BREAKING BARRIERS - OVERCOMING INDUSTRY BIAS IN FILM

This panel aims to shine a spotlight on the pervasive issues of unconscious bias, tokenism, and microaggressions that impact Black artists and filmmakers in the film industry. The discussion will provide a platform for Black creatives to share their experiences and insights, shedding light on the barriers they face in the industry. The panelists will explore the detrimental effects of unconscious bias, tokenism, and microaggressions on Black representation and creativity, and discuss how these issues hinder the full realization of diverse and authentic storytelling.

Moderator:

Graysen Sangster - Strategic Partnerships & Development Director @ BIPOC TV and Film, Interim Assistant Business Agent @ DGC Alberta

Graysen, a first-generation Albertan, transitioned from a career in historical restoration architecture to the film industry over a decade ago. Primarily in Location Management, she has worked on notable shows like “The Stand” and “Superman and Lois,” along with numerous Hallmark films. A participant in Reelworld’s Producer Program and BIPOC TV and Film’s Facilitator’s Program, she actively contributes to industry diversity initiatives. Founder of Gray Space Media Inc., Graysen has multiple projects in development, including her award-winning short film “Hair or No Hair.” Her advocacy for BIPOC representation in film led her to establish a charity grant fund, slated for launch in 2025.Speakers:

Fred Smith - Founder of Kallos Studio

I was born and raised in sunny California. Santa Maria is my hometown. As a kid I took to the arts and athletics because that is where I excelled. As the second eldest of ten siblings I have had a sense of responsibility from an early age. By the time I had reached junior high school, academics replaced art as one of my top priorities. Shortly after graduating high school I joined the United States Marine Corps where I eventually reached the rank of sergeant. I was part of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit where I got to travel to many countries in the Mediterranean while on the USS Iwo Jima. I received excellent training in radio repair and maintenance management of similar electronic equipment. I became a suicide prevention instructor and a Marines Corps Martial Arts Program instructor.

After serving eight years in the Marine Corps I moved to Calgary, AB Canada to start a family. Soon after moving to Canada I received my diploma in Graphic Design and started a career as a graphic designer and photographer, I now own my photography business “Kallos Studio”. My adventures in fatherhood inspired me to write and illustrate my first book, “My Daddy’s Legs”. I am currently a full-time student getting my bachelors in Elementary Education and I am a father of one.

Kizzie Sutton - Founder & Managing Director, Diaspor_ig

Kizzie Sutton is a social justice advocate, speaker, facilitator, mentor, and artist in the mediums of Film, Theatre, and Visual Arts. Having recently left the role of Executive Director at the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers, to start her own entrepreneurial company Diaspor_iq (www.diasporiq.ca) - to officially launch this summer - which will tackle the needs of BIPOC creators and allies in the fields of her expertise. Not only is she a sought-after jury member who adds diversity and insight throughout the jury process, but she currently has two films in the preproduction phase and is looking forward to sharing them later this year or early 2024. She holds a Diploma in Broadcasting, Radio and Television from the School of Communication Arts at Seneca College, and a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Theatre and Film Studies from Queen's University. Kizzie has applied her skills and talents in a gamut of ways nationally and internationally including lighting and sound design, dramaturgy, production management, directing, youth mentorship, program management, and of course filmmaking.

Carmen Bachez - Producer and Development Manager, Prairie Dog Film and TV

Carmen is a first generation Canadian born and raised in Edmonton. Since 2012, she has worked with Prairie Dog Film + Television on 5 seasons of television including BLACKSTONE and TRIBAL. She was nominated for Best Web Series at the 2022 Alberta Film & Television Awards and selected as a 2023 Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices participant.

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