Vampires, werewolves, zombies, space travel, ghosts and suspense– Oh my! Women know their genre. Women In Film + Television Vancouver’s (WIFTV) inaugural #FromOurDarkSide genre writing competition has received over 250 imaginative film concept submissions written by Canadian women. The national English-language competition seeks to discover the best in Canadian women-driven Genre Film ideas.
“We were blown away by the sheer number of applications from across the country for this competition’s debut. It is exceptional and kudos to all that applied,” says Melissa Kajpust, Head of Development, Super Channel.
“For anyone who would doubt the interest of women in genre filmmaking, we were overwhelmed by the creativity and talent in this country. We had a tough time picking just five, which is why we wanted to acknowledge the runners up,” adds Jury member, Director/producer Rachel Talalay (Dr. Who, Nightmare on Elm Street).
Submissions included a wide range of genres including psychological thriller, supernatural horror, retro sci-fi, satirical horror, fantasy, vampire, martial arts/zombie hybrid and conspiracy thriller.
Congratulations to the five winners and their stories (in alphabetical order):
Shereen Jerrett, Winnipeg, MA The Woman Upstairs
A psychological/supernatural horror film about Ann, 28, whose obsession with the abusive sounds from her upstairs neighbour drags her into a surreal dark cycle of violence and isolation.
Gloria Ui Young Kim, Toronto, ON Deception
A chilling thriller about a therapist, Linda, investigating a series of mysterious suicides, which seem connected to her mother’s disappearance while being stalked online by someone who may or may not be the killer.
Carleen Kyle, Vancouver, BC Interspecies Family Therapy
In this amusing science fiction/horror an eternally young woman takes centuries to stop her vampire father from periodically killing her reincarnated mother.
Kate Lingley, Vancouver, BC In the Same Vein
Three vampire sisters defend their family’s legacy from eviction by a corporate tycoon. Mag, Molly and Mara cope with eternal damnation by getting into mixtapes and mischief. Their father Nasifir tried to save them from the family curse, but suffered at the hands of evil gangster Von Hauswing in the process. The Paole sisters must now fight for their right to party.
Lindsey McNeill, Edmonton, AB Gillian’s Just Right
When her mother returns after a ten year absence, Gillian struggles with fears of the “family legacy” being passed down and is forced to reign in her own dark forces that threaten her sanity.
10 runners up receive special mention
The overall quality of entries was so high, that the jury decided to recognize 10 runners-up with a Special Mention (in alphabetical order):
Jessica Bradford, Vancouver, BC Juice
Angela Dorsey, Sooke, BC Flesh
Sheena Kamal, Salt Spring Island, BC Soucoyant
Elize Morgan, Toronto, ON Minna
Devjani Raha, Toronto, ON Satan’s Sorority
Amanda Row, Toronto, ON Phantasmagoggles
Loretta Seto, Vancouver, BC Kung Fu Zombies
Cara Stelmaschuk, Christopher Lake, SK Gypsy Harts
Madison Thomas, Winnipeg, MA Last Call
Nathalie Younglai, Toronto, ON Ex Vivo
Under the direction of WIFTV Board Member and contest producer Sharon McGowan, winners were selected by a jury that included director/producer/actor Amanda Tapping (Sanctuary, Continuum) director/producer Rachel Talalay (Dr. Who, Nightmare on Elm Street), L.A.-based The Allegiance Theater’s VP of Development Carly Norris (previously with Vertigo Entertainment on films such as Godzilla, The Strangers, the Uninvited and Quarantine), Director of Montreal’s Frontières International Co-Production Market focusing on genre film Lindsay Peters, and Super Channel Creative Development Executive Maureen Levitt.
The five winners will receive a cash prize of $500.00 each and over the next few months will receive mentorship from an experienced genre filmmaker. Their projects will also receive consultations with a genre film writer/story editor, a genre visual effects producer, a digital marketing strategy expert and a genre marketing artist to help with preliminary ideas for a film poster and marketing materials.
The winning projects will be promoted on the WIFTV website as well as other international genre film websites supporting the contest and From Our Dark Side social media to build interest and contacts for potential industry collaborators.
One of the winners will also be selected to attend the Montreal edition of the Frontières International Co-Production Market in July.
From Our Dark Side is sponsored by Super Channel, Telefilm Canada and Creative BC. Genre films allow filmmakers a limitless opportunity to creatively explore a wide range of themes from politics to their darkest fears, and in recent years women filmmakers have been making a serious impact on the genre in Canada and abroad. There’s a thirst, coast to coast, for more female-driven original content in genre films.
Many thanks to our sponsors for their ongoing support of Women in Film and the film industry at large.
The five winners will be present to receive their awards on International Women’s Day – Sunday March 8, 2015 at 7 PM during the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival’s Closing Night Event (#VIWIFF2015).
Closing Night of the WIFTV Festival also includes the Legacy award film screenings, the presentation of the Legacy and Festival Awards and the presentation of the Best Screenplay Award for the International Screenplay Competition, followed by a reception.