NFB Announces Gender Equality Initiative at #VIWIFF2016

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From left: Sharon McGowan, Rina Fraticelli, Claude Joli-Coeur, Karen Day, Susan Brinton

Women in Film + Television Vancouver is proud to have provided the venue for the groundbreaking announcement by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Vancouver on this International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016.

Coinciding with the start of the 11th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson Claude Joli-Coeur announced that at least half of its productions will be directed by women and half of all production spending will be allocated to films directed by women. Continue reading

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When Giants Fall — A stunning status quo of ivory poaching across Africa

WGF_eyeA common view of the ivory poaching crisis is that it’s an old crisis. One that our parents had to worry about in the 1970s. Unfortunately, the resurgence of ivory poaching is very real, and more critical than it has ever been. Everyone has heard about blood diamonds, but how about blood ivory?

The problem is vast and complex, spanning many countries and cultures across the world. Elephants are dying by the hundreds every day, and so are people on both sides of the coin. It is an overwhelming topic to attempt to package in one feature documentary. Somehow, When Giants Fall, a documentary by journalist Leslie Griffith, manages to do just that. Continue reading

Close Up of the 2016 From Our Dark Side winners

Let’s have a closer look at the Top Five winning projects and their writers of #FromOurDarkSide’s second season, who were announced on February 29, 2016.

Ana de Lara, Victoria, BC — The Chosen One

Headshot, Ana, Director 2Ana de Lara is a Filipina-Canadian award-winning filmmaker who likes to explore a variety of genres.

The Chosen One is a feature film thriller about a Filipina-Canadian playwright who must stop dark forces that have been summoned by Filipino witchcraft from attacking her sanity.

“As a filmmaker it’s always been my intention to branch out from comedies and dramas,” says de Lara, who intends to direct her script. “I’m so thrilled for the opportunity to explore my dark side and to advance a script concept I’ve had for years.”

de Lara is also one of eight female Canadian directors selected for the 2016 Women in the Directors Chair Story & Leadership Program to develop her first feature film script: The Virgin Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Follow Ana de Lara on Twitter @anadelaraonline.

Elisabeth de Mariaffi, St. John’s, NL— Fly Girls

Elisabeth de Mariaffi_Elisabeth de Mariaffi is the Giller Prize-nominated author of one book of short stories, How To Get Along With Women and the literary thriller, The Devil You Know, which is currently in development with New Metric Media. Her poetry and short fiction have been widely published in magazines across Canada. Elisabeth now makes her home in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she lives with the poet George Murray.

As a novelist and literary activist, Elisabeth de Mariaffi writes mostly about power. A self-professed ‘fraidy-cat, Elisabeth has nonetheless written one novel about serial killers and is now face and eyes into a new book — and it’s a ghost story.

In her thriller Fly Girls, flight attendant trainees trapped overnight on an island airport fight off a four-man crew of vampire pilots who arrive unexpectedly from Alaska.

“The idea for Fly Girls was planted when I did real-life overnight training for my own (short-lived) career as a flight attendant,” says de Mariaffi. “I’ve been dying to write a flight attendant vs. vampires movie ever since. Having spent the last few years working solely on fiction, I’m excited for the opportunity to develop a new story in what is for me, a totally new way — film.”

Follow Elisabeth de Mariaffi on Twitter @ElisabethdeM; Facebook as well as her website www.elisabethdemariaffi.com.

Gada Jane, Kitchener, ON — Video Star

Gada Jane - 15Gada Jane is a filmmaker and writer who specializes in conscientious sensationalism. Her films explore the rawness of bodies in a world of screens and social media. Jane’s most recent project is a short film about celebrity, death, and getting attention online called John Orpheus is Dead. The film was part of a multidisciplinary collaboration that includes an album, concerts, music videos and a jewellery line. With a masters degree in drama from the University of Guelph, she started her career as a theatre director and dramaturg developing scripts for production. Jane has since made music videos, short films and a touchscreen interactive tour of a Quantum Physics Lab. She is a writer equally proficient in the technologies of new media creation. From her home in Canada’s Tech Hub, Kitchener-Waterloo, she writes scripts for projects based all across Canada.

In her dystopian assassin story, Video Star, Aasha and her friends are lured into a deal that promises fame and fortune for murdering people for audience entertainment but ultimately threatens to destroy their friendship and their lives.

“I’m very excited for the chance to work with some of the amazing mentors assembled by WIFTV for From Our Dark Side,” says Jane, who intends do direct the film. “As I am just beginning work on my first feature, the support and guidance of these professionals could not come at a better time.”

Follow Gada Jane on Twitter at @gadajane, Instagram @gadajane and her website.

Jennifer Krukowski, Toronto, ON — Right Hand Rule

Jennifer KrukowskiJennifer Krukowski is a Toronto-based actor, writer, life model, and odd-jobber, with a particular interest in horror, dark comedy, and true crime. She was born in Ottawa, Ontario to a painter and a musician. Jennifer graduated from York University’s Theatre Studies Program in 2010 and became a full ACTRA member in 2013. An emerging screenwriter, Krukowski has recently begun to take sitcom writing classes, and is currently in pre-production as a producer and director on a true-crime documentary.

In Right Hand Rule, a gang of rebellious delivery girls plot to win back its newest member when she is recruited as a corporate secretary in this nostalgic action-comedy.

“They say that constraint breeds creativity. Having worked as an actor for nearly a decade, I sometimes feel helpless about the quality and quantity of roles available to female actors. Rather than letting my frustrations discourage me from continuing to pursue work in the film and television industry, I feel compelled to take a more proactive approach to affecting change by way of creating more female roles and role models as a screenwriter,” says Krukowski. “The From Our Dark Side contest is a unique and important opportunity for women in film and television to be heard, not in spite of our frustrations or quirks, but in celebration of them. Being recognized as a finalist has made it feel possible to take my writing to the next level. Writing can be a very solitary process, and getting a sense of support and community in the pursuit of professional development as a writer is enormously encouraging.”

Follow Jennifer Krukowski on Twitter & Instagram: @jenkrukowski.

Ashley Lynch, Burnaby, BC — Suicide Girl

Ashley Lynch - headshot 01Ashley Lynch is a writer, director and editor specializing in creating female-led genre stories. As an independent writer/director, she has worked on many short films. Lynch is also an experienced post-production professional and owner of Gingerbreadgirl Post, specializing in genre editing, colour grading and theatrical trailer campaigns. Her work has been seen on Telus Optik, Discovery Channel and A&E as well as many film festivals around the world. Her first feature film, Chloe Didn’t Come Home Last Night, is currently in development.

In Suicide Girl, the suicidal but unkillable Morrigan Nevaro is targeted by an opportunistic pharma CEO intent on harvesting her ability. She has to fight to protect her friends and prevent her curse from being mass produced.

“Winning the From Our Darkside mentorship is an incredible privilege and honour,” says Lynch, who intends to direct her action thriller. “My personal mandate is to tell genre stories of female heroes to inspire a new generation of young women. I call this .44 calibre feminism, or equal opportunity ass kicking. This mentorship will enable me to tell those stories and help to bring them to an audience.”

Follow Ashley Lynch on Twitter: @ashleylynch, on Facebook and on her website www.gingerbreadgirlpost.com.

 

Life on Hold: Renee Beaulieu’s Adrien (Le Garagiste) at #VIWIFF2016

Pierre-Yves Cardinal et Michel Dumont - photo L+®a Parent-PothierAdrien (Le Garagiste) is a compelling story about a 50-year-old garage owner in the small town of Trois-Pistoles, Quebec, coping with kidney failure. With a supportive, loving wife by his side, he endures 12 hours of dialysis a week, hoping for the donated kidney that will give him back the quality of life he has lost, yet so richly deserves.

Renee Beaulieu’s beautiful storytelling shares with the viewer a glimpse into a life on hold. It relates the painful daily monotony of the extraordinary measures western medicine provides to keep a broken body alive. But it also asks: to what end?  Continue reading

Vancouver International Women in Film Screenplay Competition announces Official Selections

 

Being a writer can be a solitary experience. Developing story takes time, patience, and a focus that demands persistence, and a dedication to craft. This year’s official selection list has those qualities in spades.

With submissions received from Canada, the United States, Australia and Hong Kong, the competition was exceptional. Getting on this list is a major accomplishment. Our jury for this year’s event are all experienced in script breakdowns and understand the art of the craft extremely well. They read blind, with only Competition Coordinator and Creator Michelle Muldoon knowing who wrote what (and Michelle did not have a vote in the results).  Continue reading

11th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival lineup

Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV) is delighted to announce the lineup for the 11th Annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, #VIWIFF2016, March 8th – 13th at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre.

Two local features, Siobhan Devine’s The Birdwatcher and Melanie JonesFSM, will have their hometown premieres.

Camille Sullivan as Saffron

Camille Sullivan as Saffron in The Birdwatcher

The Birdwatcher stars Camille Sullivan as a single mother diagnosed with cancer, who embarks on a journey to re-connect with her estranged birth mother, played by Gabrielle Rose.  Continue reading

Twisting and Shaking – Writer-Producer, #FromOurDarkSide Mentor Karen Walton About Writing Genre

Karen WaltonWomen in Film and Television Vancouver is delighted to announce Karen Walton has joined the mentor pool of the #FromOurDarkSide genre lab!

Karen Walton is a critically acclaimed screen and television writer-producer, whose genre work includes the cult classic horror, Ginger Snaps and writing for the first two seasons of the hit sci-fi series, Orphan Black. A graduate of the Canadian Film Centre, her trophy collection includes a Canadian Comedy Award for Pretty Funny Screenplay, Canadian Screen Awards for Best Dramatic Series and Best Writing in a Television Movie or Miniseries. She was recently named the 2016 Margaret Collier Award winner for her outstanding body of work as a writer by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Karen spoke with us about what genre means to her. Continue reading

A Match Made in Mentorship Heaven – Writer Christina Sicoli reports from the Whistler Film Festival

Opening Gala at the Whistler Film Festival

The Whistler Conference Centre is buzzing with activity come festival time.

There were more talented people than her but they quit. Don’t quit. Go back to your craft, back to your voice, but don’t quit.”–Meg LeFauve (Variety’s 10 Screenwriters To Watch).

THE MORNING AFTER. A cup of coffee, an over-stimulated body and a blog entry. I’ve been staring at my computer not knowing where to begin. But as I’m learning with most beginnings, they constantly shift and give birth to newer ones. So I asked myself, “What began for me with this new experience”?  Continue reading