FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 2019: Women In the Director’s Chair organizers are pleased to announce the four women directors selected to take part in the WIDC Career Advancement Module (CAM) slated to take place during the 30th annual St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, October 15 to 20, 2019.

This session of the CAM includes actor/filmmakers from both Ontario and Newfoundland. From Toronto are Penny Eizenga, a recent alumna who is developing a limited series inspired by Canadian icon Gordon Pinsent, and Molly Flood who is developing a new comedic web series, Band Ladies. Newfoundland-based theatre and film actor/writer/producer Renee Hackett is crossing over to directing, and this year’s Michelle Jackson Award winner, Kerrin Rafuse who has a passion for the worlds of fantasy and speculative/science fiction, is developing her debut feature film, Take My Hand.

WIDC co-creator and producer, Dr. Carol Whiteman facilitates the CAM with WIDC alumna and Feature Film Award winner (Lucille’s Ball), Lulu Keating as Mentor Director, and VP Marketing and Distribution, A-71 and V-71, Susan Curran as Lead Guest Mentor. Beginning with intensive WIDC master classes prior to the St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, WIDC director participants also meet with industry experts, Atlantic Regional Feature Film Executive, Lori McCurdy, Bell Media Harold Greenberg Fund president & CEO, John Galway, Composers Guild of Canada’s Janal Bechthold, among others who offer insights into navigating career paths and connecting screen projects with the market place. At the end of the week, the directors will set strategic career goals then meet for one to one coaching with Whiteman once a month for the three months to keep up the momentum generated during the festival.

Telefilm Canada, provides major funding support for WIDC. This session of the CAM is presented in collaboration with St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.

Over one hundred other Canadian directors that have spring-boarded their careers forward through the CAM, including Winnifred Jong, whose comedic web series Tokens was WIDC’s nominee for the Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch program and launched earlier this year. The series has been garnering awards and nominations and Jong has gone on to direct multiple episodes of television including CBC’s Coroner along with a recent feature length movie for Hallmark.

The next deadline for director applications for a CAM session will be January 15, 2020. That session will take place during the Vancouver International Women In Film Festival, March 2020.

WIDC Contact: | | | @WIDC_ca | #WIDC



Penny Eizenga is a Toronto-based independent filmmaker and alumna of the WIDC Story & Leadership program (2018-19) where she developed A Far Cry, her feature screenplay co-written with Gordon Pinsent and slated for production in 2021. Her other collaborations with Mr. Pinsent include directing the short films, Night Shoot, also starring Sheila McCarthy and now on the festival circuit, and Martin’s Hagge which won Best Short in the Forest City Film Festival and Award of Excellence at the Best Shorts Film Festival in La Jolla as well as the INDIEfest in San Diego. She is adapting Martin’s Hagge into a digital series with writer, Joanne O’Sullivan. In 2015, Penny produced the award-winning feature film, Go Fish, which is now available on Amazon Prime. Producer of over 20 concept television pilots and short films in collaboration with The Incubator Studio, Penny also wrote, produced and starred in two award-winning shorts: Margaret Finds Her Mojo and Wilderness. Penny wrote and directed the pilot for the web series Grateful Tails and produced a 21-episode series called The Giant Comes Out, which screened at the LA Comedy Fest. Two of Penny’s feature film screenplays: Pretend to Sleep and Put Your Lips On, are currently under consideration with a UK-based production company.

Molly Flood was born in Coquitlam, raised in Edmonton, lived in Calgary and resides in Toronto. A graduate of the University of Alberta’s BFA Acting Conservatory and The Second City Conservatory program, she performed in Theatres and played in bands across Canada before cutting her first 16mm film, Shy Vampire, at Ryerson’s Chang School of Continuing Education. With a strong background in theatre and music, Molly’s work is rhythmic and often incorporates elements of comedy, physicality and bold musical choices. The oldest of four girls, her interest in filmmaking lies in depicting complex female relationships and the female gaze. Recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Emerging Artist Scholarship and winner of the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee Toolkit 4.0 competition, Molly has directed music videos, commercials and short films. Her first short, Orchid, for which she received a Best Director nomination (Austin Revolution Film Festival) is now streaming as part of the NSI Online Film Festival. She is a member of ACTRA, Canadian Actors Equity Association (CAEA), WIFT-Toronto and an associate artist with experimental performance collective It Could Still Happen. Select TV credits include Orphan Black, Rogue Season 3 and Blackstone.

Renée Hackett is an independent filmmaker based in St. Bernard’s, Newfoundland. She has a background as a theatre actress, writer and producer. Her film and TV credits include Republic of Doyle (CBC), Those Who Wait (Winner of The First Time Filmmakers Award, On the Fly Film Festival) and Myth of the Ostrich (Bell on Demand). Her short, Some Saturdays which she wrote, produced and starred in premiered at the 2018 St John’s International Women’s Film Festival and toured festivals garnering a Best Cinematography award. Renée recently completed a season as script/story coordinator for Frontier (Netflix/Discovery) and was part of NLFDC’s Media Exchange Mission to LA this spring where she began laying ground work for her transition from producing to directing. She is currently in development on the feature film Birthday Balloon based on the acclaimed play by Steve Cochrane which she produced at Toronto’s Next Stage Theatre. She is also developing a dramatic short film For Deborah.

Kerrin Rafuse is a screenwriter and director based in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She holds a degree in Filmmaking and Photography from NSCAD University (2010) and enjoys stories where reality can coexist with the fantastical or supernatural, especially if it also involves growing up. She is an alumna of NIFCO’s Picture Start program (2018) and the FIN Atlantic International Film Festival’s Script Development Program (2014). Her most recent short film, False Light, has screened at festivals across North America and was selected as part of Telefilm’s Canada’s Not Short On Talent program at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2019.


Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) was founded in 1997 as an initial collaboration among ACTRA, the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Women In Film and Television Vancouver. WIDC has since earned a reputation as a highly effective, internationally respected Canadian professional development offering, specially designed to offer mentorship, development and production support to advance the careers and fiction screen projects of Canadian women directors. With more than 260 director alumnae across Canada, who garner over 100 awards and nominations for their work annually, over the last twenty-two years WIDC has fostered the voices and visions of a generation of women screen directors.

WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada and ACTRA, and with the participation of CBC Films, 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, and ACTRA Alberta.

WIDC Community collaborations include: Directors Guild of Canada, 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, BANFF Media Festival, WIFT Toronto, NSI-Canada, CFC, Crazy 8’s, TIFF Share Her Journey, and the Whistler Film Festival.

WIDC Feature Film Award is supported by William F. White International, Panavision Canada, Sim, Keslow Camera, Encore Vancouver, Technicolor Toronto, Skylab Vancouver, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., MELS Studios, Walter Lighting & Grip, Front Row Insurance, White Hart Post Production, Descriptive Video Works, and Line 21.