An explorer and a creator from an early age, Mandy Leith was born into a long line of storytellers. As a youngster she was captivated by the mystery behind a haunting photograph of her great uncle Oliver Hutchinson, the first face ever broadcast on early television. At the age of eight, Mandy was writing short stories for the school newspaper and by the time she was ten, she had lived in England, Canada, Belgium and Kenya, offering her a unique perspective on the world and her place in it.
For a long time, Mandy used to dread being asked: “Where do you come from?” to which she learned to reply “I’m a citizen of the world.” Social media now makes it possible to live a globally connected narrative reality in new and exciting ways. Mandy creates and uses narrative, film and interactive media to build bridges: stories that inspire and enlighten people and communities. Her work connects documentary filmmaking, social media, storytelling and transformation.
After completing a BA in Radio, Film and Television Studies at Christ Church College, Canterbury and working as an assistant film editor at the BBC in London, Mandy’s adventurous spirit took her traveling to experience the world. In 1989, she emigrated to Canada and began working as an editor and director at the National Film Board in Montreal. In the early 90′s Mandy was one of the only people in Canada using the world’s first non-linear computer-based editing system LucasFilm‘s EditDroid, earning her the nickname ‘Mandroid’.
Called to further explore her own story, Mandy spent 3 years living and working at a yoga ashram, where she quickly realized that storytelling was indeed her true passion. She now works as a film editor, producer, media educator and social media consultant on a beautiful island at the edge of the world: Victoria, British Columbia. She is also the Founder and Director of OPEN CINEMA, a popular program that uses film as a tool for community engagement, through screening thought-provoking films in café style venues followed by open forum conversation with invited guests.
Mandy is the editor dozens of award-winning documentaries and most recently of Blue Gold: the Tsilhqot’in Fight for Fish Lake, the first documentary ever to be used as evidence in a Canadian Federal Land Claim Hearing. Nominated for numerous editing awards and leadership roles, in August 2010 Mandy was invited to sit on the Documentary Organization of Canada’s National Board of Directors.
In 2009, Mandy returned to her childhood home in Nairobi, Kenya, where she met a group of inspiring young people using photography, media and a mock youth parliament to empower themselves in one of the world’s oldest and most notorious slums. She returned to Canada determined to find a way to connect the Mwelu Foundation team and their important stories of hope and resilience to audiences across the world.
When Mandy isn’t watching films, sitting in front of her MacBook Pro or thumbing her iPhone, she can be found unplugged in a tent, swimming in a lake, biking along the ocean or hiking in the woods. She is endlessly fascinated by Nature’s ability to inspire stories and storytelling of all kinds.
For an online resume, please visit Mandy’s LinkedIn page: