- About Us
- Film Festival
- 2017 Film Festival
- Archived Festivals
This award is presented to a woman who has achieved a significant success in the field of film or television, and who is recognized for mentoring other women in the industry.
Patricia, a writer and filmmaker of considerable accomplishment, has extended her generosity, through her tireless work with Praxis and SFU, to help the emerging talents of this country. Her selfless endeavors, not just for this year, but for years past and for years to come make her a worthy recipient of praise from her peers.
Patricia Gruben arrived in Toronto during the Vietnam era after graduate studies in Film at the University of Texas. She worked for ten years as a set decorator and art director while making experimental narrative shorts (The Central Character, Sifted Evidence) which drew attention at international film festivals. In 1982 she moved to Vancouver to teach film production at Simon Fraser University. There she has made two long experimental narratives, Low Visibility and Ley Lines, and a 35mm. dramatic feature, Deep Sleep, starring Megan Follows.
In 1987, with Colin Browne, Gruben founded Praxis Centre for Screenwriters, a professional development program for Canadian feature films. She was Interim Director of SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts and is currently Director of its biennial field school in India. She has been on the boards of numerous cultural organizations, including the first Toronto Women’s Film Festival and Vancouver Women in Film, as well as numerous arts juries.
Gruben recently wrote and produced a 3-act play, The Secret Doctrine, starring Gabrielle Rose, and created an interactive installation, The Veil of Nature, with Martin Gotfrit. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on film narrative and is working on two feature screenplays set in India.
This award honours a woman who demonstrates filmmaking excellence.
Madeleine Grant is a gifted and visionary filmmaker who deftly balances hope with reality, as in her award-winning documentary feature, The Backward Class about youth from India’s untouchable class re-framing their world. Madeleine’s art reminds us of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the beautiful in the seemingly invisible, and how impossible things can become real if we all believe not only in our own potential, but in the potential of all people. In fact, our films should inspire human beings to do just that.
Madeleine Grant is a graduate of the University of British Columbia's Film Production program. Her work has played at numerous international film festivals, including the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Montreal World Film Festival. The Backward Class had its world premiere at the Hot Docs International Film Festival, where it won the Audience Choice Award. Madeleine was also the recipient of the Hot Docs Lindalee Tracey Award, in honour of an emerging Canadian filmmaker whose work displays a passionate point of view, a strong sense of social justice, and a certain joie de vivre. At Whistler Film Festival, in addition to the World Documentary Award for The Backward Class, Madeleine was awarded the EDA Best Female-Directed Film Award from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists. After five years of dividing her time between rural India and Canada, Madeleine is currently predominantly based in Vancouver, B.C.
The Artistic Innovation Award honours women who demonstrate vision, experimentation and innovation and who have created a significant body of work in these forms or an outstanding new work.
Pauline Heaton is an award-winning underwater cinematographer and filmmaker. Her years of practical experience have provided many opportunities for innovation in a field that requires innovation as a constant. Both her artistic accomplishments and her innovation of equipment and underwater techniques have earned her international accolades. She has also developed national and international training programs and mentored many women in the field. Her outstanding success is particularly noteworthy as less than 2% of directors of photography in the BC camera union local, IATSE 669 are women.
Be it swimming with sharks, filming a manta ray or witnessing the birth of a whale, it’s difficult for Pauline Heaton BA csc, to pick a favourite moment from her 30-year career as one of the world’s leading specialists in underwater cinematography.
Pauline has worked on more than 300 projects, including such movies as Jumanji and Free Willy 3. She is also the founder of Watervisions, a company which manufactures, rents and sells underwater camera and lighting equipment for use in the underwater film industry. “I saw the need to bring the equipment out of the 1950s and design state-of-the-art lighting systems.” Today, Watervisions also services underwater film shoots and uses its profits to produce films about the undersea environment.
Awards include a BCMPA Leo Award for Cinematography for Watervisions and a Citation of Recognition Genie Award for Magic in the Water.
Pauline was honored in 1996 at the 100th anniversary of Hollywood and received the Kodak Vision Award for Cinematography at the annual Women in Film awards in Los Angeles, Calif. The honour is bestowed upon a female cinematographer who is not only a positive role model, but also has notable artistic achievements.
The Wayne Black Service Award honours a woman with a ‘behind-the-scenes’ role and for her continued efforts within the film and television community. This award is named in memory of Wayne Black of Alpha Cine who gave tirelessly of his time and talent to help filmmakers.
As one of Vancouver’s top casting directors for almost 20 years, Maureen has harnessed her deep insight into people to cultivate community resources that develop and support youth, like Project Limelight and East of Main Café. Her inspiring and creative approaches to providing a forum and training for giving voice to people from all sectors of society have made her a valued mentor and industry leader.
A 30 year veteran of the Canadian film industry, Maureen began her career as a Talent Agent, which allowed her the opportunity to contribute to the development of some of Canada's best and brightest talent.
Subscribing to the motto that no project is too big or too small, Maureen often donates her time and expertise to up-and-coming filmmakers on their smaller budget films. Maureen has been a featured speaker at PechaKucha and a panelist at the Vancouver International Film Festival Trade Forums. In 2013 she launched the successful storytelling series, Monday Night Live, which builds community between film industry newcomers and seasoned professionals. Maureen believes that young people thrive when exposed to the arts. She is the co-founder of Project Limelight Society, a non-profit performing arts program offered at no cost to children living in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, along with her sister, Donalda Weaver. Maureen works on all-things casting with her amazing partner, Colleen Bolton.
The Honoured Friend Award recognizes a person who has played a significant role in supporting women in the industry as well as promoting the success of the organization. Men are eligible for this award.
Don Thompson’s reputation precedes him: he takes joy in what he does and has an innate generosity of spirit that has benefited many filmmakers over the years by not only sharing his passion but assisting them to realize their dreams. His kindness and willingness to share his time and his experience are exceptional.
Don Thompson is the Founder and President of Finale Post Production. As an Entrepreneur, Don has also been active over the years in the launch or direction of many of Vancouver’s most influential production and facilities companies including Image Engine Design, The Eyes Productions, Shooters Broadcast Services, Stay Tuned Communications and Airwaves Sound Design.
Don started his career in TV & Film working in news and documentary editing with CTV, TSN and CKVU (now City-TV), before becoming a partner in the The Eyes Productions. There he built a reputation as a multi-talented Editor, Producer, Director, Technical Director, and Cameraman for Commercials, Live Broadcast Sports and Concerts, as well as multiple award winning Documentaries.
Don is the Co-Chair of the Whistler Film Festival and is a Director of the Leo Awards. He is also a founding Director of the Vancouver Post Alliance (VPA).
The Sharon Gibbon Lifetime Member Award honours a member in recognition of her volunteer work with WIFTV advancing the organization’s goals. The award is named in memory of Sharon Gibbon, who exemplified these qualities in a career cut short too soon.
Elizabeth Yake is an extraordinary producer, and alongside her creative and business accomplishments she brings so many others forward to realize their dreams. Her warm and authentic presence in our community sets a standard that inspires and nurtures, from mentoring emerging producers, to educating writers and producers and blazing a trail for the professional presence of the west coast film community internationally.
Producer Elizabeth Yake's films have been nominated for 17 Genie Awards. Her company True West Films focuses on producing international co-productions for the world market. Her most successful film It's All Gone Pete Tong was named one of the Top Ten Films of the Decade (2000-2010) by Playback magazine. Her 2 new films, to be released later this year include, Jeff Wall about the renowned Vancouver photographer, and the hybrid feature Hadwin's Judgement, a Canada/UK coproduction based on the true story of the Golden Spruce. As a mentor, Elizabeth initiated the Aboriginal Film Fellowship at the Whistler Film Festival heading into its 3rd year. As a writer she has recently completed the suspense screenplay The Beautiful Dead End, based on the novel of the same name. Elizabeth received her film training at Ryerson University and the Canadian Film Centre and most recently received her Masters (with Distinction) in Screenwriting and Playwriting from Regent's University, London UK.
The Image Award is awarded to a female director or DOP for a recent short work that shows excellence in overall production value or a unique, visionary approach to the cinematography or storytelling.
Michelle Brezinski’s courageous film Madness is a testament to the filmmaker’s own healing from PTSD, aimed at bringing hope to other sufferers of this crippling condition. Brezinski’s collaboration with Director Shannon Kohli has been recognized internationally for the excellence in production that brings this emotional story to the screen with period sets and design well beyond the resources available to the filmmakers. Michelle has gifted us with a very personal film that overcomes many challenges, launching her forward toward a promising and inspiring career as a bold and brave storyteller.
Award winning filmmaker Michelle Brezinski has been in the industry for well over 20 years. She started her career as an actress, appearing in many commercials, films, and television shows, and then took the leap into filmmaking in 2013. Not only did she write, produce, and act in most of her projects, but she also took on the role as a collaborative director in order to fully realize her storytelling vision.
The Leadership in Education Award recognizes Vision And Excellence in the Teaching of Screen Based Media and for creating opportunities for and providing mentorship to women students.
Ingrid Torrance has transformed her vast experience and talents as an accomplished actor, director and producer into a supportive force for Vancouver’s aspiring talent helping countless actors to excel to new levels. After publishing “Act! A Step by Step Guide to Starting Your Acting Career,” she then assembled even more insight from international film talent into several DVD series that are now distributed around the world. Her devotion to helping others achieve their best, and her keen entrepreneurial spirit has set her apart as a shining jewel of education within the film community.
Ingrid Torrance was born to Icelandic and Scottish parents and was raised in North Vancouver; actor, teacher, coach, producer, director and author has appeared in numerous movies and television series since 1994. She has also been an acting teacher since 1995 and an on set and off set coach since 1998. Ingrid has worked on such shows as Once Upon A Time, The Killing, Fringe, The Good Wife and Blade: The Series. She has appeared in such films as Double Jeopardy, Act of War, Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, The Auburn Hills Breakdown, and Driven to Kill, Ingrid has been nominated for a Leo Award as Best Actress and was featured in Entertainment Weekly as a “Breakout” Actress. Ingrid has guest taught at Trinity Western University and BCIT’s Director’s Program. She has been teaching under Studio on the Drive since 2003 and before that at Second Avenue Studios. On set coaching includes shows such as Life Unexpected, The 4400, Christmas in Canaan, Fear Itself, Interns, Eleventh Victim, and Paparazzi Princess, coaching Stacy Keibler, Rafi Gavron, Shaun Sipos and Karina Lombard.
WOMEN IN VIEW (WIV), represented by Rina Fraticelli
This award honours a person or organization that has made a major contribution to promote gender equality in film, television or screen based media.
SJIWFF and WIV are responsible for creating and hosting the St. John’s Summit on Women in Media in 2014, which was focused on promoting gender equity in Canada's film and television industry. This was an historic summit, the first of its kind ever held in the country, and was attended by fourteen leaders of women’s media organizations and unions, representing over 40,000 professional members of Canada’s film and television industry. These leaders released seven recommendations calling for major changes in government policy to end the current situation where women are underrepresented in leadership roles both on screen as performers and behind the scenes as producers, writers, directors, cinematographers and editors and where women-led film and television projects receive only a fraction of the substantial government funding available in Canada for media production.