The Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC) is the largest professional non-profit association of independent filmmakers in Canada, with more than 850 members across the country. Formerly called the CIFC (Canadian Independent Film Caucus), DOC has been the champion of independent documentary film and television in Canada since 1983.
The DOC BC | YT | NT chapter connects more than 220 DOC members in British Columbia, Yukon, and the Northwest Territories. DOC BC | YT | NT is involved in various local professional development initiatives including workshops, Masterclass series, and its Breakthrough Program.
2023 Board of Directors
Baljit Sangra – Chair, Professional Development, National Board
Baljit Sangra is a Vancouver-based filmmaker whose films shine a light on underrepresented and marginalized voices and stories. An award-winning filmmaker, six time Leo nominee, Baljit’s films have routinely premiered at festivals around the world. She directed the NFB-produced feature documentary Because We Are Girls, exploring the impact of sexual abuse on a Punjabi family living in BC. Because We Are Girls had its world premiere in 2019 at Hot Docs and was the Opening Gala film at Doxa Film Festival. It is still screening at festivals and winning awards and is now on Amazon with over 18 million minutes viewed. Other broadcast documentaries include the award-winning Many Rivers Home, a personal story about seniors living in assisted care at the end of life; Have You Forgotten Me, which shines a light on North America’s oldest Sikh Temple; Warrior Boyz, examining the long-running gang scene unique to the Indo-Canadian enclave of BC’s Lower Mainland and Hockey United following dreams of two South Asian hockey hopefuls. Baljit has a slate of projects in development including documentary and narrative. She sits on the board of Hot Docs and is a DGC member. Baljit is the President of Viva Mantra Films.
Jessica Hallenbeck – Vice-Chair, Professional Development, Governance Committee, National Board
Jessica Hallenbeck (Ph.D., MCIP) is the chair of the DOC BC Governance committee and sits on the Professional Development committee. She is also on the Executive of the DOC National Board. She is a co-owner and producer at Lantern Films, a documentary company founded on the belief that films should be driven by those who have lived the story. Her films have aired on Knowledge Network and have screened at Hot Docs, VIFF, and DOXA. She is currently a SSHRC postdoctoral scholar at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Art and Technology.
Richard Raghoo – Treasurer
Richard Raghoo is the VP of Finance, Production at Great Pacific Media (part of the Thunderbird Entertainment Group) in Vancouver, BC. Born in Trinidad and Tobago, Richard has been in finance for more than 25 years of which the last 17 have been Film and TV specific in British Columbia. Working on both the corporate and production sides of film and TV has allowed him to gain valuable expertise in the workings of film finance and production. Richard has worked with some of the busiest and most notable Western producers and studios, namely Thunderbird, Reel One Entertainment and Insight Film Studios. Having worked on more than 50 MOWs and multiple TV series both scripted and factual, Richard brings a unique perspective and experience level to any entertainment organization.
At Reel One Entertainment, Richard grew the accounting department from two to ten staff to handle the studio’s growth from 5 to 25 productions. Currently, at Great Pacific Media (whose work is seen in more than 170 countries), Richard was brought in to head the production accounting department, establish and implement controls and best practices for the organization.
Priyanka Desai –Secretary, Professional Development, Communications
Priyanka Desai is a content producer for documentaries, reality TV shows and doc series from Mumbai. She is known for award-winning shows that trigger immense audience response such as the debate show Because, It’s a Boy! which won the United Nations Population Fund Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity. She was selected for the Canadian Media Producers Association (CMPA) BC Production Mentorship Program and was one of 21 selected producers for the National Screen Institute’s Business for Producers Program. In Canada, her work includes, award winning docu-series Red Chef Revival (a pan-Canada tourism video presentation for Indigenous Association of Canada), Documentary on Wheelchair Boxing for Accessible Media Inc., a profile video series for BC Achievement Fulmer First Nations Art Awards 2020 and most recently, a Telus Originals docuseries House Special.
Bryan Sullivan – Sponsorship committee, Professional Development, Membership Committee
Bryan Sullivan is a producer, filmmaker and media professional with 25 years experience. He specializes in developing, producing and delivering global content one-offs and series for broadcast, and premium interactive content for the public and private sectors. His recent broadcast credits include ‘Great Lakes Untamed: Source to Sea’ (TVO/SMITHSONIAN/TERRA MATER/ARTÉ), ‘America’s Wild Border: Northern Exposure’ (LOVE NATURE / SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL), ‘Takaya: Lone Wolf’ BBC/CBC/ARTE), ‘America’s Wild Seasons: Spring; Summer; Autumn; and Winter’ (LOVE NATURE / SMITHSONIAN CHANNEL), and ‘The Secret Life of Owls’ (CBC). Bryan just completed ‘RAT CITY’ for CBC’s The Nature of Things, which will be airing in early 2023.
Jason Blackman – Governance
Jason Blackman has been working throughout his career to advocate for progressive change in communities. He holds a Master of Arts in Planning from the University of British Columbia. He has worked in the public and private sector in planning, government, and politics, including a term as an elected city councilor. Having also had the opportunity to assist with the production of documentary films, Jason has come to understand how film can be a powerful storytelling tool that inspires change and connects people. He looks forward to working to support DOC BC YT NT members and advocate for more opportunities to continue growing the local documentary film community and industry.
Nilesh Patel – National Advocacy
Nilesh Patel focuses on telling the stories of racialized people and supporting the creative development of BIPOC persons. His first broadcast work, the one hour narrative 7 to 11 Indian was broadcast nationally on Citytv in 2004. From there he produced three short films for CityTV by Women of Colour for broadcast. Following this he directed his multiple award winning documentary feature Brocket 99 – Rocking the Country (preserved in the National Archives of Canada). This provocative film explored racism in Canada, specifically towards Indigenous peoples. Following this he completed his MFA in Film at Concordia (MFA 2014) where he focused on gender roles of men and women through his What is a Man? Series of short documentaries. Nilesh is currently producing a slate of documentaries while also continuing to advocate for racial equity in our film and television industry.
Kelly Milner is an award-winning writer, director and producer from Whitehorse, Yukon. A trained journalist, she likes to focus on stories that explore issues and ideas that help shift perceptions and behaviours. She has directed and produced two multiple award winning short documentaries (SHIFT and Camera Trap). She has just completed her first feature documentary, Not About Me. Learn more about her work at www.shotinthedarkmedia.com
Alix Buck is a filmmaker in Vancouver, BC. After an undergraduate degree and nearly a decade of working internationally for humanitarian organizations, Alix went back to school to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a documentary filmmaker. Alix now holds a certificate in Documentary Filmmaking from Capilano University, and her first first short film, Beckwoman’s Hippie Emporium, was selected to premiere at DOXA Documentary Film Festival in 2022. Alix has been working as a director, writer, and editor for several productions in BC, and is currently attending the Whistler DOC LAB for her film in production, Lobster Queens. Alix hopes to use her filmmaking to showcase the beauty, grit, and complexity of the world around her, and to elevate underrepresented voices, especially of women.
Avinash Bujhawan was born in Trinidad where he realized his passion for photography as a child. He graduated from the University of Trinidad and Tobago, with a Masters in Environmental Science and a minor in Economics. Avi moved to Alberta to work as an Air Pollution Tester for the rigs. When he bought his first digital camera his childhood passion led him to his current career as a self-taught cinematographer. He has worked for the biggest Caribbean culture music producer and DJ in Toronto, Dr, Jay and with Caribbean music producer, DJ Ana. He worked as a Unit PA on two big budget films in Toronto and as a cinematographer for two short documentaries.
Özgün Gündüz is an emerging documentary producer based in Vancouver. After working as insights and marketing professional in media and research agencies for over a decade, she transitioned to documentary film producing in 2020. Her first short Weltschmerz received support from TELUS Storyhive and travelled to international festivals. Last year, she completed the CMPA mentorship program at Roaming Pictures. Since then, she has worked as a production coordinator with established local filmmakers. Özgün continues to develop her own films while working in independent documentary productions.
Kevin Eastwood is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who lives and works on xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) territories. Most recently he wrote and directed British Columbia: An Untold History, a critically-acclaimed documentary series that retells the history of “British Columbia” from a more diverse and inclusive perspective. The series won five Leo Awards (including Best Documentary Series, Best Direction and Best Writing) and was nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards. Previous credits as director include Humboldt: The New Season and After The Sirens for CBC Television (both nominated for Best Documentary Program at the Canadian Screen Awards), The Death Debate for Telus Optik (CSA nominee for Best Direction) and Emergency Room: Life + Death At VGH (CSA nominee for Best Direction and Best Documentary Series). Kevin’s credits as a producer include the award-winning documentaries Haida Modern, Vancouver: No Fixed Address, Haida Gwaii: On The Edge Of The World, Oil Sands Karaoke, Do You Really Want to Know? and Eco-Pirate: The Story Of Paul Watson.