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 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 last 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 on juries and industry panels in Canada and abroad including Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire in Montreal), Dominican Republic Environmental Film Festival in Santo Domingo, and Festivale Cinemambiente in Turin.
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
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.
Pre-Screener & Box Office Manager
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.
Pre-Screener & Photographer
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
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.
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 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. In addition to her role with Planet in Focus, 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.
Neil Lordson Tangcuangco
Neil is an undergraduate student at Ryerson 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 Ryerson.