Beaming Jean Smith – Wave Award Winner

Jean Smith Beaming Jean Smith   Wave Award Winner

Jean Smith, one of the first four proud recipients of a Wave Award, 2011.

Jean Smith, one of our four, first-ever WAVE AWARDS recipients, shares her reaction to winning this award:

“During my past 16 years at NIFCO, I have been mentored by many strong female producers and filmmakers and I have managed many industry upgrades for the Coop. NIFCO is now one of the top post co-ops in Canada. In fact, many filmmakers have visited NIFCO from around the world, and they all comment that they wish they lived in Newfoundland…This is when I feel lucky and honoured to be part of this fab Coop.

Although NIFCO as an organization has received many accolades and honours, many in the arts community wondered if there would ever be an award for an Administrator. So when I was nominated for the WIFT WAVE Award, I felt more than proud and deeply touched. The “Win” was even better.  Sometimes the behind-the-scenes person is complimented for their work, but not honoured.

I have been congratulated by my Board, membership and others, but for me, as I journey into my 17th year at NIFCO, I stand most proudly when I receive compliments for my Beautiful Award from WIFT Atlantic.  This is a very important Award and acknowledgement in the Industry and I hope it continues for many years to come with a very long list of deserving women.”


WIFT-AT Wave Awards 2011 Winner: Jean Smith

It is difficult to give full tribute for this woman’s contribution to the nurturing of filmmakers in this province.  It would take a novel to do her justice.

When equipment malfunctions, she arrives at midnight with a cool head and a sharp wit to help find a solution. When fundraising gets difficult, she has ideas. When energy gets low, she has tea. When your math doesn’t make sense, she has the discerning eye. For boosting self-confidence with well-timed compliments or gently and firmly correcting paperwork mistakes, she can always be counted on. When bartending for your fundraiser, or fulfilling the interdisciplinary mandate of your festival with a sultry solo rendition of a Vince Gill song, or even holding your hand through piecing your lost footage back together, she goes beyond the call of duty. She guides and troubleshoots the whole process and is still there to celebrate after the credits roll. We adore her for her commitment and confidence in our artistic exploration.

Quite simply, without her, there would be few NL films to show at any Canadian or international festival. NIFCO creates, develops funds for, and manages the First Time Filmmaker Program and the Picture Start Program and she has been at that helm for 15 years. She works with local and visiting producers to make sure that the budgets and schedules of their films can be accommodated by NIFCO and that the best possible support is provided.

For her outstanding behind the scenes support this WAVE Award goes to: JEAN SMITH

WIFT-AT Wave Awards 2011

Outstanding Behind the Scenes Support: JEAN SMITH

NOMINATED BY Baptiste Neis & Ruth Lawrence

Thanks to social media savvy Eva Madden-Hagen for live-tweeting with photos and posts.

Outstanding Atlantic Canadian women honoured during 2011 WAVE Awards

wift waveawardsfeature1 Outstanding Atlantic Canadian women honoured during 2011 WAVE Awards

Halifax, March 6, 2011) Women Making Waves, the inaugural gathering of people in film, television and new media, wrapped today with the presentation of the 2011 WAVE Awards, honouring outstanding contributions by women in the field.

“Kudos to these four remarkable women, each of whom has made an indelible mark on the screen industry in her own unique and courageous way,” said Jan Miller, Chair of Women in Film & Television-Atlantic, which hosted the weekend conference in Halifax.

Presented by Truro-Bible Hill MLA Lenore Zann during a celebratory brunch at The Carleton Restaurant, the 2011 WAVE Award recipients are:

Cat LeBlanc: A key coordinator of the Silver Waves Film Festival in Fredericton, Cat spends many hours – paid and volunteered – at the New Brunswick Film Co-op, where she coordinates training workshops, handles the website and a weekly eNews, and motivates and encourages members

Jean Smith: As Executive Director of the Newfoundland Independent Filmmakers Co-operative for the past 15 years, Jean has been instrumental in nurturing emerging artists and expanding the facilities and programs available to them. Thanked in the credits of almost every film associated with the province, her incredible versatility is renowned

Ann Verrall: An award-winning Halifax filmmaker whose work ranges from experimental art video to drama, Ann’s creations have screened at film festivals around the world. She is committed to producing her own work in collaborative and innovative ways, and inspires as a teacher, mentor and advocate for women in the screen industry

Cheryl Wagner: This former clown and puppeteer (Mr. Dressup, Fraggle Rock) Cheryl also cultivated creativity in children worldwide as the creator and producer of the smash series Big Comfy Couch. Now living in Charlottetown, her body of work – including the new web series BunnyBop! – and her enthusiasm for helping newbies, truly inspires

“Being part of this community is like being part of a big family,” recipient Jean Smith said in receiving her award, designed by silversmith Kristianne LeBreton of New Brunswick.

Women Making Waves featured a diverse array of panels, workshops and networking opportunities, including keynote speaker, Emmy-winning writer, director and producer Patricia Rozema (Grey Gardens, Mansfield Park, Tell Me You Love Me, Six Gestures on Yo-Yo Ma, In Treatment, I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing).

Referring to her diverse credits, Rozema told the crowd: “I want to stretch every time. I want it to be a little bit new every time. The whole goal in life is to not be bitter and to not be bored.”

She also presented a session called Working With Actors, in which she directed four local actors – Anthony Black, Lise Cormier, Jim Fowler, Kristin Langille – in scenes from Blue Valentine.

Conference participants attended sessions featuring interactive guru Evan Jones of Stitch Media and Halifax-based filmmaker Andrea Dorfman; panel discussions on the potential for an all-female production team, and about women in horror films; as well as a screening of Pretty Bloody: The Women of Horror, and four short films by Atlantic Canadian filmmakers.

“The conference was everything we hoped it would be – engaging, inspiring, enlightening and thought-provoking,” said Ann Bernier, Co-Chair with Jan Miller of Women Making Waves.

“It was wonderful to see this flow of ideas – information, advice, debates – from women in all sectors of the screen industry. There was such a positive energy throughout the weekend, and people obviously had a great time connecting with colleagues and making new contacts.”

With the generous financial support of our presenting partner, Telefilm Canada, the conference was co-presented with Mount Saint Vincent University in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day on March 8. WIFT-AT also gratefully recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia through the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage Division.

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. WIFT-AT was founded in March 2009 as part of the international movement.

For interviews, or more information, please contact:

Skana Gee, publicist
Women Making Waves

(w) 902-466-7191
(c) 902-223-5234