Local filmmaker Emily Bridger is the winner of the 2016 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, which will provide her with $26,000 in cash and services to make a short film.
The film will premiere at the closing night gala of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in 2017.
Bridger has written and directed several films including, Epilogue, which screened at festivals all over Canada and Brad, which premiered at the LA Shorts Fest in 2010. In 2013, Bridger wrote the film Sadie (produced by Deanne Foley, directed by Latonia Hartery), which has screened at several festivals internationally and been broadcast on CBC and on Air Canada Flights.
Bridger loves the chaotic energy and collaborative nature of being on set.
She drew on her experiences behind the camera to write Waste It, the six-minute short she will be making through the RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award (RBC MJ Award). The movie is about a woman who tries to deal with a loss through filmmaking and finds herself embroiled in conflict with her surrounding cast and crew.
“It’s about how we try to deal with loss and memory through art, how unsatisfying that can be, and how we continue to do it anyway,” Bridger said, describing the script of Waste It.
The annual, RBC MJ Award is facilitated by the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival in memory of filmmaker and mentor, Michelle Jackson. The award recognizes a woman filmmaker, living in Newfoundland, who has not yet directed a feature film.
Past recipients like, Ruth Lawrence and Alison White, have gone on to become successful, well-established filmmakers. Bridger says she is honoured to be recognized amongst alumni whom she deeply admires.
In addition to providing cash and services to make a short film, the award provides the winner with mentorship from producer, Anita Reilly McGee. Bridger is excited about the mentorship aspect of the award.
“I really like working with other people because they can bring something new to the project,” Bridger said, “With this award there’s a lot of mentorship, so it’s a great way for me to dig in as a director.”
Bridger believes that the underrepresentation of women behind the camera in the Canadian film industry results in a lack of mentors for women filmmakers. She says the work the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival does played an important role in her decision to become a filmmaker.
“The way the Festival supports women and exhibits work by women, I don’t know if I would have felt allowed to make a film if it weren’t for that,” Bridger said.