Board & Staff
Canadian Sport Film Festival
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The CSFF Board of Directors is the governing body of the Canadian Sport Film Festival and works to fulfill our mission and mandate of provoking dialogue on the power of sport to inspire social change. The Board sets the vision for CSFF and ensures the organization is complying with all legal obligations.
Russell Field, Executive Director & Founder
Russell founded the Canadian Sport Film Festival in 2008 out of his passion for both sport and film – a passion reflected in his work as associate professor at the University of Manitoba, where he teaches the course “Sport, Film, and Society.” Russell is a past film review editor for the Journal of Sport History. His knowledge of the international landscape of sport film ensures the annual Canadian Sport Film Festival includes a selection of provocative films from around the world. Born out of a desire to showcase the power of sport and film, the Canadian Sport Film Festival brings together committed staff and volunteers to organize dynamic, inclusive events throughout the year that engage Canadians from coast to coast to coast.
Anthony Bossio, Chair
Anthony serves as the Chief Financial Officer for Davies, a leading international law firm based in Toronto. He brings a wealth of operational, transactional and commercial expertise from more than 15 years as a finance executive. Before joining Davies, Anthony held senior leadership roles at two international accounting firms. He is passionate about sports and the pivotal role it can play in all facets of life. Anthony is excited to join the board as Chair and contribute his leadership skills and experience to support the success of CSFF.
Michelle Brownrigg, Member at Large
Michelle is the Senior Director, Co-Curricular Education and Chief Program Officer at Hart House – a centre for experiential education at the University of Toronto (UofT) where students, faculty and the broader community can connect through engagement with the arts, dialogue and wellness. Michelle works with an interdisciplinary team who oversee experiential learning initiatives that foster civic and community engagement, various forms of arts expression, and support overall health and wellbeing.
Prior to her role at Hart House, Michelle was the Director of Physical Activity and Equity at UofT in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, and has a long history of work in the non-profit, charitable and community development sectors, including a term as CEO of Active Healthy Kids Canada. She was also a member of the Faculty of Health at York University as a course director for several years, delivering a senior level undergraduate course focused on social determinants of health and population health approaches to health disparities. She has additional post-secondary teaching experience in health psychology, sport psychology and organizational behaviour.
Michelle was the Executive Manager of Projects & Public Affairs for the Ontario Physical Health Education Association (OPHEA), and served as the Strategic Communications & Knowledge Management consultant for the Laidlaw Foundation, a funder of youth engagement strategies in relation to arts & culture, recreation, environmental justice and inclusivity.
Kenyah Coombs, Secretary
Kenyah is the founder of Coombs Law, a boutique business and entertainment law firm in Toronto. She has extensive experience and expertise in the legal intricacies of the entertainment industry, supporting Toronto-based creatives to create, launch, and finance their independent projects. Kenyah has a deep-rooted passion for pop culture and its profound influence on society and actively engages in writing, directing, and producing her own projects, ranging from short films to compelling series and engaging exhibits.
Christa Costas, Member at Large
Christa has expertise in physical activity and health promotion built on thirty years of employed and volunteer experience and an academic foundation in health care, physical education and applied health science. Christa has worked with ParticipACTION in roles including National Project Coordinator, Director of Health Communications and Relationship Manager, with Hamilton Public Health Services as a Physical Activity Specialist, and as an Instructor with York University and Sheridan College.
Christa currently operates a consulting business, working with government and non-government organizations in the physical activity, recreation and sport sectors. She is also the Director of Partnerships for the Active Living Alliance for Canadians with a Disability and the Director of Partnerships and Education for the Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. As a volunteer, Christa serves as Chair of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute and is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for KidSport Ontario. Christa is a Registered Nurse, holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Physical Education and has two certificates from York University: a Certificate in Fitness Assessment & Exercise Counselling, and a Certificate in Sport Administration. She also holds a Master of Arts in Applied Health Sciences (Health & Physical Education) from Brock University.
Christa is excited about the opportunities that CSFF films and their messages can contribute to our broader society in a number of ways – from stories that highlight and encourage social change, to the importance of participating in physical activity and sport for the benefits that individuals and communities can realize.
Based on her 30-year career in physical activity promotion, Christa sees the potential of film as an innovative way to inspire people to move and engage more in physical activity and use sport in a positive way to bring change to the world. And based on current world events, the timing couldn’t be more important.
Ekua Cudjoe, Member at Large
Ekua Cudjoe is a brand marketing manager at Nike Canada and occasional elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board. Ekua has an Honors Bachelor of Science and received the Award in Athletic Achievement at the inaugural Black Graduation at the University of Toronto after setting the Varsity Blues weight throw record. She continues to pursue her passions as an athlete by training and competing with the University of Toronto Track and Field Club. Off the track, she founded a group called Soleful Runs, a running & walking group designed to offer a safe space for Black folks to engage in recreational sport.
Ekua is excited to contribute with the Canadian Sport Film Festival and create impactful experiences to amplify conversations about the power of sport.
Bruce Kidd, Member at Large
Bruce Kidd brings a lifetime of experience in Canadian and international sport to the work of the Canadian Sport Film Festival. In athletics, he was Commonwealth champion and competed in the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. He was twice elected Canada’s male athlete of the year by Canadian Press. He is the subject of two films, including Don Owen’s award-winning short documentary Runner, produced by the National Film Board in 1962. Bruce has coached, taught, and served the University of Toronto as its athletic director. He has written about sport as a journalist, playwright, historian, and policy analyst. His memoir about those experiences, A Runner’s Journey, was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2021.
Bruce has been an enthusiastic supporter of CSFF since the beginning and believes:
“In a world where the commercial media spin out narrowly masculinizing messages about a monoculture of North American team sports, the Canadian Sport Film Festival provides a fascinating window upon the enormous varieties, complexities, problems and achievements of sports the world over, and the different ways that filmmakers and their subjects have engaged with sports. It’s always a treat to be involved with CSFF.”
Gilles LeVasseur, Member at Large
Gilles LeVasseur has a prestigious record of achievement in a wide range of fields, both in the private and public sectors. He has been awarded numerous degrees in Business, Economics, Health, Law and International Affairs, and post-graduate studies at Cambridge University.
As a University professor, he teaches law, economics, communications, and business. He also serves as a JAG Officer (Reservist) in the Canadian Armed Forces with an expertise in logistics and finance.
Gilles is a member of several professional associations, including the Ontario and Quebec bar associations, the Institute for the Governance of Private and Public Organizations, and the American College of Health Executives. He holds designations as a Certified Health Executive (CHE), Certified Management Consultant, Project Management Professional (PMP) and Financial Planner (Pl. Fin.).
Gilles has published 14 books on law and on business and serves as the editor of three international journals on public and private sector management. He has partnered with both the federal and Ontario governments to draft legislation and regulations governing e-commerce and other technology-related legal issues. His experience also includes navigating legal compliance, managing public and private sector projects and developing digital policies and initiatives.
Gilles has received several prestigious awards, including the Order of Ontario, the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals, the rank of Commander of the Ordre de La Pléiade, an honorary doctorate, the Lieutenant-Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award for Lifetime Achievement, and other awards for his contributions to Canadian society and the governance of associations.
He has appeared on public TV networks to speak on national and international issues and has served on several national and provincial Boards of Directors in health, business, minority rights and cultural affairs. Previously, he was on the Board for the PanAm Games in Toronto in 2015 and the Canada Games in 2022. Gilles looks forward to sharing his vast experience and skill set as a board member with the Canadian Sport Film Festival.
Anthony Murira, Member at Large
As a film and television industry professional and streaming programming veteran, Anthony’s experiences and expertise lie in producing fictional narrative, documentary, commercial and branded content nationally and internationally. He has been a part of every facet of the film and television industry, learning new skills at every turn. He’s worked with the National Film Board of Canada as a Production Coordinator for various feature films, TV series and documentary projects in various capacities. Tony has served on many festival committees, including the Toronto International Film Festival, and possesses a genuine love of all forms of cinema, from arthouse to blockbuster films. He is excited to be able to contribute his expertise to an organization that uses cinema to uplift and showcase sport through cinema.
Viswanathan Nagarajan, Member at Large
Vish is a qualified physiotherapist and a sports enthusiast. He has healthcare experience that spans across India, the Middle East, the United Kingdom and Canada. Vish is currently a Director at Deloitte Healthcare Consulting, based out of Toronto and works closely with healthcare providers and policy makers across Canada. Through his role at Deloitte and with CSFF, Vish is looking to contribute to society by sharing sport films that highlight the importance of physical activity and the benefits that individuals and communities can realize. Vish is excited to contribute to the community with the Canadian Sport Film Festival team.
Elliot Saccucci, Member at Large
Elliot is a Partner in the Labour & Employment group at Loopstra Nixon LLP, and the Head of its Sport Law practice. He practices management-side employment law, administrative law and sports law.
In sport, Elliot has acted as counsel for professional and amateur athletes, coaches, national and provincial sports organizations, case managers (and other independent third parties) and professional teams, including National Hockey League clubs. He represents clients in professional and amateur athletic issues, including salary negotiation, endorsement advice and negotiation, as well as investigations, and arbitrations involving salary, carding, team selection, discipline, and Safe Sport and UCCMS complaints.
In 2021 Elliot was appointed as an arbitrator to the Independent Supervisory Board for Alpine Canada, and in 2022 Elliot was elected as a member of the Adjudicatory Body of World Aquatics’ newly-created Aquatics Integrity Unit, representing Canada.
Elliot is a true believer in the transformational value of sport and has previously been involved in young professionals boards for Right to Play and You Can Play, the latter of which he helped to co-found.
Leanne Spier, Treasurer
Leanne Spier is a strategic and results-driven executive with more than 20 years of senior financial leadership experience in both the private and public sectors. She excels in business strategy and planning, acquisitions, commercial contracting, real estate, administration and compliance. Leanne just finished her term as board treasurer for a non-profit organization and is an advisory board member for the CFO Leadership Council.
Leanne is passionate about sports and the importance that physical activity has on mental health, and she is excited to join the CSFF board as Treasurer.
Naveed Tagari, Member at Large
Currently, Naveed is an MBA candidate in the Ted Rogers School of Management at Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU). He is also a graduate of the Sport & Event Marketing program at George Brown College and has a Bachelor of Arts in Politics & Governance from Toronto Metropolitan University. Naveed brings a rich background in the sports business world and the not-for-profit sector, focusing on strategic partnerships and marketing.
Neil Wright, Member at Large
Neil is one of the original directors of the Canadian Sport Film Festival and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Festival ever since its inception. He is also the Chair of the Harbord Street BIA and Broker of Record for Wright Real Estate Ltd Brokerage – both longtime sponsors of CSFF. Throughout his career, Neil has generously shared his time and real estate expertise with the community and numerous media outlets across Canada.
Alicia Tyson, Managing Director
Alicia is a Health Promotion Specialist who works with communities and organizations to create social and physical environments that promote health and wellbeing for all. She has provided leadership and support to individuals as a fitness instructor and personal trainer and has led sessions in chronic disease prevention for municipalities and the Province of Ontario at the Muskoka Parry Sound and Simcoe Muskoka Health Units.
Alicia has been a leader in health and physical activity promotion at Active Healthy Kids Canada and has led community engagement in provinces and territories across the country through ParticipACTION‘s Sports Day in Canada program — a national celebration of sport to build community and facilitate healthy, active living.
Alicia produced the short documentary The Power of Sport, about the key role sport and physical activity play in the rehabilitation and ongoing recovery of three stroke survivors. A driving force on the Canadian Sport Film Festival team since 2019, Alicia is always excited for CSFF Opening Night and currently works as an independent consultant.
Moira Sheridan, Marketing & Communications Director
Moira is a marketing professional with extensive corporate experience in both the transportation and accounting services industries. In addition to her work in the private sector, Moira is also actively involved in her community. She is a longtime supporter of numerous non-profit organizations and has volunteered her time and expertise to many cultural, artistic, and athletic initiatives. In her spare time, Moira is passionate about health and wellness and enjoys being active. In particular, she is an avid runner who has completed numerous road races including a full marathon and a number of half-marathons. Moira currently works as an independent consultant and is excited to be part of the Canadian Sport Film Festival team.
Mary Margaret Powrie, Lead Programmer & Digital Advisor
Mary Margaret Powrie joined the Canadian Sport Film Festival (CSFF) in May 2022. As the festival’s Lead Programmer, she coordinated submissions and worked closely with the programming team to review and select the films of CSFF 2023. Mary Margaret also manages the CSFF website and CSFF on FilmFreeway and collaborates with her festival colleagues on digital products and social media promotion.
Like CSFF, Mary Margaret has a passion for both sport and film. She premiered her first short documentary MARATHON WOMEN at the Hot Docs Festival in 2007, the same year she ran her first marathon. Mary Margaret founded her production company HAIKUGIRL MEDIA in 2012 and has attended the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) for the past 30 years. Since 2004, she has worked as a senior advisor with the Ontario Public Service, providing strategic advice and promoting digital communication, collaboration and accessibility. Mary Margaret is excited to be part of the CSFF team and looks forward to sharing our 2023 Festival lineup with Toronto audiences and our CSFF Digital screenings with viewers across Canada this November. See you at CSFF!