A Match Made in Mentorship Heaven – Writer Christina Sicoli reports from the Whistler Film Festival

Opening Gala at the Whistler Film Festival

The Whistler Conference Centre is buzzing with activity come festival time.

There were more talented people than her but they quit. Don’t quit. Go back to your craft, back to your voice, but don’t quit.”–Meg LeFauve (Variety’s 10 Screenwriters To Watch).

THE MORNING AFTER. A cup of coffee, an over-stimulated body and a blog entry. I’ve been staring at my computer not knowing where to begin. But as I’m learning with most beginnings, they constantly shift and give birth to newer ones. So I asked myself, “What began for me with this new experience”? 

Sicoli BadgeWell, a five-day stimulating festival developing new relationships, opening new doors and breathing in more than enough inspiration to take my comedy feature, Small Cop, to the next step. I believe this opportunity happened at the right time as I was looking for that extra bit of guidance in reaching out to those who could make a huge difference in helping me possibly get my project off the ground.

When I was selected to be a part of the WIFTV Marketing Preparation Mentorship Program in association with the Whistler Film Festival, I was honoured (and super excited). I felt a small weight lift off my chest. Creating your own material is one thing, having the tools to execute it is another, especially in a medium where connecting to those who can help you get your project off the ground and on the screen is very difficult.

Producer Cynde Harmon (left) with Christina Sicoli

Producer Cynde Harmon (left) with Christina Sicoli

In comes the support of WIFF/WIFTV and my amazing mentor, Cynde Harmon (Really Real Films), power producer extraordinaire. I can’t say I’ve worked with Cynde but I have met her through different social circles. When we officially met over coffee a few weeks prior to the festival, I knew it was a match made in mentorship heaven. Not only is Cynde a wealth of information, she is a go-getter like myself and believes in my project as much as I do. Her energy, confidence and overall enthusiasm is infectious and I see why she is such a respected woman in our industry. So thank you Cynde for steering me in the right direction and exposing myself and my project to others.

Fast forward to the Whistler Film Festival, a fiesta of business & fun. Another beginning…

Sicoli ButtonsWhat can I say? #Ilovewhistlerfilmfestival. With my compact case full of business cards and my Small Cop buttons (yes, shameless self-promotion will get you everywhere), my new beginning began. This was the second time (1st time with the indie feature, Afterparty) I had the honour of being invited to the festival, and to say it’s a warm and welcoming one is an understatement. Aside from the one on one meetings that were set up (a true test in speed-dating), the most valuable thing I can take away from this time was the personal connections made. I’m a firm believer in creating your own work, and having your own voice in an industry that is dependent on various factors that are out of your hands.

“You need to change the world and change the conditions”. I think everyone who watched the extraordinaire Mary Walsh rock the stage at the filmmakers’ luncheon could attest to this. In an industry where “NO” is often said, this festival has inspired me to keep charging forward and create the projects I want to create.

It’s overwhelming to think of all the steps to make a feature film. Sometimes it seems impossible. But I’m sticking to my guns. I strongly believe in myself and my talents. I will continue to fine-tune my voice. I have no other choice than to believe that anything is possible no matter how out of reach it may seem. Thanks to WIFF/WIFTV and this invaluable experience. I bid you farewell…. until we meet again.

By Christina Sicoli

Christina Sicoli is an accomplished actor/comedienne. She won the 2015 WIFTV WHISTLER Film Festival Mentorship with her story Small Cop, which follows a narcissistic, immature female cop on probation who gets partnered with a hard-nosed, veteran cop in need of a promotion.

Follow Christina on Twitter at @Sicolio, #smallcop.

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