Here Comes Talent: Whistler Film Festival Champions Canadian Content Creators
20 up-and-coming producers and directors announced as finalists for WFF’s Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship, Doc Lab and Power Pitch talent programs.
Whistler, B.C. (October 17, 2019) – The 19th annual Whistler Film Festival (WFF) is pleased to announce the 20 finalists selected to participate in its three signature talent programs: the Power Pitch, Doc Lab and Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship. The festival has also announced the six finalists of both the Producers Lab and Screenwriters Lab, all of whom have completed phase one of their programs (spanning June through October) and will be moving onto phase two on site at the festival. These programs represent just five of WFF’s 11 talent programs which provide creative and business immersion experiences for over 70 Canadian artists including directors, producers, screenwriters, actors and musicians.
“Nurturing talent has always been at the heart of the Whistler Film Festival, and our talent programs have become a cornerstone for independent Canadian storytellers seeking to expand their knowledge and make the important connections required to advance their projects and careers,” said Angela Heck, WFF’s Director of Industry Programming. ”It gives us a great sense of pride to witness WFF alumni excelling as a direct result of our programs, through mentorship and relationships built during their time with us here in Whistler.”
The six Canadian filmmakers selected to participate in the Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship, which focuses on strengthening and advancing short script projects, include:
- Chelsey Mark (MB) – THE CALLBACK
- Maxime Beauchamp (ON) – RIE UN PEU
- Sarah Kelley (BC) – GOOD GRIEF
- Tahmoh Penikett (BC) – 22 MILES TO HOME
- Stefany Mathias (BC) – ENTERING HOPE
- Jonathan Lawrence (MB) – LITTLE WHITE LIE
The Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship facilitators include Kyle Irving, partner at Eagle Vision; Lorne Cardinal, Actor, Director, and Executive Producer at Through and Thru Films; and Monique Hurteau, Producer, Writer, and Director of Through and Thru Films. The Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship is supported by Creative BC, CMF, APTN and the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
The nine Canadian documentary filmmakers selected to participate in the Doc Lab, which focuses on projects in development, include:
- Nauzanin Knight (AB) – UNDETONATED: WOMEN IN TERROR
- Frederick Kroetsch (AB) – THE SECRET SOCIETY
- Alicia Krawchuk (AB) – MEMORIES OF THE MOTHERLAND
- Mike Johnston (BC) – TRUE NORTH CRIME: BC’S MOST BAFFLING UNSOLVED MURDERS
- Teresa Alfeld (BC) – PARTLY FROM PRESSURE: THE DOUG AND THE SLUGS STORY
- Christina Katsiadakis (QB) – TREE TEARS
- Brian Hockenstein (BC) – SNOWHUNTERS
- Arwen Hunter (BC) – UNCUT
- Lenny Rubenovitch (BC), THE FOREST TRANSLATORS
The Doc Lab is supported by Creative BC and is facilitated by Gillian Hrankowski, Documentary Consultant and Owner of True Mind Creative Inc.
Six Canadian producers have been selected to participate in the Power Pitch boot camp and competition which is designed to fine-tune feature project packages and pitching skills. The finalists will be competing for a $41,000 prize package, that includes a $1,000 cash prize and a $40,000 production package featuring a $10,000 post production credit from Encore Vancouver, a $10,000 studio credit, a $10,000 lighting and grip credit and a $10,000 camera credit from Sim. Additionally, the winner will receive the opportunity to meet privately with each jury member to receive invaluable feedback and advice on their project as well as forge formidable relationships with key industry executives.
The six Canadian producers selected to participate in the Power Pitch include:
- Nguyen-Anh Nguyen (QC) – NIGHTFIRE
- Osric Chau (BC) – KIN
- Hedyeh Bozorgzaden (BC) – BROTHER, MAN: THE ANTONIO JOAO STORY
- Ken Hegan (BC) – GONERS
- Sean O’Reilly (BC) – THE GWAII
- Maxime Beauchamp (ON) – CROSS-COUNTRY BABY
In addition, up to three ‘wildcard’ Producer Lab projects will be eligible to pitch and will be chosen prior to the event. The Power Pitch facilitator is Carole Kirschner, Director of the WGA Showrunner Training Program & CBS Diversity Writers Mentoring Program and Entertainment Career Coach. The jury includes Mehernez Lentin, Senior Director of CBC Films; Will Machin, Partner and CEO of Metro International Entertainment (UK); and Noah Segal, Co-president of Elevation Pictures. Power Pitch is supported by Creative BC, CMPA, CMPA – BC, Encore Vancouver and Sim.
The Producers Lab finalists that are moving onto phase two of the program that takes place during WFF include:
- Dylan Pearce (AB) with TERRA ALPHA ON
- Justine Warrington (BC) with EARTHLICKERS
- Kelly Milner (YT) with THIN ICE
- Nikki Wallin (BC) with REBUILD
- William Carne (BC) with RELAPSE
- Lisa Genaille (BC) with WHITE BLOOD.
The Producers Lab is facilitated by John Galway (ON), President of the Harold Greenberg Fund. Mentors include Lee Kim (LA), President and Producer of Resolute Films and Entertainment; Lauren Grant (ON), Producer of Clique Pictures; and Christine Haebler (BC), President and Producer of Terminal City Pictures.
Screenwriters Lab finalists that are moving onto phase two of the program that takes place during WFF include:
- Adam Hussein (BC) with NOWHERE’S HOME
- Heather Schmidt (AB) with DISSONANCE
- Jules Koostachin (BC) with BROKEN ANGEL
- Julia Lederer (ON) with WITH LOVE AND A MAJOR ORGAN
- Sara Canning (BC) with A SEARCH FOR SHE
- Sheona McDonald (BC) with BACK BY MIDNIGHT
The Screenwriters Lab will be facilitated by Patricia Gruben (BC), Associate Professor of Film at SFU’s School of Contemporary Art and Director of the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters with Angie Nolan (BC) acting as the Program Producer. Mentors include Ruth Atkinson (LA), Script Consultant and Story Editor; Dennis Foon (BC), Screenwriter (INDIAN HORSE), Novelist, and Playwright; and Patrick Whistler (ON), Screenwriter (WEIRDOS, MOBILE HOMES) and Story Editor.
WFF’s Stars to Watch, Music Showcase artists, MPPIA Short Film Award finalists, and the WIDC Story & Leadership Industry Immersion directors will be announced in early November.
To date, WFF has successfully provided 71 dedicated talent programs for 398 Canadian artists with 326 projects in development, resulting in over 45 feature and short projects completed to date and over 70 currently in production or advanced development. Poised to bring content creators to the ‘pinnacle of success’ in the film, television and digital media space, WFF’s talent programs are open to Canadian independent filmmakers, creators and talent at various stages in their careers and are offered at a nominal cost to participants beyond an application fee. Worthy projects are considered for showcasing at the Whistler Film Festival and Content Summit, where selected creators are presented with further opportunities to advance their current and future projects. Program participants receive year-round support as well as access to the Whistler Film Festival in the year of their program, and to its Alumni community, which is over 2,250 strong.
From December 4 to 8, the Whistler Film Festival will welcome film fans and filmmakers to experience its 19th edition featuring fresh films, special guests, epic events, unique industry and talent programs, and time to play in North America’s premier mountain resort. The Whistler Film Festival combines an international film competition with a focused Industry Summit dedicated to the art and business of filmmaking in the digital age. Featuring up to 90 innovative and original films from around the world and opportunities to connect with the people who made them, this year’s fest will be filled with a solid lineup of premieres, honoured guests, lively celebrations, and unique industry initiatives.
In addition to the 12 titles already revealed, WFF’s full film lineup and schedule will be announced on November 5.
The Festival’s online box office is now open for Patron Passes, Industry Passes and Ticket Packages. Tickets go on sale on November 15th. Tickets and passes can be purchased at whistlerfilmfestival.com/tickets/
Air travel and ground transportation deals as well as best accommodation rates with 20 WFF accommodation partners to choose from are now available on whistlerfilmfestival.com/attend/.
The Whistler Film Festival is funded by the Government of Canada through Telefilm Canada, and by the Province of British Columbia and the Resort Municipality of Whistler through the Resort Municipality Initiative, is supported by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation and the American Friends of Whistler, and is sponsored by Creative BC, Cineplex, Encore, Netflix, Variety, Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb, Gibbons Whistler and RE/MAX Sea to Sky Real Estate.
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The Whistler Film Festival Society is a charitable cultural organization dedicated to furthering the art of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of new talent culminating with a must attend festival for artists, industry and audiences in Whistler. Find out more at whistlerfilmfestival.com.
WFF Talent Programs
WFF currently offers 11 talent programs for over 70 Canadian artists leading up to and during the Whistler Film Festival and Content Summit. WFF Talent Programs provide a unique opportunity and supportive environment for filmmakers, including producers, screenwriters, directors, actors as well as musicians, looking to establish themselves in the industry and advance their projects from script to screen.
WFF Talent Programs are open to Canadian independent filmmakers and talent at various stages in their careers and are offered at a nominal cost to participants beyond an application fee and required Whistler Film Festival Society Membership. WFF Fellows receive year-round support, including access to the Whistler Film Festival + Summit.
Talent Programs 365
Screenwriters Lab: A two-phased script development program designed to facilitate six writer’s unique voice through the development of a single feature project. Phase I takes place in Whistler in June and includes four months of mentorship. Phase II takes place during the Whistler Film Festival + Content Summit in December.
Producers Lab: A two-phased project development program for independent Canadian producers prepping independent feature films. Phase I takes place in Whistler in June and includes four months of mentorship. Phase II takes place during the Whistler Film Festival + Content Summit in December.
Talent Programs at WFF
Indigenous Filmmaker Fellowship: A four-day creative and business immersion program focused on strengthening and advancing short script projects for up to six emerging Aboriginal Canadian filmmakers.
Doc Lab: An intensive multi-day immersion and mentorship program for up to 10 Canadian documentary filmmakers with feature projects in development.
Power Pitch: A three-day pitch boot camp and competition for up to six Canadian producers with feature projects in development, designed to set them up for success by fine-tuning their project packages and pitching skills. This program culminates in a pitch competition where one producer walks away with a $1,000 cash and $41,000 post production prize!
Women in Focus Mentorship: Provides up to five female filmmakers from BC the opportunity to participate in the Women in Focus Series and be matched with an executive mentor leading up to, during and after WFF to help guide their projects to include a diversity and inclusion mandate as well as to support their projects to advance to screen.
Music Showcase: A multi-day music showcase for up to 10 BC musicians seeking placements of songs on films and television shows seen around the world.
Stars to Watch: A four-day immersion experience for four UBCP/Actra member actors, all of who are poised for international recognition, with features premiering at the festival.
Collaboration Programs at WFF
MPPIA Short Film Award Competition: An industry-building initiative of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of British Columbia (MPPIA) that provides one filmmaker with the opportunity to further develop his/her directing career by realizing a unique creative vision in a short film project, with the pitch competition and film premiere taking place at WFF. Five finalists are pre-selected for the competition.
WIDC Industry Immersion: A 4-month intensive program for eight women screen directors focusing on feature film and web series development that takes place in part at WFF.
WIFTV Film Market Preparation: A mentor focused program that prepares one director’s film project for market during WFF under the guidance of a senior female producer or director.