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Media Release: WFF Announces Talent for Upcoming Praxis Screenwriters Lab and Feature Project Lab

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Entertainment

The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) has selected 12 Canadians creators, including six screenwriters and six producers, to participate in two of its six-month, multi-phased talent programs, the Praxis Screenwriters Lab and Feature Project Lab for producers, both of which will run congruently in Whistler this year.

WireService.ca Media Release (05/31/2017) Whistler, BC - Phase I takes place from June 4th to June 9th, followed by four months of feedback and project development with advisors, while Phase II takes place from November 28th to December 2nd during the Whistler Film Festival + Summit, one of Canada’s leading film festivals and industry gatherings.

Produced in association with the Vancouver-based Praxis Centre for Screenwriters, the WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab is a feature script development program that brings together independent screenwriters from across the country to work intensively with key film industry personnel in private, group and market-oriented sessions to develop both creative skills and business opportunities for their projects. Designed to analyze the writer's intentions, this lab challenges participants to rethink script-to-screen strategies and chart a course for eventual production. 55 scripts were received and six were selected for the program.

The six screenwriters and projects selected for the 2017 WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab include:

Andeep Singh (BC) with drama Goodnight Mr G
Emily Bridger (NFL) with dramedy Little Orphans
Henry Sarwer-Foner (ON) with Sci-Fi story Shadowbox
Kate Bond (BC) with drama Trapline
Simone Stock (ON) with Sci-Fi drama Polaris
Travis McDonald (BC) with dramedy Unplanned

“It is such a pleasure to witness the growth that happens in the WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab environment, where writers, mentors and industry experts gather to help nurture and advance these projects,” said Angie Nolan, WFF’s Director of Industry Programming. “Year after year, we see wonderful stories come to life through this program. We congratulate this year’s six highly talented writers, and look forward to watching them and their projects flourish after their time with us here in Whistler.”

"We're hugely impressed with the range of projects and writers this year," says Praxis Director and SFU Film Professor Patricia Gruben. "At one end of the spectrum we have Kate Bond, an emerging writer who's just won the $25,000 Daryl Duke Screenwriting Prize with her script about a young girl running a trapline in Northern Alberta. At the other end is Henry Sarwar-Foner, an accomplished television director with a thriller about a brother caught up in his sister's world of cyber-espionage. The writers and their scripts span the continent, from New York and St. John's to Vancouver and set a very high standard for the program."

WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab faculty includes highly accomplished producers and other industry executives with extensive market knowledge including Script Consultant and Story Editor Ruth Atkinson (LA), Canadian Screenwriter, Producer and Novelist Dennis Foon (BC), and award-winning international filmmaker Jason Bourque (BC). Industry advisors include Kathleen Meek (ON), the Production Executive of Drama and Feature Film for Bell Media’s Independent Production team, Peter Wetherell (LA), President, Magus Entertainment and Tom Rowe (BC), Partner/Producer, Reunion Pictures. WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab facilitators include Angie Nolan, WFF’s Director of Industry Programming, and Patricia Gruben, Director of the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters.

After 28 years as an exclusive program of the School of Contemporary Arts at SFU, the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters moved into an expanded partnership with the Whistler Film Festival in 2015. Praxis founder and long-time Director, SFU Professor Patricia Gruben continued as the Facilitator of the WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab, and management of the program moved to Whistler.

Focused on strengthening dramatic feature projects from script to screen, WFF’s Feature Project Lab is intended to advance a producer’s dramatic feature project and facilitate relationships and investment in film projects that have US and international appeal. It’s all about getting content made!

The six producers and projects selected for the 2017 WFF Feature Project Lab include:

Lettie Costea of JOReel Productions (BC), with sci-fi feature ALONE, written by Richard Russell
Paul Lenart of Storyteller Pictures (ON) & Tricia Lee, A Film Monkey Production (ON) with disturbing mystery thriller PENUMBRA, written by Aboriginal,l Quebec-based screenwriter Peter Scott Vicaire
Amanda Verhagen of Verhagen Entertainment (BC) with a throwback to the 90’s comedy PARTY FAVOUR, written by Megan Russell
Matt Code of Wildling Pictures (ON) with modern thriller BE MY EYES, written by Adam Yorke
Damon Lebrun of Ashen Films (AB) with action drama, A REDHEAD NAMES RASALA, also written by Damon Lebrun
Carmen Forsberg of Silverlight Entertainment Inc. (BC) with dramatic feature, BOUNDARY COUNTRY, written by Adam Mars

“The success of the Feature Project Producer Lab is elevated each year due to the calibre of talent that is rapidly growing in the landscape of Canadian independent filmmaking,” said Angie Nolan, WFF’s Director of Industry Programming. “Being able to facilitate connections for these producers with industry experts for invaluable feedback in an intimate and inspiring setting is vital to their success. Producers leave with the tools and relationships to further develop and get their films made.”

Industry experts participating in Phase I of WFF’s Feature Project Lab include Producer, Director and Writer Gil Adler of Gil Adler Productions (LA/BC), Ian Goggins, Senior Vice President, Content, eOne (ON), Nicholas Tabarrok, President/Producer, Darius Films (LA), Kathleen Meek (ON), the Production Executive of Drama and Feature Film for Bell Media’s Independent Production team, Michael Dougherty, Acquisitions and Distribution Executive, Radiant Films International (LA), Nolan Pielak SVP, International Sales & Co-Production at Electric Entertainment - ‎Electric Entertainment (BC/LA) and Steve Bates, Investment Analyst, Business Affairs, Telefilm Canada (BC). Feature Project Lab Marketplace Analysts and Facilitators include Tim Brown, President, Joker Films (BC), and Peter Wetherell, President, Magus Entertainment (LA).

The Whistler Film Festival began offering talent development programs in 2007 and to date, has successfully delivered 44 programs that have supported 244 Canadian artists including directors, producers, screenwriters, actors and musicians. As a result, over 32 projects (13 features and 19 shorts) have been developed, 10 are currently in production, 32 are in development, and 33 films have premiered at the Whistler Film Festival, and valuable connections have been made.

The Whistler Film Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support and commitment to the Praxis Screenwriters Lab, presented in association with Telefilm Canada and sponsored by The Harold Greenberg Fund and Creative BC. The Whistler Film Festival also gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Feature Project Lab, presented in association with Telefilm Canada and sponsored by The Harold Greenberg Fund, Creative BC, the Canadian Media Production Association and the Canadian Media Production Association – BC Producers Branch.

From November 29th to December 3rd, 2017, the Whistler Film Festival will celebrate its 17th edition with fresh films, special guests, unique industry initiatives, epic events, and time to play in North America’s premier mountain resort destination.

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Media inquiries, please contact:

Lindsay Nahmiache | Partner | Jive Communications
lindsay@jiveprdigital.com | Vancouver: 604-889-7996 | LA: 310-753-7968

The Whistler Film Festival Society (WFFS) is a cultural charitable organization dedicated to furthering the art of film by providing programs that focus on the discovery, development and promotion of talent culminating with a must attend festival for artists, the industry and audiences in Whistler. Find out more at whistlerfilmfestival.com.

 


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