Whistler Film Festival Women Filmmakers + Artists set to arrive this week

Scott Cover_BEST_JpegWhistler, BC

As the 17th annual Whistler Film Festival kicks off this week high in the Northern Canadian Mountains at the iconic Whistler, BC winter resort, MEDIA INC MAGAZINE returns as an official media sponsor to provide exclusive coverage and support of Women In Film.

This year, 40 Canadian females out of 82 (49%) will be participating in 11 different talent programs.

“The Whistler Film Festival’s female focused initiatives are aligned with several industry wide mandates launched last year, and we are committed to promoting the shared goal of breaking the celluloid ceiling and increasing the number of women in the director’s chair, addressing the imbalance of industry diversity behind the camera and supporting the collaborative efforts to bring more female written and directed narratives to screen,” says Shauna Hardy Mishaw, WFF Executive Director. “With strong representation both in front of and behind the camera in our films, and talent programs this year, Whistler is maintaining a timely leadership role for women in the industry, when the need is not only apparent, the collective is calling for it.“

WFF’s second annual Women on Top Keynote and Breakfast will be held at the top of Whistler mountains Gondola hosted by STEEPS GRILL & WINE BAR December 2nd between 9am-11am.

Attendees are invited to arrive at the top with their  ski/snowboard gear so they may ride down after the event if they wish.

Attendees must check in between 8:00am and 8:15am at the Westin (outside of the Firerock Filmmakers Lounge) and upload on the Whistler Mountain Gondola between 8:15am and 8:30am for a 25-minute ride to the top.

WOMEN In Film @WhisFilmFest

Supporting their commitment to champion women in the industry and to celebrate participating women directors and talent at this year’s fest, this event is open to all with the purchase of both a gondola lift and event ticket. (TIX Here).

WIF

2016 Women on Top speakers and guests – Photo Courtesy of WFF

The keynote presentation will be delivered by American Film Producer and co-founder of Resonate Entertainment Susan Cartsonis. 

Cartsonis has worked as an Executive at 20th Century Fox, is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and serves on the Independent Committee of the Producer’s Guild. She also teaches Advanced Producing at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and is a fierce advocate for Women In Film at all levels of the industry.

Cartsonis’ long list of producing accolades include film premiers at Toronto International Film Festival,  a recent Netflix original film premier at Sundance Film Festival and is currently Executive Producing the Disney Channel Musical ‘Freaky Friday The Musical’.

“It’s not unreasonable to expect that women should be 50 percent of those creating content, considering more than 50 percent of us are consuming the content,” says Cartsonis. “I think it’s really important that women mentor both men and women. I’m well aware that some encouragement, direction and advice can change the course of your life. And when women mentor men, we change the way they view the abilities of women.”

Women In Film – SPECIAL Guests!

WIF guests attending the keynote breakfast include Creative BC CEO Prem Gil, Canada Media Fund President and CEO Valerie Creighton, National Film Board of Canada’s Executive Producer of Pacific and Yukon Centre Shirley Vercruysse and Telefilm Canada Feature Film Executive – English-language Market Stephanie Azam.  Also in attendance will be the current Women in Film and Televisions Chair of Advocacy Committee and Vancouver Honorary Lifetime Member, filmmaker and UBC professor, Sharon McGowan.

WOMEN In FILM – Leaders + Creatives

While increasing their WIF programming and high profile female industry attendees to a record high this year, the WFF has invited many other talented WIF creatives and leaders this year to round off their support of gender equality and inclusion throughout all festival events.

Guests include Borsos Jury member Camille Sullivan and Award Winning Director + WFF alumni Ingrid Veninger who is showcasing her feature film Porcupine.  First time feature director Jackie English will be screening her BECOMING BURLESQUE and Director Darcy Hennessey Turenne, will be WFF’s closing gala film THE MOMENT.

Other notable WIF guests include Sarah Rotella who will be presenting her film as Director of NOBODY FAMOUS and Michelle Ouellet director PRODIGALS, acclaimed director Éva Gardos with BUDAPEST NOIR, first time feature directors and WFF alumni Hannah Cheesman and Mackenzie Donaldson with THE DEFINITES, acclaimed director Camille Thoman with the American Indie selection NEVER HERE, Kyra Sedgwick director of STORY OF A GIRL, award winning director Eisha Marjara with VENUS, American director Lori Stoll with HEAVEN’S FLOOR, Gail Harvey director of NEVER SAW IT COMING, and Jordan Canning and Renuka Jeyapalan co-directors of ORDINARY DAYS. Add to that industry leaders from all of Canada’s public agencies and the high level female executives that will be attendance, including Kim Fox – Partner, MadRiver Pictures, Christina Rogers – Director, Content Acquisitions, Netflix, Kristin Harris – VP, Acquisitions and Distribution, Good Deed Entertainment, Joanna Miles – VP, Marketing, Films Canada, eOne, Viviana Zarragoitia – Vice President, Three Point Capital, Amanda Archibald – VP, International Marketing and Publicity, IM Global, Gosia Kamela – Production Executive, Drama & Feature Film Original Programming, Bell Media, Christina Davila – Creative Executive, Stage 13/Warner Bros Digital Network, Tania Natscheff – Director of Programming, VICE Media Inc.

Among the 2017 class of Screenwriters being honored at the Signature Series TOP screenwriters to watch include women scribes Liz Hannah, THE POST; Hallie Meyers-Shyer, HOME AGAIN; Maggie Betts, NOVITIATE; Tracy Oliver – co-wrote GIRLS TRIP, Dorothy Blyskal – “THE 15:17 TO PARIS”, and Sarah Ruhl, MY LIFE ON THE ROAD.

Other female-focused talent programs that WFF supports includes the Women in Film & Television Vancouver Film Market Preparation Mentorship, which provides the recipient with experience in preparing her feature film project for market by immersing her in the festival, and the Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) with eight Canadian women directors recently announced to attend the 20th anniversary session of the highly acclaimed script development and director mentoring program WIDC: Story & Leadership. A major component of the program takes the form of an Industry Immersion at the Whistler Film Festival, and culminates with each director receiving individually tailored coaching to advance her project to the next stage over the three months following face-to-face sessions. These eight directors-to-watch will join the ranks of WIDC’s prestigious alumnae network of over 220 women directors across Canada. Between 2006 and 2016 over 60% of Telefilm Canada funded features directed by women were directed by WIDC alumnae. One of the directors will win the WIDC Feature Film Award valued at nearly $200,000 including in kind services and rentals from companies across Canada, and $35,000 cash investment from Harold Greenberg Fund, will be presented to a Canadian woman director to help her complete her fiction feature film at the Whistler Film Festival.

WFF is also providing a platform for the fifth consecutive year to present three female-focused awards including the juried Alliance of Women Journalists EDA Awards – for Best Female-Directed Narrative Feature and for Best Female-Directed Short Film to recognize and honor excellent work by female directors. Eligible female-directed films are being screened as part of the festival’s regular program, and are being nominated for EDA Awards consideration by Whistler Film Festival’s administration and programmers. The Narrative feature jury includes: Marina Antunes – Row Three, Vancouver, Nikki Baughan – Screen International, London, Betsy Boszdech – Commonsense Media, San Francisco, Jennifer Merin (Chair) – Cinema Citizen, New York, Gill Pringle – The Independent, Los Angeles; Short Film Jury includes: Katherine Brodsky (Chair) – Variety, Vancouver, Lexi Feinberg – Big Picture, Big Sound, Berkeley, Karen Martin – Arkansas Online, Little Rock, Diana Saenger – East County Gazette, San Diego, Susan Wloszczyna – RogerEbert.com, Washington, DC. The EDA Awards will be presented to winners at the Whistler Film Festival’s awards ceremony on December 3.

Follow @MediaIncMag for LIVE daily updates on screenings, events, panels and more!

RSVP Here for our Whistler Mountain Magazine Winter Mixer on Friday Dec 1st from 7-8pm.

Swing by for some complimentary food and an ice cold beverage before heading over the screening of James Franco’s new film THE DISASTER ARTIST at the Rainbow theater @9pm

Special thanks to our event sponsors! 

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