WIFTV: From Our Dark Side Contest

September 14, 2017


A national English language contest seeking Canadian women writers and their best genre film ideas! Applications for the 2018 season are now open!

**Application deadline: January 5, 2018**

Read about the 2017 winners here & Check out the past projects here

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In partnership with Creative BC, Super Channel, Telefilm Canada and Telus.

Submit your maximum 3-5 page genre film outline by January 5th and win an incubator program designed to advance your feature film project and increase your knowledge of the genre market. No previous film writing experience necessary. Open to women writers only.

*Resubmissions welcome!

What’s genre film? Genre film, as we define it, includes thrillers, western, science fiction, fantasy and horror – or any imaginative combination of these. Genre is filled with character types like (but in no way limited to): fairies, mutants, killers, aliens, elves, zombies, vampires, werewolves, cannibals, psychopaths, ghosts, demons, ghostly demons (you get the idea). Expected plot elements or genre “tropes” could include: time travel, space travel, brain enhancing drugs, dystopian worlds, invading plants, prophecies, exorcisms, murders, carnivals and human sacrifice.

Why just concepts and not full scripts? Successful genre films need to provide fans with what they are expecting (for example, if it’s a zombie film, you need to have a lot of zombies) but to do this with a unique or original twist, brilliantly executed (pun intended). Whether or not you are a fan or previous writer of the genre, there will be likely much you can learn through this incubator. And concepts (rather than scripts) will have the most flexibility to take advantage of that learning.

Why genre? Genre is a form that can explore a wide range of creative themes from politics to our darkest fears. It is also highly marketable, drawing critical attention, audience and box office revenue to its creators and production team because of the dedicated and passionate genre fanbases. To give a fresh take on these genre stock characters and tropes, we are currently seeing more reboots with female protagonists and points of view. Women are beginning to take ownership of the form, making serious inroads in genre internationally, with original and empowered leads such as Wonder Woman or the main character Amelia in the recent indie horror hit from Australia, The Babadook. These characters defy genre stereotypes of women as hyper-sexualized, helpless victims and play both with and against time tested genre tropes (which is key to genre success).

We want you to be a part of this rebirth of genre. We are looking for women writers with the strongest and most original concepts to take advantage of this trend. From Our Dark Side sees limitless possibilities in genre for women storytellers. This incubator is designed to provide you with a better understanding of the market, the fans and the kinds of stories that will connect and kick some genre ass.

How does the contest work? A jury of top genre creators will select 10 runners up and five winners. The five winners will receive a $500 cash prize and participate in a six-month incubator program from March to August 2018.

What is the incubator program? Designed by genre experts, the program is designed to advance your career and your project through:

  • Full accreditation and partial travel subsidy to the Vancouver International Women in Film Festival (VIWIFF) in March 2018, where winners will begin the program, participate in consultations and group meetings on writing and pitching
  • Consultation with a genre film writer/story editor
  • Consultation with a digital marketing strategy expert
  • Collaboration with a graphic artist to initiate the design of marketing materials
  • Full accreditation and travel subsidy (if certain creative milestones are met*) to the Montreal Edition of the Frontières International Co-Production Market, held in July alongside the Fantasia Film Festival, and inclusion in the Co-Production Market guide, where winners will consult with a variety of genre industry professionals including producers and distributors
  • Consultation with Raven Banner Entertainment Inc. regarding distribution and marketing
  • Consultation with a genre producer

*Winners are expected to work on their projects between March and June and have a 15-page treatment, as well as a pitch and promotional package ready to take to the Frontières International Co-Production Market in July. Guidance in the preparation of these materials will be provided.

Projects will be announced and promoted on the WIFTV website, genre film sites and social media to build interest and contacts for potential industry collaborators. WIFTV is pleased that the following have participated in the program as consultants: Producer Rupert Harvey (Nightmare on Elm Street 5, On the Farm); Director Rachel Talalay (Sherlock, Dr. Who, Tank Girl); Director Karen Lam (Evangeline, Stained); Producer Elizabeth Yake (It’s All Gone Pete Tong, It’s All Gone Green); Screenwriter Dennis Heaton (FIDO); Screenwriter Peggy Thompson (Better Than Chocolate) and Digital Marketing Strategy Expert Annelise Larson. Story editors have included: Karen Walton, Carrie Gadsby, Lesley Krueger, Nikki Saltz, Sara Snow and Dennis Heaton. (linked to blog) Please check our frequently asked questions, and our Quick Start Guide. (leave this out until it’s ready – later)

The Program is led by producer Sharon McGowan of the WIFTV board of directors under the guidance of an Advisory Board of genre film experts that includes directors Karen Lam, Amanda Tapping, Rachel Talalay and Rupert Harvey. WIFTV board member and screenwriter Peggy Thompson provides ongoing creative support as Program Mentor.

Click here for full contest rules and application procedure

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