Who We Are
Linda co-founded Handful of Films with her partner, Niobe Thompson, and manages film festival strategy, web and social media presence, and production coordination for the company. Trained in Anthropology (MA, University of London), she has worked on location with Handful of Films in Greenland, Jordan, South Africa, Siberia and Canada’s Rocky Mountains.
Ecologist and science communicator, Carolyn Whittaker is a producer for Handful of Films. As an entrepreneur, ecology researcher and film producer, Carolyn develops stories, builds teams and finds ways for science to have impact particularly to further social justice and conservation. Carolyn’s current work with Handful of Films builds on ten years’ experience as a Founder and Director of Ecology at the Firelight Group where she focused on Indigenous rights and ecological knowledge studies. Before Co-Founding Firelight Carolyn led teams focused on biodiversity, science and media communication for Parks Canada, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia and Rutgers University.
Ryan Wilkes is an emerging documentary cinematographer and holds a PhD in Bioengineering. Through documenting adventurous pursuits, new discoveries, and conservation-related endeavors, Ryan enjoys exploring the relationship between people and the natural world. His passion for filmmaking was born when he moved to New Zealand to pursue his PhD at the University of Canterbury. Inspired by the beautiful scenery around him, he and his camera became regulars in the backcountry of the South Island. Since then, Ryan’s adventures have included swimming with humpback whales in Tonga, exploring the remote fjords of northern Norway, tracking mountain gorillas in the impenetrable forest of Uganda, and paragliding off of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain, Mt. Kilimanjaro. Ryan was a 2021 Jackson Wild Media Lab fellow and a 2021 Being Black in Canada filmmaker.
Sandra Tober has over 15 years of experience in the documentary film industry as a writer, director and producer, and is now Director of Business Affairs for Handful of Films. After graduating from the University of Alberta (B.Sc.), she joined Karvonen Films, where she worked on over 30 nature documentaries, including such award-winning projects as Land of the Ice Bear (1991) – a co-production with the NFB – Ancient Rainforest: Land of Giants (2002), and Circumpolar Bears (2005). Sandra has worked with Niobe Thompson since 2009, and has been Production Manager of all his films since that time.
Ally Barry is a seasoned Producer with over a decade of experience creating captivating stories through animation and live action. Before joining Handful of Films in 2020 on the team for 'Carbon: The Unauthorized Biography'; she managed multi-million dollar projects for clients including Emmy Award nominated 'Plum Landing' with PBS Kids and recently served as supervising producer for award winning short film 'Crush'. As senior producer for over 70 commercials with clients such as Bank of America, Telus, and MoneyMart, producer of two iOS games and business affairs manager at her previous studio, Ally is well equipped to continue building meaningful content though effective and persuasive filmmaking and strong project management.
Sonya Lee is a producer, science communicator and storyteller. She was the Science Producer for Ocean School, an ocean education media project of the National Film Board of Canada and has produced over 100 media pieces including short documentary videos, 360 videos, web-based interactives, and AR/VR experiences from Canada's Atlantic and Pacific coasts, Townsville (Australia) and Raja Ampat (Indonesia). She is an emerging producer with the Reelworld Producer Program for accelerating BIPOC producers in Canada and is a 2021 Jackson Wild Media Lab Fellow. She has a background in Marine Biology and International Development Studies. Sonya is an avid scuba diver and you will often find her in the ocean as a producer, ocean-lover, and fish nerd.
Athan Merrick is an award winning cinematographer with a background in lighting on big Hollywood productions and shooting adventure ski films, from massive studio sets to chasing professional athletes with a 50lb pack on his back in -20C in some of the most remote spots on earth. He was raised in the desert vistas of New Mexico by artist parents and settled well north in the ocean and mountain wonderland of Vancouver Island, Canada. These experiences meld into cinematography that brings souvenirs from the frontier to the screen. Highlights include a CSC (Canadian Society of Cinematographers) Award in 2018 for his work on the art installation, Uninterrupted, as well as a Leo Award in 2018 (BC Film Awards) for his ski film, Numinous.
Danny's experience as a filmmaker, recovering mechanical engineer and outdoor adventurer creates a versatility in form and technical proficiency, receiving recognition in both documentary and innovative multiscreen installations. Director of Photography for the flagship immersive 360° projection gallery What Makes Us Strong at the Royal Alberta Museum, Danny was recently nominated for a shared AMPIA Rosie (BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER - SCRIPTED UNDER 30 MINUTES) for a multiscreen film at Fort Edmontons' Indigenous Peoples Experience. Working in documentary, Danny was DOP for the multi award winning films Elder in the Making (CBC, 2016) and Fox Chaser (CBC, 2019) which also awarded him an AMPIA Rosie (BEST CINEMATOGRAPHER - NON-FICTION OVER 30 MINUTES). Technically minded and socially nimble, cinematographer Danny Cox works in diverse communities and challenging environments to create award winning films, in traditional and new media formats.
Sarika works in environmentally-themed media in print, film, and audio platforms. She has hosted critically acclaimed documentaries for CBC, including The Nature of Things, and programs for Parks Canada, The National Film Board, Ocean Networks Canada, and Audible. Sarika speaks out often on ocean issues and conservation, from classrooms to panels to media. Trained as a Marine Biologist (PhD, MSc), her research and passion has taken her from the high seas to remote tropical archipelagos to the intertidal zones of her home, British Columbia. Sarika has been named an influential Canadian millennial by The Huffington Post Canada, and in 2020, nominated for Best Host at the World Congress of Science and Factual Producers. She has served on various boards and committees, including those of the David Suzuki Foundation, WWF Canada, and the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea.
A bright light in a new generation of filmmaking, Rio Mitchell is growing spectacular recognition working agnostically between small-crew documentary, interactive museum installations, theatrical forms, and large-scale immersive media experiences. Her documentary directorial debut Fox Chaser (CBC) was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award, and swept the 2019 Alberta Motion Picture Awards. Across innovative range, she produced 32 films installed in the ambitious new Royal Alberta Museum, co-founded the Indigenous speakers series REDx Talks, and helps design and produce aerial nature films for immersive flying attractions. Notably, she creative produced the content for Edmonton’s Indigenous People’s Experience: an 8000ft’ immersive-media Indigenous cultural centre, which opened in 2021 to outstanding community and critical acclaim.
Our first collaboration with Darren Fung led to one of the most successful musical scores of 2015, the Canadian Screen Award winner for “Best Original Music”, for the 3-part series The Great Human Odyssey. In 2019, he repeated the trick and won the same award again for the musical score of Equus - Story of the Horse. Alongside filmmaker Niobe Thompson, he is now performing live theatrical versions of both productions with symphony orchestras throughout North America. With over 100 composition credits and now three Canadian Screen Awards for his musical scores, Darren is one of the brightest lights of a new generation of film composers and orchestra conductors. His film scores have been heard at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Toronto, Cannes, and Sundance. In 2020, Darren recorded the orchestral score to A Bee's Diary, which also won him a Canadian Screen Award.More On Darren
Jonathan Kawchuk is a Canadian composer signed to Paper Bag Records for his work as a recording artist and represented by Evolution Music Partners as a film composer. His credits include films that have premiered at TIFF and Sundance, commissions for Vogue, Dior, and the MUTEK festival, and his debut album North (with over 4.5 million streams). Jonathan was inducted as a voting member of the Recording Academy (Grammy Awards) in 2020.