FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, Canada (November 30, 2017) – Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Sonia Bonspille Boileau is the winner of the Women In the Director’s Chair’s 2017 national WIDC Feature Film Award, a cash and in-kind prize valued at nearly $200K, designed to encourage more feature films directed by women.
Bonspille Boileau, whose first feature was the Telefilm MicroBudget supported Le Dep, will use this year’s award to complete her sophomore feature film, Rustic Oracle a drama about an eight-year old Mohawk girl as she searches with her mom for her missing teen-aged sister.
“I’m extremely honoured. To me this is much more than an award to help me make my film,” says Sonia Bonspille Boileau. “It’s an opportunity to be a part of the WIDC family; a community of women filmmakers and mentors I know I will be able to count on, and companies I want to work with as my career moves along. I look forward to giving back the same kind of mentorship and support to others in the future.”
“The Harold Greenberg Fund is proud to support the vision and the efforts of Canadians who have stories to tell,” says John Galway, President, Bell Media’s The Harold Greenberg Fund. “The directors supported by this award have exciting voices and stories to share.”
“Sonia’s beautifully written script really caught the peer jury’s attention as did her directorial voice in Le Dep” says Carol Whiteman, award-winning WIDC producer who provides executive producing services as part of the award. “WIDC is privileged to play a role in supporting Sonia to tell this story and grateful for our sponsors’ commitment to helping to level the playing field for women directors in feature film.”
For the past twenty years, WIDC has been working on a director-by-director basis to address the well-known poor statistics around the funding of women-directed feature films. Since 2009, the WIDC Feature Film Award has supported the completion of six multiple award-winning feature-length films by Canadian women directors including Katrin Bowen (Amazon Falls), Lulu Keating (Lucille’s Ball), Ana Valine (Sitting On the Edge of Marlene), Siobhan Devine (The Birdwatcher, theatrically released November 18). Kathleen Hepburn’s Shirley Henderson starrer, Never Steady, Never Still is being distributed by Thunderbird Releasing in Canada and UK, while levelFILM handles international sales, and Jordan Canning’s Suck It Up! will be released across Canada by levelFILM December 1, 2017. Metis-Dene filmmaker Marie Clements’ feature Red Snow, is also funded by Telefilm Canada, CMF and the CBC Breaking Barriers Feature Film Fund, and will begin shooting on location in the NWT in March 2018.
The 2017 WIDC Feature Film Award was presented November 30, at an industry reception hosted by the Whistler Film Festival, which has made a commitment to championing women in the industry both in front of and behind the camera.
Sonie Bonspille Boileau is a bilingual Mohawk filmmaker and graduate from Concordia University’s Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. Over the last decade Sonia has developed and produced television projects in English and French ranging from children’s programming to socially driven documentaries. She won the PRIX DE LA DIVERSITÉ at the 2011 Gala des Prix Gémeaux for her documentary Last call indian. In 2014, Sonia’s first feature film, Le Dep, premiered at the prestigious Karlovy Vary International Film Festival in the Czech Republic. Since then it has won awards and made the official selection of several festivals around the world. She also made a feature documentary about the impacts of the 1990 Oka Crisis called The Oka Legacy, which earned her a Golden Sheaf award at the 2016 Yorkton Film Festival. Sonia is also the 2016 recipient of the APTN Award of Distinction given during the Montreal’s First Peoples Festival. Sonia is now an alumna of the WIDC Story & Leadership where she is developing her sophomore feature film, Rustic Oracle.
Rustic Oracle is a feature drama about a missing Indigenous teen, seen through the eyes of her eight-year-old sister. As the story unfolds, Ivy witnesses her mother’s growing despair as they search but to no avail. Their search for answers is one that no family should have to go through. Nevertheless, their shared fear, pain and hope brings them closer together. This is much more than a story of loss. It is a story about a daughter and mother learning how to love and care for each other under tragic circumstances. Rustic Oracle will be produced by Nish Media, who also produced Le Dep, and will star Carmen Moore as Ivy’s mother, Susan. Moore is largely known for her award-winning lead role of Leona Stoney on the acclaimed series Blackstone.
Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) was founded in 1997 by ACTRA, The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Women In Film and Television Vancouver and is administered by national non-profit society Creative Women Workshops Association. WIDC offers mentorship for Canadian women screen directors, along with project development and production awards to help them get their narrative stories on screen. With more than 230 award-winning director alumnae across Canada, over the last twenty years WIDC has advanced the voices of a generation of women screen directors.
WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, Harold Greenberg Fund, and ACTRA, and with the participation of the Canada Council for the Arts
Conseil des Arts du Canada, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, ACTRA National, STORYHIVE, Creative BC, UBCP/ACTRA, Independent Production Fund, ACTRA Alberta, IATSE 669; WIDC appreciates community collaborations with 1st Weekend Club’s Canada Screens, National Film Board, WIFT Vancouver’s International Women In Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, Crazy 8’s, and the Whistler Film Festival.
WIDC Feature Film Award is valued at nearly $200K and is supported by Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund, along with some of Canada’s most influential screen industry companies including William F. White International, MELS Studios, Tattersall Sound and Picture, Panavision Canada, SIM Digital, Clairmont Camera Film and Digital, Encore Vancouver, Technicolor Toronto, Skylab Vancouver, White Hart Post Productions, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., Descriptive Video Works, Front Row Insurance.
From November 29 to December 3, the Whistler Film Festival will welcome film fans and filmmakers to experience its 17th edition featuring 87 fresh films, special guests, epic events, unique industry initiatives, and time to play in North America’s premier mountain resort. The Whistler Film Festival combines an international film competition with a focused Industry Summit dedicated to the art and business of filmmaking in the digital age, complimented by 11 talent programs for over 70 Canadian artists. Find out more at whistlerfilmfestival.com.