GIFTS’ faculty is a combination of filmmakers, media professionals and artists. In other words, they are real people working on real projects. As one student put it, “The best part of GIFTS was the mentors; they listened to us and treated us like real people, and not just kids“. Our instructors’ work can be seen on television, the big screen, on the web and in art galleries and festivals across the country.
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Independent documentary filmmaker, co-director of Fiction and Other Truths and of Forbidden Love, both Genie Award winning documentaries. Director/Writer/Co-producer of Little Sister’s vs. Big Brother, a film with a ferocious commitment to free speech.
Ben is an interdisciplinary artist, settled in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside after many long stints of migrancy and drift. Along with experimental film, he is engaged in hand book bindery, letterpress printing, writing theoretical and prose texts, performance and audio works. In the remaining time Ben, is involved with numerous collective political and artist-run culture projects. Ben’s film practice is deeply committed to process based works which deal with film as not only a support for the composition but a crucial component.
Bo was born and raised in Vancouver, and lived and worked in Israel and Montreal before returning to her hometown. A graduate of McGill University where she studied history and political philosophy, Bo went on to work in film, eventually attending Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design to study film and video. She has directed a number of her own internationally-exhibited and award-winning films. As well, she has worked with numerous other directors as, variously, cinematographer, art director and editor. Bo taught at Video In Studios before mentoring at the Gulf Island Film and Television School, and eventually joining AiCDIS.
Freelance videographer, web designer and photographer, computer animator and digital system designer. Studied at Capilano College and Concordia University.
Actor in television, film and on stage. Co-director of La Luna Productions, a Vancouver theatre company.
Writer, multi-disciplinary artist, musician and filmmaker, who has read and performed at Universities, theatres and coffeehouses at all points from Victoria to Montreal as well as at the BC Festival of the Arts as a literary delegate to the Talking Stick Aboriginal Arts Festival in Vancouver and the Word on the Street Festival in Toronto.
Chris continues to create art and music on a daily basis, and is also a workshop facilitator of community arts events, digital storytelling, art workshops with people of all ages and backgrounds, curatorial work for First Nations art shows and projects, research and writing for periodicals across Canada, project management and coordination, mixed-media productions, film, audio and video recording and editing, and more.
Chris is a member of the N’laka’pamux Nation in BC, and currently spends his time in Kamloops BC.
Chris will lead the REBEL WRITERS CAMP Story Telling Workshop. Chris has lead story telling workshops and other sessions for the Kamloops Art Gallery, School Districts 36 and 73, Nuxalk Education Society, and the Little Shuswap Indian Band among others.
Independent Filmmaker and activist who lives in Vancouver. IMPP 2001 Grad. Lover of Super 8 and the documentary film genre. Works in the industry as an Assistant Director and Editor. Currently working on a feature called Sowing the Seeds a film about Genetically Modified seeds and the farming practice of seed saving.
Writes for television, stage and film. She loves teaching scriptwriting at GIFTS. Christine has worked professionally since she was 16; that’s 17 years folks. Producer and Co-writer of a one hour CBC comedy special called HappyLand.
Born and raised in Prince George, BC. Now lives and works in Vancouver as a location sound mixer. David has been a musician, tree planter, student, and traveled on working holidays. His Dad taught him about photography and dark-rooms and his first film experience was with 16mm film and worked as an editor for a small production company. David’s Credits include many documentary and feature films, including Nettie Wild’s Fix: The Tale of An Addicted City, which was nominated for a Genie for best overall Documentary. Other credits are, Hardwood (Hubert Davis), Shipyard Lament (Andy Connors), Team Spirit (Big Red Barn), The Hunt (Dennis Allen) and The Walk (Dennis Allen).
30 years experience in film & television production, and is currently working as a dgc 1st assistant director. He spends his free time teaching film and television production and mentoring young people. His credits range from series work for Warner Bros. To indie Canadian films, from news directing to field producing, and writing & directing documentaries.
Is a documentary producer/director who got her start at the fall 1999 IMPP, then went on to associate produce the award-winning Culturejam: Hijacking Commercial Culture, among other credits. Her most recent production credits include 100% Woman, a feature for the documentary channel and life network, and Being Caribou, a co-production with the NFB. Being Caribou won a Leo award for best Documentary.
Studied physical theatre at the Evergreen Theatre School in Massachussets. A GIFTS IMPP Grad. Worked in the film industry in Vancouver. Co-created a documentary on the WTO protests in 1999, called Bye Buy World. Co-writer of a 1 hour comedy special for CBC, HappyLand.
An award-winning producer/director of documentary and feature film. He is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre for advance film study as well as Concordia University’s undergraduate film program. In 1999, Mr. Paulsson founded his company, Red Storm Productions, for which he has produced five films to date: Eve & the Fire Horse (2004), Army of One (2003), Say I Do (2002), Protection (2000), and Island of Shadows (2000). Eve & the Fire Horse won the Charles Israel Award for best screenplay in Canada given by the Writers’ Guild Of Canada. Army of One won Best Canadian Feature Documentary at Hot Docs, and was released theatrically across Canada in the spring of 2004. It was produced for the BBC and CBC. Island of Shadows, a one-hour documentary produced for CTV, won a Gemini Award and three Leo Awards including Best Director for Mr. Paulsson’s directorial work. Protection, a multiple award-winning theatrical feature directed by Bruce Spangler, won many accolades including the Vancouver Film Critics Award for Best Canadian Indie Feature, Best First Feature at the Victoria Film festival, and the Silver Platter at the Figueira da Foz Film Festival in Portugal. Say I Do, a one-hour documentary produced for CTV, premiered Hot Docs 2003.
PhD English Literature, freelance script writer, former lecturer at UBC, script reader for Telefilm Canada. Producer of the Gulf Islands Poetry Festival.
National film board 1978-2004. Produced, directed and/or edited in excess of one hundred productions. Other: animated films, short dramas, documentaries, interactive projects for the web & cd-rom, and theatrical feature films. Producing credits include award winning productions for children: Sticks and Stones, In Other Words, Flipping the World, Drugs Through a Blue Lens, Pocket Desert, Confessions of a Snake Killer, and Burns Bog A Road Runs Through It.
Studied Fine Arts at NSCAD, McGill and Belles Arts. She was co-director of the internationally acclaimed, and Genie winning documentary, Bones of the Forest, and Open Season (co-directed with Velcrow Ripper). She has been making films for over ten years; her short experimental films and videos have toured internationally. She is currently teaching at the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.
James is from the geographical centre of British Columbia – a small town where the cows outnumber the people. James got his start in film and video 6 years ago at this very school completing the IMPP program. Since then, James has worked on a number of video and film documentaries ranging from expedition river rafting to Youth-at-Risk wilderness programs. James has worked as an associate instructor at Indiana University and, most recently, as a GIFTS mentor instructing students in video production. He is currently in the final stages of writing his thesis – a study of narrative in video games.
Completed her M.A. in Communication Studies at Simon Fraser University in 1992. Her thesis and M.A. video documentary project examined representations of “race” and gender in theatre. She lives on Galiano Island and watches way less TV now than she did while growing up in the shadow of Detroit.
A California native, Jeanne attended UCLA and completed a B.A. in World Arts and Cultures before getting her M.F.A. in Film and Television Production. She fell in love with Vancouver while hanging out on the set of a Kathryn Hepburn movie, Laura Lansing Slept Here directed by George Schaefer, her UCLA advisor. Starting as a trailer editor in LA, she moved into editing documentaries and dramas after relocating to Vancouver and has edited shows that range from Breaker High and Pretty Boys to a two-part series on Tibetan Medicine. In addition to editing, she has post-supervised many television series and most recently, the documentary feature, The Corporation.
Jennifer Abbott is a documentary maker, cultural activist and editor with a particular interest in producing media that shifts perspectives on problematic social norms and practices. In addition to co-directing and editing The Corporation, she produced, directed and edited A Cow at My Table, a feature documentary about meat, culture and animals, which won 8 international awards. Her work includes the experimental short and video installation about interracial relationships, Skinned, which toured North America and Europe, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art. She is editor and contributing writer for the book, Making Video In: the Contested Ground of Alternative Video on the West Coast. She lives on Galiano island.
Jenny is originally from Vancouver, BC and now lives on Galiano Island, BC. She graduated from the Columbia Academy with a Digital/Analog Recording Arts Degree in 2000. Jenny has her own consulting company, Emagine That!, and has been with GIFTS for 5 seasons. Jenny is a multi-talented musician and singer, and likes to collect musical instruments. She has two lovely children, one crazy puppy, two kitties, and sea monkeys. She is a permanent resident of Galiano.
Independent documentary filmmaker. 15 years of writing, directing & producing docs & 3 years of drama production at Atlantis Films. Culturejam: Hijacking Commercial Culture 2001 – Gemini Nomination & Leo Award.
Born and raised in Marietta, Georgia. He incorporated his background in Chemistry and English literature to his story telling . BA/BSA Director of Photography, IATSE 669 Vancouver. MFA from USC Los Angeles. He freelanced in L.A. as a camera person and editor. His first major project was making karaoke laser disks for China at a rate of two videos a day. While in LA he worked as a DP for Turner Time Warner T.V. Instructor at VFS and Capilano College. John is also a Casi certified snowboard instructor. ~ What you don’t see is more important than what you do.
Independent film & video maker, visual artist. Works in all facets of filmmaking world from directing to editing. A GIFTS founding member, mentor, and program coordinator.
MFA in creative writing (screenplay), UBC. Wrote Atwood Unconscious, an 11-minute radio documentary on the creative process. A feature-length interview with Margaret Atwood and her new book Oryx and Crake, ran in the Vancouver Sun, Mix section, April 2003. She has published poetry in Descant, and Filling Station. She also received an Honourable Mention for entries in the 1993 E.J. Pratt Prize for Poetry.
Simon Fraser BFA grad. Her work has been shown at festivals in Seattle, Palm Springs, San Fransisco, MontrÃ©al, New York and Vancouver.
GIFTS alumni, mountaineer, RainCoast Conservation Society Board Member. Winning over a dozen awards in film festivals across North America, Leanne Allison’s first film, Being Caribou, chronicles the epic 5-month journey she and her husband, biologist/writer, Karsten Heuer made as they migrated on foot with a herd of 120,000 caribou from central Yukon to the Alaska coast and back.
Chalmer’s Award winner for A Line In the Sand. Wrote Mr. Bill for the CBC. Plays produced across the country. Workshops in dozens of BC schools. Resident director, Vancouver Youth Theatre.
Maryanne Charney is an experimental filmmaker from Winnipeg, now living in Vancouver. An IMPP 2002 grad, her award-winning experimental Super 8 film “Normal” has screened internationally. She is currently working on an experimental opera on crows.
Michael A. Mann has worked as a director in animation since 2001. Graduating from Vancouver Film School’s Classical Animation Program, he went on to create an award-winning animated short film featured on CBC’s Zed TV. Since then, he has worked with national clients such as Stratford Festival of Canada, partnering with the theatre company to make youth-accessible animated adaptations of Shakespeare plays. He created animated PSAs for Health Canada and other clients, targeting youth to quit smoking, climate action, conflict resolution in the Middle East. In 2007, he designed and directed animated segments for the VIFF audience choice award-winning documentary film, She’s A Boy I Knew. In 2008, he completed an animated short for the Vanoc 2010, promoting arts and culture at the Cultural Olympiad. He most recently was awarded a BravoFact grant to create a music video in collaboration with Delhi 2 Dublin, a hybrid music group that combines Punjabi and Celtic music and dance. He completed the short on time and on budget. As well as directing and producing animations, for the last five years Michael has taught animation to children, teens and college students through the Gulf Island Film and Television School, Access to Media Education Society, the Creative Peace Network and Emily Carr University.
Michelle Morris received a Bachelors of Fine Arts from York University in Film Production. She has worked in the film and television industry for 15 years. She has worked throughout Canada and internationally as an Assistant Director for all the major film studios, and has directed 2nd Units for TV series. Selections from her body of work include: The Santa Clause (Disney), A Map Of The World (Kennedy/Marshall), Mimic (Miramax), The War Next Door (Universal/USA Network), Strange Justice (Paramount), Kung Fu: The Legend Continues (Warner Bros.), and Secret Service (20th Century Fox).
Award winning documentary filmmaker. Won: Genie Award for A Place Called Chiapas; the People’s Choice Award from the Berlin Film Festival for A Rustling of Leaves; The Most Popular Canadian Feature at the Vancouver International Film Festival for Blockade; Genie Award for Best Documentary Film for Fix: The Tale of an Addicted City, 2003.
Nick Middleton is an award-winning independent filmmaker, educator, and digital media strategist currently based out of British Columbia, Canada. Middleton is the owner of Reel Rising Productions Inc.
, an independent production and consulting company specializing in documentaries and new media solutions. His latest film, Be The Media
, is a compelling documentary that examines the true state of Canadaâ€™s highly concentrated media landscape and showcases the vital role of local independent media production.
Middleton is also the Co-Director of the Gulf Islands Film and Television School (GIFTS), Canadaâ€™s renowned indie-film school. After leaving a career in technical support with Shaw Communications and previously Microsoft Corp, Middleton joined GIFTS in 2002 as GIFTS Technical Director and soon after was responsible for overseeing 200 student film productions each year as GIFTS Session Manager. Then in 2007, Middleton helped reposition the school as a leading educational force as their Marketing and Communications Director. Today, as GIFTS Co-Director, Middleton is focused on designing innovative curriculum to empower aspiring media-makers. He has setup unique partnerships and social media campaigns with organizations such as the First Nations Education Steering Committee, the Ministry of Education, and BC Hydro. Recently, he designed and launched GIFTSnet, an online social network for the GIFTS community, and has since been determined to introduce a new media and social media training component to all of GIFTS programs.
Since 2009, Middleton has also been working alongside Asita Informatica, a leader in secure global â€˜new mediaâ€™ communications platforms, and their subsidiary, Heart In Action Enterprise, to produce live multicast events for a global online audience. His recent events include Open Mediaâ€™s Fresh Media and Save Our Net conferences, FNESCâ€™s Aboriginal Educational Conference, and GIFTSâ€™ annual Eyelens Film, Video, and Animation Festival.
Middleton is an outspoken advocate of local, independent, and alternative media production. He is inspired by the incredible potential of online organizing and communication and believes new online distribution and publishing platforms are helping to democratize Canadaâ€™s media landscape.
A founding member of GIFTS, Peter has produced and directed numerous documentaries and dramas in Canada, Africa, the Philippines, Japan, Papua New Guinea and the Czech Republic.
Pia Massie’s work includes films and videos, installations and sculpture. Her work has been shown in museums and galleries, at festivals and on TV in North America and Europe. She has received the American Filmmakers Institute’s Independent Filmmakers Award, the Prix Saint Gervais and the Experimental Narrative Award at the Atlanta International Film and Video Festival. Artist residencies include “Telling Stories, Telling Tales” at the Banff Centre for the Arts and “Foret Frontiere” with the Boreal Multimedia Collective. Current and previous teaching positions include Massachusetts College of Art, Gulf Islands Film and Television School, Rhode Island School of Design, Bennington College, as well as five semesters at Parsons.
Richard Reeves produces some of Canadian cinema’s most accomplished animated imagery and he does it all by hand. He is an animator excelling in the Camera-less technique, where animated images and sound are created by scratching directly onto film. He is the Production Coordinator of the Quickdraw Animation Society.
He instructs on how to make camera-less animated films. He has won many awards, and many are familiar with the animated short film Linear Dreams 1997, 35mm. Other camera-less animations include: Element of Light 2004, 35 mm. Sea Song 1999, 35 mm. Zig Zag 1994, 35mm. Garbanzo 1992, 16mm. Major Rebouf 1992 16mm cel animation/+500 page flipbook. Story from the Stone 1991, 1 minute 16mm pastel on paper.
Reeves is deeply devoted to his craft, as anyone involved in camera-less animation would have to be. Richard is currently working on a camera-less IMAX film.
Award-winning film and TV producer, director and writer. Her credits include the TV show, Aboriginal Voices and the documentary, No Surrender. She lives on Pender Island where she has been raising two daughters, writing screenplays and acting on stage. Currently in production on Kathleen’s Closet.
Award winning video & film producer, experienced technician. Currently studying at Concordia University.
Visual effects animator and projections designer, award-winning sound designer; studied Digital Video Effects at Vancouver Film School, Animation at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, and Graphic Design, cartooning at the Academy of Fine Arts in Liege, Belgium.
Artisitic Producer/Founder of Free Spirit Expressions. With 12 years experience as an independent Producer, Camera Operator and Editor, Tracie has been actively involved in partnering and contracting with First Nations communities, grassroots organizations, and film festivals, to mention a few. Her career started from a Video Production Training Program, and as a Producer in Training, our documentary aired within 6 months on the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network.
For the past 8 years, Tracie’s focus has been on Aboriginal youth as a Filmmaker Mentor. She has been involved with many film festivals, youth conferences, and community events as a workshop facilitator in Canada and the US, and most recently, has been contracted for the last 3 years with the American Indian Film Institute based out of San Francisco. The Tribal Touring Program is a 10-day filmmaking video production program in which we assist and guide youth between the ages of 11 to 17 in creating their films. From scriptwriting to editing, they involved in the entire process and train the youth in the use of all necessary computer software and hardware, digital video/high def cameras, sound gear and lights/grip equipment.
Vanessa Kwan is a media and performance artist from St. John’s Newfoundland, who lives in Vancouver. An Emily Carr Institute of Design Grad, her films and installations have appeared across Canada. In 2002, she won the Gerry Brunet Memorial Award for Best Short Video at the Queer Film Festival in Vancouver, BC.
Cofounder of GIFTS; is a Genie Award winning filmmaker, writer, web artist, and sound designer. He has won over twenty awards for his work in film and TV. Open Season (TVO and CBC), and the multi-award winning non-fiction feature, Bones of the Forest. Most recently, Scared Sacred has won Jury Prize at the Toronto International Film Festival 2004 and was released internationally in 2005. Velcrow has also won several web design awards including Best of The Web from NetGuide Magazine.
Award-winning independent filmmaker, GIFTS alumni, and Capilano College film studies grad. When Vern isn’t teaching video production at GIFTS, he can be found working in the film and television industry in Vancouver.
Zoe is an experimental filmmaker who lives in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. A former GIFTS grad, she is now studying at Emily Carr Institute of Design. When she is not making films, she performs with the Carnival Band.
Zoe Hopkins graduated from Ryerson Polytechnic University with a B.A.A. in Film Studies in 1997. She wrote her first script draft in 1996, and started over five years later. She has been an actress, appearing in many roles for feature film, television and for the stage. She has worked in Canada’s film and television industry as a writer, director and 1st assistant director and as an editor. Zoe has worked at the CBC and Aboriginal Peoples Network (APTN) doing research and interviews. In four years, Zoe went from working as a PA/Researcher to Sr. producer of a 13 part documentary series about Aboriginal youth. She also directed 26 episodes of a children’s television series. She has been at G.I.F.T.S for four years, and has taken writing and short film workshops at the Sundance Film festival. She received a grant from the Canada Council. Zoe’s writings have been short-listed for the Signature Shorts series and for the Sundance Institute’s Feature Film Program.
Zsolt SÃ¡ndor is a filmmaker, born and raised in Budapest, Hungary. After studying theatre and film at the University of Victoria and Concordia University in Montreal, he spent 3 years exploring the Canadian film industry in Toronto, coming to some unpleasant conclusions. Fast forward to the West Coast, where Zsolt is now happily working as a director, DOP and editor in Victoria, involved in docs, shorts, television and corporate productions. Zsolt has been an instructor at the Gulf Islands Film and Television School for 6 years and has recently led a group of filmmaking students to the Caribbean. When not playing with film and video cameras, he can be found on local stages strumming his signature brand of “acousto-ska”, serving on the board of directors for MediaNet, Victoria’s video artists’ cooperative, as well as Open Cinema, an organization dedicated to nurturing community discussion by screening socially relevant documentaries.