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Meet the GFF 2020 Programming Committee

Picture of a Kodak projector as the featured image.

Gimli International Film Festival 2020 is ONLINE and on the way! Tickets are on sale now for this year’s July 22-26 festival and you can find them here. Before we dive into GFF’s 20th-anniversary fest, we are gearing up to announce the 2020 lineup. This year’s outstanding Programming Committee is made up of Leslie Supnet, Norma Bailey, Ryan Cooper, Kristjan Harris, and Noam Gonick. They’re working hard to help our programmers bring you a critical, engaging, and entertaining showcase for GFF 2020. So let’s meet the team!

Leslie Supnet is a contemporary experimental filmmaker from the Filipino diaspora who creates media works that explore themes of loss, change and the passage of time. Using animation, live-action, found footage and material exploration, Supnet’s process is guided by lyricism and experimenting with analog and digital special effects. Leslie completed her MFA in Film at York University in 2016, and has previously taught at various artist-run centres in Canada, at OCAD University and through TIFF’s Reel Comfort program.


Norma Bailey grew up on Lake Winnipeg, a child’s paradise of sun and water and wide-open spaces. She graduated in Architecture but practiced for only a year before packing her bags and heading east to Montreal. There she co-created the cult classic THE RUBBER GUN and worked as a crew member on David Cronenberg’s RABID and SHIVERS.

Norma’s first film THE PERFORMER won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Festival. She then created and directed the critically acclaimed historical drama series DAUGHTERS OF THE COUNTRY for the CBC and has since directed many other noted television series and movies including THE SHELDON KENNEDY STORY ( CTV); COWBOYS AND INDIANS ( CBC); STOLEN MIRACLE (CTV), and SECRET CUTTING and LADIES NIGHT for the USA Network. In 2006 Norma directed the CTV/Lifetime MOW EIGHT DAYS TO LIVE that garnered the highest movie rating in CTV history. In 2008, Norma directed the Mini-Series THE CAPTURE OF THE GREEN RIVER KILLER which premiered as the highest-rated program in Lifetime Movie Network history and garnered her a DGC best director award. Norma’s other credits include AN OFFICER AND A MURDERER starring Gary Cole, THE PASTOR’S WIFE starring Rose McGowan and ROMEO KILLER – The Chris Porco Story starring Eric McCormack.

Most recently she helmed episodes of the hit series OUTLANDER(Starz) as well as BEAUTY & THE BEAST (CW), REIGN (CW)  MARY KILLS PEOPLE (CBS), ANNE WITH AN E (CBC/Netflix), PROJECT BLUE BOOK(History) and STAR TREK DISCOVERY.

Norma has made award-winning adaptations of the works of David Adams Richards, Margaret Atwood, and Alice Munroe. She has won numerous awards including Geminis, Genies, the New York American Film and Television Award, Lillian Gish Award, best film from the San Francisco Native American Film Festival, and a Banff Rockie Award for best movie. She is a recipient of the YWCA Woman of the Year Award, the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for significant contribution to Canadian Culture, and Manitoba`s highest honour, the Order of Manitoba. Norma was Director Mentor at the Banff Women In The Director’s Chair Workshop in 1999 and 2004 and has been Director Mentor for the National Screen Institute’s Drama Prize Winners. She won Best Director Awards in 2009 and 2010 from the Directors’ Guild of Canada and Canadian Screen Awards for Best Direction in 2019 and 2020.


Ryan Cooper (Wilson) is an Indigenous, two-spirited, LGBTQ filmmaker from treaty one territory Peguis First Nation and graduate of the National Screen Institute’s CBC New Indigenous Voices program, under the direction of legendary film and television producer Lisa Meeches (Ice Road Truckers, We Were Children, Taken).

Ryan is focused on producing and writing contemporary, cultural & modern stories in an authentic way through scripted and factual storytelling. Ryan Is also apart of the 2018 NSI indigidocs program where he and a teammate Charlene Moore had the opportunity to create a 10-minute documentary.

Ryan is also the creator of two web series one titled Daybreak People that will be air on Fibe 1 TV early next year, and Imaginenative/APTN pitch winning series iNdigiThreads. Ryan is 1 half of the TELEFILM TALENT TO WATCH 2019 were he and teammate Adeline Bird were awarded $125,000.00 to put toward the series iNdigiThreads.

Ryan also studied New Media at Interactive Design Nu Media and trained in acting at the Academy of Acting. He has trained in theatre at the Centre for Indigenous Theatre, and film and theatre at the University of Winnipeg. Ryan has written many scripts, some of which are optioned and has worked on various films, in various roles. He looks forward to bringing empowerment through film and television, and the arts, to his home community.


Kristjan Harris was born and raised in Winnipeg, after high school, Kristjan moved to Vancouver in ’93, where he studied film and acting at V.F.S and Studio on the Drive. There he started a production company with a group of young filmmakers, where he acted, wrote and directed, as well as helped produce independent films, when he wasn’t traveling through the States, Mexico and Central America, where he spent most winters, living on beaches and writing tv and films.

In 2000, Kristjan moved back to his home town of Winnipeg. He acted and worked in a number of departments on various productions. In 2008, he moved to Toronto for 8 years, where he created, directed, and produced large scale music festivals and events and owned music venues and bars. Back in Winnipeg, Kristjan was the head of development for a local production company and now owns his own company – Hundredth Meridian –  creating and producing film and television. Kristjan has lived and worked in film in Mexico City, Tai Pei and Oslo and has traveled all over the U.S., North and Central America, Europe and Asia.


Noam Gonick is a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Directors Guild of Canada, Noam directs work for the stage and screen, with films broadcast and streamed worldwide. He has recently forayed into making public art. Gonick has an enduring interest in social activism, gender and our connections across racial and class divides. Uprisings, protests, marches and dancing are recurring motifs across a variety of media.

His first film “1919” re-situated the Winnipeg General Strike in a bathhouse-barbershop and is in the collection of the National Gallery of Canada. His feature “Hey, Happy!” premiered at Sundance, depicting an apocalyptic flood against a rave culture backdrop. His follow-up was the Indigenous street gang movie “Stryker” – in MoMA’s film library. “Waiting for Twilight”, a biographical documentary about filmmaker Guy Maddin narrated by Tom Waits, won Best Arts project at Hot Docs. Noam co-wrote Maddin’s memoir documentary “My Winnipeg”  and directed “To Russia with Love” about LGBT athletes at the Sochi Olympics, featuring Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova. His work has screened at the Venice, Berlin, Toronto Film Festivals.

In expanded cinema, Gonick uses film and video in a contemporary art context creating installations such as “Precious Blood”  which documented prisoners communicating through jailhouse windows. “No Safe Words” used Pride Parade Jumbotrons to examine college hazing rituals and the Abu Ghraib torture photos. “Wildflowers of Manitoba” (with Luis Jacob) was a multiscreen performance sculpture in a geodesic dome evoking radical faerie Utopias, exhibited in MASSMoCA’s Oh, Canada. “Commerce Court” presented a stockbroker projected on CIBC’s headquarters on the eve of the stock market crash. “Voices in Longitude and Latitude”, made in collaboration with Marnina Gonick, looked at teenage femininity in a multiscreen projection with accompanying audio work. Gonick frequently works for Anicinabe artist Rebecca Belmore producing video art pieces. His curatorial debut was the ArtForum critic’s pick “Winter Kept Us Warm”’ at La Maison Rouge (Paris), the subject of the documentary “Pussyfingers Goes to Paris”.

Working in television, Gonick directed episodes all four seasons of the APTN/CBC documentary series “Taken” about #MMIWG and was a field director on Showcase’s reality series “Kink”, also creating the comedy pilot “Retail” for Showcase. Gonick won Best Director at the Acting Irish International Theatre Competition for “The Last Days of Cleopatra”. Most recently he revisited the 1919 General Strike with artist Bernie Miller, creating “Bloody Saturday” – a legacy centenary monument in the form of an illuminated streetcar in glass and steel.