Meet the Planet in Focus Team
As a producer/programmer, Kuisma has worked on a slew of high-profile industry events, including the Banff World Media Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Film Festival, Toronto Screenwriting Conference, and Abu Dhabi International Film Festival.
She is thrilled to take on the role of Executive Producer of Planet in Focus and has a passion for environmental issues surrounding the health of the oceans. Canadian filmmaker Rob Stewart of SHARKWATER and REVOLUTION is her environmental hero, as is her father, Vic Kuisma, who taught her to recycle before it was cool.
To contact Dawn, please email Dawn@planetinfocus.org
Intergrated Development Manager
Magie is an award-winning comic/writer/producer born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Her formal training commenced at the University of Calgary in the BFA programme.
Her professional affiliations include ACTRA and the Playwrights Guild of Canada.
She brings over ten years of professional administration, conference & festival producing to PiF.
Her favourite film of all time, “Koyaanisqatsi”, contains a strong environmental theme.
To contact Magie, please email Magie@planetinfocus.org
Program Development Manager
Anne Mark has been with Planet in Focus for 10 years.
She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film (Screenwriting) and a Master’s in Environmental Studies, both from York University. Her Graduate work focused on the relationships between human beings and other animals, including a film entitled Animal People.
At Planet in Focus, Anne is largely responsible for public sector and foundation grant applications, as well as any other jobs as needed.
To contact Anne, please email AnneM@planetinfocus.org
Communications Consultant and Industry Day Producer
Micol has more than 18 years of experience in the entertainment industry that includes producing roles at CTV, Global TV, OMNI and CityTV. She has worked in managerial positions at Alliance Communications, ACTRA, The Academy of Canadian Cinema & TV, The National Film Board of Canada, the Banff World Television Festival and Temple Street Productions. As head of MM Publicity she has handled campaigns for diverse film, television, digital media projects and conferences. She co-produced a short film, Crust (Palm Springs Film Festival, American Cinematheque in Los Angeles) and is the writer and producer of a number of documentary films and series including Open Doors narrated by Isabella Rossellini (RTI), the award-winning short doc Billy Bishop: Canadian Maverick and the documentary feature film, Operation Oblivionnarrated by Colm Feore. She is currently working on a crossmedia project about Canada’s Experimental Lakes area.
To contact Micol, please email Micol@planetinfocus.org
Shannon Abel has worked in the film and television industry for more than 15 years.
As a Senior International Programmer at Hot Docs, Shannon curated retrospective programmes by Nick Broomfield, Heddy Honigmann, and Richard Leacock, and traveled the globe to find docs for the festival’s international sections.
At TIFF, Shannon has produced numerous industry sessions, panels, and discussions, including Telefilm Canada PITCH THIS! and an interview series featuring filmmakers/actors such as Robert Altman, Brian DePalma, Sally Potter, and Tilda Swinton.
To contact Shannon, please email Shannon@planetinfocus.org
Marc Glassman is an editor, film programmer, lecturer, writer, broadcaster, and the Artistic Director of This is Not a Reading Series, a multi-disciplinary programme that explores the creative process in literature.
Marc is the Editor-in-Chief of POV (Point of View), Canada’s leading periodical on documentary culture and Montage, the Directors Guild of Canada’s national magazine. He reviews film every week for Classical 96.3 FM.
He is an Adjunct Professor at Ryerson Univeristy’s Master of Fine Arts in Documentary Media programme.
To contact Marc, please email Marc@planetinfocus.org
Digital Content Manager
Allan is a Toronto filmmaker whose latest short, Little Mao, is enjoying an international festival run to family audiences. He is currently completing a feature documentary about amputee soccer players in west Africa that the Sundance Institute is supporting. Allan is also a film journalist for Filmmaker magazine in New York.
To contact Allan, please email Allan@planetinfocus.org.
Alessandra is a recent graduate of Ryerson University School of Media’s RTA Program, where she specialized in audio production and media business management.
With over a decade of experience in the Toronto entertainment industry as a performer, Alessandra also loves supporting her Toronto sports teams, singing the national anthem at Toronto Blue Jays games, for the National Women’s Hockey League. and the Toronto Marlies and Maple Leafs!
Alessandra takes great pride in all her charity events, including the Easter Seals Foundation, Breast Cancer Foundation, Future Possibilities, The Wings of Hope Foundation, Voices 2012 benefiting MusiCounts, and Habitat for Humanity.
When she’s not performing, Alessandra enjoys engaging audiences to new businesses as a social media manager doe multiple startups. She also enjoys coordinating events and has had involvement in the Canadian Walk of Fame, the Canadian Screen Awards, Starwalkers: A Celebrity Tribute to MusiCounts, and Crossmedia Banff.
To contact Alessandra, please email Alessandra@planetinfocus.org.
Rachael has a history with film festivals, both locally and internationally. Starting out as a volunteer, Rachael has worked in the hospitality, programming, editorial, and operational departments of festivals from the Kingston Canadian Film Festival to the Venice Biennale and TIFF.
For the past two years, Rachael focused on new media productions, primarily with Xenophile Media, where she helmed an interactive graphic novel about Susanna Moodie.
To contact Rachael, please email Rach@planetinfocus.org
Laura Di Girolamo
Sponsor and Membership Co-ordinator
Laura Di Girolamo attended York University and Seneca College and has a BA in Communications and Film Studies and a Creative Advertising diploma. Her experience lies primarily in digital, social media, and event-based marketing, and has been a community manager for various food and beverage brands. However, she has had a love for arts-based marketing ever since she interned at a museum planning firm when she was 18.
Laura is a movie and TV geek, an obscure pop culture junkie, a surveyor of Internet culture, a donwtown adventurer constantly looking for new places to eat and drink, and a lover of red lipstick, green pants, and black coffee.
She knows way too much about tea and is really good at classic Simpsons trivia, untangling wires, spelling peoples’s names, and making quinoa.
To contact Laura, please email LauraD@planetinfocus.org.
Melissa O’Neill has lived in Toronto since obtaining a Bachelors in Cinema and Media Studies from York University.
She spends most of her time following her passion and working at the film festivals of Toronto, including TIFF and Hot Docs – along with volunteering at the Images Festival and the Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery. Last year, she served as Planet in Focus’ Programming Intern, taking over pre-screening duties, helping with scheduling and was there to lead audience Q&As during the festival.
This year she’s back to contribute further to the festival’s programming as PiF’s new Programming Coordinator.
To contact Melissa, please email Melissa@planetinfocus.org.
Amanda is an avid film fan. She just graduated from the University of Toronto majoring in Cinema Studies and Human biology. She has spent most of her free time over the last 2 years volunteering with film festivals in Toronto including TIFF, Hot Docs, World Wide Short, Open Roof and 360 Screenings. When not lending time to various festivals she she writes about film for a variety of websites.
To contact Amanda, please email Amanda@planetinfocus.org.
Rachael has been studying and working in film for the last 12 years. She has worked for the Glasgow Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival in the areas of events, operations and programming. Over the last three years, Rachael co-directed the UK Green Film Festival in Glasgow; it was then that she really discovered the power film has to bring people together and to challenge, educate and inspire audiences about the key environmental issues of our time. Long live the bees!
To contact Rachael, please email RJ@planetinfocus.org.
Carla Macotela is from Mexico City but has been living in Halsingborg, Sweden for the last 3 years.
She is completing a Master’s program in Human Ecology at Lunds University and has a BA in Mass Media.
Carla has worked in the media entertainment sector as a production and direction assistant. She is very interested in environmental issues and is currently looking to mix both backgrounds. The power of media can do great things to benefit the environment.
To contact Carla, please email Carla@planetinfocus.org.
Marketing and Promotions Co-ordinator
Rachel is the Marketing & Promotions Coordinator for Planet in Focus.
She is a University of Western Ontario alumna, having studied Management and Organizational Studies, with a specialization on Global Commerce.
She followed her undergraduate degree with a year as a teaching assistant for first year business. Currently, Rachel is finishing a post-graduate certificate in Strategic Relationship Marketing at George Brown College.
To contact Rachel, please email Rachel@planetinfocus.org.
Planet in Focus “Eco Series” Producer
Zayn Jinah is a fourth year student at Ryerson University in the Radio and Television Arts Program.
He is currently producing our new upcoming web series titled “Eco Heroes”, featuring some incredible local environmental figures and your everyday people on how they contribute to saving the planet!
To contact Zayn, please email Zayn@planetinfocus.org.
Aourora was born in Albania and raised up in Greece. She has lived in Greece till last year when she took the big decision to move in Canada to study. She has already completed her Bachelor degree in Geography with a specialization in Urban Design and she also has an AutoCAD diploma. When she was in Greece she gained some experience by working as a receptionist in a Msc Computing-Interactive media production office and part time in a architecture company creating maps by using the AutoCAD program. As soon as she graduated, she decided to come in Canada to study for a course that it would be relative with her Bachelor degree but instead of that she totally switched her career by choosing to study Accounting. Accounting for her is getting interesting but at the same time and challenging. She has been enrolled as a full time student for Accounting diploma at Centennial College for the last two semesters and she has two more to complete for her graduation. At the same time she works part time on campus at the Centennial College Student Association and at the Athletic Department of her college. Her leisure time is limited but when she has, she enjoys watching movies and reading novels.
To contact Aourora, please email Aourora@planetinfocus.org.
Mariya Guzova is a Radio and Television Arts student at Ryerson University with a strong passion for film and storytelling. She is a writer and video producer with zeeBigBang, a videographer for RU Student Life, and an experienced feature film art swing and camera assist. Mariya is thrilled to be involved with Planet in Focus as a social media associate and a videographer for the festival’s opening and closing events.
To contact Mariya, please email Mariya@planetinfocus.org.
Stelios has studied landscaping design and then decided to switch career by studying journalism. This led him to work for several popular Greek television shows . Eventually, Stelios decided to change direction once again and came to Toronto in order to become a student one more time. He is currently studying Human Resources Management at Centennial College. He has been volunteering in many organizations since being 18 years old. In his spare time he likes to to read books, specifically human psychology, and also to walk around the city and discovering new places.
To contact Stelios, please email Stelios@planetinfocus.org.
Myat, pronounced as Mya with a silent T, was born in Burma, grew up in Singapore and came to Canada in 2011. She is currently doing her undergrad in Biomedical Sciences in York University, and is hoping to be a pediatrician one day. Besides studying, she enjoys watching a variety of film genres, except for horror and thrillers, and especially love watching documentaries about wild life to learn more about the lifestyles of other creatures besides humans. After all, we can’t casually stroll to any jungle and observe them up close ourselves. Being able to intern for Planet in Focus means a great deal to her and she hopes to be able to get the message of our Earth’s environmental issues across to the public and raise their awareness.
To contact Myat, please email Myat@planetinfocus.org.
Liz has joined the driven team at Planet in Focus as Communications Assistant. Elizabeth Mudenyo is a recent graduate of Ryerson University School of Image Arts’ film studies program. Her role as an executive for the Ryerson University Film Festival (RUFF 2013) in her thesis year, cemented her interest in working in the film festival circuit. With a long love of festivals and the environment, it was only a matter of time before the two were met in Planet in Focus. Through Planet in Focus 2013 she plans to keep a pulse on global and local environmental happenings. Sharkwater was one of the first documentaries to hit her on the head.
To contact Elizabeth, please email Elizabeth@planetinfocus.org.
I am an artist and an activist. I am interested in technological advances and tools used to educate others about sustainable living. I graduate this April from York University with a degree in Environmental Studies as well as a certificate in Community Arts Practice. I have a background in promoting tourism, charity events and festivals. I am currently involved in a T.V series project called, ‘Going Green for Green’. I will be co-hosting their second season in the Baha, Mexico, educating others about sustainable business practices, while addressing local and global issues. I will also assist as the Social Media Director, promoting and updating followers about the shows progress. I love watching documentary films, writing, and public speaking. I am excited to be involved with Planet in Focus this year and develop a creative project in their honor for the Eco Arts Festival. I believe that art and community is a powerful force to create social change and inspiration. In the near future, I will be launching my own company/environmental blog, ‘GreenvsBlack.com‘. I am eager to network with others and I am always up for new and challenging projects..
To contact Alana, please email Alana@planetinfocus.org.