Bob Christie - President
Bob Christie is a filmmaker from Vancouver, Canada whose work explores the interesting spaces where documentary film meets popular entertainment and social justice. He produced and directed the 2009 feature Beyond Gay: The Politics of Pride that won ten best documentary awards and many other honours, including being featured as the opening film of the Boston LGBT Film Festival and the Canadian Gala at the Victoria International Film Festival. Beyond Gay also involved substantial on the streets activism working with organizers from Poland, Russia, Sri Lanka, the United States and Canada. In addition to extensive television commercial credits, Bob’s previous work includes The Royal Eight a documentary about his family, short films, music videos and web content. It received completion funding from the National Film Board of Canada and paints a touching portrait of Bob’s aging father and his seven siblings, their unusual traditions, and the remarkable camaraderie of these eight feisty seniors and their tight knit clan.
Bob is an active community volunteer, having served on the Vancouver Pride Society’s outreach committee, The Vancouver Queer Film Festival’s Queer History Project advisory committee and Winter Pride Whistler Film Society. Bob has a BFA in Film and an MA in Comparative Media Arts from Simon Fraser University where his studies focus on LGBT media and activism.
Louise Valgardson - Vice President
Louise Valgardson has worked in Vancouver’s film and advertising communities for over twenty years. She has worked as a line producer on television commercials, a production manager and a writer and producer of short films. Louise is extremely excited about working with Reel Causes, as she sees it as the perfect venue to meld her love of film with her interest in social justice and environmental issues. She’s hoping her background and skill set will help Reel Causes increase visibility for issue-oriented filmmakers and their causes.
Jessica Somers - Treasurer
Jessica Somers has been a film buff as long as she can remember. Growing up in repertory cinema and midnight movie screenings, she can’t imagine life without films that make you think. Jessica loves working with Reel Causes because it’s an opportunity to take her passion one step further – to be inspired by socially-aware films and take “reel” action in life by supporting organizations making a difference in the areas of social justice, environment and health.
As an accountant and cross-border tax advisor, Jessica works with clients to provide business strategy and tax planning advice as well as financial statement preparation and support for clients going through audits, (re)financing, and due diligence processes. She enjoys working with non-profit organizations to ensure financial stability and long-term sustainability. Over the years, Jessica has provided her financial expertise and on-going support to the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival, the Yoga Outreach Society, the Queer Film Festival, the Vancouver Latin American Cultural Centre and the Manhattan Housing Cooperative.
Julia Brunzell - Secretary
Julia Brunzell is looking forward to working with Reel Causes and using her energy and expertise to bring together talented people to create inspiring experiences. As a creative leader, Julia’s career has taken her from small architecture firms to giant retailers such as Starbucks and Lululemon (where she quickly became addicted to coffee and stretchy black pants.) She has also been a business owner, part-time theatre actor, volunteer and jam-maker. She finds balance through her yoga practice, rearing teenagers, and enjoying some of the finer things in life like poutine and kombucha.
Julia is very excited and honoured to be part of Reel Causes and become more involved in the arts and social justice in Vancouver. She hopes to contribute her skills in a meaningful way to create positive change in the world.
Shannon Kaplun - Director
Shannon has been directing/producing/writing broadcast television for CTV, APTN, Bravo and CBC for over eighteen years. All of these productions tell compelling and inspiring stories that matter. Since 2012, she has written and directed two television series where whereby she created nineteen biographies about global game changers.
After two decades of board work, she is currently serving as vice president in her fourth year on the board of directors of Vancouver Women in Film and Television; she is the VP of Osimous Theatre Society; and now Shannon is thrilled to be now be a part of the Real Causes board of directors.
Michael Levett - Director
Michael has been marketing via multiple media for over five years, ranging from gaming apps to public markets. A graduate of the University of Bradford in the UK in Film Studies, Michael combines his experience in marketing and love of film in the hope of bringing positive change through Reel Causes.
Michael is very excited to bring his experience to social justice and environmental stewardship, and help Reel Causes increase its message and visibility in the local and international community.
It’s a lot of work to promote, create and execute Reel Causes events.
In addition to our enormously hard-working board of directors, we have a fantastic part-time programming coordinator, Brianna Girdler, and a group of volunteers that make Reel Causes events happen. A big thank you to all our volunteers!