 years they have shared an artistic practice rooted in experiments and exploration in drawing, photography, filmmaking and community collaboration. Their projects strive to build reciprocal relationships through shared art experiences in their neighbourhood and beyond—be it locked healthcare units, city parks, or on the sea ice in the Canadian High Arctic. Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying is Nathalie and Toby's first professional film together.



May 10 | Bed Addelman and Ziya Tong

Plastic People | May 10 at 5:30 PM | SFU Cinema

Ziya Tong headshotAward-winning science journalist Ziya Tong has been sharing her passion for science, nature and technology for almost two decades. Best known as the co-host of Daily Planet, Discovery Canada’s flagship science program, she brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm to her work. In her riveting, eye opening talks Tong speaks on leadership, how to shift perspective, and the role of science and technology in society. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the World Wildlife Fund. Tong also served as host and field producer for PBS’ national primetime series, Wired Science, produced in conjunction with Wired Magazine. In Canada, Tong hosted CBC’s Emmy-nominated series ZeD, a pioneer of open-source television, for which she was nominated for a Gemini Viewer’s Choice Award. In 2019, Tong released her bestselling book The Reality Bubble. It takes readers on a journey through the hidden things that shape our lives in unexpected and sometimes dangerous ways.

Ben Addelman headshotBen Addelman makes documentary films, television, and commercials. He is the director and producer of four award-winning feature documentaries. These films have all screened in competition at major festivals including Sundance, Hot Docs, Edinburgh, Human Rights Watch NYC, Durban, Whistler and many more. His work has been broadcast on Apple TV+, Disney +, Netflix, BBC, Viceland, CBC, Sundance Channel, National Geographic, and others.



May 11 | Michael Mabbott and Lucah Rosenberg-Lee

Any Other Way: The Jackie Shane Story | May 11 at 7:00 PM | SFU Cinema  *CLOSING NIGHT*

Michael Mabbott headshotMichael Mabbott is a Toronto-based filmmaker. His first feature, The Life and Hard Times of Guy Terrifico, premiered at TIFF to popular and critical acclaim, receiving the Best Canadian First Feature award. His second directorial effort, Citizen Duane, also premiered at TIFF. His first documentary film, Music Lessons, premiered at Hot Docs.



Lucah Rosenberg-Lee headshotLucah Rosenberg-Lee is a Toronto-based filmmaker, speaker and entrepreneur. Lucah has produced and directed a variety of film projects—including Passing and For Nonna Anna—that have been screened at TIFF and the Sundance Film Festival. He specializes in both documentary and LGBTQ+ content, bringing unique stories to life from marginalized voices.




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