Following a fall festival tour for her latest feature film, The Animal Project, Ingrid Veninger returned to Toronto with a desire to see more fiction features written and directed by Canadian women. On November 18th, she proposed the idea of a screenwriting lab on her Facebook page, and received 20 submissions.
“I want to galvanize the Canadian women who have already completed at least one feature film”, says DIY Queen Ingrid Veninger, “and who want to pursue their filmmaking with an eye on taking bigger creative risks.”
“When I won the EDA Award for The Animal Project at the Whistler Film Festival from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists,” adds Ingrid, “I decided to take a chance at the podium. I offered a first look at the 6 scripts written in the Femmes Lab, to the first person who stepped up with $6000… The room was stone silent until Melissa Leo stood up and shouted, “I’ll do it!”… she’s is a true champion. Over the holidays I received Melissa’s cheque, which will be shared between the participating women. Then TIFF offered us a place to meet at the Lightbox. So it’s on!”
The result is pUNK Films FEMMES LAB — A of six months intensive ‘lab’, from January to June, 2014, where 6 participants will meet once a month. At the end of the six months, six feature film screenplays will be complete. What an excellent idea and opportunity!
Veninger has produced six feature films: ONLY (TIFF 2008, Slamdance), Nurse.Fighter.Boy (TIFF 2008, Karlovy Vary, Warsaw), MODRA (TIFF 2010, Canada’s Top Ten), i am a good person/i am a bad person (TIFF 2011, MoMA, Goa), The End of Time (TIFF 2012, Locarno, IDFA), and The Animal Project (TIFF 2013, Canadian Theatrical Release March, VOD June 2014). She also received the Jay Scott Prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association in 2012. She used this award money to executive-produce five features. She is not only a doer, a giver, but she delivers on her word!
Along with Veninger, the other Femmes Lab members are: Danishka Esterhazy, a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre and the National Screen Institute. Michelle Latimer, a Métis/Algonquin filmmaker, actor, and curator. Sophie Deraspe, who came into cinema through visual arts and literature. Mars Horodyski, an alumnus of the Canadian Film Centre’s Director’s Lab and the Berlinale Talent Campus. Anais Granofsky, a veteran performer, having starred in the original CBC series, Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi High as Lucy.
Veninger shares that, “Anais and Mars have ideas for their scripts so their feet are already in the water…We had our first lab session the other day, and each of us defined our goals for February. It’s going to be intense, but I am so excited about this Lab…” Sounds exciting.
Initiatives such as these, allows Canadian writers and filmmakers an opportunity to further their craft. For women in film, it certainly opens a new door. Not only will this Femmes Lab provide a sounding board for all members, but it will also foster a mentoring relationship. I am, for one, looking forward to the projects that will emerge from this group of six talented women. Kudos to all!!
*Photo courtesy of GAT PR.