The Smallest Steps
About The Team
Co-producer, Director, Second Camera, Assistant Editor
Nicole Bedford is an emerging filmmaker in the Ottawa filmmaking scene.
Her documentary shorts to date have explored different aspects of changing identity, like how women’s identities change when they have a child. Through her films she seeks to get viewers thinking (and acting) differently. the smallest steps will be her first feature. For this film, she hopes to explore how media can be used to change an audience’s identity.
Leighann Burns has worked in shelters for abused women for almost 30 years.
Starting as a rural outreach worker, Leighann began her work by accompanying women to legal appointments and to family and criminal court. Outrage generated by the routine and the rampant injustice she bore witness to fueled her efforts to make change ever since. She was an active member of the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH)’s Lobby Committee, later named Social Justice Action Committee, for twenty-five years. Recently, she was instrumental in forming two newer advocacy groups: Action, Research, Change (ARC) and Believe, End Violence Against Women/Croyez Arrêtez la violence faite aux femmes. She began work as Harmony House’s executive director in 1994. When she saw how quickly regressive social policy could roll back any gains made, Leighann went to law school as her next strategy and has been practicing family law with survivors of violence for more than a decade. She has seen first-hand the impact responsive, informed, tenacious feminist legal advocacy can have on the safety and freedom of women and children fleeing violence. Increasing access to this type of advocacy for survivors of violence is a key goal of her own activist journey.
Co-Producer, Subject Matter Expert
Emily is an Ottawa-based independent producer.
An Algonquin College Scriptwriting program grad, she received the City of Ottawa Youth in Culture pilot program grant and was also a recipient of the CMPA Ontario Production Mentorship, mentoring with Derek Diorio (Hard Rock Medical, TVO/APTN) of Distinct Features Inc. Her recent credits include: Creator/producer of Vs.: Women in Combat Sports, a 6-part documentary series with Bell Fibe; Co-Producer of Morgana McKenzie’s Wild (Indomptable), recently an official selection for the TIFF Next Wave Film Festival; Production Manager of Pur Laine – an award winning bilingual feature film funded by the Canada Council for the Arts and directed by Alexander Cruz; and Producer of the cine-poem Primary Colours featuring poet/activist Roua Aljied, which screened at 32 festivals around the world, winning Best Micro-short at the Social Justice Film Festival. Emily became Board Chair of The Digi60 Filmmakers’ Festival in 2015, which promotes and supports the professional development of new and emerging filmmakers in Ottawa. She is currently completing the WIFT-T Connect Mentorship program and is excited to be a part of this important documentary!
Doug Rotar has worked in the field of television broadcasting and video communications for 25 years.
During this time he has worked for national broadcasters including CBC, audio/visual companies including AVW-TELAV, and has supported the creation of independent productions. He currently works as the Video Technical Producer for the Department of National Defence.
Technical Producer & Graphics
With over 30 years of broadcasting experience, Barry has worked in small market and large market, National and International Network News & Sports, Production Television, in addition to lending his expertise to not-for-profit NGOs.
As the first Senior ENG Digital Technician for Global National (fifteen years), Barry has covered events all over the world; from Haiti, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Argentina, China, Thailand, Egypt, and Libya, to covering the Arab Springs, the Royal Wedding, floods and hurricanes. https://cameracutter.com/
Morgana McKenzie is an award winning cinematographer and director based in Toronto.
Her short films have garnered over 40 awards from international festivals, including Best Director and the Canada 150 award for Best Film from TIFF Jump Cuts Next Wave. Most recently, Morgana received two nominations from the Canadian Society of Cinematographers for her work on “Wild” (Dramatic Short Cinematography), and “Lost Time” (Robert Brooks Award for Documentary Cinematography). As a cinematographer and colorist, Morgana is currently working on a number of narrative and documentary projects in Toronto, Tokyo, Kentucky, and Seattle. http://morganamckenzie.com/
Joshua Davison is a 21 year old broadcast TV student at Algonquin College.
In the field or on set, Josh normally works as a boom operator and a camera operator. When working on productions, both in and out of the studio, Josh usually assumes technical roles since his strength is in managing technical setup surrounding any type of production and in developing a collaborative team environment for his colleagues. Josh is always looking for opportunities to take on new responsibilities to gain a variety of production experiences, to develop new areas in technical skills and to be part of dynamic teams.
Gisela Restrepo is a French and Colombian artist and filmmaker based in Toronto.
She completed a master’s degree in visual arts in 2011 at UQAM (University of Québec in Montréal). Her projects are as much in visual arts as in documentary. Her work on the memory and history of Colombia has been exhibited in various artists’ centers in Quebec as well as in Colombia and Argentina. She recently finished her first feature documentary Under Silence and Earth.
Née en France et d’origine colombienne, Gisela Restrepo est une artiste et réalisatrice basée à Toronto. Diplômée de l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques de l’UQAM (Université du Québec à Montréal), son travail sur la mémoire et l’histoire de la Colombie a été exposé dans différents centres d’artistes au Québec ainsi qu’en Colombie et en Argentine. Elle vient de finir son premier long-métrage, Sous le Silence et la terre.
Andrea Stewart is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and writer.
Her documentary on the Greenland Shark, ‘Searching for a Monster’, won a gold Medal at the Belgrade Underwater Film Festival. Her feature documentary, ‘Sun Dogs’ premiered at Reel World Film Festival in 2007. She has also worked on a variety of broadcast and feature projects as writer, story editor, director and producer, covering topics ranging from science and the environment to social justice and human interest. She is also the co-creator and executive producer of SESQUI, a multi-faceted immersive project created for Canada 150, experienced by over 1.4M people in Canada in 2017, and reaching global audiences in dome theatres around the world working with Global Affairs Canada. She is a graduate of Ryerson University where she was the recipient of the Norman Jewison Filmmaking Award in 1995.
Alejandro is a multi-instrumentalist media composer, sound designer and sound mixer based in
His academic and professional formation has taken him for his native Mexico City, where he studied at the National School of Music, all the way to Sydney, Australia to complete his BMus in Composition and Music Production at the Australian Institute of Music, followed by Edinburgh, UK, where he got his master’s degree in Composition for Screen. Alejandro established his new creative home in Montréal after this, where he has since been working in audio post-production, collaborating in the soundtracks of three feature films, two feature-length and over ten short documentaries, as well as animations and advertising. Whether it would be as sound designer, score mixer, dialogue editor or screen composer, he combines his love for storytelling with his musical knowledge in order to create the most unique and thrilling soundtracks.
Alejandro Magaña Martinez
Sound Design and Mix
Rebecca Lessard lives in Tio’tia:ke / Montreal and has worked as a writer and editor on multiple television, documentary, short film and digital projects (most recently, the 13-part docuseries GESPE’GEWA’GI: The Last Land).
She worked as the visual researcher on RUMBLE: The Indians Who Rocked the World, the Sundance and CSA-winning documentary feature from Rezolution Pictures. She is also a musician/composer, the creator of Dishing Up the Past, a webseries which collected recipes and kitchen stories from first and second generation immigrants in Montreal, and has led media programming and education for Indigenous, refugee and unhoused youth and other systemically marginalized populations.
Amy Richardson is a seasoned Communication & Change Management professional.
By day, she leads communication and change management activities for a large-scale government IT program. Fluently bilingual, Amy graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism, driving her interest in activism and giving back to the community.
She uses her professional skills to craft brand strategies and communication plans, develop graphics, and help manage the social communities of organizations looking to make the world a better place. Through this work, she hopes Canada becomes a safe, inclusive and equal space for all. When she’s not working with the smallest steps’ social media team, she enjoys fostering dogs with a local rescue, outdoor activities, and travelling.
Kristina is a 4th year undergraduate student at Carleton University studying in Political Science, specializing in North American Politics and minoring in Communication Studies.
Prior to joining the team, she worked as a Communications Research Assistant for the Community First: Impacts of Community Engagement (CFICE) Project, which studied how universities can partner with community organizations to bring about positive change in their communities. She is passionate about advocacy and giving a voice to individuals with disabilities, and as a member of that community, she is optimistic this project will resonate by uniting audiences and sparking much needed conversation about violence against women in Canadian society.
Natasha is currently working on her undergraduate degrees in Indigenous Studies and Gender & Social Justice, focusing on Informed trauma storytelling at Trent University.
As a child witness of domestic violence, she plans to study how informed trauma storytelling can help survivors of violence heal. Knowing how survivors tell their story shapes how society labels them and provides services for them, which can help remove bias and find funding that is much need.
Researcher, Trent University
By day, Antonella is a public health communication professional leading a project focused on vaccine acceptance and uptake, as well as health equity.
She obtained her Master of Arts in Communication at Carleton University in 2018. Since her time in grad school, Antonella developed a passion for activism. She got involved in her union where she advocated for increased equity and safer working conditions among teaching assistants at her university. She later was elected as Vice-President of her union where she passed an equity policy to improve the representation and engagement among women, LGBTQ2S+ and racialized members in her local. Now, Antonella spends her spare time volunteering on the smallest steps project, sharing her creative ideas, communication strategies and activism experience.
Chuhan Huang is a third-year undergraduate majoring in Film and media at Queen’s University
She currently lives in China, is proficient in bilingualism, is an experienced short film director and has excellent publicity skills. She has shown a strong interest in gender studies during her studies. She learned about violence against women in Canadian society when she participated in a gender studies course, and as an Asian woman with different identities, the anti-violence movement resonated with her. She believes that women need to rely on their own strength to fight unfair behaviors. As a film student, she is fortunate to be a member of the documentary team, which gives her the opportunity to use her professional knowledge and social media skills to make the voices of survivors of violence heard by more people through the film.
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