APA Spotlight

Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, Executive Director, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival

Por Koji Steven Sakai
21 Oct 2011

Sonia Sakamoto-Jog (pictured on the left) joined Reel Asian as Executive Director in May of 2009 after graduating from the MBA program at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.Prior to being hired at Reel Asian, she worked at Maximum Films International (now a division of Entertainment One) where she was involved in all aspects of acquisitions, marketing, and sales. Her previous experience includes two years working as a strategy consultant for a branding agency in Tokyo, and contracts with both the Toronto International Film Festival and the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal.

From left to right: Sonia Sakamoto-Jog, Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan, and Chair of the Board Karla Bobadilla

The Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is a unique showcase of contemporary Asian cinema and work from the Asian diaspora. Works include films and videos by East and Southeast Asian artist in Canada, the U.S., Asia and all over the world. As Canada’s largest Asian film festival, Reel Asian provides a public forum for Asian media artists and their work, and fuels the growing appreciation for Asian cinema in Canada.

What is the mission statement of your life?

Treat others as you want to be treated. Be welcoming to new people to any situation – it’s hard being new! Do what you love and work with people who inspire you… work takes up too much of our lives to not enjoy it.

How did you end up doing what you’re doing?

When I first moved to Toronto I was looking for a way to make friends so I volunteered at Reel Asian. I loved the people I met and the atmosphere of the festival so I kept volunteering, in increasingly larger roles. So when the job of Executive Director came up, I was familiar with the organization and knew that I liked the team. It turns out it fits with a lot of my past work experience in theater and festivals, but also with a long-time love of mine for independent film.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?

Someone small and feisty.

How can people find out more about your organization or get involved?

We have a regular newsletter that they can sign up for, and our website and blog that has all the latest happenings both at Reel Asian and within the Asian and cultural community in Toronto.

Volunteering is the best way to get involved – our family of volunteers is huge and really does feel like a family. Just drop us a line volunteer[a]reelasian.com.

If you had a crystal ball, what do you see for the future of the Asian Pacific Islander American community?

A much more prominent place in the media.

What advice do you have for young professionals? Would you give different advice for young Asian Pacific Islander American professionals?

My advice would be to always go beyond what’s expected or asked of you. The positive impressions you make in your early roles will open so many doors to opportunities that you may not have even thought of. Strongly consider internships and volunteering in fields that you are interested in – if you work hard, they are a surefire way to get started on the career path you’re interested in, and this doesn’t just go for the arts.

What are your comfort foods and what memories do you have associated with them?

I love gyoza – I would make them with my mom, and it was always a special treat. I make them myself now, but they’re never as good as hers.

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Sleeping in.

* This article was originally published on 8Asians.com on June 9, 2011.

© 2011 Koji Steven Sakai


Koji Steven Sakai

Koji Steven Sakai, graduado de la Universidad de Southern California’s Masters of Professional Writing program. Su primer film fue “Haunted Highway” dirigido por Junichi Suzuki y distribuido por Lions Gate DVD. Es co autor con Naoko Ihara Witmer. Obtuvo varias colaboraciones: The Producer’s Guild: Power of Diversity Workshop (2009), Film Independent’s Project: Involve (2007), Visual Communication’s Armed With a Camera (2006), and Screenwriting Expo 4: New Visions Fellowship award (2005).

Es autor y productor de The People I Slept With, una comedia romántica dirigida por Quentin Lee (Ethan Mao, Shopping for Fangs) con las actuaciones de Karin Anna Cheung (Better Luck Tomorrow), Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life, Rent), Archie Kao (Power Rangers, CSI), y James Shigeta (Flower Drum Song, Midway), estrenado a fines de 2009.

Última actualización en julio de 2009


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