Story & Leadership – Online Edition

presented in collaboration with

Open for Submissions: June 8, 2021
Close of Submissions: July 8, 2021
Extended deadline: July 15, 2021 (by request only)
Program Dates: November 12, 2021 to March 31, 2022

Scroll below for How to Apply

We wish to recognize the term Woman/Women is in an evolution of language and note that our intention in our use is to be fully inclusive of underrepresented persons who may or may not identify as women and share the goals and values of WIDC to promote these marginalized voices and stories.  Further, we gratefully acknowledge that the WIDC program originates from the traditional and unceded lands of the Coast Salish people, including the xmkym (Musqueam), Swxwu7mesh (Squamish), and slilwta (Tseil-wau-tuth) Nations. We also acknowledge the Indigenous Nations on whose traditional lands our guests and participants live, work and play.

Program Summary:
WIDC Story & Leadership is a one-of-a-kind professional development award program delivered in four parts over the course of four months. It focuses on the development of live-action screen fiction (feature film, web and TV series) and offers pathways to effective authentic leadership. Up to eight mid-career Canadian women screen directors who are planning to direct their projects will be selected by a peer jury to attend this intensive revised session of the WIDC program. Ideal candidates will be seeking to advance their career and their screen project, by upping their abilities to successfully navigate the ever-changing creative leader landscape.

Who Should Apply?

Open to any mid-career Canadian women screen directors with a feature film, television or web series project they are planning to direct. Projects at any stage of development will be considered, however projects that have a full draft script are preferred.  Regardless if a full script is available, a minimum of two written scenes and a story synopsis (maximum 1 page) are required. While directors do not have to be the writers of their project, it is expected that they will take an active role in developing the story through the program. Director Participants must be prepared to attend the entire program.

This is not a program for beginners. WIDC is ideally designed for individuals who already have experience directing shorts, docs, web series, or other micro-budget screen projects  made outside of school and that have been selected for screening by a recognized festival, broadcaster, exhibitor, or digital platform.  For those crossing over to directing, you must have a track record of highly transferable directing skills, e.g. experienced actor, AD, editor, script supervisor, producer, and must have at minimum of one screen project produced outside of film school.

ACTRA, UBCP/ACTRA, and Apprentice members are welcome to apply to be part of the WIDC Acting Ensemble. Actors will be selected based on the casting needs of the eight directors’ projects. The ensemble will participate in workshops, round tables, casting sessions, scene study, feedback sessions and panels through Zoom or other virtual spaces.

No travel will be required this year. Acting Ensemble members will receive an artist per diem. WIDC acknowledges the ongoing support provided by ACTRA National and Actra Fraternal Benefit Society. Scroll below for How to Apply.

About the program…

This year’s program will be delivered online mainly via Zoom. Participants are encouraged to commit to full attendance and the program is designed to build sequentially on content and insights shared.

PART 1 – Creative Leadership & Story

Participants should be prepared for approximately 3 hours per day (9am to 12pm PDT), six days per week (November 12 to 28, 2021).

Knowing Self / Your Product

  • A psychological approach to understanding characters
  • Understanding and maximizing your leadership style
  • Discovering your story
  • Pitch Practice .01
  • Giving and receiving notes

Working with actors

  • Casting
  • Audition process
  • Exploring the characters in your story
  • Rehearsal process
  • Constructive feedback

PART 2 – Creating Market Confidence

Up to five 90-minute WIDC sessions (meet the industry) will be scheduled per availability of guest speakers (November 29 to December 11, 2021).

Participants are encouraged to attend Whistler Film Festival (per WFF schedule).

Knowing Your Audience

Meet the Industry
Market Analysis
Pitch Practice .02

Whistler Film Festival Industry Immersion*
(*Immersion offerings are subject to WFF programming)

  • Industry Landscape Panels
  • One to One Meetings with Mentors & Industry Experts
  • Planning for PARTS 3 & 4

Festival Pass includes:

  • Festival Screenings
  • Press & Industry Screenings
  • Industry Summit Programs
  • Networking Receptions
  • Access to Industry Centre, Delegate Lounge & Online Industry Community
  • Women In Focus (WFF event)
  • Pre-registration for WFF Summit 1+1 Meetings

PART 3 – Story Consultation

Per participants’ individual schedules including up to two hours of meetings with mentors (December 12, 2021 to January 31, 2022).

Working with a Story Consultant

  • Zeroing in on the Core of Your Story
  • Taking your story synopsis to the next stage or
  • Developing promotional materials

PART 4 – Leadership Follow Up

Per participants’ individual schedules including three check in meetings with mentor (January 5 to March 31, 2022).

Working with a Career Coach

  • Coaching towards targeted follow up plans tailored to each director participant’s needs:
    • Short term
    • Medium term
    • Long term

How to Apply


Application Form:

Application Checklist

Fees: Waived this year to reduce barriers to access

To submit or for more information:


Application Form:

Fees: No application fees (Actors are offered a per diem)

Send to:

Questions, technical issues?

Phone: 1.604.987.0747 (office) | 1.877.913.0747 (toll free) | 1. 778.809.0747 (mobile)

WIDC reserves the right to change and/or cancel any part of this program.