BC's Best Shorts

VSFF 2014 Judges

Diana Bang

Diana Bang

Diana Bang was born in Vancouver, B.C. to Korean immigrant parents. Her film and television credits include The Interview, Master Cleanse and Bates Motel. She is a founding member of the Asian Canadian sketch comedy group, Assaulted Fish. She is an actor currently based in Vancouver.

Karen Lam

Karen Lam

Karen has worked full-time in the film and television industry since 2000. Starting her career as a producer and entertainment lawyer, Karen has produced four feature films, eight short films and three television series. Her first short film as a writer/director (The Cabinet) won the NSI Drama Prize in 2006. She has since written seven feature film screenplays, and directed five short films, a music video, and two feature films, Stained (2010) and Evangeline (2013).

Women in Film and Television Vancouver recognized Karen’s artistic achievements, and awarded her with the Artistic Innovation Award for Women in Film in March 2013.

Karen’s short films have garnered international awards and extensive screenings at international film festivals.  Her 2011 short film Doll Parts has been invited to over 54 international film festivals since its completion. This year, she completed three more short films: The Meeting, Stalled and The Pit: A Study in Horror. These short films have received awards worldwide, including Best Film, Best Cast, and nominations for Best Director.

Although primarily working in fiction, Karen was the series director on the true crime documentary television series Very Bad Men, (2012) for ten episodes, produced by Make Believe Media in Vancouver, and broadcast on Investigation Discovery US and Canada.

Karen’s latest feature film Evangeline premiered at the Monsters in Film Festival in Stockholm, Sweden. It has played at film festivals in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Tasmania, and will be opening theatrically in Latin America soon.

Mario Pochat

Mario Pochat

Mario Pochat’s hobby as a teenager led to a career that has taken him around the world while winning a national award for opening the first “cloud school” in Canada. Mario has been an integral part of the planning and design team working closely with well-known actors in high profile blockbuster films as well as video game projects from interactive media giants.  He is also known for his award- winning animated short film Bye-Bye! released in 2007.

Last year, Pochat received the Impact Award for eLearning from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority; now, his sights are set on helping traditional schools expand their operations to the online market through Edutisse, his eLearning technology division. Mario was awarded the 2013 Annual Inspirational Latin Awards from LatinCouver - the leading Hispanic organization in Vancouver, BC and has is the recipient for the “10 Most Influential Hispanic Canadians Award,” an event that recognizes outstanding Hispanics across the nation. He is the founder and CEO of Vancouver Animation School.

Michael Bruce Adams

Michael Bruce Adams

Michael Bruce Adams is a produced writer with over 19 years of film and television production experience. He has written 33 feature length screenplays and is a Script Consultant for feature films, documentaries and television series with clients in Canada, the US, Africa and Europe. His production experience includes over 120 film and television projects as an Assistant Cameraman.

The invaluable ‘on-set’ filmmaking experience he gained on productions including “Dark Angel”, “The ‘L’ Word”, “Elektra”, “I Spy”, “Beyond Borders”, “The Thirteenth Warrior” and “Miracle” allows Michael to contribute to projects not only as a creative force offering imaginative solutions to storytelling challenges, but as a practical collaborator with years of production experience.

Michael’s produced Screenwriting credits include his short feature "Bombshell" which had its world festival premiere on opening night of the 2014 Burbank Film Festival, the award winning feature film “Reach For Me” (Critic’s Choice Award Oldenburg Film Festival, Best Feature and Best of Festival Lake Arrowhead Film Festival, Centerpiece Gala Screening Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles, Audience Choice Best Feature San Diego Film Festival, AARP Movies for Grownups Award), as Story Editor for the feature film “A Shine of Rainbows”, as Script Consultant for the television movie “Taken in Broad Daylight”, as Story Consultant for the feature length documentary “Nash”, the story of NBA MVP Steve Nash, and as Creative Consultant for the educational comedy series “Terry Jones and Rob Buckman’s: Top Ten Tips For Health” with Terry Jones of “Monty Python”.

Michael’s screenwriting projects in development include two original feature film projects for First Breath Films LA, co-writing and consulting on the feature film "Toploader" for Tantrum Films UK, series mapping and writing the pilot episode for the dramatic series "Catherdral", and the option of his feature film script "Into the Fire" by Freedom Films LLC.

Michael has published technical articles on screenwriting and filmmaking (actioncutprint.com; Your First Draft:  Breaking Free of Structure Paradigms, Getting Started as a Screenwriter, and Notes on a Year as a Working Screenwriter, Canadian Society of Cinematographer News, Feb. 2008; Painting in the Dark: The Rebellious Adolescence of Digital Cinematography). Michael teaches the courses “Story Structure for Directors and Producers” and “In Camera Effects For Emotional Impact“ for The Art and Craft of Directing seminar series presented by Peter D Marshall, the independent seminar "Shot Through the Heart: Technical Filmmaking Choices for Maximum Emotional Impact" and "Transformative Structure Tools for Identifying, Assessing and Creating Outstanding Stories" for the Vancouver Film School.

Zak Santiago

Zak Santiago

A modern day Renaissance man, Zak is a Golden Gloves winning boxer, popular nightclub DJ, classically trained musician, flamenco dancer, stuntman and a talented actor.

Among his acting credits is a series lead in the N Network comedy ‘The Assistants’, series regular in the PAX/NBC series ‘Young Blades’, series regular on the popular Canadian series ‘Robson Arms’ and many recurring and guest starring roles in episodic television. Most recently, he has completed filming guest star roles on ‘Once Upon a Time’ (ABC), 'King and Maxwell' (CBS), and Motive (ABC) and currently has recurring roles on the compelling television series’ ‘Continuum’ (SyFy), ‘Signed Sealed and Delivered’ (Hallmark Channel) and 'Witches of East End' (Lifetime).  He recently finished working opposite Kirstie Alley in Lifetime's movie 'Baby Sellers'.  Last year he co-starred alongside Steven Seagal in the television series ’True Justice'.  Zak has supporting roles in the Emmy nominated mini-series ‘Alice’ with Kathy Bates, the Emmy-nominated movie ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven” with Jon Voight, as well as the thriller ‘Canes’ with Michael Madsen. He also shot the Christmas comedy feature ‘Deck The Halls’ with Danny De Vito and Matthew Broderick.  From a guest starring role on the USA hit television series ‘Smallville’ to a lead in the Lifetime MOW entitled ‘A Family Lost’, Zak is always working.

Zak won a Leo Award in 2004 for best supporting actor in the lauded ‘Human Cargo’, and was praised for his supporting lead work as one of the terrorists in A&E’s Emmy-winning ‘Flight 93’. In 2006 Zak was nominated for another acting Leo for his work on ‘Young Blades’.  Zak was recently nominated as Producer for best Motion Picture Drama, 'Random Acts of Romance’, at the 2013 Leo Awards. Other credits include the feature films ‘Shooter’ with Mark Wahlberg, ‘The Eye’ with Jessica Alba, ‘Underclassmen’ with Nick Cannon, ‘Josie and the Pussy Cats’, ‘Trixie’ produced by Robert Altman, and a supporting role in ‘Turbulence 3: Heavy Metal’ with Rutger Hauer.

Zak has also had numerous Recurring and Guest Starring roles for episodic television shows, including ‘Da Vinci’s Inquest’, ‘Intelligence’, ‘The L Word’, ‘Godiva’s’, ‘Stargate SG-‘1, TNT’s hit series ‘Saved’, and a guest starring role in the crime drama ‘The Evidence’, opposite Orlando Jones.

As a DJ, Zak has played throughout Canada, the US and Europe, and has played with some of the world's biggest names including DJ AM, Marques Wyatt, Sebastian Drums, DJ Spider and a set opening for Prince.  His residency at Bar None in Yaletown, Vancouver is the longest and most legendary tenures in the country. In his 18th year at the club, Zak continues to break new tracks, new artists, and new genres, all the while keeping the spot full with the city's most dynamic people.  Zak formed the DJ duo 'Los Hermanos Libres' with DJ Flipout in 1999; they are reputed
to be one of the baddest sound systems in Canada, selling out shows for their rare appearances. They have opened for artists including JayZ, Mobb Deep, Ludacris, Afrika Bambatta and Busta Rhymes.

While passionate about acting, boxing and making music, Zak’s first love is dance. Zak has studied classical ballet and flamenco extensively for many years. In 1998, Zak ended his amateur boxing career to focus exclusively on dance. In 2000 he was accepted to Madrid’s world-renowned Amor de Dios Academy where he studied under several legends of flamenco.