Angelo Gio Mateo.

A storyteller, advocate, and community builder.

About Me

Hey! I'm Angelo Gio Mateo.

I'm a storyteller, advocate, and community builder.

I'm a proud Filipino-Canadian and my heart will always be from Toronto.

I'm an aspiring policy professional but I dream about being a creative and a filmmaker, or maybe open up my own coffee shop.

I run "Tara Na!" - a webstore that sells Filipino Indigenous face masks.

I also have my own freelance web and graphic design business called "AGM Digital Branding Studio."

If you're a small business, entrepreneur, or non-profit organization, I can help you establish a website, an e-Commerce store, social media and advertising, or a podcast!

I watch a lot of films, listen to a lot of music, go to a lot of concerts, and drink a lot of coffee.

I am a value-driven person and I strive to live by my principles of empathy and compassion.

Every day, I build genuine, human-centred relationships with customers, colleagues, and clients.

I lead with empathy, listen to and collaborate with team members, negotiate ideas, and build consensus.

Professional Experience

AGM Digital Branding Studio

Freelance Web and Graphics Designer and Digital Brand Strategist

  • Created websites for clients on WordPress, Squarespace, or manually coded with HTML and CSS.
  • Established the social media presence for clients and set up advertising campaigns on Facebook and Instagram.
  • Produced podcasts, including recording, sound editing, and publishing on various platforms.

Tara Na! Toronto - Web Store

Founder and CEO

  • Created a business selling face masks made with traditional weaved fabrics handwoven by the indigenous Tinguian tribe of Abra in the Northern Philippines.
  • Developed an e-Commerce webstore on WordPress using WooCommerce, custom designed with HTML and CSS.
  • Managed the transactions, inventory, finances, payment processes, and shipping.

Legally Canadian Immigration Law Firm

Legal Assistant

  • Researched and prepared reports on immigration and citizenship legislation, case law and court precedent, risk analysis of persecution on foreign country conditions, and academic research for legal arguments.
  • Liased with clients, immigration officers, and Federal Court.

Philippines Overseas Labour Office

Philippines Consulate General, Toronto

Applications and Policy Officer

  • Scrutinized applications for Filipino Temporary Foreign Workers and caregivers to ensure their compliance with Philippine and Canadian labour regulations.
  • Interviewed potential employers to verify their suitability for immigration.
  • Recommended decisions on accepting applications based on Philippines labour legislation.
  • Prepared research reports about the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), and other Canadian and provincial immigration policies.
  • Conducted diplomatic dialogue between the Labour Attaché and Provincial Ministries of Labour to discuss protections for Filipino workers.

Office of Member of Parliament Omar Alghabra

Constituency Assistant

  • Built and maintained relationships with constituents, other elected officials in different levels of government, local business owners, and community leaders.
  • Scheduled meetings and events for the Member of Parliament to attend.

Education

Ryerson University

The Chang School of Continuing Education

Post Baccalaureate Certificate in

Public Administration & Leadership

University of Toronto

Honours Bachelor of Arts (Hons. B.A.)

International Relations and History

I'm an advocate for better mental health care in my community.

I have participated in fundraisers such as the Canadian Mental Health Association Ride Don’t Hide and a personal birthday fundraiser for CAMH and I have raised over $2500 for mental health care organizations over the past two years.

I am passionate about improving mental health care.

Together with my experience and interest in policy and my lived experience with mental illness, I know I can make a difference.

I host a podcast called Stories.

Every episode, I ask my friends and guests, "What is your story?" It's up to them to share their story of themselves.

Everyone has a story to tell. Let's listen.

I love music.

I spend too much time at concerts.

I spend too much money on vinyl.

I write about music.

22, A Million is Bon Iver's Personal "Book of Job"

September 18, 2018

Originally published for Demo Music Magazine. Republished and appended with the editor’s permission.

22, A Million starts by warning us that it might be over soon. Clocking in at a total running time of just over 34 minutes, a five year wait for Bon Iver’s latest album is over and perhaps too soon. But within those 34 minutes is the culmination of over a decade of works by Justin Vernon. It’s also his best work yet...

For a 34-minute album, 22, A Million is a dense and cryptic musical work that demands interpretation and tests our sonic musical palate. Trying to impose meaning onto the album seems impossible. However, saying it is “difficult” would be evading the challenge that Vernon poses...

The more I listen to the album and attempt to understand it, the less I am able to grasp it. But look past the esoteric song titles and arcane lyrics, past the jagged electronic textures and dark imagery and you’ll find extraordinary beauty in Bon Iver’s vulnerability. The album ends with the lines, “Cause the days have no numbers. Well it harms it harms me it harms, I’ll let it in.” While it might sound like the acceptance of the end of days, it’s also a call to just let the music hit you emotionally instead of rationalizing it. In that agony, you might find magnificence.

An Elegy for NxNE (2017)

June 29, 2017

Originally published for Demo Music Magazine.

What happened to you, North by Northeast (NXNE)? Long gone are the days of free concerts by top artists like The National, Run the Jewels, and Stars at Yonge and Dundas Square. Instead, we find ourselves in a dystopian nightmare, complete with creepy carnies and midway rides, in the middle of nowhere – Toronto’s Port Lands. Two years in, after the change of format from the club-hopping week-long event to a more traditional music festival, NXNE’s experiment has failed spectacularly. Kristel Jax of Chart Attack reported that many of the former primary staff members quit en masse since the change, and the results are clear. NXNE lacks what you need for a successful music festival, including most importantly, strong leadership and a real vision...

Ultimately, a music festival is judged by its music, and NXNE was mediocre. The festival featured an uninspiring lineup, with headliner Tyler, the Creator dropping out just weeks before...

NXNE lacks the identity, the vision, and the leadership to succeed in Toronto’s saturated festival scene, and they don’t deserve the grant money they were awarded for the nightmare they put on this year. Perhaps it should return to its previous format of free shows at Yonge and Dundas Square and bar sets around the city. It’s clear that the festival, in its current format, is not sustainable. NXNE’s experiment has failed spectacularly, and I fear for the future of what used to be a great festival.

Music City Policy: Comparing Toronto and Austin

May 2020

Originally prepared as an academic paper for course CPPA414 at Ryerson University

The “Music Cities” concept recognizes that music not only affects traditional industry stakeholders such as musicians, venue owners, promoters, and record labels – it also affects every aspect of a region’s economy... While much of the rhetoric has been around the economic benefits, supporting a healthy music ecosystem betters the livelihoods and wellbeing of everyone in the urban geographic space.

In embracing the concept, cities have developed mission statements and strategic plans; introduced, amended, and rescinded policies and regulations; developed governance structures, such as Music Offices, and Music Advisory Boards/Commissions/Councils; increased funding for the music and the arts; and increased promotion and advertising to brand themselves as a “music city.” Looking at the policies that governments – particularly on the municipal level – have pursued and enacted provide insight on the strategies that politicians and policymakers in different jurisdictions believe are the best ways to support the local music ecosystem.

This comparative analysis of Toronto and Austin as “Music Cities” provides key insights into the challenges to the health and sustainability of local music ecosystems. Chief among these concerns are issues surrounding affordability, urban (re)-development, and gentrification. Both cities fear the loss of artistic talent due to the rise in cost of living while musicians’ incomes are unable to keep pace. There is also concern about the sustainability of live music venues. The same economic growth that cities hoped to benefit from as a result of “Creative Cities” and “Music Cities” policies have also led to the undermining of the music ecosystem that these policies claim to support.

If governments are serious about supporting their local music ecosystems, they must recognize that some of their policies have unintended negative side-effects. For local music ecosystems to thrive, must address the core issues of affordability and development.

I love films.

Here's just a few of my favourites.

I write about film.

Columbus (dir. Kogonada, 2017)

Watched 25 May, 2020

This easily became one of my favourite films ever. Do I dare say that Columbus is better than the legendary Lost in Translation?

Columbus is a masterful debut from director Kogonada. He is a true lover and student of cinema, and those influences shine throughout the film.

On my first reflection, I can see the influence of Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation with the development of an emotional connection between an older man and a younger woman in different stages in their life. I can see the influence of Richard Linklater and the Before Trilogy, with the way that the lead characters talk to each other, building an emotional relationship, and slowly uncovering (to each other and to the audience) their stories, their motivations, their passions, their insecurities. I can see the influence of Wong Kar-Wai (and maybe even Kogonada's contemporary, Barry Kenkins), in the (non-architecture) composition, framing, and saturated lights...

The connection between Casey and Jin is beautiful. Sure, there's that romantic tension there. But there's more of an emotional connection where they just know and understand each other. They find meaning in being with each other and talking about their lives. We don't really see the usual tropes of the characters falling in love...

And the cinematography is a visual treat. The modernist architecture of Columbus is in the spotlight. But this isn't just some tourism reel for the city, or bland shots of buildings. There is depth and layers to the shots, with action going on in the background. Maybe the focus is even on action in the background, while there is a character having a phone conversation in the foreground. The shots of the buildings are infused with meaning, once we come to understand Casey's relationship with the architecture...

This is such a beautiful film. Even if the final scene is incomparable to the iconic final embrace and whisper in LiT, I felt the depths of emotions that Casey and Jin are feeling and trying to express, but also trying to restrain. This has easily become one of my favourite films and something I'll return to watching over and over again.

Mood Indigo (dir. Michel Gondry, 2013)
(US Theatrical Cut)

Rewatched 26 Apr, 2020

Boris Vian's "L'ecume des Jours" (Foam of the Daze/Froth of the Days) is one of my favourite books. The name Mood Indigo is the English version of the book/film which comes from the Duke Ellington song. The lead character, Colin, is very fond of the jazz master. His music plays an important role in bringing together Colin and Chloe (who is also named after a Duke Ellington song).

Vian's book is incredible for the surrealistic world that he constructs, the framing of a story within a story, and word play (days and daze). Michel Gondry created a film that pays tribute to the book and is mostly a faithful adaptation (more in a second about this).

The surrealism in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, also directed by Gondry, is cranked up to 11 here with some pretty wacky and confounding set pieces and sequences. They play out as dream-like to us because of how ridiculous they are - characters' legs stretch and flow when they dance, Colin and Chloe are swimming underwater as they get married, and (in a clear anti-war allegory from the original book's time period) men have to lie on top of metal seeds that will grow like plants to become guns. As the mood changes in the movie, the settings change. As Chloe gets sicker, the apartment shrinks. The windows get foggier and dirtier, blocking out sunlight. And the colour grading of the movie goes from vibrant, bright colours, slowly unsaturating, until it becomes black and white/grayscale by the end. But this is just a part of the characters' reality. In the hands of any other director, filming the absurdity would seem like a gimmick, or they would skip out altogether and write a simpler film. Gondry, however, masterfully crafts all of this visually.

I watched this film many years ago when it was first released. I liked it then, but it did feel long and difficult to watch. I only just found out (from another Letterboxd review) that there were two versions: one for the French release, and one for the US/International release which is significantly edited down to a shorter running time. This made all the difference. The story is tighter, which makes the emotional resonance even stronger. We get to develop a stronger relationship with the characters, especially Colin and Chloe, but even the minor characters. While this cuts out what I remember to be more memorable visually (because they're weird), the movie is better for the edit.

Follow me on Letterboxd for more of my thoughts on films.

I'd love for you to reach out to me.

Let's grab a coffee.

Let's talk.

Oh yeah, and I met Feist once. That was cool.