FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, October, 2015 – Vancouver BC: Eight women directors from across Canada have been selected to attend the 20th annual session of Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC), which includes the pilot program, WIDC Story & Leadership. Over the coming months this top-notch group of content creators will develop their feature films and web series, working with an ensemble of hand-picked professional actors, technicians and other industry experts. A major component of the program takes the form of an Industry Immersion at the 15th anniversary Whistler Film Festival (December 2-6), and culminates with a three-month mentorship tailored to advance each director’s project.
Mounting their sophomore feature films are East coast favorites, Mary Walsh (A Christmas Fury, based on the characters from the riotously-funny TV series Hatching, Matching and Dispatching), Anita Reilly McGee (Black Mammy), and WIDC Feature Film Award-winner, Jordan Canning (Suck It Up). Weaving fiction into their prolific body of documentary works from Ontario are, Maya Gallus (Nights In the Underground), and Frances-Anne Solomon (Hero). Also from Ontario is Nicole Dorsey, developing a debut feature Black Conflux, along with BC-based actress Ana de Lara (The Virgin Mary Had a Little Lamb). Multiple award-winner Marie Clements is developing a new interactive web series Crooked Bones, based on the true story of First Nations artist, Connie Watts.
“WIDC understands that being committed to bringing women’s voices to the screen means investing in the storyteller. Not simply as a “one off” but as a continued partnership between stakeholders who recognize that the development of skill, process, and creation has lasting and profound value,” states Metis actor/ writer/director, Marie Clements. “I am honored to be in this year’s Story & Leadership Program with some of Canada’s most talented and innovative filmmakers.”
Award-winning director Rachel Talalay (Dr. Who, Tank Girl) will be one of this year’s key mentors focusing on directing action. This year’s line up also includes peer mentors, award-winning WIDC alumnae, writer/directors Siobhan Devine (The Birdwatcher, which premieres at the Whistler Film Festival), and web series creator Karen Lam (Mythos), along with popular WIDC instructors, writer and Jungian expert, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur, and screen-writer / story consultant Linda Coffey (These Arms of Mine). Industry guests include, John Galway (Harold Greenberg Fund), Maureen Levitt, (Super Channel), independent producer, Lael McCall, (Principia Productions), and Telefilm Canada’s Lauren Davis.
“Taking part in this WIDC workshop makes me excited about the possibility of someday having television and film represent the perspectives of women, “ states Mary Walsh, a recipient of the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts. “Although women make up 51% of the Canadian population, they comprise less than 20% of the directors and screenwriters working in Canadian Film.”
The Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) program has earned an international reputation for propelling over two hundred Canadian women directors’ skills, stories and careers to the next level of excellence. Creative Women Workshops Association, The Banff Centre and ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) have been WIDC collaborators, and Telefilm Canada has been a major sponsor since the program’s 1997 inception. WIDC and the Whistler Film Festival collaborate again through the WIDC WFF Industry Immersion.
Media inquiries, please contact: Lindsay Nahmiache | Partner I Jive Communications | Lindsay@jivecommunications.ca
About WIDC – Founded in 1997 by an initial collaboration among ACTRA, The Banff Centre and Women In Film & Television Vancouver, Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) is an internationally respected Canadian professional development offering, specially designed to advance the skills, careers and screen projects of women directors. In 1998, the national non-profit Creative Women Workshops Association was formed to oversee WIDC operations. With over 200 director alumnae across Canada, WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, William F. White Intl., and appreciates the participation of the Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada, Panavision Canada, SIM Digital, Clairmont Camera Film and Digital, Deluxe Entertainment Group / Encore, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, Front Row Insurance, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, UBCP/ACTRA, ACTRA Alberta, IATSE 669, Independent Production Fund, Creative BC, BC Arts Council, WIFT Vancouver’s International Women In Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, and the Whistler Film Festival.
Contact: email@example.com | www.widc.ca | facebook.com/widc.ca | @WIDC_ca | #WIDC
About Whistler Film Festival – The Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) is a charitable cultural organization dedicated to furthering the art of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of new talent culminating with a must attend festival for artists, the industry and audiences in Whistler. WFFS produces one of Canada’s leading film festivals and plays a leadership role in offering project development programs for Canadian filmmakers.
Contact: www.whistlerfilmfestival.com | @whisfilmfest | #WFF
WIDC 2016: STORY & LEADERSHIP PROGRAM DIRECTORS (in alphabetical order)
JORDAN CANNING – has directed more than a dozen short films, which have played at festivals all over the world, including the Tribeca Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival and Interfilm Berlin. Among them, Countdown has won a number of awards, including a Golden Sheaf for Best Director; Not Over Easy was a finalist in CBC’s Short film Faceoff and swept all three awards at the NSI Online Film Festival; Seconds won the 2012 TIFF RBC Emerging Filmmakers Competition and the Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award; and her most recent short, The Tunnel premiered at Cannes as part of Telefilm’s Not Short on Talent program. In 2013, Jordan directed all thirteen episodes of the IPF-supported web series Space Riders: Division Earth for CTV.ca. The should went on to win the 2014 Canadian Screen Award for Best Digital Series, two Canadian Comedy Awards for Best Web series and Best Direction of a Web series, and was renewed for a second season. She is also developing a number of feature films, including Oddly Flowers, an adaptation of the award-winning novel “Come Thou Tortoise”, as well as the feature Suck It Up for which she won the 2015 WIDC Feature Film Award. Her first feature, We Were Wolves premiered at TIFF 2014. Jordan is an alumna of the Director’s Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, the TIFF Talent Lab, and the WIDC Career Advancement Module.
MARIE CLEMENTS – is an award-winning writer, director and producer who has worked to ignite her brand of independent story-making to a variety of mediums including film, TV, radio, new media and live performance. Marie recently completed the docu- drama Number 14, and is in production for her feature docu-musical The Road Forward with the National Film Board. She is working on a slate of projects including Red Snow, a feature film in development with True West Films, and winner of the WIDC Feature Film Award; a documentary series entitled Looking at Edward Curtis with Knowledge Network, and a new opera entitled Missing with Vancouver’s City Opera. Marie is President of her new media company MCMEDIA and Artistic Director of red diva projects. Marie is an alumna of the Women In the Director’s Chair program in Banff.
ANA DE LARA – is a Filipino-Canadian filmmaker and actress who has written, directed, and produced a number of award-winning short films, from hard-hitting dramas to laugh out loud comedies. Her work has screened at festivals around the world, including the Montreal World Film Festival and the Rhode Island International Film Festival. Ana is a Women In the Director’s Chair alumna, a BC Arts Council and NFB Grant recipient, and was a finalist for the 2010 Lindalee Tracey Award. She is developing her first feature script, a dark comedy entitled The Virgin Mary Had a Little Lamb, based on her popular one-woman play.
“I am elated to be chosen for the WIDC Story & Leadership Program. It’s exactly what I yearn for and need at this stage of my career.” – ANA DE LARA, Director
NICOLE DORSEY – Nicole is a Toronto-based commercial and narrative film director. Her work has screened internationally, garnering notable awards within the United States and Canada. With a penchant for naturalism, her films often embody a documentarian’s objectivity and aim to present a realist portrayal of the human condition. In 2013, Nicole received the Irving Avrich Award for achievement at the Toronto International Film Festival. Through commercial production house Someplace Nice Inc., she has directed commercials for companies such as Nike, Red Bull and Kashi amongst others. Periodically she teaches filmmaking workshops to youth as part of the Toronto International Film Festival’s year-round programming. In addition to writing her first feature, Black Conflux, Nicole is currently in post-production on the collaborative omnibus film, Delta Venus, and is developing an original series, Fraternal Love with LA-based company, JASH.
“When I heard of the WIDC workshop I felt a surge of optimism that I had potentially found a place with the resources I need to develop and ultimately make this movie; all the while becoming a more adept and educated director.” ~ NICOLE DORSEY, Director
MAYA GALLUS – is an acclaimed documentary filmmaker whose work screens at festivals worldwide. She has written and directed 11 films, many award-winning, including Derby Crazy Love; The Mystery of Mazo de la Roche; Dish-Women, Waitressing & the Art of Service; Girl Inside; Punch Like A Girl; Erotica: A Journey Into Female Sexuality and Elizabeth Smart: On The Side of the Angels. She formed Red Queen Productions with Justine Pimlott in 2002, to create cutting edge films about women, social issues and the arts, and is currently developing feature length narrative as well as documentary films.
“Women In the Director’s Chair offers a unique creative hub for women to develop their distinctive voices. I look forward to expanding my own “female gaze” to write and direct my first feature narrative film.” ~ MAYA GALLUS, Director
ANITA REILLY MCGEE – A graduate from Toronto’s York University, McGee wrote/directed the award winning NFB documentary Seven Brides for Uncle Sam, produced the Gemini award-winning drama Clothesline Patch for CBC and, in 2003, directed her first feature film The Bread Maker, which debuted at TIFF. Her short films include New Neighbours (Canal+ Honorable Mention); Little Dickie which played Venice, Toronto and Palm Springs; Electric Chairs, an award-winning short for cell phones; and Dinner for One which won Best Short at Cinequest and the Runner Up certificate for the BAFTA/LA short film award. McGee Line-produced the Showcase series, Kink V, the feature films A Stone’s Throw and Whole New Thing, and the super low budget features A Bug and a Bag of Week, The Bingo Robbers, and The Pasta King of the Caribbean. She was also the Assistant Production Manager on the German-Canadian co-productions The Sea Wolf (Big Motion Pictures) and Two Sisters, (TROLLOPE SERIES) (ImX Interaktion). In the last few years, McGee has taken time to write and has two feature films at the second draft stage: Miss Georgie, a bio-pic about an aspiring Newfoundland opera singer and her sister and Black Mammy, a comedy about two mismatched runaways who find common ground. She is an alumna of the WIDC Career Advancement Module.
FRANCES-ANNE SOLOMON – is a Caribbean/Canadian filmmaker, writer, producer, distributor and entrepreneur. Born in England of Trinidadian parents, she began her professional life at the BBC in England, where she built a successful career as a producer, first with BBC Radio then with BBC television drama. In 2000, she moved to Canada, where she continues to write, direct, and produce films, television programs, theatre plays, and new media projects. In 2001, she founded CaribbeanTales, a group of media companies that produces, markets and distributes Caribbean-themed films and television programs, including the CaribbeanTales International Film Festival, the CaribbeanTales Incubator Program and the Toronto-based CaribbeanTales Youth Film Festival. In 2010, she founded CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution Inc, the first film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean dedicated to the marketing and sales of Caribbean-themed content. In 2014, she launched CaribbeanTales-TV, a video-on-demand platform. As a director her films include (among others): What My Mother Told Me (Channel 4 Television), Peggy Su (BBC Films), Lord Have Mercy (Vision TV, Toronto One, Showcase Television), and A Winter Tale (City TV/Telefilm). She lives between Toronto and the Caribbean.
MARY WALSH – No stranger to television audiences, Mary Walsh may be best known for her work on This Hour Has 22 Minutes, CBC’s wildly popular take on current affairs. The series, which she also created, earned her many of her numerous Gemini awards and showcased her dynamic range of characters, including the flagrantly outspoken ‘Marg Delahunty’. Walsh wrote, produced and starred in the Gemini award winning Hatching, Matching and Dispatching, and was nominated for two Genies for her performances in feature films Crackie (Official selection at TIFF) and New Waterford Girl. Walsh’s recent credits include CBC’s Republic of Doyle, TMN’s Sensitive Skin; and Global’s Rookie Blue. Select feature film credits include Mambo Italiano; The Divine Ryans with Pete Postlethwaite; Violet, in which she played the title role; and most recently the The Grand Seduction (Official selection at TIFF). Among her many awards and doctorates, Mary is also the recipient of the Order of Canada and the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award in the Performing Arts.