VAFF Industry Insight (VAFF I²) Panel Series – 1
VAFF Industry Insight Series Panel 1 : Canada 150: Diversity and Representation in Canadian Film and Television
After 150 years of Confederation, what does a profitable, diverse, inclusive Canadian entertainment and media industry actually look like—and how do we realize this vision? A retrospective, current, and future-forward discussion by key industry representatives and professionals.
Speaker 1: John Dippong – National Project Lead, Western Region and Ontario, Telefilm Canada
Speaker 2: Alden Habacon – Diversity and Inclusion Strategist/Producer (CBC/UBC)
Speaker 3: Selwyn Jacob – Producer, National Film Board, BC & Yukon
Speaker 4: Michelle Kim – Producer/Director/Writer
Speaker 5: Ben Lu – Producer, Blood & Water
Emcee / Moderator: Kathy Leung – Programming Curator, Vancouver Asian Film Festival
(Please see below for Panelist/Moderator bios)
Co-Presented with Partner
Kathy Leung: Programming Curator, Vancouver Asian Film Festival
As a writer ‘slash’ director, Kathy’s films have screened at numerous festivals, receiving two Golden Sheaf nominations and a Leo award nomination. Her scripts were selected for Whistler International Film Festival’s Short Scripts Competition and twice for CityTV’s Cinecity Initiatives. Red Letters, a full-length original musical she co-wrote, was produced by Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre and toured in British Columbia. Her short film Breaking the Rules won the Best Short Narrative award at the DisOrient Film Festival. She recently co-produced her first feature, The Hollow Child, a recipient of the Telefilm MicroBudget fund, which is currently screening at festivals.
John Dippong: National Project Lead, Western Region and Ontario, Telefilm Canada
John Dippong leads Telefilm Canada’s Industry Promotion activities for the Western Region and Ontario. In this role he identifies and implements regional promotion strategies, partnerships and special initiatives that align with Telefilm Canada’s corporate and promotional objectives. John was also Telefilm’s Western Regional Feature Film Executive for 12 years prior to joining the National Promotion team. Before joining Telefilm Canada, John was involved in feature film production, film festival organization and programming.
Alden Habacon: Diversity and Inclusion Strategist/Producer (CBC/UBC)
Alden E. Habacon is an accomplished diversity and inclusion strategist with over ten years of experience in leading the development, implementation and staff engagement of strategy towards diversity and inclusion, organizational culture change, interculturalism and social sustainability. He is currently the Senior Advisor, Intercultural Understanding for the University of British Columbia (UBC), having recently completed a five-year appointment as Director, Intercultural Understanding Strategy Development. Prior to UBC, Alden led the development and implementation of CBC’s national diversity strategy, as the Manager of Diversity Initiatives for CBC Television. He is also the co-producer of House My Style, a Mandarin-language real-estate reality program, currently airing on OMNI Television.
Selwyn Jacob: Producer, National Film Board Pacific & Yukon
Selwyn Jacob joined the NFB’s BC & Yukon Studio in 1997, and has gone on to produce almost 50 NFB films. Among his many credits are Crazywater, directed by the Inuvialuit filmmaker Dennis Allen; Hue: A Matter of Colour, directed by Vic Sarin; Mighty Jerome, written and directed by Charles Officer; and the digital interactive app for Circa 1948, by Vancouver artist Stan Douglas. His most recent credits include Mina Shum’s
Ninth Floor, a feature documentary about the infamous Sir George Williams Riot of 1969 that was selected to TIFF’s 2015 annual top ten list of best Canadian films.
Michelle Kim: Producer/Director/Writer
Michelle Kim is a director, screenwriter, novelist, and actor. Her directorial debut, The Tree Inside, played at various film festivals around the world and won the Audience Award for Outstanding Canadian Feature at Vancouver Asian Film Festival in 2015 and the Favourite Narrative Feature Award at The Northwest Filmmakers’ Festival in Portland. Kim’s first novel, “Running Through Sprinklers,” is forthcoming with Simon & Schuster NYC in April 2018. She is a producer of the feature film The Lonely Light of Home which is included in this year’s VAFF lineup.
Ben Lu: Producer, Blood & Water
Mainland China-native Yipeng Ben Lu is a producer with the critically acclaimed Blood and Water, Canada’s first tri-lingual television drama. With 15 years of producing and directing award-winning television commercials in various languages, Ben has unique insights in cross cultural dynamics in the media and entertainment sectors. Ben speaks fluent Cantonese and Mandarin and serves as a board executive for The Laurier Institution, as well as an advisory board member for KCTS Seattle.