About the Festival

The 24-hour True Storytelling Festival is a one-of-a-kind online event that brings together storytellers from around the world — each sharing their own true personal story from lived experience. The festival celebrates the power of storytelling and builds community through compassion, and empathy from shared experiences.

Presented by Replay Storytelling, the 24-hour True Storytelling Festival was founded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020 by Paul Aflalo, with Misha Gajewski, Emily Poulin, and Brune Smith

The inaugural event hosted over 120 storytellers from more than 12 countries sharing true personal stories on the theme of “When the Impossible, becomes Possible”. Over the course of twenty-four hours more than 25,000 people tuned in to watch the live broadcast, all online.

The 24-hour True Storytelling Festival is produced by Replay Storytelling, and is fortunate and delighted to have collaborated with the Mezrab , The Story Collider, Bodies of Stories, Raw Storytelling, The Storytellers Club, Awkward Teenage Years, Unreeling Storytelling, Spark True Stories, Enfabulation, The Magnificent Weirdos, and But That’s Another Story.

Festival Team

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Paul Aflalo is a storyteller and documentary producer. He creates narrative-driven pieces for film, radio and podcasts. His work has been featured on CBC Radio, SiriusXM, and presented at film festivals around the world, including the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. Paul is also the artistic director of Replay Storytelling. His focus has always been to help others share the stories that need to be told.

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Misha Gajewski is a freelance journalist whose work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, BBC and CTV News, among others. She is also a journalism Professor at Seneca College and a senior producer The Story Collider podcast. She has a cat named Satan and when she’s not writing in her pyjamas she can be found exploring the world or re-purposing old furniture. 

Ben Ma

Ben Ma is a freelance event and operations consultant based in Toronto. When he’s not working you can find him attempting to take apart and fix some old broken thing, watching basketball or playing with cameras

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Emily Poulin is a storyteller, writer, improviser and comedian in Toronto. You can find her performing at various shows around the city. Emily is also a producer at Replay Storytelling. Aside from writing and performing, she loves hanging out with her kids, Winston and Murphy. Winston being a perfect bulldog, and Murphy being a flawless tabby cat. She loves them both, very much.