Our Team


Venay Felton

EXECUTIVE & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR | Pronouns: she/her/hers

Venay is the founder of R2R and has been the Artistic and Executive Director of the organization since its inception in 1998. A fervent advocate of children’s media, she has worked at the Media Center for Children in New York City, curated film programs for museums and community centres, and conducted hundreds of film appreciation workshops. She has served as a Juror of the International Festival of Film & Video for Children in Isfahan, Iran, and was invited to participate as a discussant on “Documentaries for Young Audiences” at the Flaherty Film Seminar in California. Venay focuses on engaging a network of educators, artists, film industry professionals, and community arts leaders toward broadening knowledge, sharpening perceptions, and stimulating the imaginations of youth about media arts.

Delphine Riffaud

FESTIVAL & OUTREACH MANAGER | Pronouns: she/her/hers

Delphine grew up in France, where she graduated in 2012 from the Sorbonne Nouvelle University with a Master’s degree in International Project Management. She first got involved in the film industry starting as a sales executive, working for theatrical and TV distribution worldwide, as well as festivals and acquisitions. In 2014, Delphine moved to London, UK,  and worked for an independent VoD platform, just as the platform was launching. Over the 4 years she was there, she covered different branches of the business such as marketing, acquisitions, business development, and operations. During that time, she was also in charge of developing online distribution channels for international short films. Her experience in VoD led her to be involved with the network for independent European VoD platforms. In 2019, Delphine moved to Vancouver, BC, and started her position as outreach and festival coordinator for the Reel to Real International Film Festival for Youth.

Helen Yagi


Helen has worked in Publicity and Marketing for several years with the Vancouver International Film Festival, the Leo Awards, and R2R. She’s also the go-to publicist for local production companies and Canadian filmmakers alike (including award winners Bruce Sweeney and Charles Wilkinson) and represents many established film organizations (Women in Film, The Cinematheque and Cineworks). Helen has also worked in documentary filmmaking as an Associate Producer (How to be a Model, which premiered at VIFF and was broadcast on CBC).

Iveta Lekesova


Iveta Lekesova is a Vancouver-based visual designer, originally from the Czech Republic. She has a Master’s Degree in Marketing from her home country, and a Graphic Design Certificate from Emily Carr University of Arts + Design in Vancouver, BC. Since launching her own design studio, she has been working with local and international non-profit organizations (such as UNESCO, Vancouver Biennale, Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival and SheSummits) creating brand identities, designing publications and websites. As an artist, she also enjoys drawing minimalist illustrations inspired by the mountains and the ocean. She usually loves to use bold colours and dynamic layouts resulting in her design being vivid and full of energy. Iveta is on a mission to use the power of design towards positive environmental and social change.

T. Bannister


T’s curatorial practice pre-supposes a lens of intersectional justice that promotes media literacy and critical dialogue to a new generation. In addition to their work at R2R, T is responsible for developing and curating MODES, a series of experimental shorts at the Vancouver International Film Festival. They enjoy participating on Arts funding juries, industry panels, and screening committees, as well as contribute to festivals and film campaigns as a consultant and freelance writer (copy and narrative), they’ve worked with the NFB, Vancouver Queer Film Festival, VIFF and DOXA Documentary Film Festival to name a few. With over 20 years experience, T is established in Vancouver as a community-minded Arts leader, with a range of diverse production credits on multiple films, music videos, and television shows.

Willa Ross


Willa has been working in film and video since co-founding Sad Hill Media in 2009. Since completing a degree in film production at Simon Fraser University, she has been involved in the art film community in numerous roles: as the co-host of the movie podcast Film Formally, as a regular volunteer at The Cinematheque from 2014–2019, as a workshop instructor at VIVO Center for Media Arts, as a writer-director of numerous independent short films, and as an editor and sound designer for fellow filmmakers. Both her personal works, and those she have worked on as a collaborator, have been screened in major film festivals around the world. Whether for her own projects or someone else’s, her work behind the camera and the keyboard is always focused on finding fresh, gripping new approaches to cinema that encourage people to see their world in new ways.

Jessica Bradford


Jessica Bradford is an award-winning writer, director and educator based in Vancouver, Canada. Her films include the GEMINI winning, When I Was Seven and the Director’s Guild of Canada Kickstart Award-winner, The Telescope. Jessica has spent over 15 years in the industry as a writer, director and producer. She is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre and Women in the Director’s Chair and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Currently she is developing her kids’ adventure feature film, “Tess and the Hunt for Toad” and teaching screenwriting at Vancouver Film School.

Lisa g Nielson


lisa g is a queer artist/filmmaker living on the unceded and stolen territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. They combine animation, analog film and digital media to create work that has historical reference, social relevance & where possible, humour. They work independently, with other artists and within communities. lisa g is a founding member of Vancouver’s Iris Film Collective, which promotes the creation and sharing of analog film and they are the producer/mentor of Our World which supports the creation of Indigenous self directed short films. lisa g’s work screens internationally and has won awards.

Board of Directors 2023

Jodi Derkson

Jodi Derkson is a certified teacher with over fifteen years of professional experience. She holds a Masters of Education from UBC and has developed human rights, anti-racism curricula for not-for-profit FAST (where she was the Regional Director of Educational Programs for ten years). Jodi is also the founder of !mperative Education which offers a variety of social emotional learning workshops and presentations for schools and businesses on bullying, emotional intelligence, effective communication strategies, and mindfulness. Jodi is very proud to sit on this board, and even prouder of the work that R2R does for BC’s youth, educators, and families.

Nicole Koller

Nicole holds a BA from Western University, and began her career in the fashion industry working internationally as part of a design creative team. Her love of the West Coast brought her back to Vancouver where she continues to live. Her career path has evolved from video games to animation and eventually to tourism. Passionate about the arts, and an active member of the community, Nicole joined the board of the Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth in 2016 and is currently board president.

Maria Cecilia Saba

Maria Cecilia Saba is an independent media artist, programmer and researcher. Before coming to Vancouver, she worked as a documentary film instructor at the University of Lima and earned a diploma in Arts & Cultural Management from Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru. She completed the MA program in Comparative Media Arts at Simon Fraser University, where she focused her research on Peruvian Andean horror films. She was the Festival and Outreach Coordinator for R2R for two years, worked at SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement, and collaborates with the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival.

Jessica Fairbairn

Jessica is a labour and employment lawyer originally from San Francisco, practicing at Harris & Co. in various sectors including the film industry.  She spends her free time hiking and camping with her husband, two small kids and dog.  She has been a member of the Board since 2016.

Elizabeth Toward

Elizabeth Toward has been a script and continuity supervisor in the film and television industry in Victoria and Vancouver since 2016. She also holds a Master of Film and Literature from the University of York, U.K.

Kam Sein Yee

Kam Sein Yee is currently an Occupational Health Nurse with Health Canada, where she has provided health assessments for government employees for the past 10 years. She specializes in immunization and outbreak response. She also provides a guided meditation and stretch class for office workers. Kam Sein is an active member of the arts community. She is a published poet and her work is included in the Chinese Canadian Poetry anthologies, “Swallowing Clouds” and “Strike the Wok.” She rejoined Reel to Real in 2017 as a Director.

Kam Sein has previously been a director at the Roundhouse Community and Arts Centre, a member of Asian Canadian Writer’s Workshop and ONSA, an Occupational Health Professional Practice Group. She lives in Vancouver and has two teens who also love international film.

Caroline Sykes

Program Advisors

Harry Killas

Harry is an Associate Professor at Emily Carr University, where teaches courses in Film, Video + Integrated Media, and Media History. His award-winning dramatic films have been screened at several international festivals including Bilbao, Toronto, Palm Springs, Clermont-Ferrand, Oberhausen, Torino and Vancouver. His documentaries have been broadcast on the BBC, CBC, Bravo!, NHK, CTV, Knowledge Network, and SCN. He is a graduate of Stanford University and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Renate Zylla

Renate holds a Master of Pedagogy, with a concentration in media, from the University of Bielefeld. She has had professional experience in film and media since 1983 and since that time has held a has been a director, organizer, manager of film projects and events, festival agent and jury member in countries around the world. She has been the director of the Kinder Film Fest of the Berlin International Film Fest and of Kodomotachino Kinder Film Festival Tokyo. In 2010, she became a program advisor for international film festivals for children and young adults in Jakarta (Indonesia), Mexico City (Mexico), Montevideo (Uruguay), Seattle (USA), Winnipeg (Canada) and Kathmandu (Nepal). She is currently the official program advisor for Reel 2 Real International Film Festival for Youth in Vancouver and the Golden Elephant Film Festival in Hyderabad (India).

Workshop Mentors

Alicia Eisen

Chris Bose

Ewan Green

Jeff Chiba Stearns

Lisa g. Nielsen

Nigel Adams

Patrick Shannon

Ryder Thomas White

Stephen Gladue

Terri Calder

Weronika Stepien

Alysha Seriani

Cindy Mochizuki

Jacquie Rolston

Jody Kramer

Nadine Arpin

Nisha Platzer

Rami Katz

Scott Kiborn

Tash King

Thomas Giwusk Isaac-Came

Zoe Kirk-Gushowaty

Arun Fryer

Darlene Naponse

Jae Woo Kang

Kaho Yoshida

Nicola Leigh Sampson

Odessa Shuquaya

Reed Jackson

Solaleh Kazemi

Tasha Brotherton

Tracy Lewis


© Copyright 1998-2020 Reel 2 Real: A Celebration of Moving Images for Youth Society. All Rights Reserved.

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