FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Vancouver, Canada (November 2018) – Award-winning Canadian filmmaker Shelley Thompson is the winner of the Women In the Director’s Chair’s 2018 national WIDC Feature Film Award, an in-kind prize of services and rentals valued at up to $200K, designed to encourage more feature films directed by women.

Nova Scotia-based Thompson, best known for her portrayal of Barbara Lahey in the hit Canadian program Trailer Park Boys, will use this year’s award to shoot her debut feature film, Dawn, Her Dad & the Tractor, a drama about a young transgender woman who returns to the family farm for her mother’s funeral and to re-connect with her estranged father. The film, to be shot in Nova Scotia, will be produced by Terry Greenlaw of Picture Plant.

“This story is an extremely personal one to me and my family,” says Thompson. “As the parent of a young trans man, I’ve learned so much about the challenges trans people face as they struggle for acceptance and inclusion, especially in a political climate that can seek to devalue or erase them.  With the incredible support of the WIDC and the award sponsors, my hope is that this story will encourage what I’ve been privy to in my family: the coming together of family and community to value, advocate for and celebrate trans individuals as they journey to their most authentic selves.”

“Shelley’s script profoundly resonated with this year’s peer jury,” says Carol Whiteman, award-winning WIDC President & CEO who provides executive producing services as part of the award. “WIDC is privileged to play a role in supporting Shelley to tell this story and we’re grateful for our sponsors’ commitment to helping level the playing field for women directors.”

Shauna Hardy Mishaw, Executive Director and Founder of the Whistler Film Festival says, “The Whistler Film Festival aims to inspire women and men in an environment that promotes networking, learning, and growth around the issues of gender equity and cultural diversity in media, both on screen and behind the scenes. We’re proud to collaborate with WIDC and to provide a platform to present their annual Feature Film Award.”

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, released through IndieCan Entertainment); and Kathleen Hepburn’s Shirley Henderson starrer, Never Steady, Never Still. Metis-Dene filmmaker, Marie Clements’ feature Red Snow; Gloria Ui Young Kim’s Queen of the Morning Calm; and Sonia Bonspille Boileau’s Rustic Oracle have recently completed production.

The 2018 WIDC Feature Film Award will be presented on November 30 at part two of the Whistler on Top Series at Whistler Film Festival, which has made a commitment to championing women in the industry both in front of and behind the camera.