Born and raised in Toronto, Samuel Kiehoon Lee spent the last 12 years living in Seoul where he shot the feature film GYOPO (2019). He is currently in the process of developing his thesis project HALLWAY (2020) for his MFA at York University. What are these films about? Find him and ask him. Lee is also a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s director’s lab and you may find his numerous award-winning short films and music videos online. vimeo.com/samuelkiehoonlee; IG: @gyopo_films_art
A perpetual asker of big questions, Cailleah Scott-Grimes works on either side of the camera, seeking to shed a little light on the human experience. She holds a BA in East Asian Studies and Visual Studies from the University of Toronto, and her films have appeared on Air Canada, Cinema Politica, and Bell TV. Moving between documentary and fiction, she hunts for intimate stories which would otherwise go untold. Her latest short doc, Mother Tongues: The Journey of Tam Goossen, is premiering at the 2019 Reel Asian Film Festival. Cailleah’s current research is based in Yamagata, Japan, where she lived from 2011-2013. Her thesis is a fictional short film exploring the nature of gender and self-representation in a cross-cultural Japanese household.
Walter Woodman is a filmmaker who is making films about computers and copyright. He is currently helping the internet write an autobiography about itself.
Nada El-Omari holds a BFA in Film Production from York University. She is currently based in Toronto working as an assistant director and writer. Of Palestinian and Egyptian origin and raised in Montreal, Quebec, her research and project interests include the intergenerational transmissions of memories, post-memory, displacement and the stories of identity through a poetic, hybrid lens.
Lizz Hodgson is a BA graduate and current Masters where she specialized in documentary filmmaking. While studying, Lizz was also commissioned to direct a feature-length documentary film on the topic of Wind Energy in Canada, produced by the Centre for Atmospheric Change. Lizz has been working as Art Director on the award-winning web series Out With Dad and performed assistant casting director duties for major Canadian television series such as Lost Girl & Bomb Girls. While Lizz is off set she works with adults with diverse abilities to help upgrade their digital media skills connecting students with pathways to employment within related fields.
Jessica Johnson graduated from Simon Fraser University in 2016 with a BFA in Film Honours and an extended minor in Archaeology. Her works tend towards experimental and contemplative approaches to landscape and space. She is pursuing an MFA at York where her research is focussed on gender, poverty and unconventional approaches to narrative. Her project Milk Rainbow is about living in poverty as a child, single parenting, and Canada's first official poverty line.
Jean-Pierre (JP) Marchant is a filmmaker whose current work combines analogue and digital filmmaking practices. After having worked for years in the defence and oil & gas industries in Ontario and Alberta he started making films at The Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta (FAVA). JP’s past work has explored themes such as the malaise of white-collar modernity, local histories, landscapes, and myths. His current work uses substantial archives of family home movies to interrogate themes such as youthfulness and glamour, migration, mobility and rootlessness, working-class respectability and Latino identity, and disappointment.
Sabrina Zhao (Ruobing) is a Chinese filmmaker and writer. She graduated from New York University Abu Dhabi where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Literature and Film. She has been creating moving-image artworks in Abu Dhabi, China, Japan, and New York. Transiting between different lands, she observes the world on the move. In this migrating process, she likes to explore the “national” and “cross-national” narratives, through the grids of gender, diasporic and historical identities. In her works, the boundary between fiction and fact is a mysterious space where the private and collective memories could merge. She is mostly known for her docu-fiction film Vicky, I and herself.
Federica Foglia is a transnational visual artist, editor and writer. She is interested in issues of immigration, displacement, assimilation, post-humanism and finding a visual language to represent these experiences. She holds a BA in Multimedia Languages and Computer Skills for humanities: History of Art, Theatre, and Cinema from the University of Naples L'Orientale and is currently attending York University to complete an MFA in Film. Her short films Exit/Entrance (2015) and Fantassút (2016) have screened and won awards at film festivals around the world, including Camerimage, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Reykjavik International Film Festival and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival. Her latest short Mix, Wildflower Seeds (2017) had its world premiere at the Anthology Film Archives–New York. She recently received the RBC Arts Access Fund Award for newcomer artists in Canada and was awarded the Premio Mediterraneo in Italy.
Karel Malkoun has always been fascinated by the undecipherable species known as human beings. By driving the viewers to simply “feel”, she believes that they can become more empathic and start noticing the magic behind an every-day detail. After graduating from Notre Dame University—Lebanon, in 2017, with a BA in Radio/TV, Karel wrote and directed two short narratives and one work-in-progress short documentary. Her short fiction “Words and Lights” was selected in many Film Festivals. She also worked as 2nd and 1st Assistant Director on two feature films, many music videos, shorts… Wanting to grow, to play with different genres and to control her overflow of ideas, her MFA thesis project will tackle the themes of identity and perception of reality.
Tamara Segura graduated with honours in Film Direction from the Cuban Higher Arts Institute. Later she specialized in Screenwriting at the International Film School of San Antonio de los Baños, an acclaimed institution founded by Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez to help diversify the globe’s cinematic landscape. Segura’s films have been awarded film prizes in Spain, Cuba, Canada, and Mexico. Her 2009 short drama Fireflies won the Martin Luther King Award of best short film of the year. Tamara has been awarded with the 2013 RBC Michelle Jackson Award to Best Emerging Female Filmmaker in Newfoundland and Labrador, for her film Before the War. Her second Canadian short film, Song for Cuba was produced by the NFB and opened the Busan International Short Film festival in Korea in 2017. Recently, Tamara has co-directed Becoming Labrador, a feature length documentary produced by the NFB that screened at the Closing Night of the Reelworld Festival 2019. Her work at the MFA Program will explore Motherhood as a social construction in the Cuban context.
Jamie Whitecrow is a self-taught artist and filmmaker from Seine River First Nation, Treaty #3, based out of Toronto, ON. She enjoys a multi-disciplinary creative practice that includes writing, visual art, music, filmmaking, and performance. She has an educational background in philosophy and Indigenous community development. She works as a coordinator at imagineNATIVE Film and Media Arts Festival for tour programming and special community projects, and is board member for the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto.
Tim Dotan earned his BFA with honours in film production at York University. He has written and directed several short films and a video art project. His recent short film Woodland focuses on depicting the interplay between a person's internal and external world. A short project he conceptualized and produced titled Try A Little Tenderness screened at over 30 festivals and won 5 awards. Tim is interested in exploring the connection between cinema and philosophy.
Nicole Alexander earned her BEd degree from the University of Manitoba and is a graduate of Chicago's Second City Sketch Comedy writing program. After being selected for Praxis in the fall of 2000 with her first screenplay, The Suicide Club, she went on to write two more features as well as a humorous book on Internet dating entitled Cyber Love Muse. After teaching in both Canada and South Asia for many years, she is now pursuing her MFA in Screenwriting where her interests include character-driven narratives, the Hero's Journey, and stories that inspire.
Allison Koopman recently finished her BFA in screenwriting at York University, but decided she was not finished learning and growing her craft. As an intersectional feminist writer, her work does not shy away from issues such as sexism, racism and the representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Currently, she is working as a story editor for an indie film production studio in Toronto while pursuing her MFA in Screenwriting/Film at York University. Her thesis project is a feminist folk-thriller miniseries that focuses on how defiance is sown and blooms within the most stifling of environments.
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.
Mark Mungo currently teaches Screenwriting at Trebas Institute, a private college. He has also both interned and worked for Vanguarde Artists Management, a top agency for writers, directors, and production workers in Canada.
MA Cinema & Media Studies
Hannah Schallert is a media and dance researcher, artist, and administrator. She holds an Honours BFA in Dance from York University, and is currently pursuing her SSHRC CGS-M funded MA research into the movement design and aesthetics of Science Fiction space battles. Hannah’s research interests include animation, experimental film, Science Fiction, media history and philosophy, and expanded understandings of the body and choreography in relation to technology. From 2015-2017 she was a member of the Sensorium Centre for Digital Arts and Technologies student caucus. Hannah’s choreography, film, and video work has been presented at festivals and galleries in Toronto, including dance: made in Canada/fait au Canada, Dancemakers/RT Collective, and Beaver Hall Gallery. She is currently a member of Immer and Roses artistic collectives.
Anthony Moss is interested in studying the changing media landscapes of YouTube. He has presented at the Spiral Film/Philosophy Conference in 2018 on the work of filmmaker, Pedro Costa. He is also an experimental filmmaker, and Criterion Collection enthusiast.
Jonathan Wright explores the experience of confusion in film viewing. I approach the topic from the field of film-philosophy, using the work of Stanley Cavell to provide both a methodology and a set of concepts for my study. In particular, Cavell’s autobiographical tendency and his overlooked concepts of intention and interest inform my exploration of being unable to ground oneself within a film’s world. Confusion, I argue, is a turning back upon oneself, and can bring about a new awareness of one’s own rubrics of evaluation. The film at issue in my current project is New Rose Hotel (Ferrera, 1998). Other interests include Emerson, Gadamer, aesthetic evaluation in film, and “aesthetic exploration.”
Thomas Wishloff earned his BEd from the University of Alberta. His current area of research involves using Taiwanese Cinema as a case study to explore the challenges faced by smaller national cinemas. His multitudinous areas of interest include: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Quebec horror films, New Hollywood Cinema of the 70s, counter-programming, representations of urban spaces in cinema, essayistic cinema, repertory theatres and their importance to communities, pedagogical uses for cinema and media studies, and elaborate hypothesizing about 'why people like things'. Thomas has been known to enjoy a good board game, and he claims to know the secret to the best popcorn in the world.
Beth Baines’ research explores performance as a liberatory practice in film. Her interdisciplinary study employs performance studies, feminist film theory and practice theory to examine performative acts of resistance in 1970s Horror films and New Hollywood cinema. She earned her BA in English Literature from Concordia University and worked for the National Music Centre in Calgary, Alberta before returning to school.
Nick White's research focuses on videogames, examining the ways in which interactive storytelling has been used to engage audiences in narrative–driven single player games and how this has contributed to their reception and adoration by fan communities. He graduated from York University with a BFA in Film Production and has continued to work as an editor and sound designer on several award-winning films alongside his graduate research.
PhD Cinema & Media Studies
Alison Humphrey plays with story across the fields of drama, digital media, and education. After starting out as an intern at Marvel Comics, she produced one of the first ever online alternate reality games for Douglas Adams’s Starship Titanic, initiated one of the earliest transmedia in-fiction blogs in a TV series, and co-created two interactive, live-animated theatre projects: Faster than Night (Toronto) and The Augmentalist (Silicon Valley). Her Vanier-CGS funded research explores how a science-fiction transmedia storyworld (shadowpox.org), co-created with theatre students on four continents, can empower youth civic engagement and public health problem-solving. The project premiered during the World Health Organization’s 70th annual assembly in Geneva, Switzerland. Website: alisonhumphrey.com.
Lia Tarachansky is a Soviet-born Israeli journalist and filmmaker. Her award-winning films range in style from investigative to experimental and focus on marginalized communities in Israel and Palestine, their struggles for justice, and the ongoing anti-colonial fight for peace. She has worked for the BBC, The Guardian, TeleSUR, and The Real News and her work can be seen on Naretiv Productions (www.naretivproductions.com). In her PhD Tarachansky will be expanding on her documentary film work by examining the Colonial Gaze in cinema and in new media. She will be researching how indigenous communities in Canada/Turtle Island and in Israel/Palestine make visible spaces that are rendered invisible by colonialism. Alongside groups challenging invisibility of indigenous spaces, she will be co-creating Augmented Reality projects to ‘return’ villages, homes, and other sites, examining the impact of making virtually visible what is physically destroyed and whether that ‘return’ can challenge colonial collective denial.
George Turnbull is an award-winning stage and screen scholar and practitioner. He is currently appointed as the President of the Graduate Film Student Association at York for 2018–2019, and is Co-Founder and Vice-President of the York University Film Society. He is also the Audio-Visual Director at a local community organization. Prior to beginning his PhD at York, he completed his BA (Honours) and MA degrees in Film and Media Studies, summa cum laude. George began his studies in cinema and theatre at the Etobicoke School of the Arts (ESA) secondary school in Toronto. Growing up as a dedicated competitive dancer, it was at ESA that George discovered his interest and passion for dance films. He now writes and publishes in this field, primarily with The Dance Current. When George is not conducting research and writing, he can be found directing films and theatrical performances, choreographing and performing dances, helping with local film festivals, and teaching.
Emily Collins has a BA in Comparative Literature and Culture from the University of Western Ontario and an MA in Arts and Culture from Maastricht University in the Netherlands. More recently, she completed an MA in Cinema and Media Studies at York University. Her SSHRC-funded interdisciplinary Masters project examined the intersection of cinematic representations of space, place and landscape with gender and feminist film strategy within the films of Agnès Varda. Emily has worked across arts and culture institutions in local and international settings, including the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity; Festival Scope in Paris; VUCAVU in Toronto; and the Toronto International Film Festival. Her areas of interest include feminist film theory, sound studies, sound in film, women filmmakers, and film festivals. Her PhD dissertation is tentatively titled “Listening for Gender: Resistant Soundscapes in Contemporary Feminist Film."
David Han is a media artist, scholar and educator whose work employs emerging technology to explore the boundaries between computation, cinema and new media. His current doctoral work examines the unique affordances of virtual reality (VR). Building upon research in media studies and cognitive science and inspired by early formalist experimentation in filmmaking, his research creation project aims to contribute to an understanding of the defining characteristics of this new medium and expand the range of possibilities for creative practice in VR.
Michael Trommer is a Toronto-based producer, sound and multi-media artist; his experimental work has been focused primarily on psychogeographical and acoustemological explorations via the use of field recordings, infra- and ultrasound, as well as multi-channel installation and expanded video techniques. He has released material on a diverse roster of international labels and has performed and exhibited his sound, video and installation work throughout North America, Europe and Asia. He currently teaches at OCAD University in Toronto.
Aaron Tucker is an Elia scholar and VISTA doctoral scholar at York University undertaking the study of the histories and cinema of facial recognition software. He is the author of two scholarly cinema studies monographs, Virtual Weaponry: The Militarized Internet in Hollywood War Films and Interfacing with the Internet in Popular Cinema (both published by Palgrave Macmillan); he has also published the novel Y: Oppenheimer, Horseman of Los Alamos (Coach House Books) as well as two books of poetry, Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchamp (Bookthug Press) and punchlines (Mansfield Press). His collaborative project, Loss Sets, translates poems into sculptures which are then 3D printed (aarontucker.ca/3-d-poems/); he is also the co-creator of The ChessBard, an app that transforms chess games into poems (chesspoetry.com). Currently, he is a guest on the Dish with One Spoon Territory, where he is a lecturer in the English department at Ryerson University, teaching creative and academic writing.
Michaela Pnacekova is an interactive creator, producer, candidate and ELIA scholar at York University. Her focus lies in the ways new media impact the real through interaction with algorithmic processes and artificial intelligence. Her first VR piece Symphony of Noise premiered at Reeperbahn Music Festival and IDFA in 2019. Until now she has created an interactive predictive policing app and produced three feature length documentaries and two short fiction films, which have been shown at DOK Leipzig, IDFA, Warsaw Film Festival, GoEast Film Festival, Montreal World Festival and more. She has received Special Mention at the Bosch Stiftung East European Co-Production Prize 2014, EWA Development Award 2017 and Golden Frog for Best Feminist Play in 2009.
Justin Baillargeon is a VR/360 filmmaker, a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship recipient and holds a B.A in Film Studies from Concordia University and a M.A. in Communication from the Université du Québec à Montréal. His doctoral research explores virtual reality, as well as 360 degrees curation and its distinct forms of spectatorship. He seeks to analyze spectator behavior and emotional involvement during various types of multi-sensory and embodied experiences whether seated, standing and room-scaled in different cultural contexts defined by commercial, educational and artistic objectives.
Claudia Sicondolfo’s research interests include film festivals, screen publics, youth and digital media cultures, decolonizing research methodologies, and affect within the creative industries. Her Vanier-CGS funded doctoral research examines educational and community outreach strategies of various Canadian digital screen institutions, collectives, and film festivals. By focusing on digital and mobile technologies and pedagogical curation tactics, she interrogates contemporary engagement discourses involving identity-based communities, youth and emergent media artists. Claudia has published in Public Journal, Senses of Cinema and various book anthologies. She has worked intimately with educational communities across Canada and has published educational companion curriculum for interactive and traditional documentaries.