About

About Us

Located in Vancouver British Columbia at TELUS World of Science, the  Elements Film Festival presents independent wildlife, conservation and social conscience films from around the globe.  

We are grounded in science and positive messaging, with programming for all ages. We feature keynote speakers, discussion panels on critical environmental topics and entertainment to complement our film schedule.

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Board of Directors

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Duane Sharman

Chairman

Duane is a successfully retired engineer and entrepreneur, a filmmaker and film composer. A tireless advocate for ocean conservation, Duane co-founded the Elements Film Festival as a vehicle to bring people and film together to celebrate nature and bring the message of an ailing world to a larger audience.

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Maureen Sullivan

Director

An environmental advocate, artist and festival co-founder. Maureen’s focus is on creating informed dialogue and overseeing communications and marketing initiatives.

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Nik Green

Director

Nik is a seasoned film industry professional and business entrepreneur. A Vancouver Film School graduate, Nik produces and directs documentary films, commercial films, and digital advertising.

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Dale Pruden

Director

Dale is a west coast artist, a travel industry professional, and business entrepreneur. She brings career experience and vision in media, marketing and sales to the Elements team.

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Staff

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Alyssa Hollyoake

Operations & Community Relations Manager

Alongside her sponsorship and operations roles, Alyssa oversees all programming inquiries and film submissions. She is a graduate of the University of Victoria with a degree in biology where she furthered her love for the ocean, birds, and animal and environmental conservation.

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Samantha Bowles

Business Development Manager

Samantha joined the Elements team in 2019 to grow our impact in the community and connect with corporate partners and sponsors. Samantha holds a degree in Business Administration from Capilano University and brings broad corporate experience earned in the real estate industry.

 
 
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Advisory Board

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Dr. Scott D.Sampson

Scott Sampson is a dinosaur paleontologist, science communicator and serves as the President and CEO of Science World British Columbia. He is a passionate advocate for reimagining cities as places where people and nature thrive. Scott has appeared in many television documentaries and served as a science advisor for a variety of media projects, but he is perhaps best known as “Dr. Scott,” host and science advisor of the Emmy-nominated PBS KIDS TV series Dinosaur Train, produced by the Jim Henson Company.

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Dr. Andrew S. Wright

Andrew S. Wright is a former high technology entrepreneur who is actively engaged in promoting enhanced inner-city childhood education and ecological conservation efforts.  He has directly supported the Great Bear Rainforest agreement via donation, advanced land based closed containment salmon aquaculture in BC and sits on the boards of various groups and initiatives in a wide range of conservation endeavors. He is a passionate conservation photographer and author of Emeralds at the Edge and Faltering Light which advocate for increased conservation in BC.  He has also penned several conservation photography articles.

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Dr. Travis Steffens

A primatologist with a passion for conservation, Travis Steffens is dedicated to community development efforts, environmental education, conservation, and international awareness in Madagascar. Travis is the Founding Director of Planet Madagascar, a non-profit that builds sustainable forest communities to improve the lives of people and to conserve lemurs and their habitat. An International Fellow of the Explorers Club, Travis is an active traveler and tour leader and has led groups through Southern Africa, Madagascar, Central America, Canada, and Russia.

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John Christie

John Christie  has been involved in film and TV production for over 35 years.  Starting as a news editor, John has moved through many aspects of editing and post production.  For 15 years, John was Vice President of Post Production for Paperny Entertainment and eOne Entertainment, overseeing the post-production of hundreds of hours of content for Canadian and International audiences.  John has recently started teaching editing and post production at Capilano University in the Motion Picture Arts program.  When not working, John enjoys boating in our beautiful Salish Sea.

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Dr. David Shiffman

Dr. David Shiffman is a marine conservation biologist and award-winning science communicator based at Simon Fraser University. His research focuses on shark conservation and management policy. Follow him on social media @WhySharksMatter, where he's always happy to answer any questions that anyone has about sharks.

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Festival Jury

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John Christie

John Christie  has been involved in film and TV production for over 35 years.  Starting as a news editor, John has moved through many aspects of editing and post production.  For 15 years, John was Vice President of Post Production for Paperny Entertainment and eOne Entertainment, overseeing the post-production of hundreds of hours of content for Canadian and International audiences.  John has recently started teaching editing and post production at Capilano University in the Motion Picture Arts program.  When not working, John enjoys boating in our beautiful Salish Sea.

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Greg Coyes

Greg Coyes has worked in the Indigenous media community over the last three decades as an award- winning documentary film-maker, educator and writer. He has produced and directed with the  National Film Board, and consulted and written for the Smithsonian at the National Museum of the American Indian  in Washington, DC.  A graduate of Yale University, Greg is currently teaching, and coordinating the Independent Indigenous Digital Filmmaking program at Capilano University in North Vancouver. His Masters thesis focused on the SLOW MEDIA Community, which creates and promotes decolonized media, and an Indigenous sense of cinematic time and space. Greg is Metis/Cree from St. Albert, Alberta.

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Tracey Friesen

Tracey Friesen  has been an active contributor to Vancouver’s media sector for over 25 years and is author of  Story Money Impact: Funding Media for Social Change. She is currently Director of Communications & Engagement at the David Suzuki Foundation. During her decade at the National Film Board, she earned credits on nearly 40 film and digital projects.  Since the NFB, Tracey has done contracts with Mindset Foundation, Inspirit Foundation, DOC  and Creative BC, plus was director of programming during the start-up phase of Roundhouse Radio 98.3 Vancouver. Other  associations have included Social Venture Partners, Women in Film & TV Vancouver, VIFF, Hollyhock and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & TV.  

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Kathleen Jayme

Kathleen Jayme is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker based in Vancouver, BC, who is passionate about telling meaningful and personal stories. Her latest project “Finding Big Country” has been a resounding success and has energised sports fans both in Vancouver and across North America. It was the winner of the Vancouver International Film Festivals (VIFF) prestigious Audience Choice Award as well as the Must see BC award as voted by the VIFF audience.   She is a graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Film Production Program and also worked at the National Film Board of Canada where she coordinated and oversaw over thirty documentaries, animations, and digital projects through all stages of production. She is a fellow of the 2016 Inspirit Foundation’s Story Money Impact program, the 2017 Hot Docs Documentary Channel Doc Accelerator program, and the 2017 Telus Storyhive Banff World Media Festival program.

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In Memory

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Dr. Ruth D. Gates

The Elements Film Festival was inspired by the passion and commitment of Dr. Ruth D. Gates who passed away in October 2018. Ruth launched the 1st Elements Film Festival in April 2018 and is remembered for her creative research on corals and for advancing strategies to sustain reefs into the future. She was a tireless communicator and advocate for coral reefs as Director of the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, and President of the International Society for Reef Studies. Dr. Gates recognized the importance of film as a medium for science communication, and appeared in several films including Chasing Coral, Living in the Future’s Past, Can We Save the Reef?, and The End Game.

 
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“Ruth was not only a shining star in coral research, but an indomitable spirit in every aspect of life. Her enthusiasm was contagious, and she absolutely loved what she did. Her loss will be felt deeply within our own community and throughout the broader research community.”

Judy Lemus, HIMB interim director and friend of Dr. Gates