FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 2018: Organizers of the Women In the Director’s Chair program are pleased to announce the four directors selected to take part in the WIDC Career Advancement Module (CAM) at the Vancouver International Women In Film Festival, March 5 to 11, 2018.

Aiming to generate career momentum while they develop pitch materials for their next screen fiction projects are BC-based filmmakers Laura Adkin whose short film The Ride Home screens at the festival, Veronika Kurz winner of the 2017 BC MPPIA Whistler Film Festival Short Film Award, and a STORYHIVE Female Director’s edition grant winner, Alayna Silverberg. Also selected is award-winning Toronto-based filmmaker and writer, Lindsey Connell (all pictured above).

Telefilm Canada, provides major funding support for WIDC. This session of the CAM is presented in collaboration with the Vancouver International Women In Film Festival, and with the participation of TELUS STORYHIVE.

“TELUS STORYHIVE is dedicated to supporting the community of content creators in British Columbia and Alberta,” says Megan Lau, Manager, STORYHIVE: Communications, Engagement & Equity at TELUS  “The WIDC CAM is aligned with our mandate to help under-represented voices to develop their stories and ultimately reach more audiences.”

“We’re pleased to continue our long-standing collaboration with WIDC,” says Women In Film and Television Vancouver Executive Director, Carolyn Combs, “The participation of the CAM directors advances their career goals, as well as enriching the festival experience for all of us.”

Award-winning WIDC co-creator and producer, Carol Whiteman facilitates the CAM, with MCE executive producer Marina Cordoni is the CAM’s lead mentor. Beginning with intensive master classes in Vancouver WIDC director participants meet with industry experts from TELUS and Telefilm Canada, as well as WIDC alumnae directors who offer insights into navigating career paths. As part of the CAM directors have access to film screenings, panels and additional one to one meetings with industry at the Vancouver International Women In Film Festival. At the end of the intensive week, each director sets strategic career goals then meets for one on one coaching once a month for the three months following the workshop to keep up the momentum generated during the festival.

Other Canadian directors that have spring-boarded their careers forward through the CAM include BC filmmaker Kate Green, whose new web series NarcoLeap recently went into production with support from TELUS STORYHIVE and the Independent Production Fund.

The next WIDC deadline is April 15, 2018 for a WIDC CAM session that will take place at the Female Eye Film Festival, June 2018, in Toronto.

Director bios and backgrounder follow.

(in alphabetical order)

Writer, Producer, Actor, Director, Laura Adkin began her professional career in the Film and TV industry almost 15 years ago as an actor. She was nominated for a Leo Award in 2013 for her role in the web series Hitman 101. Laura’s script have been highly ranked in competitions and her short script I Wanna Date U has been produced into a short film and a TV Pilot. In 2015 Laura produced the Leo Award-nominated short film Rattlesnake and she has a number of projects in development production company Flat/Head Films including a TV Series called Hit Mom. Laura has directed five short films: The Interrogation (Drama), The Road to Pyeongchang (comedy) which won “Best Comedy” in the TAC Tiny Film Festival (LA) and her BravoFACT The Goodnight which has won multiple awards including Best Short Comedy at the Edmonton International Film Festival and 8 Leo Award nominations, as well as the short films Abandoned, and The Ride Home which screens at the 2018 Vancouver IWIFF. She is developing her feature-length directorial debut film at the WIDC CAM.

Actor, writer, and director Lindsey Connell was raised in a colourful activist household in Toronto and Montreal. A professional actor in theatre and film since she was nine, Lindsey studied classical theatre acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in England, followed by the Humber School of Comedy Writing and Performance. Her play, “Two Doors Twice”, premiered at the Toronto Fringe and was selected by SummerWorks for a public reading and workshop. When her script “The Bridge” won the WWSFF Screenplay Giveaway’s $100,000 of in kind post production funding, she challenged herself to direct her first short film. The following summer, the renamed film The Big 1-0, which she wrote, directed and coproduced, won Best Canadian Short at the Atlantic Film Festival. Determined to make another quickly, she shot her second short, Bare Knuckle Duet, while 8.5 months pregnant. Each film went on to great festival runs -albeit, not always attended by Lindsey. Since having her second child, she has completed two feature film scripts and developed an original television series and several treatments for web series. Her passion for film and to fostering writers led her to the Female Eye Film Festival, where she has been the Script Development Officer for three years. Lindsey is also an avid maker and illustrator. Her successful greeting card and home goods line, Tense and Urgent, can be found online (and in Portland!) She lives in Toronto with her two young(ish) children, Eve and Arlo.

A filmmaker originally from Terrace, BC, Veronika Kurz began her career in theatre: writing, directing, and working backstage. She decided to pursue a career in film, following her passion for dramatic storytelling and connecting with audiences. This brought her to Vancouver where she graduated from Capilano University’s Motion Picture Arts Program. While there, she directed several short films, one of which received Official Selection at the 2014 Whistler Film Festival in their Student Shortwork competition. In August 2017, Veronika was selected to take part in the TELUS/STORYHIVE Career Accelerator for Emerging Content Creators Program. There, she further developed her short film 20 Minutes to Life, which went on to win the 2017 MPPIA Short Film Award. In addition to prepping 20 Minutes to Life, Veronika is also in post-production for her short film Flow, which is the story of an injured dancer coming to terms with her new reality and stars Ballet BC’s Livona Ellis. When not writing or directing, Veronika can be found working in the lighting department on major locally-shot TV series such as Amazon’s Emmy Award-winning The Man in the High Castle and the Netflix reboot of Lost in Space.

Alayna focuses on female led content, created by women in film. She’s a writer/director/producer for Vancouver based Red Castle Films. Alayna has been performing & writing from a very young age. After co-writing about half a dozen short films, she took on the position of associate producer on Red Castle Films’ short Sci-Fi ‘Disappeared’, which inspired her to create her own films. Her fashion film ‘Fall in Love’ was accepted into the top 10 of the 2014 Elle Canada Film Competition & her second fashion film ‘Forage for Fashion’ made it into the top 3 of the 2015 Elle Canada & Sorel Canada Film Competition. Alayna’s Sci-Fi/Drama ‘Static Alex’ took home a $10K Storyhive grant for the Female Directors digital shorts edition in 2016. Currently Alayna is in post production on feature film ‘Crypto’ as associate producer. She continues to develop female led content with like-minded women in film.

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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, William F. White International, Tattersall Sound and Picture, SIM Digital, Encore Vancouver, Technicolor Toronto, Skylab Vancouver, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., Front Row Insurance, White Hart Post Production, and Descriptive Video Works

WIDC Contact: | | | @WIDC_ca | #WIDC