By Sarah Smith
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!