Canadian Directors receive WIDC Awards worth over $265K
towards development and production of original content
During a WIDC Awards celebration hosted Sunday, November 27, 2022 on Zoom, Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organizers handed out multiple awards valued at over $265k, including cash and in-kind services towards development, production and post production of women*-directed projects.
Top prize winner, Susanne Serres takes home the 2022 WIDC Feature Film Award, for her dramatic debut feature Celestine about a young artist who struggles with her love for God and her desire to lead an openly authentic life as a queer, Black woman living in Quebec. The $250k in-kind prize is sponsored by Industry service providers across Canada and is designed to back the production of more narrative feature films directed by women and non-binary individuals.
“I’m incredibly grateful to the jury, to WIDC and the sponsors of the WIDC Feature Film Award.” says Susanne Serres. “At its heart this is a story about love and breaking silences that keep us from being our authentic selves.”
Multi-award-winning, multi-disciplinary Canadian artist and filmmaker of Inuit and Scottish settler descent, Lindsay McIntyre receives the 2021 CBC WIDC Talent Development Award. The prize allows McIntrye to do additional community outreach in Nunavut and research for her feature film The Words We Can’t Speak which garnered her last year’s Feature Film Award.
The 2022 CBC WIDC Talent Development Award goes to Alberta-based filmmaker, Nauzanin Knight, and goes towards a one-year tailored mentorship development package for her feature-length historical drama, When I Was George. Knight is also in development on a new series, Notes on Being Unpopular, that was recently part of CineFAM’s Limitless program.
“WIDC Awards offer essential Industry resources for women and non-binary directors to get their projects made,” says Dr. Carol Whiteman, award-winning WIDC co-creator and producer who provides mentorship and executive producing services as part of the awards. “In 2022, WIDC alumnae directors earned record levels of development and production funding and recognition for their work. We couldn’t have asked for a more fitting way to wrap up WIDC’s 25th anniversary festivities.”
For the past twenty-five years, WIDC has been addressing gender inclusion by offering mentorships, development, and awards for women-directed narrative fiction content. Since 2009, the WIDC Feature Film Award has supported a dozen multiple award-winning feature-length films by Canadian women directors including Marie Clements (Red Snow) whose latest epic feature / limited series, Bones of Crows opened VIFF and is garnering critical acclaim for its bold, unflinching narrative told through the eyes of Cree Matriarch Aline Spears, as she survives Canada’s residential school system; and Sonia Bonspille Boileau (Rustic Oracle) whose recent radio-canada limited series, Pour toi, Flora was recognized in the Representation of Race and Ethnicity category at MIPCOM Cannes Diversify TV Awards. The 2020 recipient of both the CBC WIDC Talent Development Award and the Feature Film Award, Kim Albright is currently completing post on her debut feature, With Love and a Major Organ.
*WIDC recognizes the term Woman/Women is in an evolution of language and note that our intention in our use is to be fully inclusive of underrepresented persons who may identify as she / her and or they / them and share the goals and values of WIDC to promote these marginalized voices and stories. Further, we gratefully acknowledge that the WIDC program originates from the traditional and unceded lands of the Coast Salish people, including the xmkym (Musqueam), Swxwu7mesh (Squamish), and slilwta (Tseil-wau-tuth) Nations. We also acknowledge the Indigenous Nations on whose traditional lands our guests, participants, and colleagues live, work and create. We commit to working together in the spirit of collaboration and respect for the generations that came before, those living now, and the generations to come.
Susanne Serres is an award-winning director, visual artist, and screenwriter committed to creating impactful cinematic works. Her short films have screened in festivals internationally: My Layers screened at Slamdance; Hippocampe at the Festival du Nouveau Cinema as part of the Rendez Vous Québecois; Zaya won Best Cinematography at the LGBT Toronto Film Festival and the Diamond Award at the International Independent Film Awards. Susanne also directed a segment of the episode of Sesame Street, “The Mustard Factory,” which aired on HBO and PBS. Susanne’s debut feature, Celestine, produced by Benoit Beaulieu (SLYKID), has received financing from Telefilm and distribution with Maison 4:3. This important work not only showcases Susanne’s distinct creative vision but also serves as a cinematic bridge to the LGBTQiA+ and Black communities in Canada.
Lindsay McIntyre is a filmmaker and multi-disciplinary artist of Inuit and settler Scottish descent with a Masters in Film Production from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Alberta. She was honoured with the REVEAL Indigenous Art Award (Hnatyshyn Foundation 2017), was named the Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award recipient for Excellence in Media Arts (Canada Council) and her personal documentary Her Silent Life won Best Experimental Film at imagineNATIVE. Having made over 40 short films over the past 20 years, she is transitioning to the field of narrative to make powerful and authentic features and series as a director. Recent projects include the animated documentary Ajjigiingiluktaaqtugut (We Are All Different) for the opening of INUA, the inaugural exhibition at Qaumajuq in the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the Telus Optik Local documentary Final Roll-Out: The Story of Film, an award-winning short Where We Stand, about the state of analogue film in the digital age, and a monumental projection-mapping public installation on the Vancouver Art Gallery about the legacy of residential schools, If These Walls. She won the WIDC Feature Film Award for The Words We Can’t Speak which is currently in development. Lindsay is also a skilled Cinematographer and has won awards for her production design and for her editing. Her multiple award-winning short documentaries, experimental films and expanded cinema performances are often processed-based, and have been seen around the world including at Ann Arbor, Anthology Film Archives, Pleasure Dome, Mono No Aware, Rotterdam, Oberhausen, Analogica, WNDX, imagineNATIVE, Images, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma, Raindance, One Flaming Arrow and Black Maria and can be found in several permanent collections. She is an Associate Professor of Film + Screen Arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design on unceded Coast Salish territories.
Nauzanin Knight is a Canadian woman of Caribbean and Middle Eastern descent. Her nuanced stories reflect the uniqueness of her heritage as well as her international life. She strives with every project she undertakes, whether fictional or factual, to draw attention to pressing social issues and influence the current discourses of society. Nauzanin completed her MSc at University College London, in the UK, and began her career in creative writing, publishing her non-fiction book “State Terrorism in Iran: understanding the case of the Iranian Bahá’í Community”, before directing her attention to film projects. She went on to write, direct and produce films like #SHADESOFWORTH (2021), an exploration of self-worth and beauty in Black women; My Lyric I Never Knew, about a young singer who decides to debut a song i that will expose her turbulent past and forced adoption of her child (CBC Canadian Reflections, American Indian Film Festival 2019, National Screen Institute Film Festival 2019); Precarity, a short documentary about the lived experience of Temporary Foreign Workers in Alberta (TELUS Optik, On-Demand); ColorBlind (Edmonton International Film Festival 2022) a Romantic Comedy on the theme of the paramount importance of the elimination of racial prejudice; and, is in the process of directing “White Sands” (development phase) with the National Film Board of Canada, on the origins of White Supremacy in the first Black Slave Society in Barbados. Outside of her own projects, she held the position of Story Editor on CityTV’s Hudson & Rex Season IV (2021-22) and October of Season V. Nauzanin is a Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC 2020), Whistler Film Festival Doc Lab (2019), BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media (2020), Rogers Sports & Media/ReelWorld Level-Up Writer’s Program (2021), and CinFam LIMITLESS Alumna. In 2022 she was invited to participate as a delegate with the Black Screen Office at Content London, representing her projects When I Was George and Notes on Being Un-Popular.
Founded in 1996/97, 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 330 director alumnae across Canada who earn hundreds of awards and nominations for their work annually. Co-created by representatives of ACTRA, Women In Film and Television Vancouver, and The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity which was its home venue for eighteen years, WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, and with the participation of Creative BC, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, ACTRA National, Independent Production Fund.
WIDC appreciates community collaborations with the National Film Board, Vancouver International Women in Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, Reelworld Film Festival and Screen Institute, Crazy 8’s, TIFF, VIFF, Weengushk Film Institute, and the Whistler Film Festival.
WIDC Feature Film Award is supported by SIM International, Keslow Camera, Panavision Canada, William F. White International, Encore VFX, Kalos Studios Vancouver, Elemental Post, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., MELS Studios, Front Row Insurance Brokers, Descriptive Video Works, Line 21 Media Services, Power of Babel, EP Canada, Portable Electric.