Story. Over. Everything

Who We Are

Not Your Average First Year Festival

The Pendance Film Festival is devoted to showcasing the very best of world cinema. As a first year festival, operating in a city which is already home to 140 film festivals annually, including one of the 5 biggest festivals in the world, there was a burning question on our minds; how do we stand out? As filmmakers who had screened films at almost 100 film festivals in 2017 alone, we had a unique perspective when tackling this question.


Newer and unestablished festivals often struggle with financing and finding quality submissions. With just how much festivals rely on submission fees, we found most festivals within their first three years found themselves in one of two camps; offering free submissions in the hopes of selecting from a larger pot, but not having the financial means to screen at a decent venue, or, charging high submissions and not finding enough submissions to curate a quality showcase. Thankfully for us, we solved both problems before we even started.


Due to our unique network, we not only found a few quality sponsors to come in early, but we were able to grab the attention of some of the best filmmakers in the world before we even launched. Our pitch was simple; Do you want another shot at a Toronto audience, with more attention than you received with TIFF? We found our answer. With the hoopla and size of TIFF, short films got lost in the shuffle. There’s nothing remotely close to ASPEN shortfest in Toronto, and this is where we found the magic formula.

Founder, Lead Programmer, Press Contact

Robert Misovic

Robert Misovic is a Canadian film director, writer, cinematographer and producer. He’s a published author and a co-founder of both Pensare Films and the Pendance Film Festival. Born in the former Yugoslavia, Misovic moved with his family from New York to Toronto in 1998. Misovic has had extensive career experience in business and finance.

He graduated from the University of Toronto in 2011 and began filmmaking in 2016 with the wildly successful short film Nights of Contrition. His first 4 short films, all produced, written and directed in 2016 have gone on to a total of 95 film festivals.

Artistic Director

Toru Gabriela Miyake Gallardo

Zurich-born Toru Gabriela Miyake Gallardo moved from Tokyo, Japan to Toronto, Canada in 1998. An avid believer in holistic skincare, she founded Face by Toru and partnered with holistic practitioners to further achieve her goals of uniting beauty care with self-care. She’s worked as a make up artist and aesthetician and has studied medical aesthetics at George Brown. Toru is a member of the Pensare Films Collective and has worked on three projects with the company to date; short films 'Stain' & 'Penny', and the music video 'Transfixed'.

Event Gala & Production Coordinator

Alejandro Garcia

Born in Madrid, Garcia holds a Bachelor in Recording Arts (Spain) and Post Production (UK). He has worked in Music Production and Sound Engineering (Live/Studio), Record Label Digital Distribution, Production Management for music festivals and international tours, and Project Management for album & artists. In 2017, Garcia has been focused on Location Recording/Mixing and Post Production Sound Design for several short films. He brings nearly a decade of event and festival-related experience to Pendance.

Founder & Sponsorships

Andjelika Javorina

Andjelika graduated from the University of Toronto and NYU. She has performed with the Canadian Idols and scored 5 films; Tangerine Crossandra, Nights of Contrition, The Hallway, Stain and Allurement. She has performed for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for the Chinese Consulate, and Serbian Consul General in Toronto.

She’s a member of SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers of Canada) and ORMTA (Ontario Registered Music Teachers Association). Javorina is a co-founder of both Pensare Films and the Pendance Film Festival.

Operations & Programmer

Aharon Jinjihashvili

Aharon Jinjihashvili is an Israeli filmmaker and photographer. He studied film at Camera Obscure Film School and acting at the Ivana Chubbuck Acting School in Israel and decided to move to Canada in order to pursue his dream of directing films. Aharon also attended at the InFocus Film School in Vancouver.


Iljo Koterencev

Iljo Kotorencev is a Toronto based freelance cinematographer. He has worked on more than 20 European, Canadian and American films, and has an extensive background in music videos and commercial productions. He holds a Master’s degree in cinematography from the National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts in Sofia, Bulgaria. He was the Director of Photography on the feature film Carcasses, directed by Denis Côté, selected in Director Fortnights at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009.

Design & Marketing

Anastasia Buterina

Originally from Moscow, Anastasia is an uber-talented addition to the Pendance team. She brings experience through her design and organization work with the Reelworld Film Festival, as well as valuable insight in the curating process. Buterina is the founder of Shut Up & Yoga online magazine, and has worked on 5 films over the past 2 years.