Kami Chisholm

Artistic & Development Director

A co-founder of the Toronto Queer Film Festival, Dr. Kami Chisholm is a queer/disabled filmmaker, curator, and media activist based in Toronto, Canada.

Chisholm has been making films for more than 25 years, since beginning their BA in Film Production and English from Loyola Marymount University. They also hold a PhD in History of Consciousness and Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and an MFA in Film Production from York University.

Chisholm has made more than a dozen films that have screened at festivals, universities, and events worldwide, including “The Well” (Indiepix, 2015), “The Insomniacs” (Wolfe Video, 2008) and Female to Femme (Frameline Distribution, 2006). Their most recent documentary, Pride Denied (Media Education Foundation and Vtape, 2016), explores topics such as homonationalism, corporatization, and pinkwashing in the context of the 2014 World Pride festival in Toronto.

In the 2015-16 academic year, Chisholm was an Artist in Residence at Osgoode Law School at York University, where they began working on the feature documentary Citizen. Citizen is currently in the final stages of post-production with support from the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council. Chisholm is also in post-production on a second feature documentary, Queer, which, together with Citizen, forms a kind of diptych on the subject of migration, state violence, and the social and political persecution of precarious and marginalized populations.

Sharlene Bamboat

Director of Operations

Sharlene Bamboat is an artist and filmmaker. Her works have exhibited internationally, including the Sharjah Film Platform (U.A.E.), the Berlin Film Festival: Forum Expanded (Germany), Aga Khan Museum (Canada), BFI’s London Film Festival (UK), Malmo Queer Film Festival (Sweden) and Vasakh Film Festival (Pakistan).

Sharlene frequently works in collaboration, most notably with artist Alexis Mitchell under the name Bambitchell. The duo has had solo exhibitions at Gallery TPW (Toronto), Articule (Montreal), AKA Gallery (Saskatoon), Mercer Union (Toronto), and an upcoming solo exhibition at the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle). They were long-list recipients of the National Gallery of Canada’s 2020 Sobey Art Prize.

Sharlene contributes regularly to the arts sector in Canada, as a programmer, artistic director, jury member for festivals, board member for arts organizations, and has been a member of various film/video collectives.

Jess Murwin

Lead Programmer

Jess Murwin is a nonbinary mixed Indigenous artist and curator of Mi’kmaq, Scottish, Welsh and Irish descent currently based in Montreal, Quebec. They received formal artistic training from Notre Dame de la Tilloye (France) and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (Canada), as well as informal training on various sets, at artist centres and in workshops in Canada, Europe and India. Their work is largely community based, combining futurism and social engagement through a variety of mediums.

As a programmer, they have worked for the Atlantic International Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and Rencontres Internationales du Documentaire à Montréal, among others. Their focus in presenting films and media artworks has always been to champion stories by 2SLGBTQIA + and Indigenous artists. They see this work as a critical way of reclaiming narrative spaces and as an important political and artistic act.

Adil Mohammed

Programming Coordinator

Adil Mohamed is a polyglot in progress with a strong passion for curation and cultural programming. Their creative practice involves writing fiction, screenplays and songs grounded in their experience as a desexualized, nonbinary, queer, muslim, agnostic, vegan Somali immigrant. Joining TQFF is a way to serve the neglected members of the 2SLGBTQ+ sphere and engage their passion for the creative process.

Anastasia Akulinina

Industry Programmer

Born and raised in Russia and of Tatar descent, Anastasia Akulinina is a queer immigrant to Canada who has been actively involved in Toronto’s moving image scene since studying Cinema and Media Studies at York University. She has curated short film programs for Images Festival, Rendezvous with Madness and SWIFF, and her writing has been published at POV magazine. She has also programmed and pre-screened for Planet in Focus, JAYU’s Human Rights Film Festival, CSFF and Toronto Queer Film Festival. At Hot Docs and HRFF, Anastasia has worked on accessibility and outreach, helping implement new accessibility and community-building initiatives.

For the past three years, Anastasia has managed and co-programmed the film section at the mental health-themed Rendezvous with Madness Festival, focusing on breaking the stigma around mental health and addiction experiences. In her free time, Anastasia loves to binge-watch horror movies and obsessively reads the news on post-Soviet politics.

Jonathan Petrychyn

Operations Coordinator

Dr. Jonathan Petrychyn is a Postdoctoral Fellow in Gender, Sexuality, and Digitality in the Department of Recreation & Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo. His research is situated at the intersections of activism, sexuality, and media industries and is interested specifically in how queer and feminist communities use media technologies to build communities.

He received his PhD in Communication & Culture from York University and Ryerson University in 2019. His dissertation, Networks of Feeling: Affective Economies of Queer & Feminist Film Festivals on the Canadian Prairies was awarded the Susan Mann Dissertation Scholarship. His research has been published in numerous journals and magazines.

Kai Joseph

Assistant to the Artistic Director/Web Manager

Shaz Mamdani

Director of Communications Marketing

Shaz (Shahbaz Mamdani) has 8+ years of communications marketing strategist experience, in CPG and retail industry where he developed and executed integrated marketing strategies that included public relations, crisis communication, digital, social, influencer campaigns, CSR and Not-for-profit initiatives and campaigns for multinational companies.

Shahbaz has worked extensively with international markets in North America, Canada, and South Asia managing and liaising with the leadership team and CXO’s across corporate and consumer portfolio.

Shahbaz’s work portfolio spans across CPG clients such as Sephora, World Gold Council, GAP, GANT, Nautica, United Colors of Benetton, PepsiCo, Unilever (Dove). His corporate clientele includes Airbnb, Microsoft, Mobileum. Volvo Group, IKEA, GE Healthcare, Bosch, State government of Victoria. In all of his work across the brands mentioned above, Shahbaz has been successful in project management and implementation across geographies and won awards for his viral social media campaigns and communications marketing initiatives.

His expertise is in end-to-end execution of large-scale marketing campaigns with a strong brand portfolio, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (Sephora), luxury hotels, resorts and Palaces at Taj Group of Hotels.

In his last stint and communications campaign, he successfully conceptualized and executed the award-winning campaign ‘Raga X Masaba’ which garnered 100 Million+ organic impressions and won his team the prestigious Fulcrum Award. The viral content marketing plan led to a 120% increase in sales. He effectively achieved and surpassed revenue objectives established in the annual budgets.

Shahbaz won the prestigious Fulcrum Award from Best CSR campaign – Sparkling Eyes which led to emancipation of 65k+ students from early onset of blindness!

Some of his work in the not for profit sector spans across Pride Toronto 2019 (Communications consultant), BeADonor(Organ donor Advocate), CAS(Children’s Aid society of Toronto), Alliance for South Asian AIDS prevention (Former Communication Manager- 2019), Maple Leaf Clinic (PrEP advocacy for LGBTQI2S South Asian communities).

Portfolio link: www.yourstoryteller.co

Cecilio Guillermo A.S. Escobar

Video Technical Director

Cecilio Guillermo Escobar is a filmmaker, editor and technician based in Tkaronto. He is an original member of Toronto Queer Film Festival (TQFF) and works primarily as their Video Technical Director and on-call tech nerd.

He is the recipient of a Canada Council Media Arts Grant for his documentary, LatinX; a biographical exploration of the intersections between his gender, family migration and cultural identities.

Cecilio is an active member of the QTBIPOC community, working with various other non-for-profit organizations to help others create time-based media. Cecilio holds a BFA from OCAD University.

Benjamin Romvari

Web Developer

Ben is a web developer residing in Toronto, Canada with over 15 years professional experience. Skilled in a wide range of technologies and programming languages, with a specialization in custom WordPress theme and plugin development. He has a focus on usability and design to make all his projects a joy to use and to look at. Ben comes from a family of creatives where a love of films and filmmaking was instilled early on. He is a partner at the Planet Grafix website design company.

Sunny Kim

Bookkeeper

Seo Eun “Sunny” Kim is a multidisciplinary artist with an MFA in Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto. Born in South Korea and raised in Toronto, she investigates lost narratives, presence and rootlessness to reimagine personal and cultural history. Sunny has been working in the film festival sector for the last four years, both in administration and programming. Her financial administration experience includes Images Festival, Young Associates, and Inside Out Film Festival. Her programming experience includes Images Festival and Regent Park Film Festival.

Kaitlin Blanchard

Board Member, Grants and Governance

Kaitlin Blanchard is a femme disabled poet and playwright and a PhD candidate in Cultural Studies, living in Tkaronto. In 2006, they helped to found the feminist non profit The Antigone Foundation, for which they served as the chair of the board of directors for 7 years. They also served as the associate editor of Antigone Magazine, the foundation’s biannual publication for 8 years. The magazine has been archived in the national library of Canada, and the foundation’s confessional art project “Dreams for Women” has been mounted in the San Francisco’s Women’s museum. Recently, they have served as the Vice President and Grants Management of Singing Out LGBTQ+ for whom they developed a partnership with the ArQuives and an Artist Residency to create the chorus’s first stand alone multidisciplinary choral performance, to be mounted at GALA 2020 in Minneapolis.They also currently serve as a member of the executive of the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada.

Through their board work, Kaitlin has developed expertise in grant writing, program development, and governance, including overseeing OAC and TAC operating grants for arts organizations. Kaitlin holds an honours BA in English from UBC where she was awarded the HSBC Emerging Leader Award. In 2017 she completed a SSHRC funded MA in Cultural Studies and Critical theory from McMaster University.

Kaitlin’s doctoral work in the environmental humanities sits at the intersection of queer and trans ecologies and disability studies, focusing on the material and cultural distributions of plastic in settler colonial socio-ecological life. As part of their commitment to public intellectual work, one chapter of their dissertation will explore, filmicly, the intersections of the urban entanglement of plastic, queerness, and settler guilt in Tkaronto. Their doctoral work is funded by a Vanier CGS award.

Jorge Lozano

Board Member

Jorge Lozano has been working as a film and video artist for the last 20 years and has achieved national and international recognition, including the Governor General Award. His fiction films have been exhibited at the Toronto Film Festival and at the Sundance Film Festival amongst others. His experimental work has been exhibited at many international festivals and galleries. In addition, his practice has expanded to the organization of many cultural and art events, the creation of aluCine, Toronto Latin Media Festival and facilitating self-representations video workshops for marginalized Latin and non- Latin youth in Canada since 1991, Colombia 2005-2009 and Venezuela 2005.

Jaene Castrillion

Board Member