Hot on the heels of their recent WAVE awards, Barbara Doran and Noreen Golfman have both been honoured again, this time by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council in their annual awards. Along with other women in our film industry, this is a record year for recognition for four of our most talented individuals. For 2013, the Cox & Palmer Arts Achievement award recognizes a practicing artist who has made an outstanding contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador over a number of years. Two of the three finalists are filmmakers Barbara Doran and Rosemary House. Both women had big years, producing the feature films, The Grand Seduction and Hold Fast, respectively. Noreen Golfman, one of the founders of the St. John’s Women’s International Film Festival, is one of two inductees into the “Fortis Properties” Arts Hall of Honour, recognizing a person, group or organization that has made a distinguished lifetime contribution to the cultural life of Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to the above awards, the NLAC also announced that this year’s Patron of the Arts is Marlene Cahill. Marlene has been a pillar of the film and theatre communities for over quarter of a century and works as the ACTRA branch representative in Newfoundland. This award, given to a person, group or organization, recognizes an ongoing commitment to the arts in Newfoundland and Labrador through innovative, community, or sustained support of artistic activity. These honours and nominations are well earned and long deserved and those in the film community here applaud their incredible accomplishments. The Arts Awards ceremony takes place on April 26 in Clarenville, NL. Each winner takes home a special artwork created annually by a local artist.
By Ruth Lawrence
The women in the St. John’s film community are really happy to have the next producer getting set to roll camera on another PictureStart, a director-producer training program offered through NIFCO and Telefilm Canada. As part of this year’s program, two of the three teams are women. Sherry White (Producer) and Martine Blue (Director/Writer) just shot ME2, while Krysta Rudofsky (Producer) and Ruth Lawrence (Director/Writer) are shooting Talus & Scree in early May. Krysta Rudofsky has been in the business for years but this is her first short drama production.
Krysta got her start in the industry by hosting her own talk show at age 19. She was on the founding team that created the award-winning show Out of the Fog, a daily current affairs show that become one of the most successful community programs in the country. She was Senior Producer and Co-host of the program, where she interviewed everyone from Prime Ministers to children. She produced several specials, documentaries and short series during her time there.
From there, Krysta moved to CBC where she worked on the show Living NL, and became a reporter and back-fill news anchor. In 2009, she took on the role of General Manager of Wavelight Productions, the production arm of m5 Marketing Communications in St. John’s Newfoundland. There she was Executive Producer of all radio, television and digital videos. In 2012 she became President of the company and produced several National and provincial commercial campaigns and digital video campaigns.
Known for her warmth and compassion, she recently became the Executive Producer of the Janeway Children’s Hospital Foundation annual Telethon. For the 16 hour broadcast, Krysta and her team delivered more than 100 pieces of video content and introduced a new style of storytelling and several new additions to the broadcast including a live Twitter and Facebook social media command centre. As a result of their efforts, the telethon raised more funds than any other year of its existence. She also produced a song and music video for the Janeway that went on to become one of iTunes top 100 songs.
She is committed to pro bono work and last year took on the role of Producer for a charity called Team Broken Earth. This is a group of Canadian Doctors, Nurses and Physiotherapists who volunteer their vacation time for medical missions to Haiti. Krysta recently produced the 2nd annual Rock Op for Haiti fundraiser and produced videos for the team that have been shared around the world including being tweeted by Paul Haggis! Among her numerous awards and accolades are the YMCA-YWCA Woman of Distinction award and the Memorial University Alumni Award for lifetime achievement under age 35. We all wish her the best on this next production and expect to see many more in the coming years from this bright, creative force.
NL Pulse is compiled by Ruth Lawrence. Ruth is a St. John’s based filmmaker whose recent film Two Square Feet, starring Jeanne Beker, recently played at the Silver Wave Film Festival in NB.
I started in the film industry when I took an editing course at NIFCO in the late 80’s. My friend Annette Clarke suggested we do it together, and so off we went. Ken Pittman was the teacher and that was a piece of luck. The other good bit was that the people I was supposed to work with dropped out. So the project was all mine. I fell into it hook line and sinker.
There were some great people around NIFCO at that time (as there still are!) and I felt I was part of an exciting world that was both universal and still very directed towards Newfoundland culture, which continues to be a touchstone in my life. I made my first film at NIFCO and never stopped after that. I learned how to edit on a Steenbeck with the sound on its own separate reel. I don’t know if I’ll ever again find anything work-wise quite so satisfying as splicing film, making the cut physically happen. This whole hands-on business was very much part of the NIFCO aesthetic. When I directed my first film I cut the negative myself, which I felt proud of doing and thought I’d earned my stripes. Hah.
I started working as a kind of apprentice to Ken Pittman and that was a fantastic learning experience. I produced a television doc for Ken, then two feature films. So I came out of those three years with a lot of knowledge about the industry.
So I was in my mid-thirties when I started with film. I had no interest in it previously. It never entered my mind. I’d just returned from the west coast where we’d lived for 10 years in Vancouver and Victoria. I had two small children and worked off and on with the Status of Women Council and with the NDP. I lived in downtown St. John’s with its vibrant arts and political scene: that period in the early 90’s was a brilliant time with a tight-knit community centered around the LSPU Hall, NIFCO and the Ship Inn. And my kids were started in school and my husband was backing me a hundred percent. So it all came together.
The industry seems to have a lot more women in it now than when I started, at least at the grassroots level and definitely in Newfoundland, plus I’m lucky to be a pretty confident person, and I have lots of support, so I don’t feel like a woman in a man’s world. But when you move into senior positions in the industry you are still dealing with male power structures and you have to be aware of those realities because they do exist. Sexism is endemic in our society. Sometimes it’s subtle, and sometimes it’s not.
I guess my first breakthrough was my first film, a Canada Council short – When Women are Crazy, made in 1990. It did really well for me, got lots of attention. But the real break was when Kent Martin at the NFB picked up my project Rain Drizzle and Fog and produced it in 1997. That was when I started to think maybe I was a filmmaker and not just a dilettante. I’d like to think that Hold Fast, the feature I’ve recently completed as writer and producer will be my next breakthrough. We shall see.
I am inspired by my friends in the arts – by the hard work, the tenacity, the artistic passion that drives people. I’ve had some terrific artistic collaborations over the years. So rewarding. There are some actors I adore and they inspire me – I’m amazed by their talent and wish I could make something for them.
The hardest moments for the producer are in production. It’s gruelling and the pressure is RELENTLESS.
I’ve had lots of disappointments big and small over the years. But you get used to disappointment or at least you’d better.
For the best moments: I love doing it. Being in production is an amazing experience. I don’t necessarily enjoy it every day (especially when I’m producing, see above) because it’s so HARD, but I am still rewarded over and again with seeing the film being accomplished. I also love the edit. And of course probably the nirvana moments are in the mix, when it’s all done and you just sit there in the theatre in the dark and have the immense pleasure of adding beautiful sound and music to that great gorgeous picture on the screen.
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.”