Women in Film and Television Vancouver Mentorship Offers Aspiring Actors a Boost

Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV) is proud to announce that twenty-one up and coming Vancouver actors have been selected to participate in the 2019 WIFTV Actor Career Mentorship Program. Launched by Vancouver Actor Krista Magnusson (Limitless, Lost Solace, Bloody Knuckles) in 2013, the Actor Career Mentorship aims to provide women actors with guidance and support as they work to advance their careers.

“I’m thrilled that with this group, over 100 women have now been in the program as mentees!” said Magnusson, “That is no small feat and it must be noted that it is truly a community effort. From the 37 mentors that have been involved to the 12 jury members, to the countless agents putting me in touch with all these people & more, it could not be done without everyone recognizing the importance & long-term impact a mentor can have on a person & career. As Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”

This year’s jury included Magnusson, Actor & creator of Jeb Beach & Associates, Jeb Beach (Travelers, To all the Boys I’ve Loved Before), and award-winning Casting Director, Candice Elzinga (When Calls the Heart, Man in the High Castle). The jury chose twenty-one mentees for this round, out of 34 successful applicants were chosen for their ability to clearly articulate their career intentions and goals for the program, and who demonstrated initiative towards finding and creating their own work, as well as efforts towards solving career challenges.

“It was truly an honour to be invited to be a part of the decision-making process for the WIFTV Mentorship Program.” expressed Beach. “I was highly impressed at the level of passion, drive, and commitment of so many worthy actors. No doubt the added ingredient of generous guidance from those who have found their way will be a major positive influence on the careers and lives of the mentees. Vancouver’s Film and TV community is lucky to have such a valuable program.”

This year’s matches are:

Mentor                                                                        Match
Aliza Vellani                                                                Kaylah Zander
Anne Marie DeLuise                                                 Treychel Anderson
Brittney Wilson                                                          Kassidee Campbell
Bronwen Smith                                                          Maegen Eastwood
Camille Sullivan                                                         Stephanie Izsak
Carly Pope                                                                   Hannah Drew
Chelah Horsdal                                                           Yvette Benson
Crystal Lowe                                                                Janet Walmsley
Fiona Vroom                                                                Frédérique Roussel
Jennifer Spence                                                           Kristina Lao
Jennifer Copping                                                         Bailey Olson
Jill Morrison                                                                 Tracy Varju
Keegan Connor Tracy                                                 Vivian Davidson
Kristin Lehman                                                            Kayla Deorksen
Lisa Durupt                                                                   Catherine Lonsdale
Loretta Walsh                                                               Jennifer Pielak
Luvia Petersen                                                              Ana Maria Carrizales
Nicole Oliver                                                                 Katherine Alpen
Pascale Hutton                                                              Keara Barnes
Priscilla Faia                                                                  Caitlin McCarthy
Tammy Gillis                                                                 Leslie Appleton

The program runs from January to July 2019. Mentees will work on their individual goals, most commonly involving insight into relationship building, how to build a long-term career, developing their own projects, branding, and work/life balance as the pairs meet for one hour, once a month, for six months. Mentees will also take part in a monthly volunteer placement, outside the film industry at the Vancouver Food Bank, as a way to give back to the community.

Applications for the 2020 edition of the WIFTV Actor Career Mentorship Program will open in October 2019. Details will be available at www.womeninfilm.ca.

VIWFF Screenplay Competition 2019 Announces Top Ten Official Selections

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By far our most successful international screenplay competition yet! In 2019 we more than doubled the number of entries, thanks in large part to our co-sponsorship with the ISA – International Screenwriters Association. WIFTV provided door prizes to the ISA’s Third Thursday screenwriting events in 15 locations worldwide, and the ISA will be providing ISAConnect memberships to our top ten Official Selections.

We received screenplay submissions from women writers from across Canada and the USA, as well as the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Austria, Turkey, Brazil, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.

Congratulations to the Official Selections:

  • Nancy Bartley – The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff – USA
  • Jackie Bateman – Salome Magic – Vancouver, BC
  • Arla Bowers – White Coyote – USA
  • Sam Coyle – White River – Toronto, ON
  • Nadia Desyatnikova – Selva – USA
  • Michelle Davidson & Jeffrey Field – No Man’s Land – USA
  • Helen Marsh – Alice Through the Microscope – Vancouver, BC
  • Sheona McDonald – Back by Midnight – Vancouver, BC
  • Katterina Powers – A Better Place – USA
  • Cate Wood Hunter – The Transmogrification of St. Bunnycrisp – South Africa

 

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(L-R) Jackie Bateman, Helen Marsh, Michelle Davidson (co-writer with Jeffry Field), Cate Wood Hunter, Katterina Powers

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(L-R) Sheona McDonald, Arla Bowers, Nancy Bartley, Sam Coyle, Nadia Desyatnikova

We would also like to recognize two additional screenwriters with Honourable Mentions:

J. Bermudez – The Face of the Earth – USA

Robin Fusco – Happy Endings Senior Living – USA

The ten Official Selections will receive a prize package that includes full festival accreditation to VIWFF 2019, and an opportunity to pitch their scripts to industry professionals at the festival, taking place March 5-10. The first place screenwriter will receive the Ken Hayward Award for Best Screenplay, which includes a $250 cash prize. The winner will be announced at the VIWFF Awards Ceremony on Sunday, March 10, 2019.

The 14th Vancouver International Women in Film Festival just released their film lineup on January 30, 2019. Read the announcement here and check out the VIWFF film schedule here.

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BOLD, NEW, REAL: THE VANCOUVER INTERNATIONAL WOMEN IN FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATES FILMS BY WOMEN FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The 14th annual Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (#VIWFF) celebrates the best of cinema created by women. Running from March 5 to 10, 2019, #VIWFF is pleased to be screening 49 films from 19 different countries around the world including 18 local filmmakers!

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Opening the festival is the Vancouver Premiere of Warrior Women (US), a documentary featuring Lakota activists Madonna Thunder Hawk and her daughter Marcella Gilbert, who are at the forefront of Native issues, fighting against the environmental devastation of the Dakota Access Pipeline and for indigenous cultural values. Director Elizabeth Castle and film subject Marcella Gilbert will be in attendance. Warrior Women will be screened with the animated short, Bidaaban (The Dawn Comes) from local filmmaker Amanda Strong.

VIWFF is excited to present the World Premiere of Swords And Scepters: The Rani of Jhansi (USA) an epic period film set in India in 1850. The film follows the Rani as she becomes a growing symbol of Indian resistance and ultimately changes the shape of history. The film’s director, Swati Bhise will be in attendance for a discussion.

VIWFF will screen three BC feature films including the Canadian Premiere of A Perfect 14. This feature documentary explores the world of plus-size models fighting to reshape the fashion industry and the beauty standards of society. The film’s director, Giovanna Morales Vargas, producer, James O’Brien, and subject, Kerosene Deluxe will be in attendance.

Other BC features include the BC Premiere of Gigi Saul Guerrero’s,  La Quinceañera, and a screening of Ana Valine’s, Once There Was A Winter.

La Quinceañera, captures fifteen-year-old Alejandra Santos, whose life is about to change forever on the night of her quinceañera.  The film reflects the director’s recognizable style of Tex-Mex grit with a touch of grindhouse and gore. Gigi Saul will be in attendance.

In Once There Was a Winter we are drawn into a dangerous game set in the desolate North where, fueled by isolation, loss and jealousy,  Lady treads a delicate balance between defiance and disappearance. Anna Valine will be in attendance.

The program also includes 15 local shorts from filmmakers Athena Han, Agathe Bernard, Meeshelle Neal, Tricia Collins, Iris Moore, Amanda Strong, Layla Cameron, Heather Perluzzo, Ana de Lara, Ana Carrizales, Petie Chalifoux, Jules A Koostachin, Mia Fiona Kut, Tristin Greyeyes, and Eva Brownstein. Many local filmmakers will be in attendance.

International Women’s Day on March 8th includes two free screenings, the Canadian Premiere of The Feminist (Sweden) and She Is The Ocean (Russia). The Feminist’s producer, Helene Granquvist, will be in attendance. She Is The Ocean’s director, Inna Blokhina, will be in attendance.

VIWFF is proud to screen several Canadian and International shorts among a diverse selection of documentaries and features.

Click here to view the full lineup of films for the 2019 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival.

The festival will close with the Awards Ceremony followed by the closing night party. Enjoy the tastes of Syrian cuisine with refreshments by Tayybeh.

Stay tuned for additional announcements including special guests, panel discussion, receptions, workshops, tickets and more!

VIWFF is grateful for the support of VIFF Vancity Theatre, Canadian Heritage, BC Arts Council, Telefilm, Creative BC, City of Vancouver, TELUS, CMPA-BC, UBCP, Bridge Studios, Casting Workbook, CCE, CFM, Chandler Fogden Aldous, DGC BC, Georgia Straight, IATSE 891, ICG 669, Line 21, Matrix Production Services, Pacific Backlot, Ron Heaps, Ken Hayward, Sandman Hotel, Sim International, Side Street Post, Super Channel.

Aliens and Vampires and Monsters, Oh My! Five Winners Selected for the 5th From Our Dark Side

Welcome to The Dark Side!

This year’s Genre Concepts explore the mutability of identity, monsters, aliens, ghosts and vampires. Each with a female protagonist with her back up against the wall.

Welcome to the world of genre film, an area where women are challenging social norms and generating worldwide box office.

Congratulations to this year’s winners and their projects!

  • 50 by Mary Cross, Guelph, ON
  • Fire Lookout by Caitlin Vanstone, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Flesh by Kaye MacDonald, Verdun, QC
  • Hotel Ghost by Melanie Butler, Sooke, B.C.
  • Tick by Ashlea Wessel, Toronto, ON
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Clockwise from top left: Ashlea Wessel, Mary Cross, Kaye MacDonald, Caitlin Vanstone & Melanie Butler

We would like to recognize the ten runners-up for their outstanding concepts:

  • Homestay by Karen Budra, North Vancouver, B.C.
  • Jerky by Amy Trefry, Halifax, N.S.
  • Maneater by Kim Morrison/Julia Rowland, Toronto, ON
  • My Only Sunshine by Jessica Landry, Winnipeg, MB
  • Oregon by Jackie Bateman, North Vancouver, B.C.
  • Smile by Kaylin Shioma Metchie, Vancouver, B.C.
  • Strange Harvest by Alexandra Caulfield, Vancouver, B.C.
  • The Cannery by Ariel Hansen, Vancouver, B.C.
  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Practical Pathology by Vesta Giles, Kamloops, B.C.
  • The Invincible Trayvon Martin by Melanee Murray-Hunt, Calgary, AB

The judges noted that this year’s entries “hit a new high”, said Peggy Thompson and Sharon McGowan, Contest producers and WIFTV Board Members.

The five finalists receive a cash prize as well as a six-month incubator program designed to take their projects to the next stage of development. A highlight of the program is full accreditation to the Frontières International Co-Production Market in Montreal where the winners will pitch their projects to national and international industry professionals as part of Frontières’ new initiative, “Created By Women.”  (#CreatedByWomen)

Prior to pitching at Frontières, the winners attend the 2019 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival in March where they will have workshops and consultations with genre creators, producers, story editors and a digital marketing strategist.

The five winners will be presented with their awards on Sunday, March 10, 2019, during the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival Closing Night Event (#VIWFF).

This year’s jury consisted of Producer Rupert Harvey, Raven Banner Entertainment Executives Michael Paszt and Andrew Step, Producer Steph Ouaknine, Director Nicholas Humphries, Screenwriter/Actor/Director Sonja Bennett and Screenwriter Dennis Heaton.

The contest was developed by Women in Film and Television Vancouver’s Advocacy Committee and is generously supported by Super Channel, Telefilm Canada, TELUS STORYHIVE, and Creative BC.

For more information on the From Our Dark Side Genre Concept Contest, click here

 

Stephanie Limage: Breaking the Norms of Filmmaking

WIFTV member, Stephanie Limage is redefining traditional filmmaking as we know it.

Steph is a filmmaker, musician, social entrepreneur, and Canadian delegate for the G20 Young Entrepreneur Association with the confidence and vision to impact change around the world through her art. She once relocated her entire life to Haiti for 5 years for a project. She has trained and educated film units in foreign countries to be ready to shoot at any given moment of crisis. She has mentored underprivileged people to use the power of film and documentation to change their own lives and get them out of poverty. Steph fully invests her time, attention, and energy to her art and to the people she works with. Her films are more than just entertainment, they are social impact projects that address and change social problems around the world.

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Steph at the G20

I met Steph for the first time at a coffee shop in Vancouver. She wore a black brimmed hat and a black top. But she beamed light and energy and rarely broke eye contact as she led me through story after story of her adventurous career.

Steph founded her production company, Limage Media Group, in 2008 in Vancouver BC. She is originally from Manitoba and currently resides in British Columbia, but her travels do not stop there. Limage Media Group has successfully set up a variety of media literacy programs in Canada, Haiti and Argentina to help assist marginalized and underrepresented individuals.

Steph’s first taste of humanitarian aid was through making art with the residents of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES). During the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, Steph received a small grant. With the money, she bought canvases and paints and invited passersby to make art with her. Steph saw the moment as an opportunity to help others. She explains, “Why not create an event that benefits all parties and gets the artist outside of narcissism to make them think outside of self and inside the community. Treat a social problem through art.” Through her work in the DTES, Steph created the foundation and template by which she would move through every subsequent project of hers. “What I found is that when you have a community in unity, you have progressive social change that is enacted,” explains Steph.

At 26 years old, Steph uprooted her life and moved to Haiti for a project, which ultimately became her film Voices of Haiti. There, she helped communities get access to clean and potable water, helped musicians and artists produce work, and covered the presidential elections at the time. During the 8-year long project, she took time to teach people how to use the camera equipment and how to tell their story through the medium of film. “I wanted to put the power and control of the narrative into their hands,” Steph says. By reproducing herself in the people who surround her, Steph allows the story to be told by the communities it directly affects.

Through their training, Steph hired these filmmakers to work as content creators for her company. In this way, Limage Media Group can activate these teams abroad in the event of a humanitarian crisis or social unrest, rather than Steph flying a crew down. The rest of the year, these employees are kept busy with other projects so they can remain on the payroll, allowing them to build a life and a career for themselves. “I am essentially an investor,” Steph explains, “like microfinance in a different capacity. There’s nothing out there like it, and they know that.”

These groups of trained individuals became the content creators for Steph’s new channel, Ghetto News International. Ghetto News has been a dream of Steph’s for several years. Through the channel, Steph gives the power of media and storytelling to those at the margins of society. She believes in investing in human capital and having trained workers who can work on different projects in various locations.

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Terri and Steph in Buenos Aires

In 2018, Steph set up her most recent division of Ghetto News in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Terri, a young Argentinean woman, covers women’s issues and the women’s rights movement in Latin America, with a focus on inner city Buenos Aires. Terri is a single mom and is passionate about social justice. With Steph’s mentorship, Terri will create and produce monthly episodes for Ghetto News, while showing viewers how they can better support the women’s movement in Latin America.

Through Ghetto News, Terri’s life has changed. “She is able to have a predictable pay check, to see her family, provide food security for her child, and pay into a retirement plan,” explains Steph. “That’s huge.”

With Haiti and Argentina already underway, Steph looks to broaden her horizons for Ghetto News. Ultimately, she will have 1,000 employees stationed all around the world, just like Terri in Buenos Aires or Patrice in Port au Prince. In this way, Ghetto News can remain real, raw, and authentic, just like the people who are covering it.

As a filmmaker, Steph has always let her heart lead her through the story. She urges young filmmakers to prioritize doing the same. “Don’t worry about the money; worry about the narrative, worry about the story, and just go for it,” Steph encourages.

Written by Zoe Arthur. Zoe Arthur is a filmmaker living in Vancouver, BC. Her films tell stories of social justice and expose the need for change for communities at the margins of society. 

If you are interested in supporting Steph’s work, Limage Media Group needs equipment. If you or your organization is retiring equipment, Steph is taking donations so that she can grow Ghetto News around the world. You can contact Steph through her website: https://www.limagemedia.com/

 

 

The 2019 VIWFF Screenplay Competition Announces Quarterfinalists

The VIWFF Screenplay Competition is committed to celebrating and recognizing female screenwriters, in pursuit of equal participation in writing for screen-based media. Ten Official Selections will be chosen to receive full accreditation to VIWFF 2019.

We are happy to announce this year’s quarter-finalists:

Georgia Abrahams – Vahana
Amani AbuRamadan – The Package
Andrea Bang – Mrs. Nobody
Nancy Bartley – The Boy Who Shot the Sheriff
Jackie Bateman – Salome Magic
A. J. Bermudez – The Face of the Earth
Arla Bowers – White Coyote
Jessica Bradford – Finn’s Sketchy Day
Giovanna Chesler – Sweetheart Ranch
Nancy Clark – Dark Side Of The Street
Sam Coyle – White River
Tonia Davidson – Word Over Word
Sarah Davison – (Dis) Honoured
Louise Deschamps – The Forgotten Patron
Nadia Desyatnikova – Selva
Mary Egan – Have You Seen Me?
Jeffrey Field & Michelle Davidson – No Man’s Land
Robin Fusco – Happy Endings Senior Living
Tanya Gust – Little Choice
Faye Jackson – The Fisherwoman and the Sea
Ulla Laidlaw – Genevieve
Jillian Lauren & Silas Howard – The Great Pretenders
Samantha Loney – Married to Murder
Helen Marsh – Alice Through the Microscope
Lauren Martin – Grow No Moss
Sheona McDonald – Back by Midnight
Ashley Ohana – Deception Pass
Katterina Powers – A Better Place
Miriam Rahimi-Cholensky – Ari vs. Raj
Miriam Rahimi-Cholensky – China White
Elise Raye & Natalie Mussell – Family Feast
Satu Runa – Soucouyant
Angela Ryan – Mud Swimmers
Jennifer Nicole Stang – Blackwood Falls
Suzy Stein – Dragging the Mark
Jes Sugrue – The Good, the Bad and the Irish
Donna Wheeler – Natalie Rising
Robyn Winslow – Aftereffect
Cate Wood Hunter – Family Roots
Cate Wood Hunter – The Transmogrification of St. Bunnycrisp
Tiffany Zehnal – Bee Sting

Semifinalists will be announced on January 21, 2019, and the top ten Official Selections will be chosen from among the Semifinalists. Official Selections to be announced on January 31, 2019. The finalist will be presented with a cash prize at the Festival Awards Ceremony on March 10, 2019.

A very special thank you to the International Screenwriters Association (ISA) for their sponsorship, and to our script readers for many hours of thoughtful reading.

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Beyond the Dark Side with Gada Jane

Genre film has, for a long time, been a mode of storytelling perfect for communicating both the personal and the social. A horror film and a western can both be analyzed in terms of cultural milieu, or they can be seen as indicative of a filmmaker’s mood—or some combination of both. Thus, genre film is a valuable tool for understanding human experience, whether or not you enjoy gore, ghosts, or fantastic creatures. Each genre has its own complex set of images, character-types, styles, and techniques which, when used skillfully, pay clever homage to earlier films and push the boundaries of what film can say or do to an audience in the future. Genre films are an integral part of the larger cinematic conversation, whether they speak in the language of sci-fi, thriller, fantasy, western, or horror.

Thus, it is important to keep the door open to new and emerging genre filmmakers. In doing so, the creative conversation maintains its richness and its innovative streak. The From Our Dark Side Incubator Program is designed to prop open the door and let fresh ideas in. As a program meant especially for the development of women’s genre projects, it provides space for “the rebirth of genre” as a diverse medium. To quote the program’s webpage: “From Our Dark Side sees limitless possibilities in genre for women storytellers [and is] designed to provide [filmmakers] with a better understanding of the market, the fans, and the kinds of stories that will connect and kick some genre ass.”

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Gada Jane

Testifying to the success of the program is former participant Gada Jane, a filmmaker and new-media creator from Kitchener, Ontario, who took part in 2016. She found out about the program through a friend on Facebook, and was soon in Vancouver, BC amongst a group of talented and enthusiastic filmmakers and storytellers, all with a passion for genre. She then had the opportunity to network, collaborate, and build lasting professional and creative relationships, both during the 2016 Vancouver International Women in Film Festival and afterwards. Most notably, the program participants travelled to Montréal that year, where the Frontières Co-Production Market took place as part of the city’s Fantasia International Film Festival. While there, Jane and fellow From Our Dark Side participants further connected with professionals in the genre community. When asked about experience, Jane highlighted its value as a networking platform: “Going to Frontières was a big thing for me, because I’ve kept in touch with a lot of the people who I met that first year. Even now, I’m in [Tallinn, Estonia], and I’m supposed to meet someone who I met at Frontières, to talk about various projects, and we might actually do some work together soon. That [connection is] coming directly out of Frontières, and From Our Dark Side.”

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Gada Jane pitching thier web series at Storytek demo day. Photo by Laura Oks (@photosbylauraoks)

Not only did the experience strengthen Jane’s professional connections, it changed the way she thought about networking as a process of collaboration. In her words, “people often think [they] should network because it’s good to network and I should find the person who can do this thing for me, but I feel like what networking actually enables you to do is find the people [who] are aligned with what you want to do [and] also help you understand how to shape what you want to do so it works with the industry… you have to find the points of intersection.” Jane says she uses these learned skills all the time, and in various fields of work. She works in new media research at the University of Waterloo’s Games Institute, and told me about how useful her knowledge of the film festival environment has been within the scope of her career. In fact, her department sent her to the Cannes Film Festival, two years in a row, in order to connect with new partners and extend her network. Her creative projects have directly benefitted from her From Our Dark Side experience as well; she was asked to take her latest project, a web series titled “La Boheme,” to an accelerator program in Estonia. Making connections, she says, “is a much more personal process… it’s about finding teams that I want to work with in the long term, and developing relationships.”

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Gada Jane and her business partner Victoria Buchy at Storytek in Tallinn

When asked to impart any advice to new From Our Dark Side program members, Jane had this to say: “It’s really valuable to use to program to figure out what you actually want to do. You get access to all these different people and conversations, [but] that becomes most useful when you can check it against what you actually care about, what you actually want to accomplish. I think we often get caught up focusing on one side or the other—[either] shutting out the outside, or absorbing it and adjusting until you lose track of why you started in the first place. I think if you can constantly be checking between the two, you’re going to find yourself in a much stronger position.”

-Written by Sarah Bakke

To check out Gada Jane on Instagram, click here. To find out more about her web series and other creative endeavours, go to: @thevelveticons or www.gadajane.com

WIFTV presented From Our Dark Side genre concept contest, in partnership with Creative BC, Super Channel, Telefilm Canada and Telus. For more information on From Our Dark Side, click here

Sarah Bakke interns at WIFTV, where she gets to write all kinds of film-related material––a cinephile’s dream! When she’s not scribbling film notes or watching movies, Sarah can be found at The Cinematheque as a weekend theatre manager.

 

From Idea to Screenplay, How Tricksters & Writers Helped Jessie Anthony’s Upcoming Feature Film, “Brother I Cry”

Jessie Anthony, a Proud Haudenosaunee woman from the Onondaga nation and member of Beaver Clan from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Ontario, participated in the Tricksters and Writers Program under unique circumstances—she already had a project underway, funding secured, and deadlines to meet. Though the program is only in its first iteration, and thus is still in stages of development for both participants and organizers, Anthony knew that you only get out what you put in; her intention was to take the structure of the Tricksters and Writers program and apply it directly to her process of brainstorming, story editing, and character development.

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“I took advantage of being in a room full of Indigenous women, sharing my story, and hearing other stories,” Anthony says. “That’s the best way to learn—observation. I felt like I was held accountable for my progress and my process.”

Her latest project, titled Brother, I Cry, tells of two siblings connected by strong spiritual ties, who are both experiencing the inter-generational trauma of residential schools. “It’s commenting on family dynamics post-residential school, and how we enable our addicts,” Anthony explains. Production on Brother, I Cry just recently wrapped, and Anthony credits her experience in the program as a positive influence during the earlier stages of filmmaking. “One of my biggest [goals] was learning how to let go of the characters; how to not micromanage the characters and [instead] just write them and let them live,” she says. Being in a room with Indigenous women of various backgrounds and experience levels, as well as collaborating with other industry professionals, helped Anthony reach this goal. “I felt supported while I was brainstorming and organizing those thoughts,” she further explains. “To write a first draft and feel the encouragement and support of people who understood the journey [is] amazing!”

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Understanding the journey, in this case, means not only witnessing individual growth within the Tricksters and Writers program itself but also knowing what it means to have an Indigenous story to tell. The women involved in the program all identify as Indigenous but come from a multitude of territories, backgrounds, and experiences. “Everybody has a different story, but their bloodline is connected,” Anthony says. She describes a sense of inimitable community and sisterhood within her group of fellow screenwriters and cites their shared Indigeneity as a major source of this connection. “We hold space for the introduction of each individual woman, where they come from, who their family is, but we don’t have to explain reasons or histories,” she states. “There’s already this knowing. I think that’s what really sets [the program] apart, and we take care of each other.” Folks who don’t identify as Indigenous may take for granted the assumption that when they walk into a room and tell their story, others will have a framework of knowledge that helps them understand exactly what the story’s meaning and purpose is. For Indigenous writers, that isn’t always the case. Details of life outside the settler experience are inextricable from the stories told by Indigenous filmmakers, and so working with people who can skip over the minutiae of cultural explanation and jump straight into a richer understanding of a story’s nuance and intent is exceptionally important. A multitude of experience exists within the definitions of Indigeneity, but in the case of the Tricksters and Writers program, this kind of cultural acumen and insight is shared amongst the participants.

“When you move away from your community—as most people who live here have done, especially Indigenous people—you look for that type of community; [in this case] Indigenous female writers who are on the same wavelength for creativity and inspiration, or who are in the same headspace for storytelling. When you step into a space like that, you don’t have to explain yourself. You can just be, and everybody understands the storytelling [style] and the story structure, so we don’ have to spend time on that. We get to just jump right into the work,” Anthony says when asked what the special value of a specifically woman-led Indigenous screenwriting program is. “You really find your community and your support, and [now] I can say, I know where there are 13 other female Indigenous filmmakers who will read my story and will understand the foundation of it.”

WIFTV is launching a Tricksters and Writers Program on Vancouver Island North and is currently accepting applications until Dec 5, 2018. For program info and application, details click here

Tricksters and Writers has been possible through the generous donation from Matrix Production Services as well as support from TELUS, CMPA-BC, Vancity Credit Union and the BC Arts Council. More information on the Tricksters and Writers program can be found here.

To learn more about Jessie Anthony’s filmmaking practice and future projects, go here.

The program