STAFF

Katherine Bruce

Executive Director

A part of the Planet in Focus team from 2010-2012, Katherine was delighted to return to the festival in 2016. She has worked extensively in the arts sector as a producer in film, theatre and visual arts including the UK-based Cape Farewell – The cultural response to climate change as Development Director for Carbon 14: Climate is Culture in partnership with ROM Contemporary Culture. Katherine has an MA in Communication and Cultural Studies with a research focus on fresh water as both a commodity and a human right through the historical narrative of Toronto’s R.C. Harris Filtration Plant.

Alessandra Cannito

Programs Director

Alessandra is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Radio and Television Arts Program and joined the Planet in Focus team in 2013. Engaging audiences through art is her passion, and over the course of her 18-year career Alessandra has performed in film and theatre, and produced workshops and conferences across the country. She is a long time advocate for arts in education and co-produced the charity album Starwalkers: A Celebrity Tribute for MusiCounts. Alessandra has participated on juries and panels in Canada and abroad including Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire (Montreal), Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival (DO), and Festivale Cinemambiente (IT).

Julian Carrington

Programmer

Julian Carrington is Distribution Manager at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. He oversees the Festival’s distribution marketplace, including the Distribution Rendezvous pitch meeting program, and the Doc Shop, the Festival’s on-demand industry screening library. Julian also currently serves as a programmer with Toronto’s Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival. Previously, he acted as an associate programmer with the Toronto International Film Festival, and, from 2015 to 2017, managed the Documentary Organization of Canada’s Festival Concierge service. 

Lesley Johnson

Programmer

Lesley Johnson is a director, producer and programmer, based in Toronto and Yellowknife. She studied Film Production in York University’s MFA program, and holds degrees in wildlife and environmental sciences. Before becoming a filmmaker, she worked in community-based research in the Northwest Territories, and on studies chasing after the likes of terns and wolverines. She is the former director and programmer of the Yellowknife International Film Festival, and of a Cinema Politica chapter. Read More

Gesila Azorbo

Pre-Screener

Gesilayefa Azorbo is a Toronto-based writer, photographer and filmmaker. She has a deep interest in music, film, literature, and pop culture. She was born in Nigeria, grew up in Kenya, currently lives in Canada, and considers herself a Third Culture Kid. Her work explores themes related to music, creativity and identity.

Michael John Long

Pre-Screener

Seeking adventure and refuge in nature as a child has inspired much of Michael’s environmental education and charitable not-for-profit work.  Michael currently teaches at George Brown College, where he is also Faculty Advisor to the Sustainability Club / Green Team.  He has previously taught at York University, where he completed the Master of Environmental Studies and Master of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Hui Wang aka Jane

Pre-Screener

Hui Wang (a.k.a. Jane) is a Chinese-Canadian documentary filmmaker and researcher. A graduate of the specialized Honors BA English Program at York University, Jane has been working and living in Toronto since 2001. Literature, cinema, and nature have been her biggest passions. From 2009-2010, she studied in the Film Studies certificate program at Ryerson University. In 2015, her debut feature documentary Last Harvest had its world premiere as Planet In Focus closing night film, and later won two awards at Whistler Film Festival.

Sophia Mendizabal

Education Programs Coordinator

Sophia has a background in Art & Design and Environmental Studies.  She uses this to create an outlet for creativity through various mediums of photography, photojournalism and textile design to educate and inspire environmental and social change. A true believer in a sustainable planet, Sophia leads a zero-waste approach that has been incorporated into her works and designs.

Emily Charles-Donelson

Social Media Manager

With a double Honours Degree in Film Studies and Psychology from Carleton University, Emily is devoted to using her knowledge of media and communications to change the world for the better. Emily has been perfecting the art of online storytelling as a method to amplify the important messages of non-profits and charities in Toronto. She brings the tools and techniques of traditional digital media marketing to organizations working hard to shift our world into a new story and more sustainable planet.