By: Joy Haskell
I was grateful to learn about being the recipient of the 2019 WIFTV Whistler Film Festival Film Market Preparation Mentorship Program. I was paired with Camille Beaudoin, co-founder and CEO Mosaic Entertainment, who mentored me leading up to WFF and during. Camille was gracious with her time and was on top of my schedule and even attended some meetings with me.
Angela Heck, Director of Industry Programming and Raquel Christensen, Industry Coordinator, WFF Talent Lab, in coordination with Camille Beaudoin, set up a great schedule that I get to share with you all.
On my first day, I attended the Power Pitch Workshop Part 1: How to create your own PR Strategy and Workshop Part 2: Mastering the Pitch given by powerhouse Carole Kirschner. Well it was fabulous! I feel more confident in my pitching abilities for Cookies or Crack. I got to sit with my friend Hedyeh Bozorgzadeh during the workshop. In the evening at the Opening Night Celebration: Taste of Whistler, not only did I get to reconnect with some fellow filmmakers but also got to meet new people which included Simon Pegg. I got the chance to take some selfies with Simon as he was intrigued by the ring light I have for my iPhone. He thought it was the coolest thing to take pics with a small ring light designed for phones. We had a great conversation about comedy, film and he wished me luck on my meetings and told me he hopes Cookies or Crack gets made. Me too Simon! True gentleman and very kind man.
The second day there were panel discussions and all were great content. I did particularly enjoy View from the Top: A Vision for Creative Canada 2.0 with Noah Segal – Co-President Elevation Pictures, Tina Pehme – Co-founder/Producer, Sepia Films, Barbara Williams – Executive Vice-President, English Services, CBC, Liz Shorten – Chief Operating Officer, CMPA and Jesse Wente – Director, Indigenous Screen Office. The whole panel was informative and a few quotes for me that stuck out for me:
“Tell the best story you can tell.” – Noah Segal
“We advocate for Indigenous content. The most Canadian content is here in Canada with Indigenous people.” (paraphrased) – Jesse Wente
There was a WFF’s Got Talent Luncheon and Keynote Featuring Barbara Williams, Executive VP, English Services, CBC held at the beautiful Squamish Lil’Wat Cultural Centre. The keynote speech Barbara gave was very inspirational and I loved that she said “Culture is good for business”. Thank you Barbara, I think so too! We were also treated to a special drum song performed by two members from Squamish Lil’Wat Centre.
The afternoon was jam packed with one on one meetings with network executives, agents and producers. All the mentoring and panel discussions paid off. That evening the Apres Networking Reception and our very own Carolyn Combs was there having fun. I have pics to prove it, where you can check out in the WIFTV Instagram. Later that night the Signature Series: Artist Spotlight featuring Simon Pegg who that night received the Maverick Award. Well deserved Simon! The talk was fun and there were a few fun hashtags such as #chrispineisamessyeater and #omgthereisachildintheaudience You had to be there.
To close off the evening, Creative BC threw a great party. It was fabulous to hear women lifting each other up. I got a chance to hang out with some fierce women from all over the place including Creative BC (such as Julie Strangeland, Erica Kumar) and Women in the Director’s Chair (check out Instagram).
Friday! Women in Focus panels and luncheon. It was truly great to see women praise one another and include each other. Shauna Hardy Mishaw, Founder and Executive Director of WFF at the luncheon said “Giving us a moment to get together as this festival is fast and furious, short and sweet and lots happening.” I met some great women at this lunch and left feeling inspired. Friday night the Power Pitch Competition Prize announcement of my friend Hedyeh Bozorgzadeh with her “Brother Man: The Antonio Joao Story”. It was a special moment to hear her name called and I know she worked hard on her pitch.
I took full advantage of the panel discussions and learned a lot from them. I feel more confident in my Feature Film script Cookies or Crack. I received helpful and informative feedback. I got to meet fabulous people and there will be some news in 2020 so stay tuned.
I’m full of gratitude and thankful for this opportunity. I also have to say, I loved that women were on the jury for WIFTV WFF Mentorship, had a woman mentor, women put together my schedule, and a woman won the power pitch competition, plus women in the Director’s Chair and Indigenous women were at the festival. There was definitely a strong sense of women and it was powerful. Women our time is now! Let’s rock out 2020.