FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 2016 (Vancouver BC) Following the launch of its collaboration with Canada Screens, to curate a new women-director-focused VOD Channel, Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organizers are pleased to announce the eight Canadian women directors who will attend the 20th anniversary session of the highly acclaimed script development and director mentoring program WIDC: Story & Leadership.

Over the coming months, these eight directors-to-watch will develop their fiction feature films and web series projects, working with an ensemble of hand-picked professional (ACTRA) actors, technicians, and other industry experts in Vancouver and Whistler.

A major component of the program takes the form of an Industry Immersion at the Whistler Film Festival during the first week of December. The program culminates with each director receiving individually tailored coaching to advance her project to the next stage over the three months following face-to-face sessions.

This year’s Story & Leadership cohort include Directors Guild of Canada members Winnifred Jong developing the web series Tokens; Virginia Abramovich (Eat or Be Eaten) and Rama Rau (The Devil In Her) developing their debut features. Also developing features from Atlantic Canada, ACTRA member Shelley Thompson (Dawn, Her Dad and the Tractor), Melanie Oates (Small and Scattered), Toronto-based Gloria Ui Young Kim (Debra and Mona), and Winnipeg’s Madison Thomas (Last Call). BC-based producer/director Kate Green is developing the futuristic web series NarcoLeap.

This year’s line-up of mentors includes recent DGC Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and WIDC’s inaugural mentor director, Anne Wheeler; award-winning WIDC alumnae director, Siobhan Devine whose feature The Birdwatcher bows at the Carlton Cinema, November 18, along with popular WIDC instructors, writer and Jungian expert, Dr. Carolyn Mamchur, screen-writer / story consultant Linda Coffey (These Arms of Mine), actor and filmmaker, Lori Triolo (Cold Squad), casting director Maureen Webb, independent producer, Lael McCall (Principia Productions), Telefilm Canada’s Lauren Davis and John Galway, Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund. Representatives from TELUS Optik™ Local will participate in a web series roundtable and additional mentors and guests will be announced.

The eight directors will join WIDC’s alumnae network of over 200 women directors across Canada who have benefited from the work of WIDC over the last twenty years.

“WIDC quite literally changed my life,” says Director Melanie Jones. “What I found was a nurturing and supportive community of fellow filmmakers and mentors that transformed my outlook and rekindled my drive to pursue my dreams.”  Jones’ debut feature FSM premiered at last year’s Whistler Film Festival and is now in distribution with IndieCan.

Creative Women Workshops Association, The Banff Centre and ACTRA have been WIDC collaborators, and Telefilm Canada has been a major sponsor since the program’s 1997 inception. The Harold Greenberg Fund is also a major sponsor of Story & Leadership. 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 four WIDC alumnae feature films, Hunting Pignut (dir, Martine Blue) Sun At Midnight (dir, Kirsten Carthew), the much-anticipated music industry doc, Melody Makers: Should’ve Been There (dir, Leslie Ann Coles), and a short, The Door directed by Reem Morsi.

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For more info, set up interviews, get GAT: Ingrid Hamilton – ingrid@gat.ca – 416-731-3034

BACKGROUNDER

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 200 director alumnae across Canada, WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, Harold Greenberg Fund, William F. White Intl., and appreciates the participation of the Canada Council for the Arts

Conseil des Arts du Canada, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, ACTRA National, TELUS Optik Local, 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, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House, Front Row Insurance, MELS; and community collaborations with 1st Weekend Club’s Canada Screens, WIFT Vancouver’s International Women In Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, WIFT Toronto, TIFF, and the Whistler Film Festival. Contact: enquiries@widc.ca

@WIDC_ca

#WIDC

About Whistler Film Festival – The Whistler Film Festival Society is a charitable cultural organization dedicated to furthering the art of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of new talent culminating with a must attend festival for artists, industry and audiences in Whistler. Find out more at whistlerfilmfestival.com

WIDC 2017: STORY & LEADERSHIP PROGRAM DIRECTORS (in alphabetical order)

dir_abramovich-virginiaVIRGINIA ABRAMOVICH
Virginia Abramovich is an award winning filmmaker with over a decade of professional film experience. A graduate of the Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre, Virginia has directed and produced six short films, as well as television, commercial and educational works. Her films have been seen in major festivals worldwide and have been nationally broadcast on CBC, IFC and Bravo. Virginia has directed the television series Playdate for Family Jr., produced by Sinking Ship Productions, and Opie’s Home for Marble Media, airing on TVO. She is also developing a number of projects including her feature film Eat or Be Eaten, which was selected as a runner up for the Praxis Script Writing Competition and has received both Ontario and Toronto Arts Council production grants. Virginia is based in Toronto, ON.

774651_406077636145480_381540626_o copyKATE GREEN
Vancouver-based Kate Green has a passion for producing and directing fiction, non-fiction and high action reality. From directing to producing, Kate has worked on numerous television programs including W Network’s Shannon & Sophie Story, CBC’s Keeping Canada Alive, W Network’s Game of Homes, CBC’s Still Standing, HGTV’s Urban Suburban, and Strangers in Danger for Fuel TV, a subsidiary of FOX TV in the USA. In 2012, Kate produced a short drama thriller Shadowplay, which received a nomination for Best Short Drama at the 2013 Yorkton Film Festival and Leo Awards. Kate’s most recent film, a short documentary called, Not A Stranger, is making the festival rounds to great success and recently won Audience Choice Award at the Vancouver Short Film Festival. Kate’s independent production company KGP Films produces provocative and innovative factual and dramatic television series, documentaries, and feature films. Kate is an alumna of the WIDC CAM, Vancouver.

WJong-PhotoWINNIFRED JONG
Winnifred Jong was born and raised in Toronto. Having infamously talked her way into attending the Cannes Film Festival in France, Winnifred returned to Toronto and studied film production at Ryerson University. She won a National Apprenticeship Award through the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television upon graduation with her lyrical documentary, The Story of Sam. For the past twenty years, she has worked as a script supervisor on acclaimed feature films and television series. Her second unit directing credits include Flashpoint, Played and more recently, X Company. Her debut short film The Offer was an official Selection of the Atlantic Film Festival, Cinefest Sudbury, Hamilton Film Festival, Toronto International Short Film Festival, TIFF Short Cuts Program Fall 2015, Cinequest San Jose, Sonoma International Film Festival, the Female Eye Film Festival, and was nominated for a DGC Award. In summer 2016 she shot her second short, Milk, which she penned. She is a member of the DGC and WIFT-T and an alumna of the WIDC CAM, Toronto.

dir_kim-gloria-ui-youngGLORIA UI YOUNG KIM
Born in Seoul, Korea, and based in Toronto, ON, Gloria Ui Young Kim comes from a long line of media makers. With a degree in English Lit at U of T, she worked as a journalist at Maclean’s. She attended Ryerson: Image Arts and the 2008 Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab. Her short film, Rock Garden: A Love Story, described by Atom Egoyan as “absolutely beautiful”, has won numerous prizes including the CBC Canadian Reflections Award. Her CBC film, The Auction, premiered at the 2010 Sprockets TIFF, and won Best Short Film, the Audience Choice Award: 2012 WIFT Short Film Showcase and Children’s Jury Prize: Seattle Film Festival for Children, and is now part of the John VanDuzer Film Collection at TIFF BellLightbox. Her other works have won numerous Golds, at the Bessies, the Marketing Awards, One Club; her OAC-commissioned work, Why Do I Dance… has had over 800,000 views on Youtube since April, 2012; she was in the 2009 TIFF Talent Lab; is a mentor for youth (Female Eye Film Festival, Reel Asian Film Festival, Hot Docs). She has recently directed the Ontario Arts Council’s 50th Anniversary film, Live, Love Art…, which won Best Interview Film at PR Daily Video Awards. Her debut feature script, Debra and Mona won the 2013 Telefilm New Voices Award. Gloria is an alumna of the WIDC CAM, Toronto.

melheadshotMELANIE OATES
Based in St John’s NL, Melanie Oates is writer, director, producer of five shorts, and winner of the Percy Janes First Novel Award. Her films include: Get Out, Distance, Bait, There You Are, and most recently, Ida, Here and There through Telefilm Canada and NIFCO’s Picture Start program. In 2014 she co-foun