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WIFTA Celebrates 10 Years!

Although a few months early of our 10th Anniversary, on November 22nd WIFTA held a wine reception and celebration. The evenings festivities included an amazing guest speaker, the unveiling of WIFTA’s new logo and the attendance of several special guests. The feature of the evening, “A Conversation with Stephanie Morgenstern," sponsored by Creative Women Workshops Association, and moderated by Carol Whiteman (co-creator and producer of the Women In The Director's Chair Workshop) was a particular highlight. As well as being WIDC alumni, Stephanie is co- creator and co-writer of the hit CTV/CBS series "Flashpoint”. Following the journey of "Flashpoint" from a personal, writing and creative perspective was revealing, inspiring and entertaining. Combined with sharing Stephanie’s insights, observations and variety of experiences from her other producing, directing, writing and performing accomplishments contributed to a full, fun and informative evening.

Stephanie Morgenstern, along with her writing partner Mark Ellis, is co-creator and co-writer of the hit CTV/CBS series Flashpoint. Flashpoint is a one-hour police drama, inspired by Toronto’s Emergency Task Force, which premiered on CTV July 2008. A second season of Flashpoint has already been ordered by both CTV and CBS. Stephanie’s first co-directed short film, the bilingual Curtains/Rideau received a Genie nomination and has won several film festival awards. Her next short, Remembrance also received a Genie nomination and won the Claude Jutra Award for Best Short Film in 2002. She and Mark Ellis are currently developing Remembrance into a feature script. She has also been an actor for 30 years, perhaps best known for her roles in Atom Egoyan’s The Sweet Hereafter (sharing in a Best Acting Ensemble win), Denis Villeneuve’s Maelstrom, and as the voice of Sailor Venus on Sailor Moon. She is also a WIDC director alumna.

Carol Whiteman, as co-creator and producer of The Women In the Director’s Chair Workshop (WIDC), and President and CEO of Creative Women Workshops Association (CWWA), Carol champions the career advancement of women directors. She holds an Honours BFA from York University; is a graduate of the Alliance Atlantis Banff Television Executive Program and is a two-time Governor General’s Award-nominee and industry award-winner for promoting women’s equality in Canada. An advocate for professional development in the film and television industry, Carol has served on the board of directors of ACTRA, the BC Federation of Labour and currently serves on seven film industry committees, task forces and advisory boards. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband and teenage son.

WIFTA would not be celebrating a 10th Anniversary without the dedication, expertise, support, leadership and friendship of some very special women. These special guests were WIFTA’s Past Presidents, who spoke about their experience with WIFTA and what the organization means to them. It was a wonderful opportunity to honour them:

Founder and Past President Mary Barroll; Donna Boyle; Patricia Harris-Seeley; Nancy Laing; Donna Weiss; Gail Yakemchuck and Smita Acharyya. We raised a glass to a few innovative women in attendance who also toiled very hard at bringing WIFTA from its infancy to a full-blown chapter - Lynne Rach and Brenda Basham, and toasted our members…all contributors to the success of WIFTA.

Some WIFTA events are fundraisers, some are networking opportunities, some are for professional development and some feature tremendous guest speakers. WIFTA benefits from community support through sponsorship – both financial contributions and ‘in kind’ sponsorships. Often this assistance directly influences the type of event we are able to offer. For our 10th Anniversary Event WIFTA would like to acknowledge the generosity of the following:

Platinum Donors: Delta Calgary South; CSM Media Inc; Triggerman Design Inc; Creative Women Workshops Association.

Gold Donor: Alberta Film.

Silver Donors: Panasonic; Calgary Co-operative Association Limited; Line 21 Media; Joe Media Group; Tartin - A Part of The PSN Network.

The evening provided the opportunity to announce the winner of the Women in the Directors Chair scholarship sponsored by WIFTA and PANACEA. This year’s recipient is Dominique Keller, who was on hand to accept her $1,000.00 WIDIC scholarship.

A 10th anniversary is a suitable opportunity for a move into the next decade with a updated look. The final event of the evening's festivities was the unveiling of WIFTA's brand new logo. Congratulations to Mark Yiu of Triggerman Design, Jennifer Snyder and all the board members who took about a year to go through this creative process.

Mingling, networking, food, wine and friendship, trademarks of WIFTA events, went on until the wee hours. Our gratitude is extended to volunteers who assisted and contributed to the evening’s success: Janna Gummo, Romina Imani, Ann Marie Nakagawa and to the current WIFTA board members who put much effort into producing the event.