This February, four women filmmakers will be participating in the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival’s (SJIWFF) new [Interactive] Incubator Project Montreal Residency.

The Festival partnered with CBC Newfoundland and Labrador and Les Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois (RVCQ) to send the women to Rendez-vous Pro, a conference on film and interactive media.

Michelle Rex Bailey and Latonia Hartery will be travelling from Newfoundland and Labrador to attend the conference, while Claire Blanchet and Jenna MacMillan will be travelling from Quebec and Prince Edward Island, respectively.

They are all alumni of the SJIWFF’s Interactive Incubator Project (IIP). IIP is an annual call for submissions from women in Atlantic Canada and Quebec with an idea for an interactive, web-based or multi-platform project.

Each year, the Festival provides the creators behind the five most exciting proposals with professional guidance to help develop their projects (as well as a pass to the annual Festival’s screenings and workshops).

Latonia Hartery’s Work Lauds Our Connection to Seal Skin

Newfoundland-based filmmaker and archaeologist, Latonia Hartery’s Out of Necessity: The Story of Newfoundland’s Seal Skin Boots was an IIP winner in 2014.

The project is a documentary about the history of Newfoundland’s sealing industry with a complementary interactive website that allows people to share photos and stories about their own seal skin clothing. Her work focuses on people’s relationship with seal skin on Newfoundland’s northern peninsula.

“I want to highlight how seal skin garments have been a critical part of island life and coastal settlement for thousands of years, and of course, how it is still important to us today.” Hartery wrote.

Hartery explained that the site will be a repository for information about sealskin clothing in Newfoundland. It will be a unique, collaboratively built resource that gives people access to first hand-accounts of different experiences with Newfoundland’s seal skin garment industry.

“I like interactive work because even though it’s digital, in some ways, it’s a living thing. The shape of the project depends on who interacts with it … I enjoy collaboration, and a site like this would be a great expression of that.” Hartery wrote.

Hartery is excited to bring her project to Rendez-vous Pro, where, over the course of the three-day conference, more than thirty workshops will be offered on creating interactive content.

“I’m thankful to SJIWFF for the opportunity, as RVCQ has one of the best interactive programs in the country.” Hartery wrote.

At the conference the IIP Montreal Residency participants will meet with specialists in interactive media and digital content creation who will help them develop their story ideas and provide advice about securing funding for their projects.

They will also have the opportunity to discuss their projects with other filmmakers, video-game creators, and interactive media producers from all over Canada and Europe.