WIFT-AT Members in the News: Gwyneth Christoffel

 WIFT AT Members in the News: Gwyneth ChristoffelFilm-making has been a passion of mine ever since I picked up my parent’s video camera when I was eight years old. When I took my first workshop with ViewFinders, I learned so much more and became particularly interested in stop motion animation. I have always enjoyed film-making and realized over the past few years that it is something I want to do for the rest of my life.

My short film Recipe for Love is a stop motion animation about a lonely cupcake who sees other couples in the kitchen enjoying each others company and decides that she needs a friend. With no other options, she chooses to make one. I take lots of pleasure in cooking and baking and knew that I could create an original and lovable character with a cupcake.

After working long hours on all aspects of the production, I was able to submit the film to the 2012 ViewFinders NBC Universal Film Challenge. I was incredibly thrilled to receive First Place, Best Animation and the People’s Choice Award. This encouraged me to share Recipe for Love with other festivals. To date Recipe for Love has been screened at the 32nd Atlantic Film Festival, YoungCuts Film Festival, Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, Heartland Film Festival, Women’s Independent Film Festival and the University of Advancing Technology Digital Video Festival. Most recently, as the Grand Prize Winner at the UAT Digital Video Festival in Tempe, Arizona, I have been offered a full tuition scholarship for their Digital video program!

All this success has been a tremendous joy and has further inspired me to pursue film-making in my future. I have ViewFinders to thank for teaching me what I know and supporting me, in particular Rose Zack and Jason Beaudry who have been two incredible mentors!

You can watch Recipe for Love on CBC.ca/download as part of their new Atlantic DOWNLOAD Program.

Note: Gwyneth received a bursary from Bill Niven to attend Women Making Waves 2012. To learn how you can help young and emerging filmmakers by being a WIFT-AT Champion, contact us at info@wift-at.com.

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!