BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Hannah Donegan is a documentary filmmaker, producer, and director working at Fathom Film Group in Toronto. She is currently in production on her first feature film, ‘Sugar Sisters,’ for CBC. Hannah has been part of a team that has won numerous awards for their documentary films and interactive web-docs, including ‘My Enemy, My Brother,’ which was shortlisted for an Oscar, and ‘The Defector: Escape from North Korea,’ which won the Canadian Screen Award for Best Documentary Program and a Digi Award for the Interactive. She has also produced a number of crowd-funding campaigns, raising over $100K for independent documentaries, and was a 2013 SXSW Interactive panelist on the topic. Her work in managing and cultivating social media communities is strongly focused on documentary and social justice films.
Laura Friedmann was born in Colombia and moved to Toronto in 2001. She has earned an Honours BFA specializing in media and film studies (York University), and a BEd (University of Toronto). With over 15 years of experience, Laura has honed a growing repertoire as a producer and multimedia artist. Her skills include film production, video editing, and photography. Her visual work has been featured commercially, in independent film projects and social impact initiatives. As a producer, she has led numerous creative projects, as well as managed and organized small and large scale events. Laura has traveled to over a dozen countries volunteering with a variety of not-for-profit organizations, youth empowerment programs, and grassroots film initiatives. Currently she is involved in the production of a few documentaries, web series, and short films.
Paige Goodman is a pop culture and film lover who specializes in virtual reality. Originally from Saskatoon, Paige lives in Toronto and is pursuing work in VR and film festival environments. She recently curated a VR exhibit for BFF that celebrated emerging female developers, and produced an original experience that explored the contributions of two Canadian women to the film industry. She has facilitated several VR exhibits at TIFF, as well as worked with the festival’s Industry Conference programing team. Paige holds a BFA in Drama from the University of Saskatchewan and recently graduated from MacEwan University’s Arts and Cultural Management program.
Ali Weinstein is a documentary director and producer based in Toronto. Her first feature film, Mermaids, about a group of women who strongly identify with the empowered icon of the mermaid, debuted at Hot Docs 2017 and is currently set for international release in the Spring of 2018. Ali holds an MFA in Documentary Media Studies from Ryerson University, and is an Associate Producer at Primitive Entertainment.
Olivia Wong is a filmmaker at heart but a film archivist in practice. She holds an MA in Film and Photography Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University and a BA in Communication Studies from Concordia. She currently works at Ryerson University’s Archives Special Collections preserving and digitizing their audiovisual materials. Olivia is passionate about film preservation as a means to protect significant historical assets for future generations. Having worked as a visual researcher for several documentary productions, she strongly supports repurposing archival footage in new films. She is also a member of the Film Advocacy Task Force, which organizes film workshops for middle-school youth. Their aim is to inspire youth from diverse socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds to think about careers in the film industry in order to address the current lack of diversity and inclusion in the field.
Alexandra Tse is an emerging filmmaker and advocate for the LGBTQ+, BIPOC and female filmmaking communities. Much of her current work focuses on telling stories of people from these underrepresented groups. Her latest film, Undressed, highlights the challenges for drag queens and consent as their culture moves towards media mainstream. Undressedhas been recognized at film festivals in Canada and the US. Alexandra is currently completing her final year in the Film Studies (BFA) program at Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts. Her area of specialization is cinematography and documentary filmmaking. At Ryerson, Alexandra co-founded Muses, an evolving production work group/company dedicated to representing the emerging female filmmaking community both in front of and behind the camera. As a young filmmaker, Alexandra is excited to provide an alternate perspective and ideas as a new member of the Breakthroughs Film Festival board.
Paige Murray is the Development Manager, Comedy and Drama for CBC English Television. As the key point of contact for comedy and drama submissions, Paige actively looks for new talent and projects and evaluates series pitches to fulfill CBC’s programming needs. Paige is also the programmer for Canadian Reflections, the longest running Canadian short film showcase on national broadcast television. She oversees the film acquisition, programming and scheduling strategy of this weekly show. For over six years, Paige has worked within content areas of CBC. Prior to becoming Development Manager and Reflections Programmer, Paige worked directly with the General Manager of Programming at CBC.
V.T. Nayani (pron. 9'knee) is a director, producer, and writer, dedicated to stories for the screen. She obtained her Bachelor of Journalism in Broadcasting from Ryerson University, and her M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies from York University, focused on cultural production, diaspora, and gender & feminist studies. Her first feature documentary SHADEISM: DIGGING DEEPER (2015) had its World Premiere at the 2015 Zanzibar International Film Festival, where it received a Special Jury Recognition. Nayani is an alumni of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Workshop for Diverse Creators, the Hot Docs Doc Accelerator Program, and the 2017 ReelWorld Film Festival's Emerging 20 Program. She is also a recipient of the 2017 UN Women Yvonne M. Hebert Award, given to filmmakers and other media makers, who actively work towards women's empowerment and gender equity through their chosen creative medium. Nayani is a Co-Founder and Executive Producer at 43°North Productions, a production company that she runs with her creative partners Camaro West and Simone Ince. Through their work together, they are focused on centering stories from the margins, featuring Black, Indigenous, and other people of colour. In 2018, Nayani's first feature drama, THIS PLACE, was selected as part of Telefilm Canada's inaugural Talent to Watch Program. The film is currently in pre-production, slated for a 2020 release.
Mariam Zaidi is a South Asian filmmaker and arts manager based in Toronto, Canada. Zaidi's work has been funded and supported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Arts Council, BravoFACT! Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent, and the National Film Board of Canada. Zaidi was the associate producer on multiple award-winning documentary Migrant Dreams (2017 Sydney Hillman Prize for Journalism, 2017 Hot Docs Top 10, 2018 Nominee for Donald Brittain Award for best Social/Political Documentary,) and most recently directed the short film, Over Time, which was selected for the DGC & WIFT Best Film Award at the 21st Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival. Alongside her independent film work, Zaidi has held multiple roles at local arts organizations and festivals including the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, Regent Park Film Festival, European Union Film Festival and Images Festival. She currently holds the positions of Associate Programmer at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival and Managing Director at the Toronto Animated Image Society.
VESNA ASANOVIC - Festival Design
KYLE SCHMALENBERG - Festival Videographer
JOCELYN REYNOLDS - Festival Photographer
HONORARY BOARD MEMBERS