WMW Highlights

By Sarah Smith

WMW Cathy and Sarah4 300x225 WMW Highlights When ViewFinders approached me with the opportunity to attend the Women Making Waves conference, I responded with a very enthusiastic “Yes!”. I had attended a conversation at the conference last year, which had talked about women in the horror film industry, so I was delighted to return this year for more. Two other girls from ViewFinders, Gwyneth Cristoffel and Kayla Barnard attended the event along with myself, and I know we all felt extremely grateful for the experience. It was great to be able to attend the event with people my age to make things a little less intimidating, and to have someone on the same experience level to relate to and meet industry professionals with.

On the beginning of the first day, we were introduced to the extraordinary woman that is Kari Skogland. Her body of work is nothing short of amazing, and the clips she showed us from her films were phenomenal. I love the fact that most of her work entered male dominated territory, and she wasn’t afraid to explode a car or two. I also enjoyed Kari’s afternoon workshop, where she directed actors on a live set. It was fun to compare how I would have blocked the scene to how she blocked it, and it was even cooler when some of our ideas were the same!

The second highlight of my weekend was the comedy panel with Nikki Payne, Christine Taylor, Cheryl Hann, and Cathy Jones. The first part of the day had been more serious and heavy, focusing a lot on gender issues and the lows numbers of women in the industry, which isn’t very funny at all. However, when these four women came on stage, they were hilarious! After the panel, I had the honour of meeting both Cathy and Nikki, and I’ll admit I was completely star struck. Talking with female comedy royalty was a little bit overwhelming for me, and I was still shaking by the time supper came around.

Overall, the Women Making Waves conference made me proud to be a woman, but also instilled a sense of national pride within me. I always thought I would have to leave the country I love so much in order to work and to be successful and well known, but the women of WIFT-AT taught me that I can be who I want to be right here at home. I wish there could be more events like this, especially for young women. In a world that constantly tries to tell us “no”, it’s refreshing to be invited to events like these where we are shown that our dreams are not as unrealistic has we have been taught to think. I have continued to gush about my experiences at the WIFT-AT conference to my friends and family, and wish that I could be here next year to attend again. In September, it’s off to film school for me (fingers crossed), but I promise I’ll be back as soon as I can! Who knows? If all goes well, maybe I’ll conduct my own WIFT presentation someday!

2012 Wave Award Winners

Rachelle WIFT WMW 82 1024x961 2012 Wave Award Winners

The WAVE Awards were presented today during Women Making Waves, the second annual Women in Film and Television-Atlantic conference. The winners of the awards, which recognized their “significant impact, extensive reach, and high-quality contribution to the Atlantic Canadian screen industry,” are (left to right) Jennice Ripley, Sylvia Hamilton and Jan Miller. Photo by Rachelle Clothier

Outstanding Atlantic Canadian women honoured during 2012 WAVE Awards for film, TV and digital media

(Halifax, March 11, 2011) Capping a weekend of compelling speakers, dynamic panels and informative workshops, Women Making Waves 2012 wrapped today with the presentation of the 2012 WAVE Awards, honouring outstanding contributions by women in the field.

 Jennice Ripley, Sylvia Hamilton and Jan Miller were announced as the WAVE Award winners during the second annual conference for women and men in film, television and new media.

“What’s unique about the WAVE Awards is that there are no categories. It’s about saluting women for their accomplishments, talents and behind-the-scenes support,” said Teri Anderson, Vice-Chair of the Atlantic Film Festival.

About the winners:

- Jennice Ripley has been a pillar of the Newfoundland and Labrador film industry for 25 years, a successful producer, respected community leader and a generous mentor. She has produced feature films, television drama, comedy series and documentaries. Her most recent feature film, Crackie, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

- Sylvia Hamilton is a multi-award-winning filmmaker, writer and educator who is known for her documentaries exploring the history, contributions and experience of African Canadians. Her newest film, The Little Black School House, unearths the story of the women, men and children who studied and taught at Canada’s racially segregated schools.

- Jan Miller is president of Lowenbe Holdings, Director of Strategic Partners – the co-production market of the Atlantic Film Festival – and Chair of Women in Film and Television-Atlantic. A fearless leader whose pitching workshops are sought globally, Jan is an exemplary role model and advocate for women’s rights … and her enthusiasm is absolutely contagious.

“I’m really quite touched and honoured. I didn’t realize how meaningful it would feel to be up here,” Ripley told a packed house at the WAVE Awards brunch at Ela! Greek Taverna in Halifax.

Other highlights included a talk this morning by Sheri Elwood, creator and showrunner of the award-winning series Call Me Fitz, cheekily subtitled How to Get Your Own Hit Television Series in Fifteen Years or Less. Elwood spoke about the need for determination in the industry.

“I had to make my own show to get a directing job. I’m just incredibly stubborn. The failures and the doors slammed were almost as important as the successes,” said Elwood, who recently inked a deal with Jerry Bruckheimer TV/Warner Bros.

A new initiative, The All-Access Award, was also announced today. It will be presented annually to a deserving female working in screen-based media, and is intended as a career booster. It includes a one-year membership in WIFT-AT, an all-access pass to each of the film festivals in the Atlantic region, accommodations and a meeting with a WIFT-AT representative during each of those festivals, and $750 toward travel expenses.

Hosted by Women in Film and Television-Atlantic, Women Making Waves attracted delegates from across the Atlantic region, all keen to hear from keynote speaker Kari Skogland (Fifty Dead Men Walking, The Borgias, Boardwalk Empire), and take part in her directing workshop.

They also came for a diverse array of panels, workshops and networking opportunities, including sessions on copyright, unions, building a multiplatform audience, an evening film screening, and For a Funny Time, Call … a women in comedy panel starring Cheryl Hann (Picnicface, Rollertown), Cathy Jones (22 Minutes), Nikki Payne (Single White Spenny), and Christine Taylor (The Juicy Danger Show), hosted by Nancy Regan.

“Seeing how much Women Making Waves has blossomed, in just one year, is amazing,” says event co-chair Ann Bernier. “Everywhere I looked, people were engaged in passionate conversations about their craft, and thrilled to be soaking up all of the knowledge and wisdom available at each of our sessions – not to mention having loads of laughs!”

The conference is co-presented with Mount Saint Vincent University. WIFT-AT also gratefully recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage Division, as well as Telefilm Canada and Film Nova Scotia, to name just a few.

WIFT, an international organization with 37 chapters and more than 10,000 members, was founded in 1973. It is committed to advancement for women in professional development and achievement in film, video and other screen-based media. Almost three years young, WIFT-AT is the Atlantic Canadian chapter of the international organization.

For interviews, or more information, please contact:

Skana Gee, publicist
Women Making Waves
(w) 902-466-7191
(c) 902-223-5234