Honouring Allies of Women in Film
by Roberta McDonald – West Coast Editor
(June 14, 2017-Vancouver BC) Vancouver Women in Film and Television (WIFTV) bolsters female makers in the screen based industries through a variety of events, mentorship opportunities, workshops, and initiatives. Since its inception in 1989, the member driven non-profit has provided creative and networking support to its members.
On June 20th, the WIFTV Spotlight Awards will bestow recognition to the men and women working in the entertainment industry who lift women up and offer opportunities for growth. This year’s jury included Shauna Hardy Mishaw (Executive Director, Whistler Film Festival), Cindy Leaney (Producer and Director at Voyage Media Productions), and Doreen Manuel (Filmmaker and Coordinator of the Independent Indigenous Filmmaking Program at Capilano University).
In advance of the ceremony, here are some of this year’s recipients:
The DGC BC Artistic Achievement Award goes to Tara Armstrong (Mary Kills People) for her work on the critically acclaimed series that has garnered a reputation supporting women directors, writers, and producers. A graduate of UBC’s creative writing program, Armstrong has also captured the attention of key players in the television market and is included in The Hollywood Reporter’s 2016 “Canada’s Rising Stars: 15 Newcomers Grabbing Hollywood’s Attention” and Variety’s 2017 “Top Ten Canadians to Watch.”
Thunderbird Entertainment/ Lark Productions Woman of the Year Liz Shorten (pictured) has carved out a stellar career in a range of leadership roles and has been pivotal in building television and digital sectors in BC. As Senior Vice President, Operations and Member Services CMPA BC Producers Branch, she has advocated tirelessly for gender equity. She is also actively involved in strategies to keep the film industry thriving in the province and serves on the board of Women in View.
Brianne Nord-Stewart will be recognized with the Encore Vancouver Newcomer Award for her work in films, web-series, commercials, and music videos. Carving out a path as storyteller with an edge has garnered her numerous awards including Shaw Media’s Fearless Female Director Award, The Harold Greenberg Fund’s Shorts-to-Features Award, and the Telus Banff World Media Film Festival Fellowship.
Crazy 8’s Executive Director Paul Armstrong is a long time ally of the WIFTV and is often spotted at local events, offering advice to women trying to make connections. He’ll be honoured with the Finalé Post Production Honoured Friend Award for his support of the organization. With over 45 producing credits, he is currently in production with the CBC Documentary Channel on the feature doc Cool Daddy.
The Iris Award (not to be confused with Québec’s Prix Iris) takes its name from Greek mythology and is aligned with communication, messages, and new endeavours. It’s given to a person who has demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of female creators and their screen-based works either through curating or programming or through print and online media sources. Mark Leiren-Young supports women through his work as journalist profiling female creators and during his time as editor at Reel West, hired female staff writers. He also writes intriguing characters in his award winning screenplays and is currently working on a short documentary with Rayne Benu who is making her debut as cinematographer.
Valerie Creighton (Canada Media Fund), Heather Conway (CBC) and Carolle Brabant (Telefilm) will be honoured for their ongoing work towards gender parity. The Please Adjust Your Set initiative was created in 2007 to monitor the representation of women through a “Record and Report” strategy. The website is part of that initiative and provides a snapshot of women working in the film and television industry in British Columbia and Canada.
For the full list of this year’s honourees visit WIFTV online.
Based in Vancouver, Roberta McDonald is West Coast Editor for Northernstars.ca. She is a best selling writer, arts journalist and photographer. She has profiled extraordinary filmmakers, including Ang Lee and Sturla Gunnerson. Her short film The Spiral was released in 2014 and she is currently writing her first feature screenplay.