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WIDC Names Eight

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WIDC Names Eight
by Staff Editors

(November 19, 2021 – Vancouver, BC) Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organizers have announced the names of eight Canadian directors selected to attend the Women In the Director’s Chair Story & Leadership program, presented in collaboration with the Whistler Film Festival.

Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, WIDC is internationally known as one of Canada’s highly effective script development and director mentoring programs.

“As a Proud partner of the WIDC, we at Telefilm Canada want to thank you for your continuous contribution in elevating and strengthening the voices of women directors for twenty-five years,” said Christa Dickenson, CEO of Telefilm Canada.

Each director in this Story & Leadership cohort has brought a promising original fiction project to develop at this online edition of WIDC. The director participants include:

Recently named among Playback’s 2021 Top 10 to Watch, Samantha MacAdam is developing her hilarious comedy Prom Night. The short concept film premiered at Just for Laughs and spent a year on Kevin Hart’s LOL Network.

Also developing their debut feature films are Alayna Silverberg (Strange Bird) whose MPPIA Short Film Award film, B-Side won the Gerry Brunet award at the Vancouver Queer Film Festival 2020; Alexandra Caulfield (What Comes Next) who is also in the 2021 cohort of the Whistler Film Festival Producers Lab; and Niara Modi whose India-set feature Malabar Court has already received support from Telefilm Canada and Corus.

BC-based Indigenous storyteller, Joy Haskell is developing a new drama series, Greyfeather. Haskell was selected for the CFC / Netflix Project Development Accelerator for her debut feature film Cookies or Crack and is part of the Academy’s 2021/22 Program for Women Directors.

CSA-winning writer/director Chris Deacon (Degrassi TNG; Dino Dana) is developing her comedy series Mother Complex; CSA-nominated CBC journalist turned filmmaker, Bal Brach is also developing a comedy, Surviving the Singhs; and direct from the writers’ room of CBC’s new comedy series Sort Of, Léa Geronimo Rondot is developing their own comedy series, Sola and the Oracle.

Mentor directors for this session of WIDC include multi-award-winning actor / filmmaker Shelley Thompson (Trailer Park Boys) and WIDC Feature Film Award recipient for Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor; and Joyce Wong 2021 CSA winner for Best Direction, Baroness Von Sketch Show.

Story & Leadership is also led by a team of experienced instructors and mentors including multiple industry award-winner and WIDC co-creator, Dr. Carol Whiteman who produces and facilitates the program; Dr. Dorothy Christian Cucw-la7 and Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell C.M. who lead a module on equity, diversity and inclusion work; writer and Jungian expert, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur, screenwriter / story consultant Linda Coffey (Never Steady, Never Still; Rustic Oracle), actor and filmmaker, Lori Triolo (Blackstone, Lost Solace), actor / instructor, Veena Sood (A Million Little Things; Welcome to Marwen) and Digital Media & Marketing Mentor, Annelise Larson, who will lead respective sessions on leadership, story development, marketing and working with actors. An ensemble of ACTRA actors from across Canada and ICG cinematographers, Kim Derko csc (Save Me; The Next Step), and Daytime Emmy winner, Gayle Ye (Odd Squad, Mobile Unit), will also join the program, workshopping excerpts from the directors’ original scripts.

During the WFF Industry Immersion part of the program, the eight director participants partake in a first-class industry environment during the fest’s twenty-day run that includes an array of master classes, artist talks, one to ones, and notably, WFF’s Women In Focus series. WIDC-hosted sessions with industry guests include Lauren Davis (Telefilm Canada), Mitch Geddes (Bell Media), and Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor producer, Terry Greenlaw (Picture Plant); as well as representatives from CBC, the Independent Production Fund, Creative BC, among others who will participate in roundtables and individual meetings with participants.

Also being showcased at the 2021 Whistler Film Festival are WIDC alumnae feature films including Thompson’s Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor and Valerie Buhagiar’s fourth feature film Carmen. Both films are nominated the WFF Borsos Prize. Lauren Grant’s short film, Things We Feel But Do Not Say also screens at the festival.

Story & Leadership culminates with intensive follow up development of story and marketing materials, and career coaching modules that run through to spring 2022. WIDC receives major financial support from Telefilm Canada. Story & Leadership is also supported by CBC Films, ACTRA National, AFBS, the Independent Production Fund and Creative BC.

The WIDC program originates from the traditional and unceded lands of the Coast Salish peoples, including the xmkym (Musqueam), Swxwu7mesh (Squamish), and slilwta (Tseil-wau-tuth) Nations. We also acknowledge the Indigenous Nations on whose traditional lands our guests and participants live, work and create.