WIFTA Newsletter – September 26, 2021

In Celebration of ALBERTA CULTURE DAYS, WIFTA presents…

 

 

WOMEN WORKING IN ANIMATION – PANEL

Presented in Partnership with Quickdraw Animation Society and the National Film Board of Canada

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2021

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM MDT

For more information and to register for this free virtual panel discussion click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alberta-women-working-in-animation-tickets-178402064377 

 

PANEL: Alberta Women Working in Animation – HEATHER KAI SMITH, JOANNE FISHER, CAROL BEECHER, WENDY TILBY & AMANDA FORBIS

 

CAROL BEECHER has been intimately involved with the animation community in Alberta for almost 30 years Carol has gathered in-depth knowledge and experience that encompasses production in traditional and digital 2D and 3D modes, non-profit programming and administration, and post-secondary teaching and curricular development.  In 1994, with her life partner Kevin D.A. Kurytnik, they formed Fifteen Pound Pink Productions, named thus because that’s how much their cat weighed. 

HEATHER KAI SMITH is a Canadian visual artist and educator currently living between Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC and Chicago, IL. Smith has attended residencies across the United States and in Germany, while exhibiting her work within a variety of institutional and non-conventional spaces. Smith has participated in and facilitated workshops and collaborative projects across Canada and the United States, most recently teaching undergraduate classes in drawing and visual arts theory at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Vancouver, Canada). Recent exhibitions include: The Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff), studio e gallery (Seattle), The Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery (Vancouver). She is also the founder of Great Women Animators: a database which documents the history of women in animation from the 1800s-now. 

WENDY TILBY & AMANDA FORBIS met at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in Vancouver where they studied film, video and animation. Each went on to create their own works with the National Film Board of Canada (Strings and The Reluctant Deckhand) before co-directing When the Day Breaks which received over 30 international awards including the Palme D’Or at Cannes, a Genie Award, an Oscar® nomination and the Grand Prix at Annecy, Zagreb and Hiroshima International Animation Festivals. Wild Life, their latest short with the NFB, has won several prizes and in 2012 was nominated for an Academy Award. Tilby and Forbis have also collaborated on assorted commissioned projects and directed numerous TV commercials. Interview, their acclaimed spot for United Airlines, was nominated for an Emmy® in 2004. Forbis has led many animation workshops for kids and from 1987 – 1993 was an instructor at the Arts Umbrella Children’s Art Centre in Vancouver. Tilby has taught animation at Harvard and Concordia University and from 2007 – 2009 was external examiner for animation at the Royal College of Art in London.

JOANNE FISHER Joanne Fisher is a Calgary-based artist, emerging filmmaker, and a recipient of the Quickdraw Animation Society’s Chris J. Melnychuk Memorial Scholarship and Residency through which she made her first short animated film, “Stache and the Inner Walk.”  She happily discovered making animation at the Quickdraw Animation Society four years ago after being a chiropractor, a homeschooler, an art student, and a backyard beekeeper. She has taken animation courses at the Quickdraw Animation Society and the Alberta University of the Arts. Her approach to animation is hands-on, messy, and experimental.

 

 

ANIMATION SHOWCASE SCREENING:

A Curated Selection of Films Celebrating Femme-Identifying Animation Filmmakers

 

 

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29TH, 2021 – SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3RD, 2021

Register for this free virtual screening here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/curated-selection-of-films-by-femme-identifying-animation-filmmakers-tickets-178405574877

 

Registrants of this event will be emailed a private link with online access to the film package available from WEDNESDAY, 29th SEPTEMBER  at 12:00 PM to SUNDAY, 3rd OCTOBER at 6:00 PM. Please screen at your convenience during that period. 

This extremely eclectic program features fun and challenging films made by women animators from Alberta.  Practically every animation technique is represented, from traditional hand painted cell animation to stop motion and experimental processes, covering a time period from 1996 to 2021.

The package will include work by Heather Kai Smith, Natasha Jensen, Kim Anderson, Susan Crandall and Beth Portman, Carol Beecher, Arielle McCuaig, Emily Pickering, Shayla Stokes, Joanne Fisher, Molly Little, Wendy Tilby, Amanda Forbis, Zsofia Opra-Szabo, & Leslie Bell.

 

TWO SESSIONS ABOUT WORKING IN COMEDY

 

WORKSHOP: Introduction to COMEDY WRITING – A Conversation with Joleen Ballendine

MODERATED by Elise Graham 

 

 

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28TH, 2021

12:00 PM MDT to 1 PM MDT

Register for this free virtual webinar here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/introduction-to-comedy-writing-a-conversation-with-joleen-ballendine-tickets-178394642177 

 

Joleen Ballendine is a mainstage cast member of Rapid Fire Theatre, Canada’s third oldest improv company. She is also the co-director of the Sphinxes Outreach Program which aims to empower and employ female, trans, and non-binary improvisors by giving them the tools to teach improv and then deliver the workshops to other marginalized voices.  Joleen performs weekly in Theatresports, Maestro, and other long-form shows. Notable shows include Improvised Dungeons and Dragons directed by Edmonton’s Mark Meer, Colin Mochrie and friends in the Edmonton Fringe Festival.  She’s an original cast member of the hit show Off Book the Improvised Musical. Teaching and performing improv has taken Joleen all over Canada, the US, and Europe. She tours regularly with comedy partner Amy Shostak in their high energy, risk-taking improv duo Rä Power.  Improv isn’t Joleen’s only passion, she also writes and acts. She is a two-time Canadian Screen Awards nominee for both her performance and writing in the Canadian sketch comedy show Caution: May Contain Nuts on APTN. Alongside writing partners Gordie and Joey Lucius, Joleen was selected for the NSI Totally Television program in 2020 for their half-hour comedy, Lupita. The series is in development and hopefully will be available to a wide audience soon. The team of three is also working on a new half-hour sketch comedy show called thirtyONE which is also in development. She has written plays, musicals, sketch comedy, web series, and sitcoms. She thrives at telling stories whether it’s on the stage, on television, or verbally to anyone who will listen. Joleen is a proud Edmonton-based artist juggling life in the gig economy with a five-month old baby in tow.

Elise Graham is a production veteran with more than 16 years of experience in film and television, Elise has loaned her talents to all types of projects, from features to commercials, live shows to corporate videos. Her eclectic resume highlights technical and logistical roles with some of the strongest companies and productions in Alberta.  Some highlights include working for world renowned Karvonen Films, and on the television series CAUTION: May Contain NutsBlackstone, and Tiny Plastic Men. In addition to being a producer, Elise is also the Director of Operations and Lead Instructor for Girls in Film and Television (GIFT) and a past board member of WIFT Alberta.

 

WORKSHOP: Alberta Women Working in Comedy

 

 

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2021

7PM – 8:30PM MDT

For more information and to register for this free virtual panel discussion click here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/alberta-women-working-in-comedy-tickets-178396798627 

 

Join us and meet three Alberta women working in the comedy genre.  Moderated by Blair Brown

 

PanelistsJoleen Ballendine, Jana O’Connor, Carolyn Bridget Kennedy

Moderator:  Blair Brown

 

Joleen Ballendine is a mainstage cast member of Rapid Fire Theatre, Canada’s third oldest improv company. She is also the co-director of the Sphinxes Outreach Program which aims to empower and employ female, trans, and non-binary improvisors by giving them the tools to teach improv and then deliver the workshops to other marginalized voices.  Joleen performs weekly in Theatresports, Maestro, and other long-form shows. Notable shows include Improvised Dungeons and Dragons directed by Edmonton’s Mark Meer, Colin Mochrie and friends in the Edmonton Fringe Festival.  She’s an original cast member of the hit show Off Book the Improvised Musical. Teaching and performing improv has taken Joleen all over Canada, the US, and Europe. She tours regularly with comedy partner Amy Shostak in their high energy, risk-taking improv duo Rä Power.  Improv isn’t Joleen’s only passion, she also writes and acts. She is a two-time Canadian Screen Awards nominee for both her performance and writing in the Canadian sketch comedy show Caution: May Contain Nuts on APTN. Alongside writing partners Gordie and Joey Lucius, Joleen was selected for the NSI Totally Television program in 2020 for their half-hour comedy, Lupita. The series is in development and hopefully will be available to a wide audience soon. The team of three is also working on a new half-hour sketch comedy show called thirtyONE which is also in development. She has written plays, musicals, sketch comedy, web series, and sitcoms. She thrives at telling stories whether it’s on the stage, on television, or verbally to anyone who will listen. Joleen is a proud Edmonton-based artist juggling life in the gig economy with a five-month old baby in tow.

Carolyn Bridget Kennedy is an award-winning actor (SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA) and filmmaker living in Los Angeles and Calgary.   As a filmmaker she has created web series and short films that have collectively garnered over 115 film festival laurels around the globe.   Carolyn is an improv maven having completed, in Los Angeles, Advanced Improv at The Groundlings, Upright Citizens Brigade, and Second City Hollywood conservatory program.  She performs stand up at comedy clubs in LA.  She has trained in sketch comedy writing at The Groundlings, as well as private coaching with a former showrunner for MadTV, resulting in her creating a spec Saturday Night Live sketch packet and a late-night television comedy packet.  At Second City Hollywood, she co-wrote and performed in a one-hour sketch comedy show.  In 2020, Carolyn created and co-wrote a pilot script for a half-hour comedy series, “InFirm”.  It was a Quarterfinalist at the Oscar®-Qualifying HollyShorts Film Festival, the prestigious CineStory Foundation 2021 TV Retreat & Fellowship Competition, as well as placing in several other notable festivals.  Carolyn has trained with Larry Moss in his Master Class, and studies acting in Los Angeles in the Advanced Class at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, Margie Haber Studios, and with Lesly Kahn.  She has been cast in numerous projects, including with American Film Institute, UCLA and USC. Carolyn is an active member of the Television Academy (Los Angeles), Women in Film (Los Angeles), Raindance Los Angeles, Film Independent (Los Angeles), SAG-AFTRA, ACTRA, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, AMPIA, WIFT Alberta (where she is also on the Board), WIFT Vancouver as well as Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers.

Jana O’Connor is a Canadian performer, producer, improviser, voice actor, and writer. She is nationally known as a core cast member/writer for CBC Radio’s long-running sketch comedy series, The Irrelevant Show, and as a writer and core cast member on season five of APTN’s sketch comedy series Caution: May Contain Nuts (Mosaic Entertainment), which received AMPIA nominations for Best Screenwriter (Drama under 30 minutes), and Best Musical, Comedy or Variety Program or Series.  Jana is now a regular contributor to CBC Radio’s Because News and her first screenplay, Picture It, is in post-production with GIFT: Girls in Film and Television. Jana is proud to have also been an instructor for GIFT, teaching screenwriting to young women and non-binary youth across the province. Since earlier this year, Jana has been working with Carter Ryan Productions as a writer on a number of their upcoming projects.  As a playwright, Jana has enjoyed numerous successful productions of her work, and has received several Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award nominations for her work. In 2010, she was awarded the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Emerging Arts Award, and in 2015 Jana was the recipient of the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund Award.

Blair Brown is an entrepreneur and an advocate for those who are marginalized, disenfranchised and vulnerable. She is the CoFounder/Executive Director of the Global Merit & Essence Awards Network (GMEAN), a Not For Profit, non-partisan charitable organization committed to affecting global changes within vulnerable & marginalized communities. Blair is also the Executive Director of the Women of Essence Global Awards, a recognition program produced by GMEAN. After graduating from the Radio & TV Arts program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) in Edmonton, Alberta, Blair moved to Toronto to pursue her career in broadcasting. Since returning to her hometown of Edmonton, Blair has founded Women in Bloom International with current chapters in Edmonton Alberta, Toronto Ontario, Phoenix Arizona, and Lusaka Zambia. Blair recently collaborated to create 16Days Bloom Hope, a movement that is raising awareness and creating change to fight Gender Based Violence Against Women & Girls. Blair, a busy mom to a 9-year-old son, was a core member of the newly archived Facebook group YEG Response to COVID-19: a safe place for members in the community to request and receive support with their needs. Blair recently completed her tenure on the Edmonton Public School’s Multiculturalism and Cultural Diversity Policy Review Advisory Committee. She currently sits on the Women in Film & Television Alberta Diversity Board where her focus is to advocate for a fair and equal representation of Black Women and Women of Colour in television and film.

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