News & Events
Posted on May 16, 2013
Higher Learning: Women in View – SEXMONEYMEDIA 2013
Tuesday, June 4 from 2:00pm-3:30pm
TIFF Bell Lightbox, Cinema 3
350 King St. West
Women are tipping the balance at the box office in both Canada and the US according to recent stats, finally displacing teen boys. So will we see a revolution in content and content creators? Our ever-expanding media landscape should offer the possibility of increased diversity on screen. It makes sense for “product” to reflect the increasingly diversified global audience, yet what’s on offer seems to be more of the same, by the same.
Join us for a lively discussion with a distinguished panel of media leaders. Panelists include Globe and Mail television critic John Doyle; ACTRA National President Ferne Downey; Head of Sundance Productions Laura Michalchyshyn, and Dr. Stacy Smith, USC Annenberg School of Communications and Journalism; Head Researcher, Geena Davis Institute on Gender and Media. The discussion will be moderated by Rina Fraticelli, Executive Director of Women in View.
This event is a co-presentation between TIFF Higher Learning and Women in View.
SEXMONEYMEDIA will follow a 10:00 AM press conference to launch “Focus on Women 2013,” the first pan-Canadian report to examine the participation of women in Canada’s independent film, television and digital media production sector.
HOW TO OBTAIN TICKETS: Tickets to this event are free. Please contact Christine Webber email@example.com to book a ticket for the panel or for more information.
Posted on May 6, 2013
NSI Features First is the development launch pad for writer/director/producer teams looking to produce their first or second feature film with strong commercial appeal. The course is led by NSI senior program manager Brandice Vivier.
Karen Powell, partner in Perfect Circle Productions, brings 16+ years of experience to NSI Features First as an executive producer, producer and business affairs executive, working on over 10 treaty co-productions and closing over $145 million in financing. Karen is a member of ACE (ateliers du cinema european) and is a creative leader 2012 through Women In View.
Karen executive produced Short Fat Bald Man, provided production services on Nerds & Monsters and business affairs on recently-released The Colony. Previously she produced Edison & Leo, co-producedThe Timekeeper and Tail Lights Fade, and executive produced NSI Features First project On The Corner.
“I’m excited to join the National Screen Institute’s faculty,” said Karen Powell. “NSI is an extremely worthwhile organization with an excellent reputation for delivering industry training that gets results. It’s also filled with great people and I’m happy to join their ranks.”
“Karen Powell is a powerhouse in the Canadian film world and we are thrilled to welcome her to the NSI Features First team,” said Melissa Kajpust, director of programming at NSI. “We hope with the addition of Karen to our training faculty we can keep successes like the TIFF 2012 premiere of NSI Features First project I Declare War coming.”
All media enquiries
Lauren MacDiarmid, Communications & Programs Coordinator
Tel: 204.957.2999 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on April 15, 2013
Creative Leader Ngozi Paul’s significant contribution to representing women on screen:
The 1st Time Project
The 1st Time project is an intimate trans-media initiative that centres around women’s 1st sexual experiences. An interactive website, feature documentary, and live performance piece, the 1stTime Project sparks conversation, crossing cultural, economic and generational boundaries. Offering women’s 1st time stories as an invitation, we welcome women into a real conversation about sex – one we hope they will then be excited to have with their daughters, sons, grandmothers and second cousin’s sister-in-laws.
The project began when director Ngozi Paul interviewed her own mother and grandmother about their 1st times as part of a Toronto International Film Festival talent lab. On camera her grandmother revealed the terrible truth she’d never shared: she had been raped. The conversation that followed was one she wished she’d had with her elders many years earlier. She began interviewing women about their 1st times, and in 2011 fellow team-member Melinda Deines, Brianna Brown and Ngozi Paul produced a bravofact! short on the subject. However, it felt as though they’d only just scratched the surface.
In 2012, Jennifer Shin and Catherine Faas joined the team, and the four of us sat down to brainstorm.
We all felt the power of the project lies in it’s ability to demystify women’s sexuality and to encourage a more open discussion about women and sex. This campaign will provide us with the funds to develop our feature documentary and interactive website.
Support The 1st Time Project through their indiegogo campaign!
Posted on March 1, 2013
Lisa Jackson is an award-winning filmmaker based in Vancouver. In her WIV interview, Jackson discusses filmmakers, filmmaking, and how to create theatricality in today’s media industry.
“I’m interested by the idea that now that we have screens everywhere and are engaging with media all the time, there may be a drive towards genuine experience, something that feels concrete and corporeal.”
Katie: Did you want to just start by telling me a bit about the industry that you work in and how you got there?
Lisa: I’m a filmmaker and I started in documentary. My first short film was Suckerfish. It was a stylized documentary about my relationship with my mother and my Native heritage and it did very well. My second film was a CTV one-hour documentary Reservation Soldiers. I’ve been filmmaking full-time since then, mainly in documentary but I’ve been also getting into fiction in the last two or three years. I’ve always tended towards mixing different genres.
In 2009 I made Savage, a short residential school musical which won a Genie award. It was a “challenge film” commissioned by imagineNATIVE Film Festival as part of the Embargo Collective. Seven international indigenous filmmakers were assigned restrictions by the other members of the group and we each had to make a film that fulfilled all of the requirements of the restrictions.
Katie: So what would an example of one of these restrictions be?
Lisa: I had to do a musical with heavy metal in it, working with at least one trained actor and one non-actor. It had to be heavily set-decorated. And for all of us there was a theme of “patience” and no English allowed.
After Savage I did the Director’s Lab in 2010 at the Canadian Film Centre and made the short film Parkdale there.
I’ve recently completed two films, How a People Live and Snare. The first is a one-hour documentary about the history of the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw native band on Vancouver Island, including a forced government relocation from their traditional territories in 1964. In fact, this afternoon I’m going to Port Hardy for the community premiere. We’re submitting to festivals but the first place it’s going to screen is obviously in the community.
Snare is a short performance-based piece. It’s another commission by imagineNATIVE, as part of a project called The Stolen Sisters Digital Initiative, in partnership with Amnesty International, and it addresses the issue of violence against aboriginal women.
I’m also writing a fiction feature based on true events at a residential school in Ontario in the late 1940s. Most films that I work on are about aboriginal subjects, but not all of them. Parkdale, the one I did at CFC, is about foster kids in Toronto’s inner city and there are no native characters.
Katie: It sounds like you’ve been able to stay very busy directing.
Katie: So what made you decide to apply to the Creative Leaders program?
Lisa: I think this drive towards more theatrical work just sort of got hold of me and I’ve got a long-form idea I’m just developing. If you look at my recent short films, I did a music video Pow.Wow.Wow that was extremely theatrical, Snare is theatrical, and Savage is a musical.
With this program, although a lot of the push is towards how to embrace the digital realm and pushing forward into new areas that way, in my case, I’m pushing myself by asking can I bring theatricality and spectacle into my films? Which is kind of ironic given that I come from a documentary background and a lot of people who haven’t seen my work think of my films as being gritty, hard-luck stories. But anyone who’s seen my films knows that there has always been a lot of playfulness – animation and theatrical elements. So I thought Kim Collier was the perfect person to work with because she’s been a visionary theatre director who’s incorporated so much film into her theatre work. She’s brought film into the theatre and I want to bring theatre into film. And her way of thinking about story structure is really innovative—she’s been able to work collaboratively with people (such as choreographer Crystal Pite) to make a stage experience that’s larger than life.
“As part of the Creative Leaders program I was also able to see the ground-breaking opera Einstein on the Beach by Robert Wilson and Phillip Glass. Talk about non-linear narrative. It’s just a radical re-envisioning of the role of music, sound, mise-en-scene, dance and the use of tonal shifts in subtle ways. Impossible to describe but it was a real eye-opener for me.”
The project that I have in mind would be more theatrical but still a film so I wanted to learn about lighting and costumes and stagecraft. The other thing about the Creative Leaders is that it’s gotten me thinking—especially in the group discussions we’ve had—about where media is going now? And I’m interested by the idea that now that we have screens everywhere and are engaging with media all the time, there may be a drive towards genuine experience, something that feels concrete and corporeal.
Why do people love Cirque du Soleil so much? Because it’s physical and real. And there’s the spectacle too, which is Cirque, which is Game of Thrones. The idea of bringing a spectacle, where the design and the visual aspect of it is larger than life in this theatrical kind of world. And rather than thinking about how to make something that plays on a tiny screen where people can be doing something else at the same time, to kind of go the other direction, I’m thinking about how to create an encompassing experience.
Katie: How do you make people stop?
Lisa: Yeah, and I think even though it’s hard to get people to do it, they crave it. That’s where my idea for Creative Leaders came from and I think I’m a bit unusual in that a lot of people are looking at business models and distribution whereas I’m working creatively on something that might seemingly appear to go backwards in time.
Katie: But it’s a new model of an art form.
Katie: How has your relationship with Kim been developing?
Lisa: It’s good. I got to sit in on part of the script development process for a collaboration she’s doing with Chris Haddock (Boardwalk Empire, Da Vinci’s Inquest, Intelligence) and visual artist Stan Douglas. They’re collaborating on a piece that is sort of filmed theatre with complex CG backgrounds, very non-traditional. And when she put on Tear the Curtain in Toronto, I sat in on the prep week, to watch the mechanics of how putting on a show works.
As part of the Creative Leaders program I was also able to see the ground-breaking opera Einstein on the Beach by Robert Wilson and Phillip Glass. Talk about non-linear narrative. It’s just a radical re-envisioning of the role of music, sound, mise-en-scene, dance and the use of tonal shifts in subtle ways. Impossible to describe but it was a real eye-opener for me.
Kim and I have had conversations about what is non-linear narrative and what I want to do moving forward is host an informal gathering of people that she and that I know from different areas of the arts to talk about this idea of alternative structures for stories.
“It’s interesting, I know a lot of Native women directors and I don’t know as many non-Native women who direct. I find in the Native film community, women directors are way more represented as a proportion of the directing pool.”
Katie: Can you tell me about a woman in your industry that you think is doing really interesting work?
Lisa: I’m a big fan of Jennifer Baichwal’s intelligent and visually-striking films. She makes “idea” films—which often we think of as just talking heads—but she brings a real cinematic eye to it. And she takes on big subjects in such a sure-handed and creative way.
Someone who is doing some interesting work right now is Danis Goulet who is a Native filmmaker in Toronto. She’s had two shorts that have gone to TIFF in the last two or three years. And what I find interesting about her films is that she’s working with non-actors telling very authentic stories from native communities. Her style of storytelling is very upfront – it feels almost like documentary but there’s a lot of craft and subtlety.
It’s hard to think of women directors and you’re reminding me that there really aren’t that many. It’s interesting, I know a lot of Native women directors and I don’t know as many non-Native women who direct. I find in the Native film community, women directors are way more represented as a proportion of the directing pool.
Posted on February 25, 2013
The conversation about women in Hollywood gained some momentum with the report released at Sundance 2013 about the lack of female representation in the filmmaking world. The industry was celebrated for progress when women directors made up 50% of the drama category at Sundance 2013 and reprimanded for sexism when Bigelow was snubbed by the Academy in the Best Director category. The latest Celluloid Ceiling Report found that “women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2012.”
Then came the Oscars. Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane was brought in to host the 2013 Oscars in order to appeal to a younger, male audience. Unfortunately, MacFarlane’s performance as Oscar host perpetuated the pervasive sexism and racism of the Oscars rather than critiquing an Academy that is 77% male and 94% white. Some of his most offensive jokes included bits on domestic abuse (relating Django Unchained to Chris Brown’s relationship with Rhianna), eating disorders (suggesting actresses faked the flu to fit into their dresses), race (who can tell Eddie Murphy from Denzel Washington?) and an incredibly sexist video in which he sang a song about all of the famous Hollywood actresses who have “shown their boobs” on screen. This video was especially hard-hitting considering how few women were being acknowledged as artists at the ceremony. With a whopping 0.5 female writers and zero female directors nominated and an over all male to female nomination ratio of 140:35 in all categories, the “We Saw Your Boobs” song suggests that in one of the only categories where female artists could have been considered to be taken seriously, they were actually just being objectified.
Here are some (of many) critiques of Seth MacFarlane’s performance as Oscar host:
Now Toronto: “Oscars, 2013: So that happened.”
Other articles more deeply assessed the impact of MacFarlane’s jokes in a ceremony that continues to marginalize artists due to gender, race and sexuality.
The impact of winning an Oscar is not insignificant and the Huffington Post recently posted a video discussion with Melissa Silverstein about the lack of female artists honoured at the Oscars. When reflecting on last night’s show, this is a worthy conversation to keep in mind.
HuffPost Live: “And The Loser Is… Women.“
Posted on February 21, 2013
A Message from Melissa Silverstein of Women and Hollywood
Plus a GREAT video promoting the unnominated films by female directors:
The Academy Awards are only a couple of days away and again this year no women were nominated for best director. Below is a link to Women and Hollywood’s Oscar video “To the Academy: Consider the Women” which highlights the lack of women nominated for best director.
I’d appreciate it if you would spread it far and wide.
This is the one weekend people pay attention to the actual film business, and not just movies they want to see, and this is an important opportunity to highlight the continued gender imbalance.
Posted on February 12, 2013
Mary Henricksen is Deputy Director of Business & Rights at the CBC. Here she discusses funding, policy, production and keeping up with an ever-changing industry.
“I think the most dangerous thing as you get older is to stop learning and to stop exposing yourself to how the world is changing. I admire women who continue to be dynamic and vibrant and are still adapting -because the world around them is adapting.”
Katie: So tell me a little but about yourself. How did you get into this industry?
Mary: I have a couple of stories about how I got into this business. I really got into the business in the very beginning because a friend of mine eavesdropped on a conversation back in the dark ages – the early nineties. In 1992 I took a gap year (about 20 years after most people did) and a friend of mine here in Vancouver was eavesdropping on a phone call where someone asked, “do you know anybody who could be a producer’s assistant on a TV series here in Vancouver?” and he went, “I know someone.” And that was how I got in the business. It was very unglamorous. At first I was really interested, I learned a lot. I’ve worked on a couple of really good shows and some that are so bad…
Then really it all came to a head in 1999. It was a terrible work year. I had four gigs in two months and they all fell apart for various reasons and then I was offered a job by a woman in Vancouver in producing. She said “do you have pretensions about being a producer?” and I said “Yes. I do.” And she said “Okay! Well then you better learn how to budget.” So she sat me in an office with a stack of MOW scripts about three feet high and software and she said “here’s a template budget for the kind of budget we do. Figure out how to break down a script and do this.” So I learned kind of on the seat of my pants how you take a script and break it down into numbers and I was pretty good at it. I then got a job at the Canadian Television Fund (now the CMF) in Toronto, and my career seriously built up from there.
“This program rang true to me. It wasn’t fluffy, it was long enough, and now that I’m in it and have met the other Creative Leaders – we’re such an odd group, I mean we really are – but I think the skill level and the experience of the others in the group legitimizes how we feel about being a part of it.”
Katie: Why did you apply to the CL program?
Mary: There are a couple of reasons why I chose to apply at this point. I think one of them is just the way I am- I’m ambitious. But I think I’ve also managed to derail my own career a few places along the way – for mostly legitimate reasons, it just kind of happened that way. Now I’m at a place where I would really like to move forward and I think it is a realistic achievement, to be more senior in this industry. Also working for a corporation like the CBC gives me the opportunity to make something of this. There are lots of opportunities within the corporation and I can now see the kinds of pathways that I couldn’t see before.
I think the other piece is – because my experience is sort of odd and diverse – it looked like a program that would give me the opportunity to tie some of that experience together better. Going forward, I thought this would be a chance to showcase where I had been along the way and the kinds of things I could do because I’ve got the production piece, I’ve got the broadcasting piece, I’ve got the policy piece and I’ve got the funding piece. And these are the four cornerstones of the Canadian industry but I needed a rational place to put them together.
This program rang true to me. It wasn’t fluffy, it was long enough, and now that I’m in it and have met the other Creative Leaders, we’re such an odd group, I mean we really are, but I think the skill level and the experience of the others in the group legitimizes how we feel about being a part of it.
Katie: Can you tell me a little bit about the project?
Mary: It’s still nascent. I think both Valerie Creighton and I are really interested in looking at the way the subsidy system is built in this country, primarily on the television side and probably increasingly on the digital media and interactive side. I think we’ve gotten to the stage in this country, because we’ve been in the tax credit subsidy system for the better part of 15-20 years, where the industry has changed so dramatically that the subsidy system needs to change to meet it, and it hasn’t done that. So we are going to propose a gathering of bright minds including venture capitalist and investments types as well as governmental/policy types, to come up with an off the cuff way of repurposing the subsidy business better as opposed to the other way around.
Mary’s Sponsor, Valerie Creighton, is President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund.
In Canada we’re very well placed, especially in the games side. Our governmental tax breaks that have been very attractive to the big companies like Ubisoft, but as the game industry has moved away from the console side and more into the mobile-based or web-based or app-based gaming programs, the subsidy system and the industry side hasn’t kept up. And it’s so deeply mysterious to some people how the business actually functions from seed capital to product. What we’re looking for is a better way to pull finance into the business, a better way to develop industry subsidy.
Val is very involved in a TV everywhere kind of program – I think it’s called Watch Canada – much like the BBC iPlayer – but it would be a platform that allows you to download an app, and you can access an enormous catalogue of back Canadian programming. There’s nothing in Canada where we can access all the movies that have ever been made in this country or all of the documentaries that the NFB has ever made or all the programming at the CBC. And the Canadian archives have it all. If you get funding from Telefilm or CMF or almost any organization is you must provide a copy of the program and it goes to the archives. So we are looking for an opportunity to do that, to reconsider distribution as well as funding.
“As the game industry has moved away from the console side and more into the mobile-based or web-based or app-based gaming programs, the subsidy system and the industry side hasn’t kept up… What we’re looking for is a better way to pull finance into the business, a better way to develop industry subsidy.”
Katie: It sounds like a lot of the ideas you’re working with really intersect with the projects that the other Creative Leaders are working on. What a great group. Now, can you tell me about some other women in the industry that you admire?
Mary: Wow… you know, there are some people who I find very intriguing. Sue Gardner, who used to work at CBC, is now at Wikimedia. I met her years ago and we talked a lot about the challenges of pushing things forward in terms of a corporation’s online presence. She’s really a vanguard in terms of building online content at the CBC and now in California with Wikimedia. I think people don’t realize the scope of the work she’s done and that she is very brave to be as much of a vanguard. It’s very hard in this business to do that. We talk a lot about it being cutting edge and yet it’s not embraced. I always find that a shame, that we don’t take more risks.
I think as a person I don’t tend to have idols. It may be because I’m a bit cynical. I pick up things from people I work with every day. I like those working relationships with men and women but do I have somebody that I look up to and say ‘Gee, I always wanted to be this person’? I think if I did, and this isn’t anyone in the film and television business, but I think I would like to grow up to be Iris Apfel.
Katie: Who is that?
Mary: Iris Apfel is this very interesting woman. She’s a fashion icon in New York and she’s very smart, incredibly stylish and in her nineties, she’s still a force to be reckoned with. I think if I have to look up to people, it’s women who are that much older. I look at actors like Judi Dench, I look at the Iris Apfels of this world – women who aren’t 40 anymore, women who aren’t 50 anymore, who are still providing ideas and are themselves. They haven’t spent a lot of time trying to look 23 again. I get more inspiration from women like that than anything else and I’m hoping that I have the courage to do that as I get older: to be myself, to still take risks, to learn new things all the time. I think the most dangerous thing as you get older is to stop learning and to stop exposing yourself to how the world is changing. I admire women who continue to be dynamic and vibrant and are still adapting -because the world around them is adapting – as opposed to feeling like they’ve gotten to a certain age and they should stop now.
Posted on February 12, 2013
Tracey Friesen has been named Woman of the Year by Women in Film + Television Vancouver
Established in 1999, the Spotlight Awards™ have brought together the BC Film community to celebrate the outstanding achievements of BC women in screen-based media.
Awards will be presented at The Spotlight Awards Gala
March 7th 2013, 6:30pm at VIFF’s Vancity Theatre
1181 Seymour St. Vancouver
Reception/ Film Screenings and Awards Ceremony/ Party
This award is presented to a woman who has achieved significant success in the field of film or television, and who is recognized for mentoring other women in the industry. Tracey Friesen, former Executive Producer of the National Film Board at the Pacific and Yukon Centre (2007-2013), spearheaded the production of innovative and socially relevant documentaries, animation and original digital content. She is also a champion of emerging filmmaker initiatives in B.C.
Other Spotlight recipients include filmmaker Karen Lam, Haida Paul, and many more. Click here to read about all of the award-winners.