Ann Shin

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Ann Shin is a filmmaker and writer based out of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[1]

Her journalism career began at CBC Radio where she produced for a number of shows including Metro Morning, Tapestry, Roots and Wings, Sunday Morning Live. During this time she produced sound poetry and radio documentaries, including How to Breathe the Air of our Ancestors, which won a Gold Medal at the New York Festivals in 1998. Realizing her love for long-form documentary, Ann moved into television and began to produce for television series for a number of networks, as well as direct independent documentaries. Her documentary credits include the documentary My Enemy, My Brother which was shortlisted for a 2016 Academy Award and nominated for a News and Documentary Emmy Award. The feature version won Grand Jury Prize at San Diego Film Festival, and the short version was awarded Best Short Documentary in eleven international film festivals including Traverse City Film Festival, Russia’s Doker International Festival, Grand Prize Winner of the Best Shorts Humanitarian Awards, the Sepanta Award for Best Short Film. Other films includedocumentary film The Defector: Escape from North Korea (2012), The Four Seasons Mosaic[2] (CBC (2005), Western Eyes[3] (CBC Newsworld) (2000), The Roswell Incident[4] (History) (1998), Almost Real[5] (CBC Newsworld) and How to Breathe the Air of Our Ancestors[6] (CBC Radio) (1998). Ann has produced programs for CBC, TVO, PBS, HBO, ABC, Slice, HGTV, W, Discovery and History, and her programs have sold in territories in the US, Europe, Australia, East Asia and Southeast Asia.

Her films have garnered numerous awards and screened at film festivals around the world, including SXSW, Tribeca International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, the San Francisco Film Festival, Thessaloniki International Human Rights Film Festival, Montreal World Film Festival, New York Festivals, Mumbai International Film Festival and the Chris Awards.

Ann also creates new media projects including the cross-platform project The Defector: Escape from North Korea which won Best Documentary and Ann Shin won Best Documentary Director at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards, as well picking up the SXSW Interactive Festival Award, the FITC Award and nextMedia Canadian Digi Awards.[7] Currently, she is in post-production on the BravoFACT documentary short film My Enemy, My Brother.[8]

Ann is also a poet and fiction writer, with work published in various anthologies and magazines in both Canada and the United States. She is one of four poets featured in Crossroads Cant, published by Broken Jaw Press in 1997. Mansfield Press published her first volume of poetry, The Last Thing Standing [9] in 2000 to acclaim. In 2013, Brick Books published her second book of poetry, The Family China [10] which won the 2013 Anne Green Award].[11]

At the 2015 Vancouver International Film Festival, the Canadian Images shorts jury gave Shin an honourable mention in the Most Promising Director of a Canadian Short Film category for My Enemy, My Brother.[12]-

Early life[edit]

Her parents, Sue Shin and Albert Shin came from South Korea. Sue was a registered nurse, and Albert was an agriculturalist specializing in Animal Husbandry. They met and married in Toronto, but soon moved to Langley, British Columbia [13] to start a mushroom farm. Ann spent most of her childhood years on the family farm.

Ann moved to Toronto to pursue a degree at University of Toronto, completing a Bachelor of Arts, Honours, and Master of Arts in English Literature. During her university years she was a feature editor for The Varsity and a radio host for Rights Radio on CIUT radio station. Upon graduation she started working at CBC as a radio producer.





  • The Family China, Brick Books, 2013
  • The Last Thing Standing, Mansfield Press, 2000
  • Crossroads Cant, Broken Jaw Press, 1997 [19]

Critical reception[edit]

The Defector: Escape from North Korea was highly praised by critics. CNN Connect the World called it an "incredible story", while The Toronto Star named it one of the 10 Must See Films at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Next Projection said of the film, "The Defector exposes a part of the world that is so heavily shielded we can only know through conjecture."

Ann's poetry and fiction has also been positively received, with author Nino Ricci referring to her first volume of poetry, The Last Thing Standing as "A beautiful and memorable book. Ann Shin writes about love, loss and the idea of home with clarity, wit and grace".[20] Of her second collection of acclaimed poetry, author and poet Karen Connelly writes, "… This short, dazzling collection of poems contains a universe—nothing short of North American life in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Somehow it is all here, joyously offered up, birth, death, and everything in between…" [21]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Film and Television

2017 My Enemy, My Brother, the feature version, wins Grand Jury Prize at the San Diego Asian International Film Festival. 2015 My Enemy, My Brother, Shortlisted for Academy Award and nominated for an News and Documentary Emmy Award.

The Defector: Escape from North Korea

2014 Canadian Screen Awards

  • Best Director in a Documentary Program (Won)
  • Best Documentary Program (Won)
  • Diversity Award (Won)

2013 SXSW Interactive Festival Award

  • Best Motion Graphics (Won)

2013 nextMEDIA Canadian Digi Awards

  • Best in Cross Platform Non-Fiction (Won)

2013 FITC Awards

  • Best Motion Graphics (Won)

2012 Sheffield Doc/Fest

  • Sheffield Innovation Award (Nominee)

Opening Night

2005 Gemini Awards

  • Best Direction in a Performing Arts Program or Series (for the episode "The Four Seasons Mosaic") (Nominee)

Western Eyes

2000 NFB Diversity Competition

  • Reel Diversity Award (Won)

Turning Points of History: Incident at Roswell

2000 Columbus International Film and Video Festival

  • Bronze Plaque Award (Documentary) (Won)

How to Breathe the Air of Our Ancestors

1998 New York Festivals

  • Gold Medal (Won)


The Family China

  • 2013 Anne Green Award (Won)


  1. ^ Leah McLaren. "How does a poet attain smashing success? Just ask Ann Shin". The Globe and Mail, 7 June 2013.
  2. ^ "Opening Night : The Four Seasons Mosaic (2005)". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  3. ^ "Western Eyes (2000)". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  4. ^ "Turning Points of History: Incident at Roswell (2000– )". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  5. ^ "Almost Real: Connecting in a Wired World (2002)". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  6. ^ Archived from the original on January 6, 2009. Retrieved June 25, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "The Defector Interactive Wins Digi Award!". Fathom Film Group. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  8. ^ "JKL". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  9. ^ "Ann Shin - Literary Review of Canada". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  10. ^ "Ann Shin launches new poetry collection The Family China in Toronto – This Is Not A Reading Series event – Brick Books". 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  11. ^ Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "VIFF Announces BC -Spotlight and Canadian Images Awards" (Press release). Vancouver International Film Festival. 2015-10-03. Retrieved 2015-10-11.
  13. ^ Grace O'Connell. "Poets in Profile: Ann Shin". Open Book: Toronto, 1 May 2013.
  14. ^ "The Fall of an Asian Tiger on Vimeo". 2011-03-03. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  15. ^ "Rags to Red Carpet | CosmoTV". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  16. ^ "I Do, Let's Eat (2005– )". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  17. ^ "Save Us from Our House (2005– )". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  18. ^ "Modern Manners (2000–2002)". Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  19. ^ "Ann Shin | Asian Heritage". 2013-05-01. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  20. ^ "Virtual Museum of Asian Canadian Cultural Heritage - ARTISTIC CONTRIBUTIONS - Visual - East Asia - Ann Shin". 2009-04-30. Retrieved 2015-10-31.
  21. ^ "The Family China – Brick Books". 2015-10-22. Retrieved 2015-10-31.