October 2017: On the heels of sold out screenings at its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and at home at the Vancouver International Film Festival, Kathleen Hepburn and her debut feature, Never Steady, Never Still swept VIFF’s Spotlight on BC Awards winning three top awards of the night.
Presented by TELUS, the Sea to Sky Award recognizes Hepburn’s outstanding work as a female key creative on her BC-produced feature. The $20,000 prize money can be used for a future production or towards customized training that will further advance Hepburn’s career.
Hepburn also won the BC Emerging Filmmaker Award sponsored by UBCP/ACTRA, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society ($7,500 cash) and William F. White International ($10,000 in kind).
Finally, Hepburn took home the prestigious Best Emerging Canadian Filmmaker Award sponsored by the Directors Guild of Canada.
“We’re well on our way to funding our next project!” said Hepburn who accepted the awards at the VIFF gala event October 7. “I’m blown away by the recognition.”
Hepburn is a Women In the Director’s Chair program alumna and winner of the WIDC Feature Film Award that provided over $100,000 worth of services and rentals in kind (see backgrounder for list of sponsors) as a first-in investor to support her feature debut, Never Steady, Never Still. Hepburn and her producers Tyler Hagan (Experimental Forest Films) and James Brown (Christie Street Creative) acknowledge the invaluable support of the WIDC sponsors, as well as financiers Telefilm Canada, the Harold Greenburg Fund and Thunderbird Releasing for helping them get the film made.
“Creating and holding a space for authentic voices like Kathleen Hepburn’s is what WIDC is all about,” said WIDC Producer, Carol Whiteman. “We are proud to have made that early investment in Kathleen and her story.”
Set against a spectacular northern BC backdrop, Kathleen Hepburn’s debut feature Never Steady, Never Still is the intimate story of a devoted mother wrestling with Parkinson’s (Shirley Henderson, astonishing in a demanding role) and a son saddled with his first adult responsibilities (future star Théodore Pellerin). Eloquently scripted, and directed with both tenderness and assurance, the film uses its note-perfect, naturalistic performances and intricately calibrated revelations to create powerful, cathartic drama. The film starts its international tour later this month, heading next to Korea. Thunderbird Releasing distributes in Canada and UK, while LevelK APS handles international sales.
The 2017 WIDC Feature Film Award winner will be presented during the Whistler Film Festival.
ABOUT WIDC – Founded in 1997, Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) works on a director-by-director basis to address the well-known poor statistics around women-directed fiction on screen. WIDC delivers internationally respected mentorship, development, and production award offerings, specially designed to advance the careers and fiction screen projects of Canadian women directors. WIDC has fostered the development of over 220 award-winning Canadian women screen directors who can now be found on a newly launched WIDC alumnae directory (widc.ca/directory).
WIDC is presented with major support from Telefilm Canada, Harold Greenberg Fund, and ACTRA, and with the participation of the Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des Arts du Canada, Actra Fraternal Benefit Society, ACTRA National, TELUS STORYHIVE, Creative BC, UBCP/ACTRA, Independent Production Fund, ACTRA Alberta, IATSE 669; and appreciates community collaborations with 1st Weekend Club’s Canada Screens, National Film Board, WIFT Vancouver’s International Women In Film Festival, Female Eye Film Festival, St John’s International Women’s Film Festival, WIFT Toronto, WIFT Atlantic, Film Fatales Toronto, Black Women Film-Canada, Women In View, New York WIF&T, Alliance of Women Directors, Tangerine Entertainment, Crazy 8’s, TIFF, and the Whistler Film Festival.
The WIDC Feature Film Award is supported by Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund, William F. White International, Encore Vancouver, MELS Studios, Skylab Vancouver, Tattersall Sound and Picture, Technicolor Toronto, White Hart Post Production, Clairmont Camera Film and Digital, Panavision Canada, SIM Digital, The Bridge Studios, North Shore Studios, Vancouver Film Studios, The Research House Clearance Services Inc., Descriptive Video Works, and Front Row Insurance.
Since 2009 the WIDC Feature Film Award has shepherded the completion of six multiple award-winning feature-length films by Canadian women directors which in addition to Kathleen Hepburn include Katrin Bowen, Lulu Keating, Siobhan Devine, as well as Jordan Canning and Ana Valine whose respective sophomore features Suck It Up! and Once There Was a Winter are also touring festivals this season, including screenings at VIFF 2017.