Who Will Take Pierre Juneau’s Place?

Pierre Juneau’s Legacy

I just read an enlightening and well-written blog post  by Jim Henshaw remembering former CBC president and NFB Executive, Pierre Juneau, who passed away last week. If you don’t know who he was, read the The Legion of Decency post and/or view this video.

CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault remembers Pierre Juneau

No one could disagree today that Canada has more than her share of talent in every medium. Our excellence and presence globally in music, film, TV, art and literature are one of my many sources of Canadian pride. As noted in the blog many things have changed over the years, perhaps not all for the best. But once the infrastructure and the reputation for talent and quality are in place, opportunities continue to exist for future generations within a particular industry. You can’t go back, not all the way back, anyway.

Sarah McLachlan

In the music industry in particular, Canadian women fill the celestial ranks. Think Buffy Sainte-Marie, Anne Murray, Joni MItchell, Sylvia Tyson, Celine Dion, Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne, k.d. lang, Chantal Kreviazuk, Diana Krall, etc. Not to single anyone out or leave anyone out, but it’s a VERY long list.  It begs the question: What opportunities might exist for smart and talented Canadian women in film and television if the same sort of championing of our homegrown talent existed today as it did under Juneau’s watch. Might we too one day be the go-to girls for exceptional talent in our respective creative fields, respected and beloved, not only on our own turf but around the world?

As we approach International Women’s Day on March 8, along with the launch of the 2012 Vancouver Women in Film Festival, let’s keep in mind that we have what it takes and celebrate both those who are actively creating Canadian content, sometimes against incredible odds, and also those who fight for us in the back rooms and boardrooms of industry and government. Join us from March 8th through 11th for screenings of new and award winning work and support Female Canadian Filmmakers. Tell your friends. Bring the family. Spread the word.

Oscars 2012: Where are the female directors?



Check out this article in thestar.com, again bemoaning the lack of female directors up for an oscar this year. Quotes by our very own Roslyn Muir and Carol Whiteman. To read the full article, click here.

Yukon Wise + Wild Special Showcase of Short Films


Have a look at the lineup of fantastic Yukon films that ill be screened on March 9th at the VWIFF. Stay tuned for an exclusive pre-festival interview with show curator filmmaker Lulu Keating.

GOLD RIVER | 2:10 mins

2011, Canada, directed by Veronica Verkley

Gold River: A rapid fire mash-up of the sights and sounds of the mythical and literal landscapes of Dawson City Yukon. Over 200 edits in 2 minutes shot on a digital still camera, overlaid with an original composition sampling local musicians.

SOFT SPOKEN | 5:38 mins

2011, Canada, directed by Aubyn O’Grady

In Canada’s northern Yukon Territory, the winters are long and the month of January feels even longer. For the 1500 residents who reside in the town of Dawson City year round, sub-zero temperatures and little daylight are way of life. This unique scenario inspired two young filmmakers to document a whimsical and uplifting event – learning to ride a bicycle – in the middle of winter.This film was shot and edited over a two day period and submitted to the 48 Hour Film Competition, an annual film making event in Dawson City. It went on to win both the ‘People’s Choice’ and ‘Best Picture’ Awards. More recently, it won the ‘Emerging Artist’ Award at the Dawson City International Short Film Festival in April 2011.

Ayaygooyay still image

AYDAYGOOAY | 5:00 mins

2007, Canada, directed by Mary Code

Live-action footage and animation recreate a Sayisi Dene legend told to her by her father.

This combination of live action and animation illustrates that ancient legends circle the present like a ghost. New technology has opened storytelling to a contemporary audience.

Timelines film stillTIME LINES | 3:30 mins

2010, Canada, directed by Suzanne Crocker

The story of a middle-aged woman who is disgruntled with her wrinkled face…until she looks at her wrinkles from a different perspective.Time Lines was hand-drawn using a home-made light box, a felt pen, 2 crayons and 2000 pieces of office paper. Time Lines won Best Yukon Short in the 2010 Dawson City International Short Film Festival.

Last stop for miles stillLAST STOP FOR MILES | 6:55 mins

2007, Canada, directed by Clara McBride

In a small city north of 60, a woman named January hits the road and the bottle, running from a man and heading nowhere fast. A series of curious events begin to unfold, forcing her to make an unexpected change in plans.

Our changing homelands still


2010, Canada, directed by Arthur Mercredi

Climate Change is having a drastic effect on the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s traditional livelihoods; this film takes you on a journey from nearly 20 years ago to the present, with a community whose very survival is at risk.

ice road to tuk stillICE ROAD TO TUK | 3:47 mins

2010, Canada, directed by Meg Walker

The Arctic winter brings miracles. You can walk on water – even drive on it. Ice Road to Tuk offers a poetically paced, wordless response to being a blip of humanity on the daunting Mackenzie River Delta between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories. An ice highway trance in two seasons.


2011, Canada, directed by Meshell Melvin

Embroidered Guy, in a flip book sequence, tossed to the winds, reassembled, animated and coaxed into dancing.

Longest Dream stillLONGEST DREAM | 3:44 mins

2011, Canada, directed by Kim Beggs

Longest Dream is a colorful music animation video that features a tiny tiger, a beautiful old rusted circular saw blade, lots of glass beads coming and going, emotive claymation and painting on paper. The lyrics (about letting go and other things), are poetic and wrenching. The voice is unique and pure. The music is sparse, with powerful harmonies. The pedal steel, bass and drums, come in part way through and stay until the end. The song, Longest Dream (from the album Blue Bones), received Honorable Mention in the 2011 International Songwriting Competition.


2009, Canada, directed by Rachel Weigers

A nightmare becomes a Dream Come True.


2011, Canada, directed by Trina Buhler

Romance of Helen Trent film still

The Romance of Helen Trent, created by Frank and Anne Hummert in 1933, was a radio soap opera which ran for a total of 7,222 episodes, more than any other radio soap.

Re-released as a lip-synced, one-woman, comedic-drama for the Dawson City 48 Hour Film Contest, The Romance of Helen Trent explores Helen’s ongoing search for romance after age 35.


2011, Canada, directed by Kathryn Hepburn

Swirls of finger-paint and layered recitations of Shakespeare’s Sonnet #56 meet in this animation, which creator

Kathryn Hepburn considers to be the apotheosis of her incessant doodling during English class.

Article on Gender Inequality by Melissa Silverstein

Melissa Silverstein again gives voice to gender inequity in the film industry.

In an article on IndieWire (click here) she says, “Because the world is paying attention to Hollywood in a bigger way this week there is an opportunity to raise awareness about gross inequities in the business. So we here at Women and Hollywood are taking this opportunity to say that THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE WOMEN CONSIDERED FOR BEST DIRECTOR.” She highlights the following stats on women directors:

  • In 2011, only 5% of the top grossing films in Hollywood were directed by Women.  The number has decreased since 1998.
  • In 84 years only 4 women — Lina Wertmuller, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow — have been nominated for best director.  One 1 has won.

Have a look at the short video showcasing films by women directors NOT nominated for an Academy Award this year.

Preview of Best of the Festival Award Winners


presented by Roslyn Muir, Festival Artistic Director

To close our festival, WIFTV celebrates the best of the festival by presenting awards to Canadian and international filmmakers for outstanding contributions to to their field. These Best of Fest awards include the: Annex Pro, NFB Animation Award, Chit Chat Productions Inc. Diversity Award, NFB Feature Documentary Award, NFB Short Documentary Award, Sharlene Chartrand Screenwriting Award, Feature Drama Award, Short Drama Award, Directing in a Short Drama Award, Mystique Films Directing in a Feature Drama Award, Barbara Alexandre Performance in a Feature Award, Performance in a Short Award, Moving Images Distribution Award, International Film Award.

Photo of Ana ValineAs well, Ana Valine will receive the Women in the Director’s Chair $100,000 Feature Film Award, presented by Carol Whiteman, President of Creative Women Workshops Association.

Awards will be presented at the Festival Closing Night, Sunday, March 11th, 2011.


ORIANA | Animation | British Columbia | 4:00 minutes Directed by Kara Miranda Lawrence A whimsical 3D animated fairytale adapted from the iconic Portuguese novel “A Fada Oriana” by the late Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen. A young fairy named Oriana is entrusted to take care of an Azorean forest and all its inhabitants. However, she becomes mesmerized by her reflection and the forest is destroyed due to her neglect. Will Oriana be able to redeem herself and save the forest in time? Rated: General


CEDAR AND BAMBOO | Documentary | British Columbia | 22:00 minutes Directed by Diana Leung and Kamala Todd Recounting the life experiences of four descendants of mixed heritage, CEDAR AND BAMBOO explores the unique relationships shared by early Chinese immigrants and Indigenous people on Canada’s West Coast. Set in British Columbia, their stories reveal the difficult circumstances of Indigenous people and early Chinese immigrants. Rated: General


SHORT CRY ROCK | British Columbia | 28:43 minutes Directed by Banchi Hanuse The wild beauty of the Bella Coola Valley blends with vivid watercolor animation illuminating the role of the Nuxalk oral tradition and the intersection of story, place and culture. Rated: General


LEAVE THEM LAUGHING Documentary | British Columbia | 88:00 minutes Produced by Montana Berg Directed by John Zaritsky Parental Guidance: Coarse Language Ninety minutes of songs about life and quips about death from the wheelchair of Carla Zilbersmith who vows to exit laughing. Once a nationally-known singer/comedienne, now fated by ALS, remarkable Carla leaves a teen-aged son, fans who adore her, and this 90-minute pre-mortem retrospective of a life lived fully but too fast.


NEAR SILENCE | Narrative | British Columbia | 8:30 minutes Directed by Ana de Lara Roger, a former concert pianist debilitated by later stage Huntington’s Disease, is cared for by his devastated but loving wife, Fay, who struggles to find meaning in their existence. Rated: General – Violence


BLACK FIELD | Manitoba 2009 | Narrative | 80:00 minutes Directed by Danishka Esterhazy Black Field is a dark historical drama set in the wild Canadian prairies of the 19th century. Two sisters find their lives forever changed when a mysterious and charming man arrives at their isolated farm and refuses to leave. Rated: Parental Guidance – Coarse & Sexual Language, Drug Use


Sill image from film IrradiateIRRADIATE | Narrative | British Columbia | 11:35 minutes Directed by Julia Hutchings Amidst the isolation of windswept fields, Loretta confronts the oscillating nature of grief and loss as she moves through the formalities of her mother’s death. Rated: General

Photo Sara Canning in Black Field

BEST PERFORMANCE – Sara Canning for her role in BLACK FIELD


A WINDOW LOOKING IN Documentary | British Columbia | 22:00 minutes Directed by Tara Hungerford and Eric Hogan General: Coarse Language The profile of 12 BC-based artists, among them writer William Gibson, designer/sculptor Martha Sturdy, photographer Fred Herzog and singer/songwriter Sarah McLachlan. Visually bold and captivating, the film peers into the artists’ inner world to uncover common truths about creativity, the artistic process and living and working as an artist in BC.

TORA | Narrative | British Columbia | 29:00 minutes Directed by Wendy Ord and Glen Samuel Starring David Suzuki in his first acting role, TORA follows a jaded city woman who inherits a property in BC’s Interior and is haunted by a little ghost girl. Jenna discovers through dreams and flashbacks of her new neighbour (Suzuki) that her land was a Japanese Internment Camp during WWII. Rated: Parental Guidance – Drug Use

French Film Festival Runs Until 26 February

Catch BC GOLD Tonight 8:30 pm ( David Spaner’s new book: shoot it! + shorts films) at the French Film Festival

Presented by Visions Ouest Productions, Les 18e Rendez-vous du Cinema Quebecois et Francophone is running now until 26 February, 2012.

Screening at the Jules-Verne Auditorium, 545 Baillie in Vancouver (37th between Oak & Cambie, near Oakridge). For the full program, click here.

Les RENDEZ-VOUS DU CINEMA in association with the CELLULOID SOCIAL CLUB present BC GOLD. Hosted by Ken Hegan.

Tonight, Wednesday February 22, 2012, be sure to catch BC GOLD: A screening of some of the best BC short films from the past year, including:

A reading from Vancouver writer David Spaner’s new book. Shoot It! Hollywood Inc. and the Rising of Independent Film is a searing critique of the corporate studio system and a celebration of the independent filmmaking that’s emerging everywhere. David has worked as a movie critic, feature writer, reporter, and editor for numerous newspapers and magazines. He is also the author of Dreaming in the Rain: How Van- couver Became Hollywood North by Northwest.

Still image from SavageSAVAGE by Lisa Jackson – In the 1950s a woman sings a sweet melody in Cree while her young daughter is taken quietly away from her. When the girl arrives at her destination, the woman’s gentle voice soon becomes a howl of anger and pain. 2011 GENIE Award Best Live Action Short Drama

MONSTER by Deborah Burns – The monster is waiting. . .MONSTER is a fable set in a post apocalyptic time. Hannah (Jodelle Ferland) draws the winning lot to feed a hungry monster waiting in the forest. 3rd Annual Hot Shot Shorts Contest Winner.

THE PROVIDER by Brianne Nord-Stewart – In a small town in 40s America , the local doctor’s home should be the safest place to seek refuge. But is it? Bloodshots Canada Overall Best Film.

still image from She's A Soul ManSHE’S A SOUL MAN by Caitlin Byrnes, featuring Jim Byrnes – Lou Cameron, a 13-year-old girl, is the only Soul Man livin’ in Suburbia. With the help of her guardian angels of Soul, she learns that she should be herself whether she is in Soulsville or Pleasantville.

La carte de membre doit être présentée pour l’achat de billets et pour l’admission aux projections et événements. Les cartes et billets peuvent être achetés sur place, 30 minutes avant le début des projections et sur le site web. Nous allons afficher les changements de dernière minute sur wwww.rendez-vousvancouver.com.

Les réservations peuvent être faites par téléphone ou par courriel, et les billets sont disponibles à l’avance, sans frais supplémentaires, sur le site http://www.rendez- vousvancouver.com

Membership is required for admission at the Festival. Membership cards and tick- ets are available 30 minutes prior to the screenings & available online. You can also make reservations by phone or email. Last minute changes will be posted online at wwww.rendez-vousvancouver.com.

Preceded by Quebec Gold starting at 6:30pm Doors 6:00pm

Admission: 10$ / film Double bill (2 films in a row): 15$ passe simple: $75/double:100$ + carte carte de membre/ membership: $2 (Argent comptant/Cash only)

Note: Same price gets you into both screenings (Quebec Gold and BC Gold)

Reservations: 604-876-2294 / info@rendez-vousvancouver.com

VWIFF In The Director’s Chair with Desiree Lim

Still image from the film The House by Desiree Lim, Director


Director Desiree Lim’s film THE HOUSE will be featured at this year’s Women in Film Festival. Recently festival organizers caught up with her to tape an interview, the highlights of which are below:

See the full interview on our Youtube channel here:

VWIFF: How did you get started as a director?

DL: My career in filmmaking started when I was back in Japan. I graduated from a program in Journalism at university, and right away went into broadcasting. I started off doing some associate producing on some news and documentary shows, and then moved into directing.

VWIFF: Why did you choose the fictional world of storytelling?

DL: I think I’ve always been a storyteller. When I was growing up I was always writing, I was drawing. Those two elements sort of meshed into one. I’m a visual storyteller.

VWIFF: What was your biggest challenge in making this film?

DL: I think for me the biggest challenge making The House is really the budgetary constraints. We made this film on a shoestring budget, and also with a crew that’s really small and inexperienced.

VWIFF: How do you feel about being a female in the film industry?

DL: Well I’ve always been in the industry. When you work in the office, you work with a lot of female co-workers, but when you’re on the field, you’re usually around men. I think what our film industry lacks right now is really the female vision, the female perspective. So I think there’s still a lot of work to be done, a lot of ways to be paved, and part of what Women in Film does is that.

VWIFF: What is your view of the changing technological landscape of film?

DL: For me, fundamentally, whether you’re making a $10K film or a $100M film, what it is is: make a good film. Do you know how to tell a good story? To me it’s not so much about the technology. It comes down to making a good film.

VWIFF: What advice can you give to young directors?

DL: What I would advise young directors to do is watch as many films as you can. Not just the films that are coming our now, but study the history of film.

VWIFF: As an artist, where do you see yourself in five years?

DL: If I had a crystal ball, what I see is myself making a lot of money through my films, but still being true to my vision, and to my integrity as an artist.

Thank you Desiree!

Official Film Trailer for The House

Interview with Roslyn Muir, VWIFF Director


by M A Clarke Scott, VWIFF 2012 Blogger

Recently Women in Film Festival Director ROSLYN MUIR took time out to answer a few of my questions, about the festival, and about her own career as a screenwriter…

head shot of Roslyn Muir

Roslyn Muir, VWIFF Director

MACS: How long have you been involved in the VWIFF, as the director or otherwise?

RM: I’ve been a member of WIFTV for 15 years. I’ve been on the board a couple of times, and got involved with helping the organization. I started with the festival four years ago, helping with steering, choosing films and the artistic vision for festival.

MACS: What have you learned from past festivals that has changed your approach this year?

RM: Starting last year, we’ve begun creating a focus on certain under-represented filmmakers. Last year, the focus was on aboriginal filmmakers. This year, a couple of films genres, like horror, which women are doing more of these days. This is really exciting. We’re always trying to prove that women can do any type of film, and they are definitely doing them. Also the Yukon focus is out of the box. They have always brought an interesting perspective. We plan on something different each year¾ little cells. Already, for next year, we’re planning a focus on Middle Eastern filmmakers.

MACS: Are there favourite films or other aspects of the festival that you are particularly looking forward to this year?

RM: I think the whole program is exciting. I always try to program a diversity of voices and stories. Some years we get sent a lot of films in one area. The program has to be based on what we get sent but I also try to bring in others, too. The program is partly a reflection of what’s happening- different trends and I try to program around those trends. Different themes. Unfortunately it’s still difficult to find features directed by women. But there are a few.

There are so many great shorts, of course we want to include them. The placement in the year of our festival makes it challenging. So many are in the fall, such as the Toronto Film Festival. By December, many films are about to be released in theatres. We try to create a balance, try to find the right films.

Our festival has an international scope, but we always try to get as many Canadian films as well. It’s hard to find enough.

MACS: Can you talk about your own career a bit? What was the impetus for you to become a screenwriter and film producer? Did you complete formal training and do you think that’s imperative to get a start?

RM: I had been an actor. I have a degree in theatre, and did fringe shows, some TV. Then I took a break to have kids, and became a high school drama teacher, but was always writing, always involved in theatre. I stopped teaching after a family move and decided to throw myself fully into film. Screenwriting. Some documentaries, lifestyle shows. I wrote and produced and directed a couple of shorts Independently (Everything’s Rosie and F-Stop).

MACS: What projects are you working on at the moment?

RM: My short film NO RETURN was a finalist for the MPPIA Short Film Award at the Whistler International Film Festival in December 2011. My feature comedy, UNRAVELLED, is in development- nothing lined up production-wise yet, as well as another one. It takes a long time to take a feature to production. You have to do other things at the same time.

Photo Sioban Devine, director

Sioban Devine, Director

photo Gabrielle Rose

Gabrielle Rose, actor

I’m still writing a lot but busy with school. I’m doing my masters. I also made another short film in November called OMG THE MOVIE, which is in post-production now, starring Gabrielle Rose (The Sweet Hereafter). I was writer-producer on that with producer Siobhan Devine. We went on one of the fundraising websites. Raised $2500. For a short film, you can need anywhere from $500 to $100,000.  We also managed to pull in favours, free equipment, free cast. We had to pay for cameras, some equipment and food. We did quite well.

MACS: Do you enjoy being involved in the production of your own scripts?

RM: Depending on the project, you may or may not want to be involved in the production. Some people want to direct things creatively.  You have to be confident. You have to be able to pitch your ideas.

You also work as a story editor and script consultant. Are you motivated by the search for good stories, or by the desire to help other writers get somewhere?

My script won a Praxis contest in 2009 and had a reading, so I’m listed with them. I had been doing story editing before that, and will continue to do story editing after I complete my degree. I love story. When you’re a script editor for feature film, it’s different. You’re guiding the writer, providing another pair of eyes on the work. Providing rewrite notes. Pointing out things they might have overlooked. I enjoy that one-on-one with the writer.

MACS: What advice do you have for those changing careers? Who may be writing for different media versus film?

RM: I am writing a children’s fantasy novel as my thesis in the UBC Creative Writing program. When I began the program, the plan had been to do a screenplay as thesis. I took a children’s writing class and was inspired. Writing in different genres opens up your writing. There are different ways of writing. My MFA is just about done. I’ll be graduating in April. And I’m still editing the novel.

I think universal story telling can cross through genres. It’s important to understand the format, get the hang of it. It takes a bit of work. If you have that desire to continue, it doesn’t matter. But it does help if you have some formal training because it gives you opportunities. I think the film industry is the only one where you have to win a contest to forward your career. It’s very competitive. You must apply for these things all the time. Who knows what the defining factor is? It really helps if you have a short produced.

It also helps in film to understand the medium- filmmaking. If you’re working in film already, that affects your writing. The learning curve goes up much quicker. Collaborating too- finally sitting down with a director, a producer. You understand more about the production process.

MACS: Is industry experience important to success, and how valuable is mentoring?

RM: You depend on so many people to be onside with your story and your vision. The funding system in Canada affects your ability to produce a film. They have to be on board, as well as the stars, the director. There are so many variables.

Mentorship is important. I’ve been mentored many times by women in the industry. I have learned a lot. Having someone who can give you a hand with things, or give you advice. Or even just someone who knows your name. And the networking, getting to know people in the industry. It’s never just “here’s my resume.” It’s often about knowing people, hearing about jobs through the grapevine.

MACS: Do you feel you face/d extra challenges because you are a woman? Do you think the industry has improved much since you got your start or are we still fighting the same old battles? 

RM: I don’t know that it’s improved much. The statistics have stayed pretty low. You don’t notice it until you see the statistics, that women aren’t working as much in the industry. With Canadian funders, they are looking at American stats. The demographics haev changed. Women are the big film-going demographic now. They are still going to the theatre.

It all comes back to the money. The studio system. The perception is still there that women can’t be given large amounts of money.  There are a lot of women actors making the transition to directing and producing so they can control their own careers and keep working.

For example, when we were working on OMG. It was a mostly female crew, because those were the people we knew working in the industry. We each have such varying perspectives. The reason we have this festival is that women do tell different stories.

MACS: Thank you so much, Roslyn,  for taking the time to talk to me, and for your heroic efforts to direct the 2012 Women in Film Festival again this year.