FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 8, 2017 (Vancouver BC) Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organizers are pleased to announce the eight Canadian women directors who will attend the highly acclaimed script development and director mentoring program WIDC: Story & Leadership, that takes place in part at the Whistler Film Festival (November 29 to December 3).

Developing their second fiction feature films are Sonia Bonspille Boileau (Rustic Oracle), Jessica Bradford (Finn McKain and the Lost Toad), and Elizabeth Lazebnik (Hannah).

Working on their debut fiction features are multiple doc maker crossing over to drama, Shannon Walsh (Unidentified Minor), TV director Sandi Gisbert (All Pranks, No Fun), and award-winning short filmmaker Sophie Jarvis (Invasion).

Directors Guild of Canada member Katia Café Fébrissy (Grounded) and AFI alumna Leah Cameron (The Communist’s Daughter) are developing new web series.

These eight directors-to-watch will join the ranks of WIDC’s prestigious alumnae network of over 220 women directors across Canada. Between 2006 and 2016 over 60% of Telefilm Canada funded features directed by women were directed by WIDC alumnae.

“The Harold Greenberg Fund is pleased to continue our work in developing talent and fiction feature films together with Carol Whiteman and the WIDC program,” says John Galway, President, The Harold Greenberg Fund. “We know that projects coming out of the WIDC modules are made stronger and the filmmakers have a community of support behind them.”

This year’s line-up of WIDC mentors includes director, Gail Harvey whose latest feature Never Saw It Coming is screening at the Whistler Film Festival; award-winning WIDC alumnae director, Siobhan Devine (The Birdwatcher which premiered at WFF in 2015), along with popular WIDC instructors, writer and Jungian expert, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur, screenwriter / story consultant Linda Coffey (These Arms of Mine), actor and filmmaker, Lori Triolo (Cold Squad).


Industry guests include independent producer, Lael McCall (Principia Productions), Telefilm Canada’s Lauren Davis, Harold Greenberg Fund’s Alan Bacchus. Representatives from CBC, STORYHIVE and the Independent Production Fund will participate in roundtables. Multiple industry award-winner Carol Whiteman facilitates the program and additional mentors and guests will be announced.

WIDC and the Whistler Film Festival collaborate again through the WIDC WFF Industry Immersion, offering the eight director participants a chance to mingle with the industry’s top-tier players during the fest’s four-day run that includes screenings of two WIDC alumnae-directed feature films, Becoming Burlesque (directed by Jackie English) and the multi-director feature, Ordinary Days (directed by WIDC Story & Leadership alumnae Jordan Canning, Renukua Jayapalan, along with Kris Booth). Alumna Ana de Lara’s BC MPPIA award-winning short Good Girls Don’t will also have its world premiere at the festival.


About WIDC – Founded in 1997, and celebrating its 20th anniversary, 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 220 director alumnae across Canada, WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, Harold Greenberg Fund, William F. White Intl., and appreciates the participation and support of the Canada Council for the Arts

Conseil des Arts du Canada, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, ACTRA National, STORYHIVE, Creative BC, Independent Production Fund, UBCP/ACTRA, ACTRA Alberta, IATSE 669; in kind support from Tattersall Sound and Picture, Panavision Canada, SIM Digital, Clairmont Camera Film and Digital, Encore Vancouver, Technicolor Toronto, Skylab Vancouver, White Hart Productions, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House, Descriptive Video Works, Front Row Insurance, MELS; and community collaborations with 1st Weekend Club’s Canada Screens, NFB. WIFT Vancouver’s International Women In Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, and the Whistler Film Festival. Contact: #WIDC


Sonia Bonspille Boileau is a bilingual Mohawk filmmaker based in Quebec. She has been working for the past decade at bringing Indigenous content to the screen for viewers of all cultural backgrounds. In 2015 Sonia wrote and directed her first feature film Le Dep, which made the official selection of several festivals around the world. She is now preparing to direct her second feature, Rustic Oracle.

Jessica Bradford is a Gemini award-winning writer and director based in Vancouver, BC whose films have screened at festivals worldwide. A graduate of the CFC, NSI, and WIDC Banff, Jessica is completing her MFA in Creative writing at UBC. She teaches at Vancouver Film School and the Reel 2 Real Youth Film Festival. She is developing her second feature film, Finn McKain and the Lost Toad.

Katia Café Fébrissy is a writer and director based in Toronto, ON. Her latest environmental cinéma vérité-style film, Root up / À la racine (2017) has won four international film awards. Her NFB-produced documentary, Social Me / Mes réseaux social et moi (2015) premiered on CBC’s French counterpart, Radio Canada TV. She is now developing her web series, Grounded.

Leah Cameron is a Toronto-based director and writer who loves telling awkward and funny human stories. A graduate of the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, her short films have played major festivals, earning jury recognition. TV is Leah’s passion. Since 2015, she has worked as a writer’s assistant for several show runners and has story edited S01 and S02 of the host-driven series, Where Cool Came From. She is developing the comedy web series, The Communist’s Daughter.

Sandi Gisbert is a Vancouver-based writer, director and producer of online content, commercials, music videos, TV and short films. Her most recent project is producing and directing the AMI series AppTV, a tech show for the visually impaired. She directed the I Want to be Evil music video for jazz artist Andrea Superstein. Her short film My Daphne screened at festival across Canada, the US and Mexico and won at Los Angeles’ Golden Egg Film Festival. She is now developing her debut feature, a comedy called, All Pranks and No Fun.

Sophie Jarvis is a Vancouver-based filmmaker whose award-winning films have screened internationally. Her SFU grad film The Worst Day Ever premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won the award for Best Direction at the 2013 enRoute Film Festival. Her other shorts have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, and Bell Media’s BravoFACT fund. Her latest short Medical Drama was shot on 16mm. She is developing her debut feature, an eco-thriller called, Invasions.

Elizabeth Lazebnik is a multi-lingual Toronto-based writer-director who has been making fiction, documentary, experimental films and new media content with screenings at TIFF and the Festival du Cinema Nouveau. Her work has received awards and grants from the Female Eye Film Festival and HotDocs. In 2015 she completed her MFA in film production at York University. She is currently working on her second feature film, Hannah about pioneering BC photographer, Hannah Maynard.

Shannon Walsh has written and directed three feature documentary films, which have screened in cinemas, museums, and over 60 film festivals around the world. Her films have been broadcast in Canada, South Africa and the U.S. Now based in Vancouver, she is currently finishing her 4th feature doc, and working on her first fiction feature, Unidentified Minor.

Pictures and Bios here

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From November 29 to December 3, the Whistler Film Festival will welcome film fans and filmmakers to experience its 17th edition featuring 87 fresh films, special guests, epic events, unique industry initiatives, and time to play in North America’s premier mountain resort. The Whistler Film Festival combines an international film competition with a focused Industry Summit dedicated to the art and business of filmmaking in the digital age, complimented by 11 talent programs for over 70 Canadian artists. Find out more at