Whether you’re cast in a project that shoots abroad or you’re a producer on a quest for locations and tax credits, we’re all finding ourselves traversing the globe more than ever. Getting to know (and joining) our sister Women in Film & Television organizations around the country and the world can be a resource of unending value. From the quickest route to crewing-up with talented women to taking advantage of great events and programing, WIFTs around the world expand our networks and our horizons.
By Mellini Kantayya
This past summer, I was warmly welcomed by Women in Film and Television – Toronto (WIFT-T). Established in 1984, WIFT-T is the oldest Women in Film and Television chapter in Canada and also boasts of the largest Canadian membership and staff. They represent women in all areas of screen-based media at every stage of their careers.
Though we share the same mission, every organization is unique. If there were two words to capture the spirit of WIFT-T, they would be “cultivation” and “mentorship.” WIFT-T operates under a “cohort” system, with programming specifically tailored to those in their early careers (less than five years), mid careers (five to ten years), and at the executive level (over ten years). This facilitates, as Executive Director Heather Webb said, “women learning, sharing, and mentoring throughout their careers [while] offering each member unique opportunities to tap into a diverse and supportive network in the industry,” whether their goal is breaking into the business or securing that corner office.
Left to right: Christina Anderson (Program & Special Events Coordinator), Heather Webb (Executive Director), Kadon Douglas (Communications & Engagement Manager)
One exciting manifestation of this is WIFT-T’s recent launch of a six-month formal mentorship program. Members at the early-career or mid-career level apply to be coached by an executive level member who has chosen to participate. Both mentors and mentees attend workshops to ascertain goals and expectations. Mentees emerge with a plan with quantitative, tangible outcomes and support along the way.
WIFT-T August “Walk and Talk” at Trinity Bellwood Park in Toronto
Before leaving Toronto, I also had the pleasure of participating in another program that embodies their spirit of cultivation and mentorship by joining one of their “walks and talks.” Inspired by serial media entrepreneur Geraldine Laborne’s “Global Mentoring Walks,” members meet monthly at one of Toronto’s beautiful city parks to, well, walk and talk—giving members the opportunity to chat and network in a casual environment with leading women in the industry.
You can learn more about (and join!) Women in Film and Television Toronto at http://www.wift.com
Clemence Taillandier is an independent film distribution veteran, having worked as a theatrical booker for over 15 years. She now operates her own distribution services company and provides theatrical, festival booking and consultation services to boutique distributors including Film Movement and Distrib Films, two distributors specialized in foreign films and documentaries. She has been at the forefront of moving the cinema experience to a virtual space in the wake of COVID-19.READ MORE
Heidi Philipsen-Meissner is a director, producer, writer and actress with over two decades of professional experience in international film, television and communications. She shares insight into how she manages her work in film and television while also raising two teenagers, especially now as her daughter is beginning her filmmaking career as well.READ MORE
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