August 5, 2015

Dropped the Mic on Montreal

With Carolyn Combs, Gloria Ui Young Kim & Carleen Kyle
This year has been full of surprises, coalescing into an intense crash course of professional development and networking opportunities. As part of winning the national genre competition From Our Dark Side, I got to attend my first Fantasia Film Festival and the Frontieres Film Market in Montreal. Those of you who follow me on Snapchat (@ScreamQueenB) would have met my roommate Fran├žois (a spider who terrorized me in the shower) and caught a glimpse of my grand achievement of tasteful side-boob, wink.

The city was abuzz with activity along St. Catherines. The Just For Laughs festival was taking place at the same time - I've never seen so many hungover comedians in ONE Starbucks - and my DedFest pal Derek Clayton scored some tickets to the live read of The Big Lebowski 
starring Michael Fassbender (yum) Jennifer Lawrence, Patton Oswalt and yes... Dennis Quaid. Thrillz!

But seriously, how can I explain how awesome Fantasia is? Rooftop networking sessions, international producers of horror and science fiction (imagine the conversations) and nightly screenings. I was also reunited with my fellow screenwriters and winners of the From Our Dark Side program. 

With Kate Kingley, Carleen Kyle & Gloria Ui Young Kim

Although I did not get to see The Turbo Kid, I did attend the panel discussion to get an idea of how the film came together. Festivals are excellent for this, because you get to hear all the behind the scenes stories of what really went down. It really takes a village of creative people to make a film, from the writers to the distributors, and there's a great team behind The Turbo Kid!

Possibly the most important part of the trip was the speed-dating sessions with distributors. Courageous representatives from Cinemavault, Mongrel Media, Anchor Bay, Spectrevision, Raven Banner (and many more) were available for our interrogation. Overall, I was really impressed with how kind and approachable these representatives are and surprised to discover they want to meet with us and hear about our projects right away. Gone are the days of making your movie and finding someone to sell it afterwards. These reps travel the world and attend the biggest markets to keep on the trends. The main advice: don't just make something - do your research. When you're wearing the writer/producer hat, it's a tough balancing act between creativity and the business of creativity. 

Now I have a better idea of where my film fits into the international market and I have met several contacts to move forward with once the final script is complete. That is an incredible gift. The From Our Dark Side program is actively pulling women like myself into the international community, offering practical support and exposure, blowing up a world of opportunities for us. A huge thanks to Lindsay Peters and the Women in Film and Television Vancouver for making this possible. As part of the program, I'll be in Montreal next year to attend Fantasia and actually pitch my film, so she better be market-ready. I've got a lot of work to do before then! Lets hope Francois found a better place to live. (He did eventually go down the drain. RIP may be in order).

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