For the past forty years, Tonya has worked in many facets of the artistic community: as a classical musician; as an actor; a director; and a producer, winning numerous awards and - since 2001 - overseeing all aspects of Reelworld. She believes that giving underserved BIPOC (Canadian Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) voices the power to tell their truth from their unique experiences is vital to creating stronger and more compassionate communities. Over the years, Tonya has initiated year-round youth and seniors programs, professional development for filmmakers, and nurtured a supportive and collaborative network for artists of colour. She splits her time between Toronto and Los Angeles.
Founder & Executive Artistic Director
Emily-Jane Williams joined the Reelworld team in 2017. She is a Toronto based arts professional with over 13 years experience in development, marketing, research writing, and program development. She holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts in both English and Sociology from the University of Toronto. Her past positions include Marketing and Development at SpringWorks Indie Theatre and Arts Festival, Marketing consultant at Cindy Tanas Actors Studio, Program Coordinator and English Teacher with the Korean Ministry of Education. Originally hailing from Trinidad and Tobago, she strongly believes in the importance of multiple narratives and diverse storytelling.
Ammar is a filmmaker and curator based in Toronto. Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, he has worked at a variety of film festivals, such as TIFF, SXSW, and Reel Asian in both Programming and Industry departments. He has a technical knowledge of filmmaking and regularly organises and teaches workshops around the city, focused on helping first-time filmmakers get started. His focus is on supporting marginalised voices so that they can tell the stories they want to, and not just the stories the world expects from them. Ammar holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto - Trinity College, with Honours in Political Science and Cinema Studies.
Kulbinder is a producer and founder of REALLIFE Pictures Inc., an award-winning production company in Toronto. Her past roles include Advancement Officer for PCHS, Executive Director for the Sikh Foundation of Canada, and Producer and fundraiser for numerous successful productions. She supports many BIPOC female filmmakers and writers, sharing her business acumen to help market film/TV projects and their creators. At Reelworld, Kulbinder is pleased to use her wealth of experience to advance the professional development of diverse artists and help connect them with potential career opportunities.
Kulbinder Saran Caldwell
Rodrigo started with Reelworld in 2003 as Marketing & Office Manager, becoming the Finance & Operations Manager in 2005, and earning his present role as Finance Manager in 2006. He is a Certified Management Accountant, and holds an MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University. As an immigrant from Argentina, Rodrigo’s work at Reelworld aligns with his passion for film as a tool to bring communities together. He is also the Associate Vice President for Marketing Strategic Initiatives & Automotive Promotional Planning at Canadian Tire.
Rodrigo Diaz Varela
Nataleah Hunter-Young is a film programmer, media artist, and PhD student in Communication and Culture at Ryerson University. She has supported festival programming for the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the Durban International Film Festival (South Africa), and Toronto Outdoor Picture Show. With a professional background in social work, Nataleah has always merged her passions for community development with her love of film and media arts. Her doctoral research explores the social and cultural impact of social media police brutality videos and their contemporary artistic representations. She has recently written for Canadian Art Magazine, the Gardiner Museum, and co-edited issue 58 of PUBLIC: Arts/Culture/Ideas.
Marina is an enterprising editor-writer who has experience as a marketing campaign manager, copywriter, and publications manager in the arts and culture industry. Her past roles include copywriter for TIFF, managing editor of publications for Tribeca Film Festival, a screening committee member for Human Rights Watch. She is currently a communications manager for Verity, a co-working space in downtown Toronto exclusively for women. Marina holds a combined Honours Bachelor Degree in Mass Communication and Political Science from Carleton University, and a Graduate Certificate in Journalism New Media from Sheridan College.
Originally from Iran, Reza Sameni is an experienced film programmer and cinematographer. Currently, Reza is a film programmer for the JAYU Human Rights Film Festival, the Canadian Sport Film Festival, and the Syria Film Festival. As a cinematographer, he has over a decade of experience with documentaries and short films that focus on human rights, injustice, and domestic violence, several of which have been screened at many international film festivals, including IDFA, Rio de Janeiro, Denver, and Rendezvous with Madness. Reza holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theatre from the Azad University of Tehran.
Ella is an award winning interdisciplinary artist, photographer, filmmaker, impact producer and creative facilitator based in Toronto. Ella’s creative practice explores themes of racialized identity, Canadian diaspora, reclamation, embodied landscapes, contemporary dance and representations of the Black female body in Western visual culture. Her work has been presented in galleries, public spaces, festivals and for broadcast across Canada, the US and Europe. In 2015, her film "Black Men Loving" won Best Canadian Film at the Caribbean Tales Film Festival and is one of the top featured artists on CBC Arts the Exhibitionists. She is the founder of Black Women Film!.
Shonna joins the Reelworld team with over 18 years of professional work experience in the arts and entertainment industry. As a Director, her work has been featured on CBC, Breakfast Television, CBC Arts and Black on Both Sides etc. She has received award recognition as an Emerging woman Director. Shonna was the Business Affairs Associate for Reelone Entertainment in Montreal, overseeing US & Canadian features and has worked for the Writers Guild of Canada and Images Life Media. Through her volunteerism and active community involvement she has worked for several film festival and youth organizations in Toronto. Currently, Shonna is the Executive Advisor/ED of BIPOC TV & Film.
Special Projects Coordinator
Winnie is a film programmer, festival coordinator and graphic designer who has worked at TIFF and Insomniac Film Festival. They are interested in sharing stories by BIPOC artists with audiences so that movie screens may reflect diverse and underrepresented experiences. They recently graduated University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science in cinema studies and neuroscience.
Solange is glad to be returning to the Reelworld Festival Film team, she is a Toronto-based producer with a background in dance and choreography. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, she is a WIFT-T member and has been accepted into the 2019 Corus Media Management Accelerator program.
Volunteer and Guest Services Coordinator
Amira de Vera is the founder of Project Four Public Relations, an Entertainment Public Relations and Management Firm based in Toronto, Canada representing some of the country’s top talents in the film, television, sports, music and lifestyle industries. Project Four PR specializes in personal publicity and management services which includes media relations, brand endorsements, charitable partnerships, red carpet attendance, and digital strategies. With over ten years of experience in the industry, Amira is well-known for her out of the box thinking and elevating her clients' brands to the next level.
Publicist - Project Four PR
Amira de Vera
Marie-Emmanuelle is a highly-motivated, enthusiastic and creative public relations practitioner with a solid foundation and passion for social media and events management. She is completing her final year at Humber College, where she is pursuing a Honours Degree in Public Relations. Marie has substantial experience creating fun, innovative and exciting social media content and has a special touch in changing the way brands connect with their audiences through campaigns and events. She joined Reelworld, eager to increase brand awareness for this home for talented Canadian BIPOC filmmakers.
Social Media Coordinator
Mei Chou is an assistant event coordinator at the Reelworld Film Festival and event marketing professional postgraduate student at George Brown College with a background in Arts performance, administration, and traditional Chinese music history. Mei has worked in the arts industry and for non-profit organizations for more than three years. She loves participating in community initiatives across different art mediums.
Born to Canadian parents of Caribbean descent, Aisha is passionate about bringing stories of the underrepresented to the forefront of our social purview. She is an actor, writer, and filmmaker who holds a BA with specialized honours in Theatre from York University. Recent Film/ TV and Theatre appearances include CBC’s “Working Moms”, “Murdoch Mysteries", and
The Canadian Premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s critically acclaimed play “The Wolves”. Aisha has just wrapped her second short film ShoeGazer, the 2018 Selection for the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee’s Film Creation Lab which she wrote, starred and co-produced. Now she is developing her first feature and overjoyed to be a new member to the Reelworld programming team.
Victoria is entering her third year at Western University, where she is pursuing an Honors Business Administration Degree. She has experience in event planning, graphic design, and project management. Victoria is passionate about helping give minority groups platforms to showcase their creativity and talent. She joined Reelworld in order to help in supporting films and filmmakers that have the power to mobilize social change.
Assistant Festival Coordinator
Nasiche Taylor is a Chartered Professional Accountant, (CPA, CMA). Nasiche completed her designation in Toronto, ON with CPA Ontario in 2015. In 2016 Nasiche completed the Professional Bookkeeping Program with the Universal Accounting Centre. Born in Toronto and raised in Western Canada, Nasiche has worked for the energy industry and government agencies and currently volunteers as a Financial Administrator for Kingdom Life Ministries in Mississauga. Nasiche enjoys adventure and biopic films. Nasiche feels that film brings us a bit closer together in this great big wonderful world, and is a great way for a story to live on long afterwards.