Joanna Tsanis is an award-winning writer, director, and producer. Her films have screened at multiple festivals including SITGES, FANTASIA, FANTASTIC FEST, and SCREAMFEST. Her directorial debut Imagine a World (2019) won the award for ‘Best Director, Short’ at Nightmares Film Festival. Irish Film Critic calls it “the perfect mixture of fun, scares, and cleverness.” The film is now available for streaming on Gunpowder and Sky’s horror brand ALTER.
Joanna’s latest short SMILE will have its international premiere in the Academy Qualifying 2021 Sitges Film Festival’s Official Fantastic Competition. SMILE will have its world premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. The film stars Konstantina Mantelos (Anything for Jackson) and features the voice of Ashley Laurence (Hellraiser). SMILE is a creature film produced by creature designer / producer Adrian Bobb (The Expanse) and NY-based producer Zeus Kontoyannis.
Joanna’s short film Mourn (2020), starring Lynne Griffin of the cult classic Black Christmas (1974), premiered virtually at Fantastic Fest and streamed on Super Channel via Blood in the Snow Film Festival‘s select programming. Mourn also showed at Screamfest LA, Kingston Canadian Film Festival, and Splat!FilmFest of the Méliès International Festivals Federation. Pop Horror calls it a “film that pulls you in and never lets go.”
Joanna wrote and produced Eleftheromania (2018), a WWII-era short film starring Academy Award Winner Olympia Dukakis. The film screened at several festivals worldwide, including Oscar-qualifying Raindance Film Festival. Joanna won the award for ‘Best Short Screenplay’ at Mindfield Film Festival, and the award for ‘Best Drama’ at Toronto Shorts International Film Festival.
Formerly a comic book critic for the Toronto Standard, Joanna has a varied history with storytelling. She has produced a wide range of branded videos, both animated and live-action. Her documentary short for the nonprofit Girls Helping Girls screened at Carnegie Hall in New York City for the 2017 Gabby Awards. In 2019, Joanna wrote an educational sci-fi game for Ryerson University titled AIO in Space.
In addition to freelance producing, Joanna also works at the award-winning boutique film studio Landed Entertainments where she produces short and long-form content; the latest being Lisa Ovies’ horror Witches Midnight starring Academy Award nominated horror legend Alec Gillis, and Ali Mashayekhi’s sci-fi The First Goodbye starring Esmé Bianco (HBO’s Game of Thrones) and Navid Negahban (HBO’s Homeland). She is currently producing Eulogy to Us, a feature-length horror anthology film.
Joanna is a grant recipient of the 2018 Nick Mirkopoulos Canadian Content Initiative (Cinespace Film Studios).
Joanna actively lends her production insights to student filmmakers at Ryerson University where she ran an alumni film festival and managed a grant and mentorship program for film students in continuing education.
Joanna is passionate about mental health awareness and is a member of the Canadian Mental Health Association of Toronto.