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. She also serves on the steering committee of CREW Toronto (Community Resilience to Extreme Weather), the Advisory Committee for Youth Unstoppable and on the board of the international Green Film Network.
Alessandra is a graduate of Toronto Metropolitan University’s Radio and Television Arts Program and joined the Planet in Focus team in 2013. Engaging audiences through art is her passion, over the past two decades 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 in juries and on panels across North America and Europe including Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire in Montreal, Festivale FReDD in Toulouse, Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival, CinemAmbiente in Turin and One World Media Awards in London. Alessandra also serves on the Green Film Network International Awards Committee, FACTOR Canada Awards Jury and the EcoSchools Canada Young Reporters for the Environment Jury.
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.
Pre-Screener & Box Office Manager
Hui Wang (a.k.a. Jane) is an award-winning Toronto-based documentary filmmaker with a passion for observational storytelling. She is also a skilled freelance content researcher specializing in China-related documentary film projects. Born in Wuhan, Wang has been working and living in Canada since 2001 and is a graduate of the Honours BA English program at York University. Literature, cinema, and nature have been her biggest passions. She studied in the Film Studies certificate program at Toronto Metropolitan University before returning to China to film her debut feature-length documentary LAST HARVEST, which won the Tokyo TV Forum Award at the 2012 CNEX Chinese Documentary Forum in Taiwan. Read More
Michael John Long
Seeking adventure and refuge in the lakes and forests of the Simcoes and Muskokas as a child has inspired much of Michael’s environmental education and documentary work. Michael teaches Geography and Sustainability as a Contract Faculty Professor at George Brown College (GBC) where he is also the Faculty Advisor to the student Sustainability Squad. Michael has published book chapters, articles, open educational resources, and interviews about the environment, documentary film and education. Read more
Ron is a graduate of the University of Toronto, with a degree in Cinema Studies and Urban Studies. His academic and professional work is located at the intersections of visual arts and cultural geography. Besides his work at Planet in Focus, Ron is a programmer for JAYU’s Human Rights Film Festival and the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival. He is pursuing an M.A. in Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
Gabrielle K. Aguilar
Gabrielle K. Aguilar is a New Media & Digital Culture researcher at the University of Amsterdam and graduate of the University of Edinburgh where she completed a Master’s Degree in Design & Digital Media. Her research interests bridge across media studies and environmental humanities to study how media technologies facilitate our conceptions of the natural world. Gabrielle acts as the Head of Research and Education at the UvA Green Office where she is responsible for building and maintaining an active interdisciplinary research community.
Nicole holds a degree in Urban and Environmental Studies from the University of Toronto, where she developed a passion for understanding how people connect with the spaces around them. Nicole is particularly interested in the environmental aspects of Planet in Focus’ work and is dedicated to supporting the organization’s mission. Outside of her work with Planet in Focus, Nicole is also involved in the Water Management sector at the Region of Peel. In her free time, she hosts an annual Eco Fair through Green Neighbours Network and Transition Toronto, where she shares her knowledge and enthusiasm for sustainability with others.
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.
Neil Lordson Tangcuangco
Neil is an undergraduate student at Toronto Metropolitan University pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Industries. With a strong love for the performing arts and media production, Neil aims to use his creative abilities to serve these communities by creating purpose-driven art. Upon moving to Toronto, Neil discovered his passion for dance and choreography and has since developed his experience within the Toronto dance community. Currently, he is the Creative Director of the competitive dance team UHHU.