Life After York
Our alumni that have secured teaching positions are Sama Waham (U of Buffalo), Kyath Battie (U of Regina), Nicolás Pereda (Rutgers U), Simone Rapisarda (Simon Fraser U), Rafal Sokolowski (Ohio U), Tony Lau (U of Windsor), Marcia Connolly (NSCADU), Noé Rodriguez (Simon Fraser U), Kim Nelson (Windsor U), Igor Drljača (UBC), Jean Desormeaux (Sheridan College), Brian Stockton (U of Regina), David Harris (McMaster U), Glenn Wood (Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.).
Other York grads have secured full-time employment in film industry/film community organizations, and/or founded their own production companies including Boaz Beeri (Sandbox/La Boite a Film), Sinara Roza (Alu Cine), Matthew Miller (Zapruder Films), Chris Gehman (Vtape), Aube Giroux (LONG TIME AGO Greenpeace AV), Aram Collier (ReelAsian), David Ridgen (CBC), Karam al Masri (OMDC), and Vicki Lean (Crave).
Karam al Masri
Some grads have gone on to research-creation PhDs, fellowships and residencies, including Jorge Lozano (York), Kami Chisholm (Osgoode), Alexis Mitchell & Sharlene Bamboat (Stuttgart), Meghan Greeley (Tarragon Theatre), and Tyler Tesolin (Victoria University, NZ).
Alexis Mitchell and Sharlene Bamboat
Many premiered new works on the world stage, including: Chelsea McMullen and Matthew Johnson (Sundance), Kazik Radwanski (TIFF), Igor Drljaca (Locarno), Luo Li (Rotterdam), Nicolás Pereda (Berlin), Alison Duke (AGO), Kim Barr (Calgary), Jorge Lozano (Ryerson Image Centre), Alexis Mitchell (Bangalore), Geoff Pugen (Nuit Blanche), Adonay Guerrero (Imaginative), Simone Rapisarda (Venice). Antoine Bourges (VIFF) Aram Collier (REEL ASIAN), Atefeh Khademolreza (TIRGAN), Tracy German (Wild Archeology).
Meelad Moaphi’s thesis film Worth just picked up the Air Canada Best Short Film award at the Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival and Best Film, Best Director, and Best Cinematography in the Canadian shorts category at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival. One film—two festivals—four awards.Amit Brewer (MFA 2018) is currently enrolled in the Doctoral programs for Screen Cultures and Curatorial Studies at Queens U.
Alumni Tess Girard is a Historica Canada collaborator for Heritage Minutes, in community consultation, historical research, and concept development. Marnie Parrell is a Métis filmmaker, writer, artist and maker. In addition to receiving several awards, grants and fellowships her films and videos have screened at festivals, galleries and events from Dawson City, Yukon to Melbourne, Australia. Parrell’s work in wearable electronics, traditional crafts and found objects/art continues her interest in bridging the gaps between high and low tech. Parrell’s films are available through V tape. marnieparrell.com
Mary J. Daniel completed her MFA at York University in 2006. Pieces of her recent anthology of short poetic films and videos, Pictures of Things That Aren't There, were featured in curated programs at the Kassel Documentary Festival and the Anthology Film Archives in New York City.
After graduating in 2015, Rainer Bello
worked with Amnon Buchbinder on the interactive website, Biology of Story
. Reiner’s now with York’s AMPD computing, assisting with video production for e-learning.
Francisca Duran is a Chilean Canadian experimental media artist who creates films, video installation, and 2D, photo-based, mixed-media works about history, memory and violence. Duran has exhibited internationally at film festivals and venues including Edinburgh International Film Festival, International Film Festival at Rotterdam, HotDocs, Arkipel, Images Festival, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Los Angeles Film Forum, John Hansard Gallery and Gallery 44. franciduran.artFranci writes: “The York MFA program was crucial to my media art practice. I applied as a way of returning to practice in my mid-30’s after having two kids and while running a full-service graphic design studio. I graduated in 2007 and continue to make experimental works that have screened in festivals and galleries nationally and internationally.”
Grad Film MFA alum Tracy German is a Haudenosaunee / Dakota filmmaker and Producer/Director/Writer on Wild Archeology—the first series to be versioned to the Dakota language.
completed a large-scale installation called Transmissions. Her short IMAX film Lichen
opening on night of Images festival. (lisajackson.ca
Since graduating in 2010 Coral Aiken
has been a working producer in Toronto and started her own company 5 years ago, Aiken Heart Films, to develop their own slate as a creative producer which have screened in Cannes Cinefondation, at TIFF, and all over the world. Coral completing post on their first international co-production by director Valerie Buhagiar, and continues to participate in the community, teaching at LIFT where Coral was the previous Education Coordinator. aikenheartfilms.com
At York, Vladimir Paskaljevic made short feature that won a TFCA award, Absence Is Present (2015) and Thesis Award. After York, he taught film production-related courses at University of New Brunswick, Toronto Film School, Lakehead University and York University (Screenwriting and Editing + Intro to Production) as well as Screenwriting at WLU.
Vladimir is making a documentary on revisionism and negationism of the Holocaust and its consequences for society in Eastern Europe, particularly ex-Yugoslavian states, and developing a feature screenplay on Jasenovac concentration camp based on several memoir books.
\ (MFA 2016) made several short films that have been showcased in some festivals around the world. Her works focus on issues of gender, identity politics and immigration experience. Her characters live in the margins of society and search for a better life and place in the world. Her latest work is the narrative film A Celebration (2019), which is funded by Toronto Art Council, and along with her previous film, Roj Means Sun (2016), are part of a coming of age trilogy. Masha is currently working on a 15-minute dramatic short film entitled Ahu, funded by Ontario Art Council and set in Toronto: vimeo.com
Catherine Mondragon–MFA Film–lives in Edmonton, Alberta with a production company as a script writer, currently co-producing a film project about a hempery in Alberta and the influence of the Ringing Cedars of Russia. Since graduating she’s taught film at Sheridan College and worked in social media, utilizing her MFA in film production to introduce students to ethnographic filmmaking. Writing and posting led to the role that she now occupies, getting paid full-time, to write all day.
Zdravko Jovanovic has been working in theaters, mostly in Europe, and writing. He’s also been teaching film and video, as well as Art, Art History, and Film Studies around the Globe. Currently he is focused on traveling, networking, working on various projects. At the moment, Netflix has approached him to do a 12-episode series based on Zodiac signs.
) writes: “My MFA thesis film A LATE THAW (2015) premiered at the Calgary Film Festival, screened at festivals, won awards at the Vancouver Island Short Film Festival and received great reviews. In 2016, I received a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts to write a feature length screenplay Blestemat (Cursed) which included travelling to Romania for research. Doing the MFA program made me a better screenwriter and filmmaker. The MFA itself helps for applying for other jobs in the industry.”
Since successfully completing his MFA back in September 2018, Adrien Benson been submitting his thesis film to film festivals in the hopes of getting it in front of as many audience members as possible. He’s begun work on a feature film version of his thesis, which he intends to shoot in the coming year or two. Furthermore, Adrien’s in the process of applying for work in the film industry in whatever capacity that allows him to be creative. He says: “While I’ve only just started my journey, I honestly feel like the MFA program gave me the tools and confidence necessary to launch my career in this business of show.”
Sibel Guvenc, MFA 2019, director, writer, producer at Kybele Films started submitting her finished masters thesis film “End of the Rope” to festivals. Her psychological thriller drama feature, Eyes of Dreams, was selected to 2019 Female Eye Film Festival Live Pitch. She is currently writing an environmentalist drama feature, working title “Loya”, and developing a children’s web series, "Volt Town–Tech Bites”.
In 2013 Raha Shirazi moved to Italy, to make a short film which premiered at TIFF 2014. She opened a production company under the name of Doppio Nodo Double bind with director Michelangelo Frammartino, and producer Marco Serrecchia. Raha’s finished filming their first project as a company just two weeks ago, which is Michelangelo's third feature film, a co-production between Italy, France and Germany as the executive producer on this project and is also developing her own feature film.
Since graduation, Kathleen Mullen has written and directed the short films you wash my skin with sunshine, Sleep Lines, and Still Life with Butterfly. Her award-winning mid-length documentary Breathtaking screened internationally and won the Audience Award at the Canadian Labour International Film Festival. She recently completed Button OUT!, a stop-motion animation based on the collection of buttons at the The ArQuives: Canada's LGTBQ2+ Archives, completed the 7-month Cultural Leadership program at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and also working on contracts at festivals.
Jeff Watson (MFA Film) is an award winning artist, designer, and Assistant Professor of Interactive Media and Games at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts. His work investigates how game design, pervasive computing, and social media can enable new forms of storytelling, participation, and learning. He is a Director at the Situation Lab, a design research laboratory cross-sited at USC and OCAD University, and is an associate faculty member at the USC Game Innovation Lab.
Born with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, James Dunnison naturally ended up in the film industry. Dunnison’s feature debut Stuff enjoyed international critical acclaim. He also directed the TV pilot and six additional episodes of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, 14 episodes of HBO Canada’s critical darling Less Than Kind and eight episodes of the SyFy/Space series Bitten. Among his other TV credits are episodes of Carter, The Listener, Lost Girl, Seed, Arctic Air, Blood Ties, Whistler, Godiva’s and Robson Arms. Known for his positive on-set energy and for getting the best out of cast and crew alike, Dunnison has received numerous awards and nominations for directing both comedy and drama. As a creator, he currently has three TV series in development. He speaks fluent French, and his travelwriting and photography have appeared in a variety of publications, from specialty magazines to the Los Angeles Times.
In 2014, Caitlin Fryers became the first Canadian to win the Sir Peter Ustinov Award from the International Emmys for her pilot script, Fealty. She is now represented by Meridian Artists.
short drama TICK TOCK (2018) screened as LA Shorts, Awareness Festival, Toronto Shorts International Film Festival, Workers Unite Film Festival, Canada Shorts, winning awards in Toronto at Canada Shorts. His FINDING THE RESTORATIVE NARRATIVE (2015) is part of Amnon Buchbinder’s interactive website Biology of Story (www.biologyofstory.com
David Ridgen CBC radio show “Someone Knows Something,/em>” is currently being adapted for TV.
MA Cinema & Media Studies
PhD Cinema & Media Studies
Jacqueline Ristola is a PhD candidate in Film and Moving Image Studies at Concordia University, Montreal. She received her master’s degree in Cinema and Media studies from York University in 2017, where she also received a Graduate Diploma in Asian Studies from the York Centre for Asian Research. Her research areas include animation/anime studies, media industry studies, and queer theory. Her work is published in Animation Studies Online Journal, where she was awarded the inaugural Maureen Furniss Student Essay Award. She is currently a co-editor of a forthcoming issue on LGBTQ Animation for Synoptique: An Online Journal of Film and Moving Image Studies, and also has a forthcoming chapter in the edited collection Representation in Steven Universe (Palgrave 2020).