“Directed by Women” is a professional development program for emerging female directors; it will include training and mentorship on the topics of screenwriting, directing, working with key crew, pitching and marketing. The focus of this workshop series will be to address the challenges inherent in transitioning from shorts to features. The final component of the program will include organized networking opportunities at the Women Making Waves conference in March 2016.
Directed by Women Participants 2016
Heather Young grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick and completed a BA in English at the University of New Brunswick and a BFA in Film at NSCAD University where she received the Governor General's Silver Medal. Her short films include Dog Girl (2009), A Night Out (2011), Green (2013), and Howard and Jean (2014). Her films have screened at festivals such as the Atlantic Film Festical, the Montreal World Film Festival, and the Vancouver International Film Festival. She is currently working on a new short film, Puck Bunny to be completed in 2016.
Jackie Torrens is an actor, writer, director and documnetary maker. She was nominated this year for Best Actress in a Drama at the Canadian Screen Awards, for her work in the OUTtv mini series Sex and Violence which also stars Olympia Dukakis. Torrens' CBC radio documentary The Poet Laureate of Youth Now about a young poet in prison for 2nd degree murder won the 2015 Atlantic Journalism award for Best Feature Writing. Her CBC radio documentary Camp Mini Ha Ha, about a group of miniaturists, won a CBC Award of Excellence. Her award winning short film Pickled Punk about a fetus in a jar, aired on CTV. She and producer Jessica Brown have a production company called Peep Media. Their television documentary about east coast subcultures, called Edge of East, was nominated for a Screen Nova Scotia award for Best Documentary. Their latest television documentary, My Week on Welfare, can be found online if you google "CBC" and "My Week on Welfare." Both Peep Media documentaries aired on CBC and the Documentary Channel.
Jenna MacMillan is a filmmaker from Charlottetown, PEI with an Honours degree in filmmaking from Ryerson University. Jenna's film, Fine Tuning, was commissioned by the City of Charlottetown to celebrate its 2011 designation as Cultural Capital of Canada. She produced a short documetnary entitled, This is Paradise with Devin Cuddy, for Juno nominated artist, The Devin Cuddy Band, which premiered on Exclaim! online magazine. In 2014, she directed eight short documentaries about Western PEI in a series entitled Coastal Stories, two of which screen at the 2015 Atlantic Film Festival.
Jenna was a winner of the 2014 Interactive Incubator Project hosted by the St. John's International Women's Film Festival. Her most recent short film, Not My Brother received funding from the National Film Board of Canada and premiered at the CBC Shorts Gala at the 2015 Atlantic Film Festival. In February 2015, she was selected as one of five finalists for the BravoFACT pitch competition. She participated in the pretigious Women in the Director's Chair program in 2015 to develop her newest project, Gran Bandit.
Performing since age 4, Koumbie is no stranger to the screen. Currently splitting her time between Toronto and Halifax, she is busy working as an actor, writer, and filmmaker. Koumbie will be appearing on two national series this coming winter, as Sheila on the hit comedy show Mr D and as part of the ensemble cast of Studio Black. A passionate believer in the power of the arts, Koumbie is excited to continue learning and creating.
Kristen Swinkels grew up on a farm in rural Nova Scotia where she was raised by wolves and educated by television. She is a graduate of NSCAD University where she studied film, photography and fine art. Kristen's short film God's Country, was screened at the Atlantic Film Festival. She went on to develop Nigredo, a nightmarish short through the FILM 5 Program at Atlantic Filmmakers Co-op.
Nigredo has screened at several film festivals and headlined the Viscera sponsored "Ladies of the Fright." Kristen received a grant through NS Tourism and Culture Council to produce No Man's Land. She was awarded the AFCOOP Artist in Residence working on the documentary short Where'd you go, Jonathan?.
Lorna Kirk has been immersed in film and television as a director and producer since earning her Master's degree in Film from the University of Manchester, England in 1999. Her award-winning film A Little Bit of Freedom screened at the 53rd Cannes International Film Festival as part of the Kodak Emerging Filmmaker Showcase, and has been presented at film festivals around the world.
Over the last decade she has directed several of CBC's award winning documentaries and children's television series. Kirk is a multi-talented filmmaker who has also worked as an editor and writer on a number of fictional projects as well as working on set as a 3rd AD. She most recently has started using animation in her short films and continues to find new ways and methods of bringing stories to life.
Nicole Steeves is Writer/Director/Actor from Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Since moving to Halifax in 2005, she has attended NSCAD University, The Neptune Theatre Pre Professional Training Program and AFCOOP's Film 5 Program in the role of writer/director. Most recently, along with co-writer Struan Sutherland and producer Andre Pettigrew, Nicole became one of the CineCoup Top 15 finalists with their concept for Namas-DIE. The project has gained the team great press and a loyal fan base across Canada.
Sarah Gignac wrote, directed and produced her first short film, Curtains in 2013. It was shot by award winning director of photography Becky Parsons, and has screened at 14 festivals across North America. She recently completed the Atlantic Film Cooperative's Film 5 Program as a writer/director, with her second short film, Sleeping Beauty a modern retelling of the classic tale. Sleeping Beauty was screened at the Atlantic Film Festival in September 2015. Sarah is committed to telling stories that are often overlooked or misrepresented. She believes that stories have the power to connect people and change minds, and wants to spend her life finding and sharing tales people might not otherwise encounter.
She also really, really loves sushi. And making things with bright colours. She lives and writes in Halifax, NS.