(November 22, 2016 – Vancouver, BC) Korean-born Canadian filmmaker Gloria Ui Young Kim has been chosen as the recipient of the Women In the Director’s Chair’s 2016 national WIDC Feature Film Award, a cash and in-kind prize valued at an outstanding $190,000.00 designed to encourage more feature films directed by women.
Known for her shorts, like Rock Garden: Not a Love Story, which was described by Atom Egoyan as “absolutely beautiful”, Gloria Kim has won numerous prizes for her short films. The WIDC Feature Film Award, administered by the organizers of Canada’s respected Women In the Director’s Chair program and supported by some of Canada’s most influential screen-industry companies, will help the young writer-director to complete her debut feature film, Debra and Mona.
As part of the award, Kim won a spot to develop Debra and Mona at the WIDC’s Story & Leadership program taking place in part at the Whistler Film Festival. The award also offers further development support and equity investment from Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund, as well as significant in-kind support including studio rentals, a camera package, support for picture and audio post production, clearances, closed captioning and insurance (see backgrounder for full list of award sponsors). A generous grip and lighting equipment package rental comes from long-time WIDC sponsor, William F. White International who recently made a three-year commitment to the award.
“Whites is dedicated to fostering and developing new talent in Canada’s film and television industry,” said Paul Bronfman, Chairman/CEO of Comweb Group Inc. and William F. White International Inc.. “We’re thrilled to make this significant commitment to supporting more women directors in feature film. We hope it inspires others to do the same.”
“I’m so thrilled to receive this amazing award. I can’t thank Women In the Director’s Chair, Carol Whiteman and the jury enough for making my dream come true,” said Gloria Ui Young Kim. “With the help of the WIDC Feature Film Award I’m looking forward to creating a beautiful and impactful film.”
“Gloria Ui Young Kim has a compelling story to share with audiences and a perspective that we have not seen before,” said Carol Whiteman, award-winning WIDC Producer who will executive produce the film. “There is no doubt that WIDC sponsors are backing real winners with their support of this award.”
For the past twenty years, WIDC has been working on a director-by-director basis to address the well-known poor statistics around the funding of women-directed feature films. Since 2009, the WIDC Feature Film Award has supported the completion of six multiple award-winning feature-length films by Canadian women directors including Katrin Bowen (Amazon Falls), Lulu Keating (Lucille’s Ball), Ana Valine (Sitting On the Edge of Marlene), Siobhan Devine (The Birdwatcher, theatrically released November 18). Kathleen Hepburn’s Shirley Henderson starrer, Never Steady, Never Still was been picked up by Soda Pictures, and Jordan Canning’s Suck It Up! will hit the festival circuit soon. Metis filmmaker, Marie Clements’ feature Red Snow, aiming to shoot on location in the NWT, is in final stages of packaging and financing.
Research shows that women still make up less than 20% of directors on feature film projects in Canada. Recently the CBC and Telefilm Canada announced initiatives to help tip the scales towards equality. The 2016 WIDC Feature Film Award will be presented December 3, at the recently announced women-focused breakfast hosted by the Whistler Film Festival on the top of Whistler mountain in British Columbia.