The 2015 WAVE Awards and winner of the BravoFACT pitch competition were named today, wrapping Women Making Waves – the dynamic three-day conference for people in the screen industries – with a splash.

Honouring outstanding contributions by women in film, television and digital media in Atlantic Canada, the WAVE Awards went to Catherine Martin of Truro, Renee Laprise of Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland’s Marlene Cahill.

“I am delighted to receive the WAVE Award and to join the amazing list of women who have received this award,” says Cahill. “I don’t see myself as an industry builder or leader and if I am it is because I am the recipient of a whole community’s generosity in sharing their knowledge, skills and talents with me that I try to pass along.”

As well, Truro’s Leah Johnston was announced today as the winner of the BravoFACT (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) competition – a $35,000 award for the most promising short film. Five filmmakers pitched their ideas to an industry jury yesterday and Johnston’s proposal, Ingrid and the Black Hole – about two children who discover a black hole and imagine what it would be like to travel through time – came out on top.

“This is a brand-new and very impressive award, started in Atlantic Canada for women in the region, and the finalists’ pitches were absolutely incredible,” says Jan Miller, founding chair of host Women in Film & Television-Atlantic (WIFT-AT). “We are so thrilled for Leah, and for our WAVE Award winners, an amazing trio of women who have left an indelible mark on the screen industries here.”

About the WAVE Award winners:

  • Catherine Martin, lauded for her “profound impact, leadership and mentorship,” is a member of the Millbrook First Nation and an independent writer, director and producer. Her films include Little Boy Who Lived with Muini’skw; The Spirit of Annie Mae; and the NFB online documentary Bringing Annie Mae Home. Catherine is now developing videos for the new Indigenous Women in Community Leadership Program at St. Francis Xavier University’s Coady International Institute.

  • Renee Laprise is a film and animation editor, and Director at the Island Media Arts Cooperative, where she works tirelessly creating new initiatives for filmmakers, particularly youth and women. A founding member of the Island Film Factory, Renee is known for her “enthusiastic, selfless, determined leadership and accessibility.” Not to mention her infectious laugh and boundless energy.

  • Marlene Cahill has been called “the heart and the backbone of the Newfoundland screen industry.” She’s been an ACTRA representative in the province for 27 years, serving as the go-to expert for emerging and experienced filmmakers alike, helping with budgets, casting, reporting and much more. She was integral in the creation of the Artist Emergency Fund, open to all arts and culture workers in Newfoundland, and last year received the NL Arts Council’s Patron of the Arts Award.

Women Making Waves 2015, the fifth annual gathering, wrapped today with the WAVE Awards brunch, following three days of compelling speakers, panels and workshops.

Highlights included Master Classes in transmedia, working with actors, and conflict management; conversations with Hannah Cheesman of Orphan Black and Whatever, Linda and Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; as well as sessions on topics including women in the gaming industry; script doctors; and clever casting, plus film screenings and networking opportunities.

Photography by Michelle Doucette

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