Following a successful collaboration last year, Women In the Director’s Chair  (WIDC) and the Whistler Film Festival  have officially launched the WIDC: Story & Leadership  program, a new 4-month intensive for women screen directors focusing on fiction feature film and web series development that takes place in part at the festival December 2 to 6. A nationally representative jury of industry professionals will select eight Canadian mid-career women screen directors who are planning to direct their projects.
Delivered in four parts over the course of four months, this intensive program will include the popular Industry Immersion at the Whistler Film Festival, advanced leadership development, opportunities to work with ACTRA actors, mentorship from Canada’s top industry experts, and key story development support. Program highlights are listed below, but please see the full Story & Leadership  page for application information and forms.
Focusing on both fiction feature film and web series development, up to eight women screen directors who are planning to direct their projects will be selected by a jury of industry professionals for this session of the WIDC program. WIDC 2016 will be delivered in four parts over the course of four months, and will again include the popular WFF Industry Immersion presented in collaboration with the Whistler Film Festival.
In Part 1, in Vancouver, participants will be offered a variety of tools to help them reflect on and maximize their own creative and leadership skills, and workshop their scripts with professional actors. In Part 2, participants travel to the Whistler Film Festival for a hands-on industry immersion. In Part 3, participants receive consultation from WIDC mentors to further refine their projects towards the next stage of development. And in Part 4, participants receive tailored follow up to fine-tune the director’s professional assets as identified during the program.
Who Should Apply?
Directors: Open to any mid-career* female-identified Canadian screen directors and a feature film or web series project she is planning to direct. While synopsis-stage projects will be considered, projects that have a full draft feature or pilot script are preferred. Director Participants must be prepared to attend the entire program. While directors do not have to be the writers of their project, it is expected that they will take an active role in developing the story through the course. Projects at any stage of development will be considered, however a minimum of two written scenes and a draft synopsis are required.
*This is not a program for beginners. WIDC is ideally designed for women who already have some experience directing shorts, docs, web series, or other micro-budget screen projects who are seeking to sharpen or refresh certain skill areas, polish story, and/or broaden professional connections. Or for those crossing over to directing, you must have a track record of highly transferable directing skills, e.g. experienced actor, AD, editor, script supervisor, producer, and must have at minimum of one screen project produced outside of film school.
Director Application Deadline: July 31, 2015 (NOTE NEW DEADLINE)
Actors: Open to ALL ACTRA, UBCP/ACTRA, and Apprentice members. Based on the casting needs of the eight selected directors’ projects, an ensemble of up to ten union actors will participate in workshops with the directors. The Acting Ensemble travel, lodging and per diem costs have been fully subsidized by the workshop through sponsorships generously provided by ACTRA National, AFBS, UBCP/ACTRA, and ACTRA Alberta.
Actor Application Deadline: September 30, 2015. (NOTE NEW DEADLINE)
PART 1 – Creative Leadership & Story
Workshop dates: November 23 to 30, 2015
Workshop location: Empire Landmark Hotel, Vancouver, BC
Knowing Self / Your Product
- A psychological approach to understanding characters
- Understanding and maximizing your leadership style
- Discovering your story
- Pitch Practice .01
- Giving and receiving notes
Working with actors
- Audition process
- Exploring the characters in your story
- Rehearsal process
- Constructive feedback
PART 2 – Creating Market Confidence – Presented in collaboration with the Whistler Film Festival
Workshop dates: December 1 & 6, 2015
Workshop location: Whistler, BC (Whistler Film Festival)
Knowing Your Audience
- Market Analysis
- Pitch Practice .02
- Industry Landscape Panel
- One to one Meetings with Mentors & Industry Experts
- Follow up planning for PARTS 3 & 4
Whistler Film Festival
A Premium Festival Pass is included allowing Participants to attend:
- Festival Screenings
- Press & Industry Screenings
- Industry Summit Programs
- Networking Receptions
- Opening Gala
- Access to Industry Centre, Delegate Lounge & Online Industry Community
- Festival Program, Industry Schedule & Delegate Bag
- Pre-registration for WFF Summit 1+1 Meetings
PART 3 – Story Polish
Workshop dates: December 6, 2015 to January 6, 2016
Workshop location: Online
Working with a Story Consultant
- Zeroing in on the Core of Your Story
- Taking your story synopsis to the next stage or
- Developing promotional materials
PART 4 – Leadership Follow Up
Workshop dates: January 7, 2016 to March 23, 2016
Workshop location: Online / TBA
- Coaching towards targeted follow up plans tailored to each director participant’s needs.