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 Introducing the 2017 participants of the Academy Apprenticeship for Women Directors

Aisling Theresa Chin-Yee | Montreal, QC

Aisling Chin-Yee is a filmmaker based in Montreal. In 2016 she produced the series Lost Generation, and the documentary, Inside these Walls. She produced award-winning feature films, Rhymes for Young Ghouls, The Saver, and the documentary Last Woman Standing. 2014 she wrote, directed and produced the film, Sound Asleep, that premiered at the Lucerne International Film Festival, CBC, and the Marche du film a Cannes. In 2015, she wrote, directed the award-winning films Synesthesia and the NFB short film, Five Stories. She also produced the feature film, The Saver. She is currently in development on her feature film debut, The Day Between, her feature documentary, Lit Up, and the television comedy Sharing Sharon.

Anna Cooley | Calgary, AB

Anna Cooley is a film writer-producer-director based in Calgary. Her multi-award winning feature documentary A Sauropod Abroad is currently making its way around the international festival circuit along with her short Sleepwalker. Her production company Erratic Pictures develops projects that explore different styles of storytelling, collaborating with artists in many disciplines and experimenting with new technologies like virtual reality. Anna is an IATSE Local 212 member working in Props, Set Decoration and the Art Department. She has also been the Production Designer on numerous shorts. She volunteers her time to social justice causes, and mentors youth and indigenous filmmakers.

Leah Johnston | Truro, NS

Leah Johnston has directed four award-winning short films that have played at over 40 festivals worldwide and been broadcast on Air Canada flights and CBC television. Her most recent, Ingrid & The Black Hole was the recipient of the $35,000 WIFT/Bravofact Pitch Prize. It won Best Canadian Short at both Edmonton International and Silver Wave Film Festivals and swept the awards at Vancouver Island Short Film Festival (Best Picture, Best Editing, Best Screenplay, Best Technical Achievement). Some Things Won’t Sleep received the 2013 National Screen Institute Drama Prize and racked up prizes across the country for direction, design and performance, including the Corus Fearless Female Filmmaker award; My Younger Older Sister which she also stars in, earned her a nomination for both her performance (ACTRA Maritimes awards) and her filmmaking (Best Short- Silver Wave Film Festival, Remi Winner- Worldfest Houston) and was broadcast on CBC. Leah divides her time between Halifax and Toronto, where she is represented for television directing by Greenlight Management. She holds a BFA in Drama from New York University and is a graduate of National Screen Institute and the Reykjavik Talent Lab.

Reem Morsi | Toronto, ON

Reem Morsi had careers in professional scuba diving and in human rights, before becoming a writer/director. Morsi’s film credits include Their Feast (2012 – Cannes Short Film Corner, TIFF, BBC, Cine Sud), Nostalgia (2015 – WIFT), among others. Her short film scripts Lipstick (2013), Check Point (2014) and Mango (2015) were all named finalists of the Film Prize of the Robert Bosch Foundation for International Cooperation, an affiliate of the Berlin Film Festival. In March 2016, Morsi received a scriptwriting grant from the San Francisco Film Society for her feature film Bootleg. Subsequently, her short film based on this feature screened at a number of international film festivals, and was awarded the best Canadian short at the London Worldwide Comedy Festival. Other shorts of Morsi’s include The Door (2016), which screened at Whistler Film Festival and won Best Drama at the 2017 Yorkton Film Festival, and Show & Tell (2016), which won first place at the WIFT/BravoFact pitch competition and screened at the 2017 Yorkton Film Festival, where it won Golden Sheaf Awards for Best Director, Best Short Subject and Best Emerging Director. Morsi has participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus in 2012, the Canadian Film Centre’s Directors’ Lab in 2015, the TIFF Talent Lab in 2016 and the Women in the Director’s Chair in 2014/2015, and recently won the Telefilm Canada New Voices Award at the Toronto Screenwriters Conference in 2017.

JJ Neepin | Winnipeg, MB

JJ Neepin is a Cree First Nations filmmaker living and working in Winnipeg, Manitoba. With her sister and producer Justina Neepin, she runs her own production company called JJNeepinFilms INC. JJ has written and directed several short films; her most recent documentary short film Headdress had its world premiere at the 2017 Hot Docs Film Festival. Growing up, JJ had a natural inclination towards the arts and she has training in theatre, dance, singing and graphic art. In between projects JJ can be found reading manga, scrolling Tumblr or binge watching Netflix.

Jen Walden | Yellowknife, NT

Jen Walden is a filmmaker and visual artist living in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Jen is passionate about art and frequently works on multi-media projects and collaborations to push the boundaries of her craft and artistic expression. Her first film Painted Girl appeared on CBC’s Short Film Faceoff in 2016. She was the Production Designer for the feature film The Sun at Midnight that premiered at Imaginative in Toronto. With a unique eye for aesthetic details on her sets, mixed with captivating storylines, Jen has set herself apart as a filmmaker who creates visually stunning films with substance, character and heart.