On October 21,2020 at ImagineNATIVE, Women in View launched Five in Focus: Indigenous, its latest iteration of a successful professional development program that will promote and elevate Indigenous women-identifying and non-binary writers and directors in Canada. Co-led by Tracey Deer and Jan Miller, the Five in Focus: Indigenous participants will work with Indigenous women mentors – Alethea Arnaquq-Baril (Inuit), Tracey Deer (Mohawk), Danis Goulet (Cree/Métis), Tina Keeper (Cree), and Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (Blackfoot/Sami) – and other industry experts on the development of their feature film or television series. The program is supported by with the Indigenous Screen Office, Telefilm Canada, Canada Media Fund, Directors Guild of Canada, and TELUS. Five in Focus: Indigenous is tailored to meet the specific needs of each participant and will include industry activities, master classes, pitch training with international consultant Jan Miller, project packaging and more.
“The statistics in WIV’s On Screen Report make it very clear that Indigenous women are woefully underrepresented in our Industry. We are excited to offer this program to help amplify the voices of the incredible talent that exists and to be part of the movement to create an equitable and inclusive media landscape.” -Tracey Deer, Chair of the WIV Board.
Women in View is proud to announce the participants for Five in Focus: Indigenous, the fourth iteration of their professional development program that promotes and elevates women-identifying writers and directors in Canada.
The Five in Focus: Indigenous selected participants are Lindsay McIntyre, Marylou Mintram, JJ Neepin, Eva Thomas, and Roxann Whitebean.
Five in Focus: Previous Iterations
Launched at the 2016 Whistler Film Festival and headed up by a stellar jury, Five in Focus was created with the goal of identifying and promoting five talented female directors.
“It’s an invitation we’re sending out to our colleagues in the industry,” said Louise Clark, President and Executive Producer, Lark Productions and 2017 selection committee member, “We simply want to say, ‘these are terrific talents. We wanted to bring this talent to the industry’s attention.”
“Five in Focus was one of the most professionally gratifying experiences for me. It was instrumental in helping me sign with an agent as well as getting me in front of producers which resulted in my first TV directing gigs.” said director Gloria Ui Young Kim, one of the 2017 Five in Focus directors. “This invaluable spotlight helped me to advance my career in the most meaningful way.”
For year two, Women in View has partnered with Women in Film and Television- Atlantic and Telefilm Canada to turn the spotlight on five women directors from the Atlantic region.
“We have so many talented women in Atlantic Canada working outside the mainstream. It’s exciting to see our directors given the chance to step up and show the rest of Canada what they have to offer,” says Kimberlee McTaggart, WIFT-AT chair.
On August 11, 2018, at the Women in Animation Vancouver Summit, Women in View and Women in Animation Vancouver announced BC’s Five in Focus: Animation. The five selected for the program will represent the key creative positions in animation: screenwriter, director, producer, art director and animation director – positions in which women are underrepresented. Over the course of a year, the participants developed and produced an animated short film which will premiere at Spark 2019. For more information: BC’s FIVE IN FOCUS: ANIMATION PRESS RELEASE
In November 2018, CFC Features adapted Five in Focus to select its next project. Nominations were gathered from culturally and regionally diverse female creators across Canada, aiming to redress how underrepresented female filmmakers are in Canadian cinema, women of colour especially, and to better promote the work of Canadian female directors. The new approach was so successful that CFC Features chose two projects for support: BEANS, from co-writer/director Tracey Deer, which explores a twelve year-old Mohawk girl’s experience of the Oka Crisis in 1990; and SUMMER WITH HOPE, from writer/director Sadaf Foroughi, which traces an alliance between two adolescent swimmers in their small Iranian town.