Gimli Film Festival Staff

Aaron Zeghers
Festival Director

Zeghers is a filmmaker, film programmer and the Festival Director for the Gimli Film Festival.  As a film programmer, Zeghers is the founder and co-director of the Winnipeg Underground Film Festival and the Open City Cinema on-going film screening series. He also worked previously as the Senior Film Programmer for the Gimli Film Festival from 2014-17. As an experimental and documentary filmmaker, Zeghers’ films have screened at festivals and venues around the world including International Film Festival Rotterdam, Ann Arbor Film Festival, Festival du nouveau cinéma, DOXA Film Festival, and New York’s Mono No Aware. Zeghers has also toured widely with his work, performing his expanded cinema performances in Rotterdam, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Chicago, Vancouver, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Toronto and more.

Alan Wong
Festival Manager

Alan Wong holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Voice from Brandon University and a Certificate in Arts & Cultural Management from the University of Winnipeg. He started off his career as a performer in music and theatre. He has performed with Manitoba Opera, Rainbow Stage, the Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre, and Mortal Coil Theatre Co., to name a few. Alan is also an actor in film and television with numerous credits including in the recent blockbuster action movie, “Nobody” starring Bob Odenkirk. These days, he is most occupied with not singing or acting roles, but leadership ones. He is the President of the FascinAsian Film Festival, as well as the new President of ACTRA Manitoba, the local branch of the union for film, television and radio performers.

Drew Jensen
Communications Coordinator 

Drew Jensen is excited to be working with the Gimli Film Festival for his first year as a Communications Coordinator. Drew will be going into his second year of  Creative Communications at Red River College this August with a specialization in Advertising and Marketing. Previously, Drew obtained a Bachelor of Arts with an Honours in Acting from the University of Winnipeg. Over the summers, Drew has enjoyed performing in several Fringe Festivals and a scene in a Netflix film with Theo James and Forest Whitaker. Drew has recently shifted his pursuits towards the communications field, becoming a board member for the Advertising Association of Winnipeg Board. He hopes to learn more about the relationship between communication and advertising, and how he can reimagine advertising campaigns and strategy across Canada. Drew’s a big fan of local craft beer, loves to record his own voiceovers in his home studio, and has just begun his screenwriting journey.

David Knipe
Senior Film Programmer

David Knipe is a film programmer, writer, and filmmaker with a bachelor’s degree in Film Studies from the University of Manitoba. In addition to programming for the Gimli Film Festival, he is the Winnipeg Film Group’s Cinematheque Operations Manager, Programmer of the Gimme Some Truth Documentary Festival, and a co-organizer and programmer of the first annual Afro Prairie Film Festival. He is consumed with the need to share his passion for films with others, and is motivated by the belief that film is the pre-eminent art form of the 20th and 21st centuries, and that the shared communal experience of watching a film together with other people, whether in a traditional cinema or in more liminal, loosely-defined spaces such as rooftops or alleyways, is the defining experience of personal, social, and political transformation through art that we can have.

Vivian Belik
Documentary Film Programmer

Vivian Belik has previously worked as a programmer at the Available Light Film Festival and has been involved with the Hot Docs Film Festival, Regent Park Film Festival, and Doc Now Festival in Toronto. She has an MFA in Documentary Media Studies from Ryerson University and has since directed two short documentaries and is currently producing a feature-length documentary through Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program. She’s originally from Winnipeg, a city she largely credits for shaping her taste in film and art, and now spends a large part of the year in the Yukon.

Photo of Steph Berrington

Stephanie Berrington
VISIONS Film Programmer

Stephanie Berrington is an arts manager, curator, and actor from Winnipeg. Steph got her start in film programming in 2014 through an outdoor, bike-powered screening series called Cinema Out of the Box, while she was completing a master’s degree in English, Film, and Cultural Studies at McGill. After moving back to her hometown in early 2016, Steph got involved with the Winnipeg Film Group, making popcorn in the Cinematheque Box Office before joining the WFG’s distribution department to oversee acquisitions and festival submissions. In 2019, Steph moved to Ottawa where she currently manages community and business partnerships for the Canadian Film Institute, the International Film Festival of Ottawa (IFFO), and the Ottawa International Animation Festival (OIAF). She can occasionally be seen on big screens at festivals across the world, including Berlin and Slamdance, for her acting work.

Shira Newman
Short Film Programmer

Shira Newman is an emerging filmmaker from Winnipeg Manitoba. She has a degree in Film Studies and Religion from the University of Manitoba and studied Film Production at Concordia in Montreal. When she returned to Winnipeg she began work on her own short films most notably “The Blessing”, a gothic horror exploring postpartum depression using Jewish folklore, which played here at GFF as well as other festivals including the Toronto Jewish Film Festival. Over the last ten years, she has worked in the film industry doing everything from art direction to script supervising and has been teaching filmmaking and screenwriting to kids and youth through the Engaging Fusion Program of the Winnipeg School Division. She is thrilled to be programming shorts at this awesome festival on the Prairies.

Olivia Norquay
Short Film Programming Assistant

Olivia Norquay is a non-profit administrator, film programmer and curator from Winnipeg. She studied English at the University of Winnipeg with a focus on onscreen and cultural studies. She is currently the Business Manager at The Uniter, the Short Film Programming Assistant at Gimli Film Festival and the Programming Coordinator at Cinematheque. She is the co-founder of Tiny & Mean’s Record Swap and host of the horror radio show Bikini Drive-In on CKUW 95.9 fm.

Photo of Scott Fitzpatrick

Scott Fitzpatrick
Special Project Programmer

Scott Fitzpatrick is a visual artist and film programmer from Winnipeg, MB, whose film and video work has screened at underground festivals and marginalized venues worldwide. He studied film at the University of Manitoba and began conducting lo-fi moving image experiments in 2010. His films have received awards from the WNDX Festival of Moving Image, Onion City Experimental Film and Video Festival, Festival du Nouveau Cinema, FLEX Florida Experimental Film and Video Festival, the Milwaukee Underground Film Festival, and in 2018 he was the recipient of the 2018 Winnipeg Film Group Manitoba Film Hothouse Award. In addition to producing his own work, Scott presents the work of others through the Winnipeg Underground Film Festival and Open City Cinema, and has curated work for the Gimli Film Festival, Antimatter Media Art, Forthwith Festival, Send + Receive, San Diego Underground Film Festival, MIRE International Film Labs Meeting, and the PRISME Festival.

Daina Warren
Indigenous Horror Focus Short Film Series Curator 

Daina Warren is from the Akamihk (Cree) Nation in Maskwacis (Bear Hills), AB. She was awarded two Canada Council’s Aboriginal Curatorial Residencies the first to work with grunt gallery, Vancouver BC (2000-2001) and a second residency at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa, Ontario (2010-2011). She has a BFA from the Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2003) and an MA from UBC (2012). Warren was awarded the 2015 Emily Award from Emily Carr University and was selected as one of six Indigenous women curators as part of the Canada Council for the Arts Delegation to participate in the International First Nations Curators Exchange that took place in Australia (2015), New Zealand (2016), and Canada (2017). Her most recent accomplishment was winning the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award for Curatorial Excellency in 2018. She is currently the Director of Urban Shaman Contemporary Aboriginal Art in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Stéphane Oystryk
Champ Libre Short Film Series Curator 

Stéphane Oystryk is the lead coordinator for the Service d’animation culturelle (Cultural Services) at Université de Saint-Boniface. A graduate of the University of Manitoba Film Studies program in 2005, he is very active in the Winnipeg arts scene working in film, music, theatre and visual arts. His first feature film, FM Youth (2014), about young francophones in Saint-Boniface, was an official selection of many film festivals, was broadcast by UNIS TV and was published as a cinéroman book by Éditions du Blé. In 2017, at the Manitoba Book Awards, the cinéroman version of FM Youth was awarded the Rue-Deschambault Literary Prize for the best Manitoban book written in French.

Ryley Livingston
Box Office Coordinator

Ryley Livingston is a student currently studying Computer Science with a Business Management minor at the University of Manitoba.  Ryley is the Box Office Coordinator for the Gimli Film Festival returning for his fourth festival in the role. Previously Ryley was the Box Office coordinator assistant in 2016 and 2017. Spending his summers in Gimli, he first became involved with the festival as a volunteer allowing his passion for film to grow. When he isn’t stuck behind a screen, he enjoys staying active, listening to new music and drinking a great cup of coffee.

Rochelle Steinmetz
Volunteer Coordinator

Rochelle Steinmetz is returning to GFF this year as the Volunteer Coordinator. She has lived in Gimli all of her life and has been a part of the Gimli Film Festival for as long as she can remember, first as a little one on the beach with her dad, then as a volunteer and is now returning for her third year as staff. Rochelle just completed her third year of University at the University of Winnipeg studying in the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education. Rochelle is excited to be a part of the festival again this year and to see what the 21st-anniversary festival brings.

Haley Charney
Sponsorship Coordinator

Haley Charney is a filmmaker, communications professional and writer. Haley is also looking forward to completing her Rhetoric, Writing and Communications degree at The University of Winnipeg this year. In addition to being GFF’s 2021 Sponsorship Coordinator, Haley is the Operations Assistant and Secretary at Reel Pride Film Festival; whose board she has been a member of since 2018. She is particularly drawn to documentary content and was privileged to work on Eagle Vision’s Taken from 2016-2019. Haley believes sharing our stories with each other is key to creating connection and understanding.

Coby Friesen
Logistics Coordinator

Coby made his start in theatre, training at the University of Winnipeg and Studio 58 in Vancouver for theatre performance. However, over the years his passions have shifted over to Film and Television, where he has worked on-set in various departments, written and directed his own films and continues to act when he can. Besides the ongoing writing of his own t.v. series, Coby’s most recent film highlight was playing multiple characters in the award-winning short film Mort, Through the Looking Glass. This summer, Coby is beyond excited and honoured to be joining the GFF team as logistics coordinator.

Alyna Sikorsky
Outreach Coordinator

Alyna Sikorsky is a student at Ryerson University pursuing a degree in Creative Industries with a focus on film. She has always been an avid film fan, has traveled to attend film festivals, and is now planning a career in the industry. Understanding the connection between the business and the creative process itself is of particular interest to Alyna. Since high school, she has worked on a variety of performing art productions and was most recently a programmer at the 2020 UWPG Film Festival. Alyna has always enjoyed attending GFF and is excited to be contributing to this year’s festival.

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