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Doc Accelerator Participants 2018


Teyama Alkamli | Toronto, Ontario
Teyama is a Syrian-born filmmaker based in Toronto. She holds a Masters in Documentary Film Directing from DocNomads, the European mobile film school. Her previous films Separation and Amolador both screened at FECIBogotá, while her latest film, In the Middle of the Earth, which tackles the refugee crisis on the Greek island of Leros, just wrapped post-production. Teyama is currently producing the documentary short Hockey Mom, supported by the TIFF & ESPN Emerging Filmmaker Grant, and developing her feature debut, Love Letters from Toronto.

Alicia Bunyan-Sampson | Pickering, Ontario
Alicia Bunyan-Sampson is an independent filmmaker, writer, advocate and academic. In 2014 she was selected in the City Life Film Program to have her film executive produced by Temple Street Productions. Her short film Happy 1 Year went on to screen at The Reel Sisters of The Diaspora Film Festival and Lecture Series, San Diego Black Film Festival, Toronto Black Film Festival, Reel World Film Festival, Regent Park Film Festival and aired on CBC and AspireTV. In 2016, she wrote, directed and starred in the short film DSM 309.81 as part of Sound and Vision for BellFibeTV1 and she completed the Black Women Film! Leadership Program. In 2017 she was a participant in the Writing The web series lab, where she began to develop her cyberpunk dystopian drama Code Noir. She focuses her work primarily on her identity as a black woman, love, trauma, sexuality, and non-monogamy. Her current academic and creative research focuses on the intersections of sexual trauma, race, and gender identity. She has a forthcoming book, No Filter: Diary Of A Polyamorous Black Girl, set to be published by Thorntree Press.

Melissa Calliou | Edmonton, Alberta
An emerging filmmaker from Northern Alberta, Melissa Calliou engages in story telling, documentaries and short films with a passion to connect/inspire her audience from a creative perspective.

Jadis Dumas | Montreal, Quebec
Jadis M. Dumas is passionate about producing honest and beautiful storytelling concerning marginalized socio-political issues through film. She has been working for over seven years as an independent filmmaker, film editor, and journalist. Primarily self-taught, with a background in fine-arts, she studied in Capilano University’s Documentary Film Programme, directing her first films and participated in various short productions as editor and DOP. Since then, she has been an editor on various films screened internationally, and is currently very excited about directing & co-producing her first feature film on radical approaches to education. Jadis believes in inviting collaboration with the communities she inhabits and participating in their struggles. She is grateful to be currently sharing stories with settlers and indigenous people alike on unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territority.

Amen Jafri | Ottawa, Ontario
Amen Jafri spent 10 years in communications and HR in the federal public service, before pivoting into film and television production. She got her start on the feature thriller Penthouse North before working on Radio Canada’s Toi et moi: malgré tout and in Acquisitions at the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network. Her first film, The City That Fun Forgot?, was made without any prior experience and it had a sold-out premiere in 2014, garnering local and national media coverage. Since then, her other works have been shortlisted for the TVO Short Doc Contest and screened for TVO, the American Documentary Film Festival, Brooklyn Web Fest, the Mirror Mountain Film Festival and more. Her latest project, The Secret Lives of Public Servants, is currently on the festival circuit and she is directing a Wingd/Bell Media documentary series on entrepreneurship.

Jordan Kelly | Oshawa, Ontario
Jordan Kelly is an Ojibway and a filmmaker from Onigaming First Nations. It is a small community located in Northwestern Ontario. Jordan spent many years as a volunteer firefighter for his community. He graduated from Sault College’s 2 year Digital Film Production program in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in June of 2017. He is now attending Durham College’s Advanced Filmmaking in Oshawa. Overall, Jordan has had the opportunity to make over 10 narrative shorts and five documentary shorts. Jordan has a love for cinematography, writing, and directing. He thinks editing is cool too. Jordan wants to make films involving indigenous people across Canada and the U.S. both narrative and documentary films. He wants to make films about the many indigenous issues. Jordan wants to show indigenous youth that there are other career paths out there. He wants to help the youth find their way long before he finally did.

Jalana Lewis | Halifax, Nova Scotia
Jalana Lewis is a lawyer working in human rights and project management with a passion for film and media production. She recently completed the 2017 Black Women Film! Leadership Program and is currently producing two projects: No Advocate, a feature length documentary directed by Allie Caldwell, and a fictional short-film, Coin Laundry, directed Nikolay Michaylov. She has produced two plays, The Men Who Killed Me (Bus Stop Theatre, 2012) and Me Without You (Toronto Fringe 2015). While working with Amanda Rosenthal Talent in 2012 she also oversaw the creation of a toolkit that accompanies Positive Women: Exposing Injustice, a documentary produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network. Each endeavour Jalana takes on involves building an organized space that allows for creativity to flow freely.

Rodrigo Michelangeli | Toronto, Ontario
Rodrigo Michelangeli is a Canadian/Venezuelan producer-director based in Toronto. He is the producer, co-writer, and cinematographer of La Soledad (2016), supported by La Biennale di Venezia’s College Cinema program and is scheduled for theatrical release in Venezuela in June 2018. His short experimental documentary about student protests in Venezuela, Bullets of Peace (2014) premiered at the TIFF Bell Lightbox - Jayu Human Rights Film Festival. He is an alumni of the RIDM talent lab and Berlinale Talents. In 2015, together with Jorge Thielen Armand, Rodrigo founded La Faena Films, a production company focused in auteur cinema with great social relevance based in Toronto and Caracas. Rodrigo shot the documentaries Blaan and Dancing Manilenyos in the Philippines alongside with Dr. Patrick Alcedo in 2016 and was recently awarded the ARTE International Prix at the Buenos Aires Lab (2017), a production lab organized by BAFICI, for La Faena’s sophomore feature film.

Gilda Pourjabar | Montreal, Quebec
Gilda Pourjabar is a Montreal-based Iranian-Canadian filmmaker/editor. She graduated from Iran University of Science and Technology in 2007 with B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering. In 2011, she obtained her Associate degree in Cinema from Tehran Fine Arts University. Following her immigration to Canada, she studied Film Production at Concordia University (2012-2015). During her studies she made six short fiction films. She has been working as a freelance editor on both fiction and documentary films. She collaborated as the co-editor of the award winning documentary film Let There Be Light (2017) and has worked on NFB-funded documentary features and mid-length documentary TV series as assistant editor. Currently, she works on the development process of a documentary film about her brother who works as a poster artist in Iran. This film has been the recipient of Société de Développement des Entreprises Culturelles (SODEC) development fund.

Lulu Wei | Toronto, Ontario
Lulu Wei is a Toronto based filmmaker and cinematographer. She holds a MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. Her work explores themes of urbanization, cultural identity and queerness. Her short films and installations have been screened and exhibited at various festivals such as Images Festival, Planet In Focus Film Festival and Inside Out Film Festival. She has worked as a cinematographer and camera operator on numerous projects, most recently on John Greyson’s latest feature Last Car. Outside of film, she has shot and directed commercials for brands such as Air Canada, Mazda, Converse and Scotiabank. In 2017, she was a fellow at the RIDM Talent Lab and a part of the E20 program at Reelworld Film Festival. She is currently working on her first feature, There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace, about the redevelopment of the Honest Eds block.


Sonya Ballantyne | Winnipeg, Manitoba
Sonya Ballantyne is a filmmaker and writer originally from Misipawistik Cree Nation in Northern Manitoba. Her work focuses on Indigenous women and girls in non-traditional film genres such as horror, sci-fi, and fantasy. Sonya is a vocal advocate for positive media representation for Indigenous women and girls and has spoken on the topic at the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, We Day Manitoba, and at a TedX Winnipeg event in 2017. Her first film Crash Site has played at various festivals around the world and was recently translated into French. Her second film Nosisim is a short documentary focusing on her relationship with her grandmother Virginia and a drawing done of her by famed Anishinaabe artist Daphne Odjig. Her next film Eagle Girl will be released later this year.


Jean-Philippe Marquis | Vancouver, BC
Jean-Philippe Marquis is a Vancouver-based documentary filmmaker, director of photography and editor. His work explores themes of contested geographies, compromised environments and alternative lifestyles. His camera brought him to work with Palestinian farmers struggling with settlement construction and to document the lives and aspirations of Congolese mining workers across the Katanga region. Through the multimedia project Line in the Sand, he followed the path of a handful of proposed pipelines between Alberta and British Columbia to investigate the potential impacts of oil sands developments. He operates a small production company and is currently working with the Ditidaht First Nation school to create a language revitalization video series. He has been director of photography on half a dozen francophone documentaries shot in Yukon and British Columbia for Radio-Canada, Unis TV and TV5.


Aman Ali | New York City, USA
Aman Ali is an award-winning storyteller in New York City. He’s made appearances on dozens of media outlets such as the New York Times, BuzzFeed, CNN, NBC News, HBO, BBC, and NPR. He first shot to fame for being the co-creator of the social media phenomenon 30 Mosques in 30 Days, a 25,000 mile road trip he took to all 50 states in the U.S. with the mission of telling profound stories about Muslims in America.

Zeshawn Ali | New York City, USA
Zeshawn Ali was born and raised in Ohio. He eventually found his way to New York to study film at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. After graduating, he directed the short narrative film Shallows, which played at film festivals throughout the U.S. He also directed documentary shorts for the 30 Mosques web series, telling the stories of American Muslims.


Kalina Bertin | Montreal, Quebec
Kalina Bertin is an award-winning filmmaker based in Montreal. After completing her degree in film production at UQÀM, she quickly realized that if she didn’t set out to understand the mental illness in her family it would destroy her. This process gave birth to her award winning documentary film Manic, which had it’s world premiere at Hot Docs 2017 and where Kalina received the Don Haig Pay It Forward Award. Manic has been nominated for two Canadian screen awards and two Iris awards (Gala Quebec Cinema). It continues to screen in prestigious film festivals around the world, such as the Moscow International Film Festival. Aiming to build empathy and awareness toward such a complex condition, Kalina is currently directing a virtual reality experience which will enable the viewer to explore the world of manic depression from within. She presented this project in development at the MIT Open Documentary lab and at MUTEK’s Atelier Grand Nord VR.

2018 Selection Jury

  • Mila Aung-Thwin, Producer/Director, EyeSteel Film
  • Isidra Cruz, Indigenous Arts Officer, Toronto Arts Council/Ontario Arts Council
  • Amar Wala, Director, Producer
  • Stephanie McArthur, Industry Programs Manager, Hot Docs

For a list of past participants, mentors and juries, please visit our archives.

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Presenting Platinum Partner

  • logo Scotia Wealth Management

Founding Partner

  • logo Rogers

Signature Partner

  • Logo Cbc Gem

Presenting Partners

  • logo Crave
  • logo Netflix

Major Supporters

  • logo Celebrate Ontario
  • logo telefilm