Athena & Sasha
On New Years Eve 2017, two ladies met up for a magical happy hour that led to #ThisIsAna. Both Athena and Sasha had been making a name for themselves as producers in the indie film scene in Vancouver but were hungry to work more creatively as writer/directors.
Athena had wanted to tell a story about flawed, honest people, especially women, at a stage in their lives that isn’t often depicted: the dreaded late-twenties. You can pay your rent , but everything else feels very unsettled… or at least that’s how these ladies both felt about their lives. You’re changing and you can’t stop it. You’re finding nipple hairs, your hangovers last two and a half days, and you’re starting to outgrow some of your relationships.
Sasha heard this first pitch and immediately knew magic was about to happen. This was a [seemingly] simple series to shoot, with resonant and valuable stories. A week later, they had sent each other the very first scripts, a month later Meaghan Hommy was cast as the only Ana there could ever be, and from there #ThisIsAna was born.
Athena Russell is a director, writer, award-winning producer, and overall cat/wine enthusiast. With life long plans of being a performer, (seriously, she thought she was going to be on Broadway. Hilarious. We know🤦🏽♀️), it wasn't until creating Bitchpop Productions with BFF Tiarra Sulyk in 2015 that Athena found her true calling for filmmaking🎬. Since then, she has worked tirelessly to create, promote, and uplift female driven content, especially in the comedy world. With over 30 credits under her belt, (she has never worn a belt, FYI) Athena has quickly established herself as a filmmaker to look out for in Vancouver. In 2016 she had the honour of creating and screening her short film, High Five Goodbye at the Whistler Film Festival and was selected as one of their “Filmmakers to Watch”. Her most recent comedy sketch I Dunno, Probably (made for Just for Laughs), screened at the 2017 Comedy Shorts Shorts Festival, and with her comedy sketches like In Heat generating over 25,000 online views in the first week, Athena knows how to navigate the comedy and web world with ease and flair. Her most recent producing credits have included upcoming horror comedy feature film “Puppet Killer” starring Aleks Paunovic and Richard Harmon, a full season of the upcoming Canadian Soap Opera Comedy, “Michelles” funded by Telus Storyhive, a CW funded POC trailer for their newest CW Seed’s show, “Cupid’s Match," comedy short “The Pitch,", Telus Optik Local Pilot, “Ask Will and upcoming series “#ThisIsAna”. (Eeee!✨) When she’s not creating, she’s teaching young actors at LeBlanc School of Acting. She loves drinking 🍻, playing badminton, attending as many live concerts as humanely possible, puddle-jumping, and laughing. Making #ThisIsAna has been a dream come true for Athena as it is her first bid/step in the direction of achieving her ultimate goal of becoming a SHOWRUNNER. Can someone say sitcom?! (Seriously. NBC, FOX, HBO, ABC… Anyone? This gal is ready 🙋🏽♀️).
Sasha Duncan defines herself as a storyteller. She is a writer, director, editor, and producer who prides herself in being savvy, creative, and thoughtful in her approach to filmmaking. No budget is too small, and no idea too big; there is always a way to tell the story you’re meant to. Her most recent work includes the award-winning short film “Multiverse Dating for Beginners”, which she produced and story-edited in 2016. The piece was selected as Best of Shorts at the Oscar-qualifying CINEQUEST Film Festival and recently took home Best Short at Twister Alley Film Festival. As well as the debut music video for New York-based artist “Miki Montebello” which she created as a companion to the #ThisIsAna episode “Look at Me”, and of course, #ThisIsAna, of which she is the co-executive producer, writer, director and is the series editor for.
She has produced, story-edited and written several other shorts and series, including the STORYHIVE-funded web-series “The New Romantics” and 2015 Cannes Shorts Corner select “To the Sky”. Each project has a unique vision and voice behind it; Sasha believes in and is dedicated to uplifting diverse creators and telling stories otherwise left untold. These values are reflected both in her own work, and at Kickstart Entertainment, where she has been producing animation as her “day-job” for the past four years, alongside her live-action storytelling.
Sasha joined Kickstart in 2014, leaving Vancouver Film School’s Writing for Film & Television program early to begin her career in production. Don’t worry… she still graduated with honours and was deemed the “Meryl” of the awards ceremony, sweeping up, among others, The Silver Siddle Cup for the Hardest Working Person in Show Business. Starting out as the office PA, Sasha has grown into a full producer role in just under four years. She managed the PBS flagship series “Ready Jet Go!” and Daytime-Emmy winner “Fruit Ninja: Frenzy Force!” and currently splits her time between producing a much-anticipated Netflix preschool series and coordinating Kickstart’s development slate.
Passionate and diligent, Sasha celebrates her craft, choosing to dedicate her time to telling as many compelling stories as she’s able. She can think of no better way to live her life.