Chanda Chevannes is the new Executive Producer of the Ontario Studio of the National Film Board of Canada (NFB). The appointment was announced today by Director General of Creation and Innovation Julie Roy in a release from the NFB. Chevannes will oversee production in the NFB’s Toronto office.
Chevannes is a filmmaking with over a dozen credits to her name as producer and director. Her 2017 feature Unfractured opened the 2017 Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival and screened at DOC NYC. The film is a portrait of biologist, activist, and mother Sandra Steingraber. Chevannes also drew upon Steingraber’s work with the 2010 documentary Living Downstream, based on the biologist’s book of the same name that considered the backlash to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring through the lens of Steingraber’s experience as a poet and cancer survivor.
Her 2007 documentary Sasa! A Film About Women, Violence, and HIV/AIDS considered dual epidemics in Uganda and helped bring about community awareness and legislation regarding domestic violence. Chevannes’ experience as a mentor, mother, and queer woman of colour informs her work.
“I became a documentary filmmaker because of the NFB,” said Chevannes in a statement. “Watching the NFB’s productions in film school, I first learned about the power of documentary to create more joy and justice in our world. I’ve continued to be inspired by the NFB throughout my career and I’m delighted that I will now have the privilege of contributing to its impactful work. I can’t wait to collaborate with the talented team at the Ontario Studio, to support the visions of a diverse group of skilled creators, and to build productive partnerships with the wider documentary community.”
“I’m delighted to welcome Chanda Chevannes to our NFB team,” added Roy. “She has a wealth of experience not just as a producer, but also as a leader and educator, and will be integral in guiding the team at the Ontario Studio. Her two-decade-long documentary career has been dedicated to justice, diversity, community, and empowering the next generation of creators with film training—all values and goals shared with the NFB. We’re all very excited to work, collaborate, and learn from Chanda.”
In addition to her work as a filmmaker, Chevannes has served as a guide, mentor, and advocate for artists in the field. She authored the Documentary Organization of Canada’s Documentary Production in the Era of COVID-19: Best Practices by and for Documentary Filmmakers. Released in September 2020, the guide was among the first toolkits for filmmakers created during the COVID-19 pandemic and drew upon filmmaker perspectives to offer guidelines for safe practices. (The guide was sponsored by the National Film Board of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Directors Guild of Canada.) Chevannes has also led filmmaker labs via the DOC Institute, the Toronto Queer Film Festival, and the Toronto Public Library with an emphasis on empowering from underrepresented communities. She was also a board member of the Documentary Organization of Canada and POV Magazine.