Eight directors selected for WIDC Career Advancement Module
Spring / Summer 2023 Edition
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 2023: Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) organisers are pleased to announce the eight women directors selected to take part in the 2023 spring / summer session of the WIDC Career Advancement Module (CAM). Presented in collaboration with Vancouver International Women in Film Festival and Toronto’s Female Eye Film Festival with major support from Telefilm Canada, the CAM sessions run March through July 2023, coinciding with both festivals. In addition to workshop sessions designed to build a strategic career plan, participants receive passes to both festivals’ in-person and online offerings and follow up career coaching which extends through Summer 2023.
Included in this stellar cohort are Toronto-based creators, Samantha Wan, best known as co-creator of the television series Second Jen (CSA-nominated, Best Comedy), and now 2023 CSA-nominated for Best Direction, TV Movie. She is Reelworld Film Festival’s 2018 Trailblazer Award-winner and is developing her feature film drama, Think of Me;
Murry Peeters is an actor (NBC’s Taken) and WGC award-nominated writer (The Parker-Andersons and Amelia Parker), and alumna of the WBD Access x Canadian Academy Writers Program, Netflix-Banff 2019 & 2020 Diversity of Voices, Canadian Film Center’s 2018 Writers’ Lab, and a 2018 Magee TV Diverse Screenwriters Award recipient. Peeters is developing the concept short, Dear God;
Vanessa Magic, also a WGC member and WBD Access x Canadian Academy Writers Program alumna, her short film, Oneironautic, was an official selection at the 2021 Cannes Short Film Festival, Victoria Film Festival and Reelworld Film Festival. At WIDC Vanessa is developing the feature film Memories In Dreams, an Afrosurrealist Tech-noir thriller; and
Fateema Al-Hamaydeh Miller, a Palestinian Canadian screenwriter/ director whose recent short film Feeling Fine is on the festival circuit and was awarded Best Actor in a Short Film at the Berlin Indie Film Festival. At WIDC she is developing Waves/ ‘Amwaj a feature film coming of age dramedy.
BC-based filmmakers in the cohort include Brishkay Ahmed, an Afghan-Canadian writer / director, DGC / WGC / ACCT member, whose feature documentary, In The Rumbling Belly of Motherland (2021), received a nod from the DGC Awards and won the Best Feature and Outstanding Producer award at Reelworld. At WIDC she is further developing the feature film drama, Sama’s Here There;
Bruna Arbex, an award-winning Brazilian director/ writer whose recent shorts have found homes on streaming platforms, Ceri-se (tellofilms.com), and This is a Period Piece (CBC Gem). At WIDC she is developing the concept short film drama Exulansis; and
Paradox Delilah is an Australian-Canadian writer / director whose 6-part web series Dentists has screened at over forty film festivals, from New York to Seoul. She is developing the feature horror, Girls Trip.
Rounding out the cohort is Newfoundland-raised Brianna Russell, recipient of the 2022 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award presented by the St John’s International Women’s Film Festival. She won the award for her short film Poster Child and is further developing her feature film of the same name.
Joining a series of Zoom round tables to offer insights into navigating career paths and connecting screen projects with the marketplace are award-winning Indigenous filmmakers Gail Maurice whose feature film Rosie played TIFF, VIFF and picked the Audience Choice Award at ImagineNATIVE; and Dr. Jules Koostachin whose debut feature Broken Angel is opening the VIWFF. Guests also include Digital Media and Marketing Mentor, Annelise Larson and industry executives from Telefilm Canada, CBC, Bell Media, Independent Production Fund, and more (TBA).
Delivered online, WIDC’s specially designed professional development CAM begins with an Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in-service led by scholar/ filmmaker Dr. Dorothy Cucw-la7 Christian and Vision TV co-founder, Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell C.M. A member of the Order of Canada, Deverell is also a WIDC alumna. Multi award-winning WIDC co-creator and producer, Dr. Carol Whiteman facilitates the CAM and follow up coaching.
Past WIDC CAM alumnae include 2023 CSA nominees: Winnifred Jong (Tokens) Best Direction and Best Web Series, plus two performance nominations for her Tokens cast; Siobhan Devine (Imperfect High), nominated for at 2023 Best Direction Television Movie; Gloria Ui Young Kim (CBC’s Heartland) nominated for Best Direction of Television Drama and Joyce Wong (CBC’s Sort Of), nominated for Best Direction of a Comedy Series.
Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) – first presented in 1997 by ACTRA, The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and Women In Film and Television Vancouver, WIDC is administered by the national non-profit society Creative Women Workshops Association. WIDC offers mentorship for Canadian women screen directors, along with project development and production awards to help them get their narrative stories on screen. With more than 330 award-winning director alumnae across Canada, over the last twenty-six years WIDC has advanced the voices of a generation of women screen directors.
WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, and with the participation of Creative BC, ACTRA National, UBCP/ACTRA, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, Independent Production Fund; WIDC appreciates community collaborations with TIFF, VIFF, Reelworld Film Festival, Vancouver International Women In Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, Crazy 8’s, and the Whistler Film Festival.
WIDC Feature Film Award is valued at nearly $250K and is supported by some of Canada’s most influential screen industry companies including MELS Studios, MTL Grande, Sim, Panavision Canada, Keslow Camera, William F. White International, Company 3, Elemental Post Productions, North Shore Studios, The Bridge Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, Poste Moderne, Walter Lighting & Grip, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., Descriptive Video Works, Front Row Insurance Brokers Inc, Portable Electric, Signal Services, EP Canada, Line 21 Media Services.
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 or may not identify as women 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 and participants live, work and play.