FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 2018: Organizers of the Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) in collaboration with the Winnipeg Film Group are pleased to announce the winners of a new Short Works Award specially created to offer Manitoba-based women filmmakers the opportunity to direct screen fiction.

All three directors attended an intensive story development lab which also brought in professional ACTRA actors to workshop the scripts. Following the lab Angela Froese’s short comedy A Round Tuit, the story of a strange creature that magically shows up on the door-steps of unsuspecting procrastinators, was greenlit for immediate production. Cast with local ACTRA members, Maxine Gibson Bruce plays Zoey a teenage procrastinator, Derek James Trapp voices the round Tuit, and Jenny Ng Turner plays Ling.

In addition, a prize package including further script and career development through WIDC and a cache of services and rentals from Winnipeg Film Group, one-year production membership and a screening of the finished short works at the Winnipeg Cinematheque is being offered to finalists, Shira Newman developing Injuries, an adaptation of a Canadian short story, and Rachel Beaulieu whose concept short, Lightning is inspired by a true story of her grandfather’s experiences entering the Canadian army after graduating from residential school. All three filmmakers will be added to the WIDC alumnae directory.

Telefilm Canada, provides major funding support for WIDC. This session of the Short Works Award is presented in collaboration with the Winnipeg Film Group and supported by the Winnipeg Foundation.

“This is a great workshop for up and coming directors especially for women to balance out the current gender imbalance in the industry,” says Veronica Ternopolski, one of the ACTRA members selected to be part of the acting ensemble for the lab.

“Working with WIDC has been extremely inspirational to all the directors as well as cast and crew,” says Ben Williams, Winnipeg Film Group Production Centre Director.  “We’re already planning for next year.”

“WIDC alumnae have asked for more WIDC offerings across the country,” says Carol Whiteman, WIDC co-creator and producer. “When Monica Lowe who spearheads the Winnipeg Film Group’s Women’s Network introduced us to Ben Williams this initiative came together quickly.”

Designed as a 12-day intensive accelerator, the Short Works Award is facilitated by Whiteman who is also executive producing Froese’s short with Williams. Local filmmaker and actress, Jenny Ng Turner (A Desperate Road) is co-producer on the project. Additional mentors include local WIDC alumnae directors, Rebecca Gibson and Madison Thomas; production designer Maryam Decter, cinematographer Andrew Luczenczyn, and sound designer Andy Rudolph.

The Short Works Award lab concludes with a WIDC Sharing Authentic Voices interactive workshop on the power of internal and external confidence led by Whiteman and open to the local film making community being held May 28, 5:30pm to 8:30pm at the Winnipeg Cinematheque. The WIDC Sharing Authentic Voices series is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

The next WIDC deadline is June 30 for the annual Feature Film Award valued at approximately $200,000 in in kind services and rentals provided by the industry’s leading companies across Canada.

For more information
Carol Whiteman, WIDC | 778-809-0747
Ben Williams, WFG | 204-942-6799

#ShortWorksAward #WomenDirectors #WIDC #WFG


About the filmmakers

Writer, director, actor Angela Froese has self-produced three short films. Her first film, NEXT! was the winner of the ACTRA Toronto 24 Hour Co-op Challenge and premiered at the 2015 ACTRA Toronto Conference, subsequently screening at Toronto’s Sudden Impulse Film Festival. Subsequent shorts, Tit For Tat and  Prayer Break were created as part of the Winnipeg Film Group’s One Take Super 8 Events, and were screened at the WNDX Festival. Angela has co-written and co-produced two ACTRA co-op films, Winner/Gagnon, and Manholephobia (which was loosely based on her own humorous life experiences with manholes). Manholephobia was chosen as one of the two 24 Hour Co-op Challenge winners at the 2012 ACTRA conference. In addition to writing her own stand-up comedy material – Angela has performed at Yuk Yuks, Absolute Comedy, The Comedy Bar, and the West End Girls – she is a proud member of ACTRA and CAEA, holds degrees in both theatre (University of Winnipeg) and psychology (University of Manitoba), and is a member of MENSA. Angela also works as a script supervisor, and writes phycological reports.

Writer, director, producer Rachel Beaulieu, born in Sandy Bay First Nation, began her career after graduating from media production at Assiniboine Community College in 2010. Rachel’s passion for the industry started in childhood, creating and directing plays with neighborhood children and doing photo shoots with siblings on disposable cameras. Most of her career has been as a broadcast video editor where she has worked on award-winning Canadian television shows and documentaries. Rachel’s debut film, Red River Roots follows Jesse Carriere whose connection to his Red River roots goes back over a century. The film follows Jesse on a spiritual journey to Batoche, Saskatchewan to bring his uncle a piece of home. In her role in publishing and communications at Manitoba First Nations Resource Centre Rachel creates original content for cultural and educational purposes. She is currently working on a documentary about Wilfred Buck, MFNERC Science Facilitator and all around “Star Guy” and his goal to find and fill the sky with his culture’s lost constellations. At WIDC she is developing a concept short for her feature film Lightning. Set during the time of the Korean War, Lightning is a story inspired by the experiences of Beaulieu’s grandfather who became an army boxer after returning home from residential school.

Manitoba-based filmmaker Shira Newman studied film production at Concordia in Montreal and has a degree in film studies and religion from the University of Manitoba. Returning to Winnipeg from Montreal after her son was born she began work on a series of short films documenting his babyhood, the experience of motherhood and the tension between art production, as she’s been taught it, and mothering. Shira works in film and video as well as creating an 8mm short films inspired by and accompanied by the music of ‘The Bushtits’. Her first funded short film The Blessing, a dark period piece, further explores her questions about mothering and was supported by the Winnipeg Film Group First Film Fund. Over the last 10 years, Shira has thrown her support behind local filmmakers offering her services from production design, art direction to editing and script supervising on large and small productions. She loves, loves, loves building community and working with other artists. As a script supervisor she has worked on Sean Garrity’s Borealis, Mark Ennis’ Road of Iniquity, and Shelagh Carter’s Into Invisible Light. Shira teaches film-making and screenwriting to elementary age children through the Winnipeg School Division. She believes that film is a beautiful medium to explore human experience in a very authentic and vulnerable way – that film can move well beyond pure entertainment and can be transformative – both socially and personally.

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About WIDC – Founded in 1997, Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) is an internationally respected Canadian professional development offering, specially designed to advance the skills, careers and fiction screen projects of women directors. With more than 230 director alumnae across Canada, who have earned over 100 awards and nominations for their work in 2017-18 award season alone including nominations for 28 Canadian Screen Awards and one Oscar, over the last twenty-one years WIDC has fostered the development 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, TELUS STORYHIVE, Creative BC, UBCP/ACTRA, Independent Production Fund, ACTRA Alberta; community collaborators: 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, Winnipeg Film Group, and the Whistler Film Festival. The WIDC Feature Film Award is supported by Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund, Panavision Canada, MELS Studios, Keslow Camera Film and Digital, Sim, William F. White International inc., North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, Encore Vancouver, Technicolor Toronto, Skylab Vancouver, White Hart Post Production, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., Front Row Insurance, and Descriptive Video Works. WIDC Contact: | | | @WIDC_ca | #WIDC

About WINNIPEG FILM GROUP – The Winnipeg Film Group was formed in 1974 as a direct result of the Canadian Film Symposium at the University of Manitoba, an annual event held to critically discuss and screen independent Canadian film and filmmaking. The Winnipeg Manifesto was signed by all filmmakers in attendance, including Denys Arcand, Don Shebib and documentary filmmaker Colin Lowe. The statement began, “We, the undersigned filmmakers, wish to voice our belief that the present system of film production / distribution / exhibition works to the extreme disadvantage of the Canadian filmmaker. During this symposium, several local independent filmmakers banded together to approach the government to assist with funding to form the Winnipeg Film Group. The goal was to pool resources creatively to assist in making independent films. Early Coordinator Leon Johnson said, “We had to start with nothing. There was a lot of struggle. People had to get to know one another, we were all very individualistic. Over the next thirty-five years, the members of the Winnipeg Film Group did indeed get to know one another and collectively developed an international reputation for creating daring and original films that would screen at Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Rotterdam and Clermont-Ferrand, among other prestigious international festivals, and win countless prestigious awards – alongside screening at our very own Cinematheque in the heart of Winnipeg. | | @winnipegfilm | #WFG