The annual Michelle Jackson Award is peer-juried and open to any emerging female director from Newfoundland and Labrador who has yet to direct a feature-length film. The award grants its winner $20,000 in cash and services towards the creation of a six-minute film … which will screen at the Closing Night Gala of the St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival next year.

Part of the win also involves being assigned a mentor to learn from and work with. “The Michelle Jackson Award means so much to emerging female filmmakers in this province,” says Nolan. “It’s an award that focuses on mentorship and support. I feel deeply grateful to be the person who gets to benefit from it this year.”

Known around town for her splendid editorial eyes on the fiction and film of fellow writers, Wanda has been enjoying much success with her own work lately, particularly a film script called The Magic of Boxer Connors, which grew out of her novel in progress, Rabbittown. That feature is now in production with Pope Productions.

In April of 2016, she will make her directorial debut with the short animation, The Mystery of the Secret Room, produced by Annette Clarke at the National Film Board. The project is a collaborative effort with Montreal-based filmmaker and animator Claire Blanchet. She also wrote a short-film screenplay, Four Sisters, as part of her Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia.

The short that this award win will help her create is called Crocuses, a wise and nuanced look at an elderly woman making peace with past loves and past regrets. “It’s about Rita Crawley, a woman in her seventies, living in a senior’s residence,” says Nolan.

“When the handsome Mr. Landry teases Rita about the promise of Spring, it sparks in her a reverie of memories and regret about her late husband, Bernard. Through a dreamscape of memory and image, a portrait of Rita is revealed.”

“It tells not only of Rita’s relationship with Bernard but also of her relationship with her current world. In a broader sense, it touches on: a lost way of life; the freedom and restrictions of our upbringing; the limitations and power of women; and the profound beauty of love and loss.”

Be sure to catch it next October at the festival’s closing gala. In winning this award, Nolan joins an impressive list of previous winners: Jenina MacGillivray (2014), Tamara Segura (2013), Jacqueline Hynes (2012), Ruth Lawrence (2011), and Allison White (2010).