FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 20, 2020, Vancouver, BC – An announcement made by the Leo Awards this week, confirms that Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) alumnae and their projects have garnered a whopping thirty-seven nominations, including six for Best Direction and eight for Best Program.

Leading the pack with ten nominations, Karen Lam‘s latest feature film, The Curse of Willow Song is up for Best Program, Direction, Screenwriting, Cinematography, Editing, Sound, Production Design, Performances by Supporting Actors (female) and Lead Actor (female).

“This film was truly a labour of love,” says Karen Lam. “It took almost two years to design the special effects and finish the film the way we wanted to. And then, when we were ready to launch, the pandemic hit our world. The Leo nominations are so important because they remind me how special the film is. I’m now inspired to find a more creative way to present it to the world.”

Also picking up Best Program nods in the feature film category are Open For Submissions, produced by WIDC alumna Ana de Lara, recipient of  WIDC’s 2019 Telefilm Talent to Watch award for her upcoming web series Best Friend Me; and WIDC Feature Film Award winner Sonia Bonspille Boileau‘s Rustic Oracle, produced by Jason Brennan (Nish Media) and executive produced by WIDC’s BC-based co-creator, Carol Whiteman. Rustic Oracle also picked up a Best Lead Performance (female) nomination for Carmen Moore. Distributed by Seventh Screen, Rustic Oracle’s distribution plan is being revised in the face of COVID-19.

Additional Best Direction (fiction) nominations recognize the talents of Nimisha Mukerji (Chronicle Mysteries: The Deep End, MOW) and Siobhan Devine (Kim’s Convenience, Music, Comedy, Variety). Devine’s Kim’s episode also attracted a Best Actress nod for Andrea Bang.

In the Short Documentary category three alumnae received Best Direction nominations as well as Best Program and Screenwriting: Hayley Gray (Hyashi Studio, plus Cinematography and Editing) Mary M. Frymire (Takaya: Lone Wolf, plus Cinematography), Wendy Ord (To the Worlds, plus Editing and Score).  Frymire also picked a nomination for Best Screenwriting for the doc series, Dr. Keri Prairie Vet.

In the Youth or Children’s category, Loretta Todd‘s Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science Show picked up nods for Best Program, Screenwriting and Editing while Tara Hungerford‘s Gumboot series, Gumboot Kids Holiday Specials: A Spring Feast picked up a Best Production Design nomination.

In the Shorts (fiction) category, Alayna Silverbergs B-Side is nominated for Best Program and Musical Score. B-Side won the MPPIA Short Film Award and was presented at the 2019 Whistler Film Festival.

For a full list of the 2020 Leo Award Nominations.

About WIDC
Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) was founded in 1997 by ACTRA, The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Women In Film and Television Vancouver and is administered by national non-profit society Creative Women Workshops Association. WIDC offers mentorship for Canadian women screen directors, along with project development and production awards to help them get their narrative stories on screen. With more than 260 award-winning director alumnae across Canada, over the last twenty-three years WIDC has advanced the voices of a generation of women screen directors.

WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, CBC Films, 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, Ontario Creates; WIDC appreciates community collaborations with 1st Weekend Club, 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, and the Whistler Film Festival.

WIDC Awards is valued at up to $200K and is supported by some of Canada’s most influential screen industry companies including Panavision Canada, Sim, Post Moderne, Keslow Camera, William F. White International, Walters Lighting and Grip, Encore Vancouver, Technicolor Toronto, Skylab Vancouver, White Hart Post Productions, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., Descriptive Video Works, Front Row Insurance, National Captioning Canada, and Line 21 Media. CBC Films recently announced their support for a $10,000 Talent Development Award for WIDC alumnae to take their scripts to the next draft.