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The Leap

  • Alt Hotel (Orange Room) 125 Water Street St. John's, NL, A1C 5X4 Canada (map)

What does it take to break through to the next level? Brave and innovative filmmakers share what prompted them to leap into new, key creative roles, move from making shorts to their first feature, and explore new formats of content creation.

Featuring panelists Winnifred Jong (Coroner), Joyce Wong (Baroness von Sketch Show) and Melanie Oates (Body and Bones) and moderator Emily Bridger (Little Orphans).


Winnifred Jong

Named 2018 Playback’s 5-to-Watch, Winnifred Jong is a Toronto-based filmmaker and an alumna of the Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) and Ryerson University. Her recent work can be seen on CBC’s highest-rated new one-hour drama, Coroner and on Hallmark’s Mystery 101: Dead Talk and upcoming on eOne/Global Television’s Nurses and Private Eyes.

Winnifred created the comedic web series, Tokens, which was shortlisted for the Sundance YouTube New Voices Lab and was selected as part of the Netflix-Banff Media Festival Diversity of Voices Program. Launched in May 2019 with Telefilm Talent-to-Watch and BellFund financing, it recently won the CMPA Prime Time Throwdown in Ottawa.

The Offer, her debut short film, won the Deluxe Canada First Award at Lakeshorts International Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film in the 2016 DGC Awards. Her second award-winning short, Milk, which she also penned, just finished its two-year run on the festival circuit.


Joyce Wong

Joyce Wong is an award-winning director and writer. She is an alumna of the 2008 Berlinale Talent Campus, the 2016 TIFF Talent Lab, named one of CBC’s 17 for 17' great Canadian filmmakers of the future, and described by the LA Times as “a major talent to watch”.

Her debut narrative feature, Wexford Plaza, is a dramedy that screened in competition at Slamdance in 2017, was awarded the Comcast Best Narrative Feature Award by the Center for Asian American Media in San Francisco, nominated for the Toronto Film Critics Association's Best Canadian Film Award, and nominated for the John Dunning Discovery Award by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.

Most recently she directed on CBC/Netflix sitcom Workin’ Moms, and is currently directing on the CBC/IFC Baroness von Sketch Show.


Melanie Oates

Melanie Oates is a Writer, Director and Producer from St. John’s, Newfoundland. She’s a winner of the Percy Janes First Novel Award, and has written, directed, and produced five short films. She was also the Costume Designer for the feature films Cast No Shadow and Closet Monster. In 2016 she was chosen as one of eight female directors from across Canada to be a participant in the prestigious Women in the Director's Chair Story & Leadership Program. In 2017, she launched season one of a digital comedy series The Manor. Melanie was also chosen to be part of the 2019 Canadian Academy of Film & Television's Director Apprenticeship Program. Her first feature film, Body & Bones, premiered at the 2019 FIN Atlantic Film Festival.


Emily Bridger


Emily Bridger is a writer, filmmaker and actor from St. John’s, Newfoundland. She has written six short films and directed five short films which have screened at various festivals nationally as well as internationally. Emily is the recipient of the 2016 RBC Michelle Jackson Emerging Filmmaker Award, the 2018 WIFT-AT All Access Pass Award, and is an alumna of the Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC). Emily’s feature film screenplay, Little Orphans, was selected for the 2017 Whistler Film Festival Praxis Screenwriters Lab as well as the 2018 Telefilm Talent to Watch Program. Directed by Ruth Lawrence and produced by Jenny Hawley, Little Orphans is currently in post-production.

Earlier Event: October 20
Sunday Afternoon Shorts
Later Event: October 20
Closing Night Gala: Rustic Oracle