FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 2022, Vancouver, BC. – Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organizers are pleased to announce that award-winning Canadian/UK writer/director, Carolyn Saunders is the 2022 recipient of the WIDC BANFF Fellowship Award. Made possible through a long-standing partnership, the fellowship is designed to provide one WIDC alumna with the opportunity to network and advance her projects at the world-class BANFF World Media Festival (June 12 t o15, 2022).

The award, administered by WIDC, provides a full-access pass for Saunders to attend the Banff World Media Festival where she will be meeting with potential funders, producers and broadcasters. In addition, the fellowship includes one to one prep for BANFF, debriefing during BANFF, as well as two months of follow up coaching to create a strategic plan for after BANFF.

“I’m so grateful to WIDC and the Banff World Media Festival for providing this fantastic opportunity! This will be my first time attending BANFF and the timing is perfect time for me. I have two series and two feature films in development, and I look forward to building new relationships with potential Canadian and International partners,” said Carolyn Saunders, who is also the recipient of the Writers Guild of Canada’s 2022 Sondra Kelly Award.

“Our long-standing relationship with WIDC and sponsoring a BANFF Fellowship for WIDC alumnae is another example of BANFF’s commitment to advancing women content creators in our industry,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival. “Congratulations to this year’s recipient, Carolyn Saunders. We’re looking forward to welcoming her to BANFF, in person!”

“Carolyn Saunders was the unanimous choice of our WIDC peer jury,” said Dr. Carol Whiteman, award-winning WIDC co-creator and producer. “BANFF provides such a catalyst experience and Carolyn will not only meet with Industry, but she will also be in the company of nearly thirty WIDC alumnae who are part of BANFF SPARK, Diversity of Voices and are attending on their own with creative projects ready to pitch!”

The 2021 recipient, Joy Haskell recently received IPF development funding for her new comedy series Indegenous, co-produced with fellow WIDC alumna and BANFF SPARK 2022 participant, Rebeka Herron. This year’s award presentation will be made at the WIDC Launch Event, June 3rd at 1:00 pm PDT, by invitation via Zoom, where Saunders will be a guest of honour.

Since its launch in 1996, WIDC has delivered specialized programs and worked with community collaborators like the Banff World Media Festival to help level the playing field for Canadian women and non-binary content creators.



Carolyn Saunders
is an award-winning Canadian/UK writer/director whose short films have played at festivals around the world, and her 2017 micro-budget feature The Wasting garnered awards across Europe before its theatrical release in Canada. Carolyn just received the 2022 WGC Sondra Kelly Award for her feature script, Starfighter Baby and was the only Canadian selected for the 2020 Meryl Streep/Nicole Kidman Writer’s Lab. She was an Academy Nicholl Fellowship quarterfinalist in 2021 with her feature script Island West. Twice shortlisted for the Sundance Development Track with series and feature projects, Carolyn writes across genres. She co-wrote Amazon’s critically acclaimed series Ted Bundy: Falling for a Killer and has a Cold War feature doc in development with White Pine Pictures (Once Were Brothers), with support from the CMF. She story-edited the 2019 Richard Dreyfuss-starring Astronaut and wrote episodes of the comedy web series Tokens. With a particular love for sci-fi and telling stories of identity and the meaning of home, Carolyn is forging a path to drama series. Her co-written female sci fi series, Invisible was a finalist for The Writers Lab UK. Carolyn was selected for the 2021 Directors UK Inspire Mentorship scheme, where she is mentored by director Kate Cheeseman (Outlander). She is a WIDC alumna and WGC member.


Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) was launched in June 1996 at the BANFF World Media Festival as an initial collaboration among ACTRA, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Women In Film and Television Vancouver. Since then its 1997 pilot workshop, more than 330 director alumnae across Canada have garnered 100’s of awards and nominations for their work annually. Over 40% of WIDC alumnae directors are Indigenous, Black or Women of Colour. To meet WIDC alumnae, visit

WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada and with the participation of CBC Films, Creative BC, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, ACTRA National, and the Independent Production Fund. WIDC Community collaborations include Directors Guild of Canada, National Film Board of Canada, Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, Gimli Film Festival, Forest City Film Festival, Reelworld Film Festival, WIFT Toronto, Women In View, Crazy 8’s, TIFF Share Her Journey, Whistler Film Festival and the BANFF World Media Festival.

WIDC Feature Film Award has most recently been supported by Sim, William F. White International Inc., Panavision Canada, Keslow Camera, Company 3 (formerly Encore Vancouver), Encore VFX, Kalos Studios, Post Moderne, Elemental Post Production, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., MELS Studios, Walter Lighting & Grip, Front Row Insurance, Descriptive Video Works, EP Canada, Portable Electric, National Captioning Canada, and Line 21.

Carol Whiteman, WIDC | 1-778-809-0747 |