Leslie-Ann Coles dedicated 18 years to dance theatre as a choreographer and modern dancer prior to transitioning into film in 1999. Her debut film, In the Refrigerator (funded by the Canada Council for the Arts), was selected in 35 independent international film festivals and garnered 13 international awards for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Short Film, Best Film, Best Debut Filmmaker, Best Avant-Garde, and the Grand Jury Award: Filmmaker In an Acting Role. In addition to dancing, Coles collaborated with David Rokeby and other interactive multimedia artists as a performer and taught as an arts-education specialist in private, public, and alternative schools for 18 years. In 1996, during the birth of the dot.com era, she established GalleryOnTheWeb and represented 23 local Toronto photographers, painters, and print makers, curating shows for CONTACT, and co-curated art exhibits with several galleries in the Queen West corridor.


In 2001, Coles founded the Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF), “Always Honest, Not Always Pretty. ” The Female Eye is Canada’s one and only annual competitive international independent women director’s film festival. As FeFF’s Executive and Artistic Director, Coles has mentored young aspiring female filmmakers and Aboriginal youth at risk, producing 42 short Super 8 experimental films for The Female Eye that have premiered at the festival. The Female Eye embraces the visual arts and script writing and engages actors, musicians, and a broad variety of performers to bridge the gap between the arts.


FeFF has been recognized for five consecutive years (2013–2017) as one of the “top 50 festivals

worth the entry fee” by MovieMaker Magazine (Santa Monica, CA).


Coles continues to create original content as an independent filmmaker and recently completed her feature documentary film Melody Makers about the birth of music journalism during the zeitgeist of rock ’n’ roll (1954–1975). Coles’ innovative, socially reflective, and creative leadership continues to inspire The Female Eye Film Festival, which celebrates its 16th edition June 26–July 1, 2018.