The From Our Dark Side Genre Concept Competition closed submissions on January 16 and we were blown away by the response. Over 250 entries from across the country. Women clearly have stories they want to tell and voices they want to be heard.
The contest was the brainchild of Women in Film & Television Vancouver and was sponsored by Telefilm Canada, Super Channel and Creative BC. It invited women screenwriters across Canada to submit outlines for horror, sci-fi, fantasy or thriller movie scripts that had female-driven storylines. Ten projects will be shortlisted and juried by top genre creators. Five projects will be selected for mentorship that also includes a small cash prize and a trip to the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (March 4-8, 2015). One lucky project will also receive full accreditation to the Montreal Edition of the Frontières International Co-Production Market, held in July alongside the Fantasia Film Festival.
Women and female-driven stories remain underrepresented in the film industry, both in front of and behind the camera. The Celluloid Ceiling annual report shows that in 2014, women comprised only 17 per cent of all the people who worked behind the cameras — directors, producers, editors, writers, executive producers and cinematographers — on the top-grossing 250 movies, the same scant percentage as in 1998. On screen, only 15 per cent of movies star women, a percentage that has not improved since the 1930s.
From Our Dark Side, however, is part of a trend that is trying to address this significant gender divide. News seems to be made very day, in genre and beyond:
- BravoFACT recently declared 2015 is the Year of the Female Filmmaker and committed to allocating 50% of its funds to women-driven projects;
- The new Ghostbusters movie is slated to hit movie theatres in 2016 with an all-new all-female cast;
- The long awaited Wonder Woman movie is also in the works and will be directed by Michelle McLaren (Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Breaking Bad);
- And high profile horror anthology XX will be released this year with all segments helmed by female directors and starring female leads.
There is still a long way to go, but there does seem to be some forward momentum to redress this imbalance. From Our Dark Side is thrilled to be a part of this. But now we are knuckling down and going through all these fantastic entries. Stay tuned for the announcement of our ten shortlisted projects. It’s going to be a tough decision!
by Annelise Larson, Contest Mentor & Digital Media & Marketing Strategist, Veria.ca