Board of Directors

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.

Jennifer Foden - Vice President

Jennifer Foden, a freelance writer and editor originally from Toronto, is excited to be on the board of Reel Causes in order to give back to the community she now calls home. With an undergraduate degree in Criminology and Justice Studies and a post-grad in Publishing, Reel Causes is a way for Jen to combine two of her passions: social justice and media. She also brings a wealth of experience in writing, editing, digital marketing, media relations and social media as part of Reel Causes’ marketing team. When not working with words or volunteering with Reel Causes, Jen is travelling, biking, watching/playing sports or FaceTiming her niece and nephew.

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.

Layla Cameron - Director

Layla Cameron is a PhD candidate in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University and a freelance journalist and filmmaker. She has worked for numerous film festivals in both British Columbia and Ontario (in programming and operations/events capacities), and is excited to continue to build connections between important films and community organizations. She draws on skills from both her academic background in Journalism and Human Rights and Feminist Media Studies, and from her professional work in festivals and the non-profit world to contribute to the programming at Reel Causes.
Len Fearnside - Director

Len Fearnside is an avid film lover; and from an early age, after crying at his first cinema experience, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, knew that movies could really move the human spirit. Ever since then, he has looked for those film experiences which allowed him to see the world through eyes different than his own. Len is a CPA with experience in finance, but he is hoping to help out in any way he can, be it accounting or his other hobby, technology. He recently spent some time away from Vancouver for work, but is home now and excited to work with Reel Causes to give back to the community he loves.
Brianna Girdler - Director

Brianna Girdler is a cinephile. She was hiding it for years while pursuing her passion for travel and is now dedicating time to her second love: film. In her role as operations manager at Women in Film and Television Vancouver, Brianna combines her fascination with film and international affairs with her commitment to intersectional feminism. In her spare time, she is also working on her first feature film. Brianna is looking forward to working with Reel Causes’ board and members to support intersectional cinematic analyses of social, environmental and health-related issues the world over.
Mina Haghighi - Director

Mina Haghighi‘s background is in financial industry, she holds a major in Economics and minor in Political Science from University of British Columbia. Mina is a business development manager by profession; and connects with other professionals in the community to promote and support youth entrepreneurship. Mina is a huge believer in giving back and building community. Her volunteer background ranges from talking money and business to students, to helping with events for new immigrants and refugees; and now she is proud to be a part of Reel Causes. Coming from a family who is passionate about art and culture and history, she has always been interested in movies. She truly believes in Reel Causes’ mission; and that movies are a powerful medium for communication and for keeping members of our communities connected.
Andrea MacFarlane - Director

Andrea MacFarlane has always been passionate about the arts and social issues. Reel Causes has blended them both together, and she is excited to bring her outgoing personality and business skills to the task. Currently the director of operations for one of Canada’s largest ad agencies, Andrea has worked in advertising for 15 years, managing various peopleprojects, timelines, events and budgets in a fastpaced and unpredictable environmentIn addition to the 9 to 5, Andrea is also an ACTRA member, photographer, painter; and has volunteered many times over the years (although her most heartfelt experience was with the CNIB.) She’s led an activist life since her teens, a vegetarian tree hugger way before it was mainstream. For Andrea, joining Reel Causes adds to an ongoing quest to live a life of purpose.
Louise Valgardson - Director

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.