Expanding North Residency Program – 2024 Announcement



Toronto, March 1, 2024—The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) is pleased to announce that Niya Abdullahi (Canada) and Anette Gellein (Norway) are the selected residents of our “Expanding North” Residency, which runs from March to May of 2024. “Expanding North” is designed to unite artist-run film labs and cultural institutions that support the production, education and dissemination of expanded cinematic art within the Nordic region and beyond and is a collaboration between LIFT and Baltic Analog Lab (BAL) from Latvia, Filmverkstaden from Finland and Polar Film Lab from Norway.

The residency is intended to give the selected participants the opportunity to develop their technical skills and knowledge related to analogue filmmaking using the equipment and facilities at LIFT, as well as the time and space to produce a work of expanded cinema. Both residents will be joining us for a four week period. Public presentations will be announced in the upcoming weeks.

Niya Abdullahi is a filmmaker, multidisciplinary artist, and the founder of Habasooda, a collective dedicated to sharing the richness of the Muslim experience. Themes of identity, liberation and resistance inform her work in film which have screened at TIFF Next Wave, Nordisk Ungdom Film Festival, NFFTY, Black Film Festival Zurich, Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival, amongst others. She was a 2021 Hot Docs Accelerator Fellow and sits on the Advisory committee for the Nia Centre of the Arts’ “Blackout” project and the City of Toronto’s ArtworksTO program. Her art is personal, often drawing from her experiences as a first-generation Harari woman raised on Turtle Island, to tell stories through analogue and digital video, textile, and poetry. Her work evokes memory, both past, present and future, in connection with diasporic experiences, and ancestral awakenings. Pillars of resistance are drawn through her divine labour of love.

“I’d like to extend my deepest gratitude and appreciation to LIFT for this incredible opportunity to further explore the enchanting realm of analogue film!”
—Niya Abdullahi

Anette Gellein (b.1995) is a visual artist from Norway working with film, sound, textile, drawing and performance. Their work is often abstract and theatrical, but at the same time contains a critical approach to language and images. Thematically their work is often about power hierarchies, language and sexuality. Recent projects include their film “Love and Pain and Greed and Lust “(2023), as well as set- and costume designer for an experimental three act solo opera “Skunk without k is Sun” by Louise Ahl premiered at Tramway in Glasgow 2023. Gellein has a master’s degree from Glasgow School of Art specializing in Performance art. Previous studies include a BA from Nordland School of Arts and Film in Lofoten. Their work has previously been shown in places such as Oberhausen Film Festival, Kunstners Hus Kino, TENT Rotterdam, Lydgalleriet in Bergen and Arctic Moving Image Festival. https://anette.gellein.com

“I am truly honoured to be selected for this residency at LIFT. Thank you, I can’t wait to develop new work in such an outstanding professional environment.”
—Anette Gellein


This residency opportunity is presented in collaboration with Baltic Analog Lab (BAL), Filmverkstaden, and Polar Film Lab and is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Nordic Culture Point.


Nordic Culture Point is an institution of the Nordic Council of Ministers which works to support Nordic co-operation within the area of culture and to increase awareness of Nordic culture in Finland. https://www.nordiskkulturkontakt.org/en

Baltic Analog Lab (BAL) is an artist collective and filmlab based in Riga, Latvia. It was founded in 2016. Uniting filmmakers and photographers interested in analog film and photography, Baltic Analog Lab aims to produce, teach and inspire an audience by providing a space for creation, learning and teaching. It is equipped for shooting, processing, editing and screening of 16mm and 8mm film, and also for analog photography. There are two darkrooms, one studio area for work and one dark screening space. The high focus of the lab is education and collaboration; this is maintained by regular workshops led by BAL members and foreigner guests. It also includes film screenings and expanded cinema events. https://www.balticanaloglab.lv

Filmverkstaden is an artist-run filmlab and darkroom in Vaasa, Finland. We do motion picture 35mm, 16mm, S8 and still photography in different formats. https://www.filmverkstaden.fi

Polar Film Lab is an analogue film Lab in Tromsø providing working facilities and a network around analogue filmmaking. https://polarfilmlab.com/en

The Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) is Canada’s foremost artist-run production and education organization dedicated to celebrating excellence in the moving image. LIFT exists to provide support and encouragement for independent filmmakers and artists through affordable access to production, post-production and exhibition equipment; professional and creative development; workshops and courses; commissioning and exhibitions; artist residencies; and a variety of other services. LIFT is supported by its membership, Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Arts Foundation, the Government of Ontario and the Toronto Arts Council. https://lift.ca


For additional information please see https://lift.ca or e-mail LIFT Executive Director Chris Kennedy at director@lift.ca



Friday 1 March 2024 – Friday 31 May 2024


Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) 
1137 Dupont Street 
Toronto Ontario