What did you do this summer?

We tracked down a few of our board members and asked what they’ve been up to over the summer. This is what they had to say;

Peter Glassman

Peter has been devoting the summer to working on a new book, called Not Knowing. In Peter’s words;

“We live in an era that celebrates certitudes derived from observation, inquiry, and information. We rejoice in science and technology. We venerate sureness. Confident conviction. Ratiocination.

Yet, much of life’s essence and meaning cannot be comprehended by reasoning conducted according to strict principles of validity and codification. How and why was the universe created? How and why are we called into life as discrete and distinctive souls? What becomes of us when we cease to exist in our present form of actuality and consciousness?”

This summer Peter has been writing about the necessity, power, peacefulness, and creativity of Not Knowing.

K & P - Anniversary 2014 - Gospel Rock R-K-P - 21 Birthday- Teahouse - 29 JAN 2016

Jessica Somers

Jessica is an accountant and the Reel Causes treasurer. This May, after 10 plus years working for stuffy-corporate accounting firms in Vancouver, Jessica and a colleague/friend donated their navy suits, left their jobs, and opened a tax and business advising firm! They’ve co-founded Cordova Street Consulting in Gastown who’s focus is to support the growing freelance and small-business community in East Vancouver, Strathcona, Gastown/Railtown, and the Drive. They love to work with people who (like them) don’t fit in with the status quo in Vancouver and are forging their own paths in life. Jessica and her business partner are proud of their successes so far and they definitely feel like they made the right choice to leave the grind and be themselves!

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Arjun Shankar

This summer, Arjun started MBA classes at SFU, and has been doing some writing with a professor on campus. It’s been great for Arjun to connect with the school, meet some amazing people and get involved with campus organizations and activities. He hasn’t been in school for some time and has wanted to go back, so he’s really grateful to be there now. In additon, Arjun recently litigated a case at the Federal Court of Canada. It was his first time, and a notable career moment. Otherwise, his life is mostly about work, teaching guitar and music, board work (with reel causes and the compassionate eye foundation), keeping active with running,tennis,yoga and cuddling his pets.


Lisa Rasmussen

Lisa has been anticipating the television broadcast and festival screening of two documentaries by filmmaker Francois Laliberte which she is involved with as the Director of Marketing and Distribution. The film ‘Touching Life’, which documents the inspiring life of a Vancouver family with parents who are visually impaired and a young son who is sighted, will have its Knowledge Network premiere this month on Tuesday, August 30 at 9 pm. Lisa is very proud to be involved with this heartwarming film which chronicles parents, Thilo and Yuko’s journey overcoming their disabilities, falling in love and reaching their ultimate goal of becoming parents.

Touching Life Film - Family Walking 2

Lisa is also excited to have the film ‘Building a Dream’ invited to have its International Premiere at the Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Washington USA on Friday, Sept 9th at 1:15pm. This documentary follows an inspiring and energetic couple from Denman Island, BC who continue to fulfill their dreams after retiring from farming. At 72 years of age, Bob builds his last boat by hand from a cedar log he found while beachcombing 20 years ago. His wife Velda pursues her passion, painting farm scenes on canvases and various items, transforming them into objects of Folk Art.

Building a Dream Film Pic - Sailing Boat

On top of all the above, Lisa has also been busy screening International Features for VIFF this spring/summer as part of their International Screening Committee.

Julia Brunzell

Julia has had a jam packed summer that kicked off with a trip to New York to open an Arc’teryx brand store in June. That trip also included quick one day road trips to Boston and Washington DC. Just one week after returning home, Julia and her family moved to East Vancouver after purchasing their 1st home since moving to Canada 5 years ago.


Soon after the move, Julia went on another trip for work to Shanghai China and Hong Kong. It was Julia’s 1st trip to Asia and full of interesting food and experiences.

HK street Peaceful Shanghai tea the bund Shanghai

Melissa James

Besides enjoying sunny days at the beach during her time off, Melissa has been working on launching a documentary that she co-produced called Avenues of Escape, directed by Vancouver based Peabody Award-winning director Leon Lee. The film is the powerful story of how three women escaped spiritual persecution in China and crossed the jungle to find freedom in North America. She has also been busy coordinating a screening at UK parliament of the political thriller The Bleeding Edge, presented by political activist Miss World Canada Anastasia Lin, who stars in the award-winning film.

Crystal gets on the boat

Dana DeKoven

On top of being our founding director and president, Dana has been busy this summer with family and Reel Causes’ related activities. She has been working hard to get the BC ArtsVest Business for the Arts matching grant and collaborating with board members Lisa and Melissa on developing our sponsorship program. ArtsVest also has a wonderful 6-month sponsorship mentoring program that she’s involved with as well which is part of the grant.  Additionally, she has been arranging our community partnerships with the Vancouver Latin American Film Festival (Aug 25 – Sept 4) and the Vancouver International Film Festival (Sept 29 – Oct 14). Dana was also interviewed for a blog post on Chimp which you can check out here – it’s a really great article.



Nicole Hou

Nicole leads our Youth Advisory Council and over the summer they have been working on a Youtube project – Youth Inspiring YOUth –  that features interviews with passionate youth who are making positive changes in their communities. Their goal is to inspire more youth, and shine a light on community issues and activities that may otherwise be overlooked. In addition, they have been planning film screening events at Eric Hamber Secondary and Moscrop Secondary and are recruiting new members! For more information and to apply, go here


Nicole has also been developing a career conference for students with learning disabilities. It is the first of its kind in the world and offers a free, one-day event that features a keynote speaker, workshops, and a career discovery session. The workshops offered will cover skills required to succeed in the job market and allow students to interact with several working professionals. For more information, visit this link

They are currently seeking participants for the career discovery session! You will receive a free lunch, an honorarium, and will be featured on all of their marketing platforms. Please email nicoleh@ldav.ca to express your interest. All jobs and career sectors are welcome!

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Mark your calendars for our next film event October 20, 2016. Details coming to our website soon!

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About Reel Causes Society

Reel Causes partners with filmmakers and Canadian causes dedicated to addressing global social justice issues. We host film screenings followed by a Q&A session to educate and inspire our community, and provide a forum for authentic conversation aroundF the issues that affect us locally.

City of Vancouver
SFU Woodwards
BC Arts Council
Consumer Protection BC
Creative BC