The Whistler Film Festival (WFF) is now accepting submissions for the 2017 Feature Project Lab and Praxis Screenwriters Lab programs. Up to six writers and six producers from across Canada will be selected to participate in the prestigious two-phased programs. New for 2017, both programs will take place in Whistler from June 4th to 9th and during the 2017 Whistler Film Festival + Summit, one of Canada’s leading film festivals and industry gatherings. Canadian writers can submit an application for the Praxis Screenwriters Lab by March 17, 2017 while Canadian producers can submit an application for the Feature Project Lab by March 31, 2017. Application forms and guidelines are available at whistlerfilmfestival.com.
“We are very encouraged by the traction that Canadian writers and producers to watch are getting from our unique two-phased programs,” says Angie Nolan, WFF’s Industry Programming Manager. “The intimate nature of phase one and ongoing mentorship combined with the immersive intensity of phase two which culminates at the Whistler Film Festival + Summit, provides vital feedback, insights and relationships necessary for projects to advance to the next stage of development and production.”
WFF has established a community of over 2,031 filmmaker and industry alumni, 245 of which have completed one of WFF’s talent programs, which launched in 2007 and featured 12 programs for 75 Canadian artists in 2016. To date, 42 projects have been completed, 10 are in production, 32 are in development, and 56 have screened at the festival. Recent projects that completed WFF’s talent programs include: Daniel Domachowski (BC) with HELLO DESTROYER (2013 Feature Project Lab), which premiered at TIFF and VIFF in 2016 and went on to win Best First Film by a Canadian Director from the Vancouver Film Critics Circle; Josh Epstein and Kyle Rideout (BC) with PUBLIC SCHOOLED, which went to camera in November with the help of $500,000 in financing from the CFC, and stars Judy Greer; Allan Hopkins (BC) with INDIAN ROAD TRIP (2015 Aboriginal Filmmaker Fellowship and 2016 Praxis Screenwriters Lab), currently in post production having received Telefilm Micro-budget production financing; and Dusty Mancinelli and Harry Cherniak (ON) of Inflo Films with first feature LITTLE KINGS (2016 Feature Project and Praxis Screenwriters Labs) which announced at WFF 2016 that Academy Award-nominated director Deepa Mehta and producer David Hamilton of Hamilton Mehta Productions will executive produce.
Praxis Screenwriters Lab:
WFF’s Praxis Screenwriters Lab is a joint feature script development program for Canadian screenwriters, which aligns the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters’ flagship feature screenplay competition with WFF’s slate of talent programs, Festival and industry Summit. The program is focused on advancing feature-length projects at the script stage into production by facilitating feedback and mentorship from industry experts across the business spectrum.
Phase I will take place over five days from June 4th to 9th and include four months of ongoing feedback as well as script and package development with advisors. This phase provides the opportunity to work intensively on feature film scripts with the support of established writers in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with creative advisors, screenwriters will engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material.
Phase II includes a four-day follow up, master classes and scheduled market meetings from November 29th to December 3rd during the Whistler Film Festival + Summit. Writers who complete the Screenwriters Lab at Phase I will be given an invitation-only opportunity provided they have met the criteria to progress to Phase II of the program, which includes an intensive business immersion experience that takes place during the Whistler Film Festival + Summit. Advisors include highly accomplished writers, producers and other industry executives with extensive market knowledge. Screenwriters Luke Davies (LION) and Todd Komarnicki (SULLY), who were attending as Variety 10 Screenwriters to Watch, delivered Master Classes for the 2016 WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab participants during the festival.
The Whistler Film Festival gratefully acknowledges the generous support and commitment to the WFF Praxis Screenwriters Lab, presented in association with Telefilm Canada and sponsored by The Harold Greenberg Fund, Creative, IATSE Local 891 and CMPA – B.C. Producers’ Branch.
Feature Project Lab:
WFF’s Feature Project Lab, presented in association with Telefilm Canada, is an intense two-phase business and creative content development experience for Canadian producers. Focused on strengthening dramatic feature projects from script to screen, the 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.
- Phase I will take place over five days from June 4th to 9th and includes four months of ongoing feedback and project development with advisors.
- Phase II includes a three-day follow up and scheduled market meetings from November 28th to December 2nd during the Whistler Film Festival + Summit. Advisors include highly accomplished producers and other industry executives with extensive market knowledge.
Selected producers will receive individual and project-specific feedback through a series of one-on-one sessions with advisors, as well as group sessions in order to strengthen their ability to position their project for investment. Producers will also explore their own project creative, cultivate skills and learn what they need to do to stay relevant as media distribution platforms continue to evolve. Scripts will be discussed alongside issues such as creative imperatives, marketplace valuation and production challenges.