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VAFF Industry Insight (VAFF I²) Panel Series

VAFF Industry Insight (VAFF I²) Panel Series

Launched three years ago as a locus for industry advocacy and action with a distinct diversity focus, the VAFF Industry (VAFF I2) Panel Series continues to challenge the entertainment and media industry to examine their work and practices in creating a more diverse and inclusive Canada.

For each of the two panel sessions, speakers will share personal stories, journeys, and experiences in their fields, then gather at the end of the session to participate in a roundtable discussion allowing for the audience the opportunity to join in on the conversations.

The VAFF Industry Insight  (VAFF I²) Panel Series is open to VAFF Industry, Filmmaker and VIP Passholders, as well as festival ticket holders with membership.

VAFF Industry Party

Kick off our VAFF Industry series this year with the intimate VAFF Industry Party on November 2, 2018 (Friday) at 10:00 pm at Bar None Night Club, 1222 Hamilton St Vancouver BC.  ($10 – Limited Tickets for Sale), in the heart of the city’s vibrant downtown core. This exclusive party is for filmmakers, industry, media, and special VAFF guests. Buy Now.


PANEL 1: Diversity and Representation in Canadian Film and Television

Hollywood seems to be finally embracing diversity in the films and tv shows they are producing. What about mainstream media in Canada?

DATE: Saturday, November 3, 2018 | TIME: 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm

LOCATION: International Arts Gallery, 2/F International Village, 88 W. Pender Street, Vancouver


Sonny Wong | CEO & Co-founder of Hamazaki Wong Marketing Group, Co-founder of Leo Awards

 Sonny is a social and marketing entrepreneur with a diversity of business interests and projects that span marketing/media, live programs and events, sustainability, arts and culture, film and television, creativity, and social innovation. He is president and creative director of Hamazaki Wong Marketing Group, an award-winning multicultural marketing-communications agency. Sonny is also co-founder and producer of the annual Leo Awards, BC’s awards program for the film and television industry.


Kashif Pasta | Director of “Welcome to Surrey”

As the co-founder of Dunya Media, Kashif works to tell stories that reflect the diversity of their audiences, resulting in filmmaking that both helps underserved audience’s sense of validation and self-worth, and helps mainstream audiences enjoy richer, more satisfying content.


Lien Yeung | An award-winning multimedia reporter, anchor and producer with CBC News

Lien has covered stories ranging from the opioid crisis to historic wildfires to diversity in media. Her journalism has taken her from the Pacific Northwest to the Atlantic Coast. She holds a Master’s of Journalism from UBC and B.A. from SFU. Lien took the leap to pursue journalism after almost a decade in marketing working with some of Canada’s most recognizable brands.


John Wirth | Executive Producer/Showrunner of “Hell on Wheels”, “Wu Assassins”

As an Executive Producer/Showrunner on the Netflix original series Wu Assassins. He has served as Executive Producer on Hap And Leonard; Hell On Wheels; The Cape; Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles; Love Monkey; Ghost Whisperer; The District and Nash Bridges. BEVERLY HILLS, CA – SEPTEMBER 05: Executive Producer John Wirth arrives at the TV Guide Fall Preview parties – Fox at the Paley Center on September 5, 2008 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images)


Moderator: Bessie Chow | contributor to Ricepaper, a Canadian magazine showcasing Asian Canadian literature, culture, and the arts.

As a first-generation Canadian-born Chinese, Bessie has long been sensitive to the challenges and opportunities inherent in the definition and defiance of different labels. Her passion for diversity and inclusion has manifested in a range of activities including starting the first station diversity committee at Global Ontario, sitting on media advisory committees for under-represented groups (CNIB, VIRCS), delivering cultural-sensitivity training to ESL instructors and learners, and participating in diversity in governance programs for boards of directors.

Get Your Tickets here.

PANEL 2: Asian Women in Film

Do you need to be a dragon lady to strive in this male-dominant film industry, especially for women of colour? Accomplished women from behind and in front of the camera discuss what it takes to thrive in the industry.

DATE: Saturday, November 3, 2018 | TIME: 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm

LOCATION: International Arts Gallery, 2/F International Village, 88 W. Pender Street, Vancouver


Olivia Cheng | Actor/Producer

Olivia Cheng was born in Edmonton, Alberta. The dynamic actress was born to Cantonese-speaking immigrant parents, who were part of a co-founding group of parents that created the Edmonton Chinese Bilingual Education Association’s Mandarin program within the city’s public school system. She credits this for her ability to speak Mandarin and instilling a reverence for her culture. Her background has heavily influenced her breakout role in the Weinstein Company-produced series, Marco Polo (2014), being one of the most expensive television series ever produced at the time, which premiered on Netflix in December 2014.


Mia Fiona Kut | Actor/ Director/ Producer

Mia is a filmmaker and actor, launching her own film production company, Ruckus Entertainment after completing her Marketing degree at Simon Fraser University. Her first web series, Ivy Tower, landed a spot at the Los Angeles Web Festival. In 2015, she was named Top 30 Under 30 and made the cover for the Richmond Review, and she was awarded as part of ‘Best Ensemble Cast’ for her supporting role in the feature film Floating Away.


Alexandra Cuerdo | Director

Alexandra Cuerdo is a Filipino-American director, producer and editor, recently named one of the 100 Most Influential Filipina Women In the World by the Filipina Women’s Network. MSN ranks her feature directorial debut, “ULAM: Main Dish”  as one of the “Top 5 Food Documentaries to Watch” now. As a content producer and editor, Alexandra’s videos for BuzzFeed have achieved over 200 million views and over 1.5 million shares on Facebook. She is based in Los Angeles and New York. “ULAM: Main Dish” is Cuerdo’s first feature length documentary.

Moderator: TBA

Get Your Tickets here.




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