ANNOUNCEMENT TIME! We’re so excited to announce our 2022 Breakthrough participants! Scroll through to learn about our wonderful filmmakers!
Jaime Leigh Gianopoulos (she/her) is a director, producer, editor and founder of Her Stories Inc. Her projects primarily concern the empowerment of women, social and environmental justice. Winner of the ‘Hot Doc’s Cross Currents Doc Fund’ (2021) with co-director Kayah George for their documentary ‘Our Grandmother the Inlet’ which will move into production late January 2022.
Jaime Leigh’s film “What About Our Future?” which she executive produced, co-directed, shot, and edited with co-director Cláudio Cruz & producer Jen Muranetz was supported and funded by Creative BC and has appearances by David Suzuki and Greta Thunberg. The project screened at DOXA (2021) receiving the ‘Nigel Moore Youth Programming Award’, One World Humanitarian Film Festival (2021), The Vancouver Short Film Festival (2021), DOK Leipzig (2020), Aesthetica Short Film Festival & Now Symposium (2020/2021), St. John’s International Women’s Festival (2020), Planet in Focus (2020), and Eco-Cine Film Festival (2020), BIFED (2020) and was a finalist for ‘The SIMA Awards’ (2021.) ‘What About Our Future? participated in the ‘Hot Doc’s Doc’s For School’s’ Program’ and ‘SIMA Classroomes’ playing in over 600 schools, and had its broadcast premiere on ‘Hollywood Suite’ on March 21st 2021. The project was selected for SMI’s ‘Story to Action’ program (2021).
Jaime Leigh just completed an eight-week course through Sundance with her upcoming film “Ask the Plantain” which she will be co-produceding with award-winning producer Shelby Manton (Boldly).
Jay Cardinal Villeneuve, a Nêhiyawi- Bush Cree/Métis, was born and raised in northern Alberta and is an intergenerational residential school survivor who began acting on stage in community theatre productions when he was just a young buck. Him/He emerged from hustling VHS rentals at Video Gallery in Slave Lake, Treaty 8 territory, to nabbing a Theatre scholarship for College, where he subsequently dropped out and hitchhiked to Vancouver Coast Salish Territory to work in film & television.
After short stints in TV, independent film, radio, KFC, telemarketing and street theatre, he snuck into Capilano University where he paid his dues by selling film school students short film scripts for their assignments, then graduated from the Indigenous Independent Digital Filmmaking program; with honours. Villeneuve concurrently worked as a private video statement gatherer w/ the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada for several years where he was honoured with the name “Smeent” meaning Mountain Man in the Kwakwaka’wakw language. His many YouTube short films have gone the opposite of viral, but some have actually played in film festivals. As an actor, you can see him in some cool movies like Beans and Brother I Cry (where he was robbed of a Supporting Actor Leo Award), and even a TV show here and there, like Get Shorty.
As a filmmaker he managed to snag some hardware for his films like the critically acclaimed Holy Angels and Is That One of Your Jokes; which is not a question, or a joke, but the title of the film. He also received honourable mention from the MPPIA Short Film Award at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival for the live pitch of his Louis Riel short script Gods & Devils. Jay is basically what would happen if Tom Jackson and Blanche Devereaux (from Golden Girls) had an illegitimate love child that was raised in a small town surrounded by dense forest; and people LOL! He also has three rad kids, who are not illegitimate, and often star in his cardinal cinéma c[art]el indie films.
“live to dream, dare to live; live your dreams if you dare!”
~ jay cardinal villeneuve
Jamuna Galay-Tamang is a storyteller whose lineage is Tamang, Dënësųłinë́ Métis, German & Ukrainian. Her Indigenous roots in Canada are tied to Buffalo Narrows, Saskatchewan (Treaty 6 Territory) and she was born on stolen Sḵwx̱wú7mesh and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Territories. She is a daughter, sister, proud aunty, beader, hide tanner and corn husk weaver. In herprofessional work, she loves exploring themes related to identity, public health equity, and transformational Indigenous/social justice. Jamuna was a 2021 Vancouver International Film Festival Catalyst Mentee and was the recipient of a Fox International Fellowship at Yale University in 2019-2020 where she was supported in this filmmaking process. She holds a Master’s in Journalism from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from the University of Victoria. She lives and works on the beautiful unceded and stolen territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh Peoples who have been stewards and caretakers of these lands for time beyond record or oral history.
Kent Donguines is a Filipino-Canadian narrative and documentary filmmaker who runs Aimer Films Inc. based in Vancouver, BC. He produced the award-winning films IRIDESCENCE, THIS INK RUNS DEEP which premiered at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival, and WATERSHED which is currently featured in Los Angeles Comic-Con through Geekfest. He also created the short documentary, KALINGA (CARE) that had its World Premiere at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival and is currently one of the projects selected by Story Money Impact to impact produce through their inaugural Story to Action program. In 2021, Kent is named as one of Playback’s 10 to Watch as he continues to champion Filipino-Canadian and underrepresented stories.
Milena Salazar is a documentary filmmaker interested in creating artistically driven, socially engaged work. Her award-winning short films, as well as her collaborations with other filmmakers as an editor or cinematographer, have screened in film festivals across the globe. Alongside her film projects, she has championed documentary cinema and its independent filmmaking community through various roles in arts organizations and film festivals in Vancouver, BC. She is currently working on her first feature Robot Kindergarten, an essay film about robotic pet companions and their wider societal and ethical implications.
Yasmine Renaud (she/her) is a French Canadian cultural producer, arts administrator, and filmmaker based in Dawson City, Yukon.
Her longtime love of theater led her to be a founding member of the Dawson City League of Lady Wrestlers (DCLOLW), a performance art collective, where she was the artistic director for 4 years. The DCLOLW received international attention and was featured in the Toronto Star, the Huffington Post, and VICE.
Yasmine has stage managed at Edinburgh’s International Fringe Festival and produced for Scotland’s national broadcaster, STV, before returning home to focus on building community and capacity in the Yukon.
Her films have been official selections at various festivals such as Available Light, Wonderhorse, South Texas Underground, and the Scottish Short Film Festival, where ‘Last House on CCTV’ won the audience choice award. She most recently wrote her first short film, Birdbox and is currently producing for television.
We’re so excited to begin the program with these amazing filmmakers! Stay tuned to hear more about their projects.