The Smallest Steps

About The Team

Nicole Bedford

Co-producer, Director, Second Camera, 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.

Leighann Burns

Co-Producer, Subject Matter Expert

Emily Ramsay

Associate Producer

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.

Doug Rotar

Technical Producer

Barry Acton


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.

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.

Morgana McKenzie


Joshua Davison

Boom/Sound Recordist

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.

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.

Kristina Reed

Social Media Strategist

Amy Richarson

Marketing Specialist

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.

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.

Natasha Randell-Tremblett

Student Researcher, Trent University

Madelaine Coelho

Technical Consultant

Madelaine Coelho graduated with distinction from King’s University College at Western University in June 2019.

Her existing publications and future research interests explore the intersections between crime, gender inequality, and emerging media. With a background in both computer science and sociology, she is dedicated to finding innovative solutions to address sexual assault rates through new technological avenues. Madelaine has developed a unique perspective towards crime prevention and sexual violence through various research projects ranging from an audit of personal safety applications to mobile user’s sexual violence reporting experience with Vesta Social Technologies. Madelaine is currently completing her Masters of Arts in Sociology at the University of Toronto and eventually hopes to pursue her PhD in Sociology/Social Policy. 

Saivani Sanassy is a Carleton Student in her third year of a double honours in Human Rights and Social Justice and Indigenous Studies.

Violence Against Women (VAW) interests her as she is constantly learning about issues such as Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women in Canada. However, she has not been able to make a direct impact and really understanding its affects until working with this project. In her role as a Database Researcher, Saivani has been able to see the actions and steps being taken from a municipal, provincial, and federal level and the steps that we need to continue to move towards as well. In terms of Saivani’s “activist shoes”, she says: “I feel powerful in my Doc Martens as they allow me to keep marching towards change in awareness about gender based violence especially towards marginalized folx!”

Saivani Sanassy

database researcher

Nour Hached

Database researcher

Nour Hached is a 4th year criminology student at Carleton University in Ottawa.

For as long as she can remember, she has always been rather shy but also had an outspoken and dynamic personality. As a child, she was always observant of the ways in which women were treated differently to men, however, it was not until she moved to India at the age of 9 that she truly saw how deep the issue reached. From then on, Nour has pursued her interests in understanding societal approaches to ending violence against women, both legally and as a community. As one person in a pool of billions, Nour has never thought her voice was loud enough to make an impact past her social circle, however she has always believed in the idea that by even helping one person, a difference is made. This is what has motivated her to work on the smallest steps: the idea that she could potentially facilitate even one person’s escape from a bad situation.

Watch The Trailer

What will your small step for change be?


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