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Industry Panel 2 – IATSE Lunch Meet and Greet

Come enjoy a light lunch and networking with some established IATSE 891 members and staff to learn more about organizing and what the union offers for its members and ways to enter the industry. Ideal for the zoom participants wanting to meet in real life.
11/12/2023 12:45pm
Vancouver Film School, School of Animation
151 West Cordova Street, Vancouver BC

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Michelle K. Sugihara and Alan Wong

Michelle K. Sugihara is the Executive Director of CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment). She is also an entertainment attorney, film producer, and adjunct professor for the Claremont Colleges’ Intercollegiate Department of Asian American Studies. She is also an associate member of Cold Tofu, the nation’s premier Asian American comedy improv and sketch group. An avid public speaker, Michelle speaks and teaches across the country on various topics including:

Representation in Media;
Women in Entertainment;
Diversity and Inclusion;
Improv for Non-Actors;
IG: @capeusa; @michsugi

Alan Wong is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary artist and creative professional. A seasoned performer of stage and screen, Alan has also worked in film and television in various technical and administrative roles behind the camera, as well as corporately for Buffalo Gal Pictures, a successful production company based in Winnipeg. He is the founder and President of FascinAsian, a film festival dedicated to celebrating the stories of the Asian diaspora in the prairies, with events in Winnipeg and Calgary. For the last three years, Alan was the Executive Director of the Gimli International Film Festival, Manitoba’s premier film festival. Besides his work in the arts, he is also an advocate for equity and fair working conditions, and serves as the council President of ACTRA Manitoba, the local branch of the union for film and television performers.

Avi Grewal and Barbara Lee

Avi is an accomplished leader in the intersection of business, arts, and film, currently working within the Media and Entertainment realm at the Royal Bank of Canada. As an executive with Canada’s largest bank, she navigates the intricate landscape of film and television production financing, collaborating with studios, animation houses, and publishing firms. Notably, Avi champions emerging producers through RBC’s BIPOC Emerging Producer Program, facilitating access to bank funding.

Her ardor for cinema and the arts is evident as Director of Films & Programming at IFFSA Toronto, the largest South Asian Film Festival in North America. Avi’s impact extends to education and innovation as a Board member at Sheridan College, a prominent Canadian institution renowned for screen industries. Holding an MBA from Ivey Business School and a Bachelors of Science from the University of Wisconsin, Avi embodies multifaceted excellence.

She is also Director, Films & Programming at IFFSA Toronto, the largest South Asian Film Festival in North America which just wrapped up its 12th edition this year.

Barbara Lee has spent over twenty-five years as a community advocate and organizer of events to increase opportunities for Canadian Asian artists in mainstream music, film, tv and media. She is the Founder of the Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF). Canada’s oldest Asian film festival, Racial Equity Screen Office (RESO) and  Barbara has built an ecosystem of programs and organizations to address systemic barriers in the screen industry.

Barbara is also a writer and independent filmmaker and has worked as a broadcast journalist receiving the national Radio and Television News Directors’ Association (RTNDA) Award for Best Editorial in 1998. Her film “Between the Laughter” was one of the National Film Board’s REELDIVERSITY 2004 winners which aired on CBC and PBS Northwest.  She is currently finishing her personal music documentary SING MY SONG and her horror script.

Hanna Cho (Moderator/Facilitator)

Hanna is Interim ED of RESO, and an inveterate convenor, cultural strategist, and community advocate. She  is passionate about bringing people, ideas, and cultures together. A multidisciplinary cultural strategist and producer, she brings nearly two decades of experience from interactive media production, museums, and community engagement to her current role at RESO. From her policy roots as a digital humanities researcher, to her cultural  leadership experience, or her community-based work as a cofounder of a community wireless network (Wireless Toronto) Hanna strives to enliven and empower conversations around equity through creativity, care, and action.



Screening Time


Presenting Sponsors
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Festival passes

This year, VAFF 2023 FESTIVAL, screening programs in person and virtual will be organized into various series in order to better highlight the diverse content in our festival. These Series include Spotlight Series, Documentary Features Series, Narrative Features Series, Westcoast Shorts Series, Canadian Shorts Series, International Short Series, Animation Series, VAFF Industry Insight Series and Special Events.

vaff27 venues

Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas

88 W Pender St 3rd floor, Vancouver, BC V6B 6N9

Cineplex Odeon International Village Cinemas

88 W Pender St 3rd floor, Vancouver, BC V6B 6N9