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Writers’ Studio

Since 2012, TIFF Writers’ Studio has provided Canadian participants with a fulsome, curated experience through a unique integration of public and private programming. As of 2020, TIFF has invited international screenwriters and writer-directors to apply. The programme offers a space for screenwriters to consolidate skills, exchange ideas, and discuss challenges, all within a collaborative five-day intensive lab at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Participants are supported to take their careers and projects to the next level as they participate in workshops, panel discussions, peer-to-peer mentorship, and one-on-one project development consultations guided by both Canadian and international experts.

The Renee Perlmutter Memorial Fellowship for Literary Adaptation: One applicant focusing on adapting literary work for the screen will be selected to participate in the programme. The recipient of the Renee Perlmutter Memorial Fellowship will receive an additional $3,000 grant toward developing their project.

CHANEL Women Writers’ Network

As part of Share Her Journey, the CHANEL Women Writers’ Network supports a year-round program to advance the careers of women and non-binary alumni of TIFF Writers’ Studio. CHANEL’s participation extends and enriches TIFF’s support for writers and writer-directors by providing funding to 2023 participants to facilitate the acceleration and development of their projects, and by offering opportunities to connect with a diverse network of mentors and peers year-round.

The CHANEL Women Writers' Network Members include: Abbesi Akhamie, Teyama Alkamli, Maha Al-Saati, Berkley Brady, Maggie Briggs, Luis De Filippis, Adrianna DiLonardo, Idil Ibrahim, Lisa Jackson, Melanie Jones, Karabo Lediga, Lindsay MacKay, Yasmine Mathurin, Katie McMillan, Fawzia Mirza, Jasmin Mozaffari, Lina Roessler, Silvina Schnicer, Mayumi Yoshida, Farida Zahran, and Sanja Zivkovic.

CHANEL Women Writers’ Network Class of 2022 (L-R: Abbesi Akhamie, Mayumi Yoshida, Yasmine Mathurin, and Maggie Briggs) with TIFF Chief Programming Officer Anita Lee (Centre)

CHANEL Women Writers’ Network Class of 2022 (L-R: Abbesi Akhamie, Mayumi Yoshida, Yasmine Mathurin, and Maggie Briggs) with TIFF Chief Programming Officer Anita Lee (Centre)

2023 Writers’ Studio Participants

Teyama Alkamli (Canada)
My Name is Jala

Teyama Alkamli is an award-winning Syrian-Canadian writer, director, and producer living in Toronto. She is an alumna of DocNomads, the European Mobile Film School, Hot Docs Emerging Filmmaker Lab, and the Canadian Film Centre's Director Lab, and is a current TIFF Talent Accelerator participant. Her latest work, Hockey Mom, was awarded Best Documentary Program at the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards.

Berkley Brady (Canada)
The Summer of Bitter and Sweet

Berkley Brady is a writer-director based out of Calgary. She has written for television and short films. Her feature debut was the film Dark Nature (2022). She holds an MFA in film, with a concentration in directing, from Columbia University in New York City.

Harry Cepka (Canada)
The Good Life

Harry Cepka is a Canadian writer and director currently living in New York. His first feature film, Raf, premiered at TIFF in 2019 and went on to win numerous awards. His latest feature film project, The Good Life, was a participant in the Berlin-based JETS 2021 feature-film development program.

Luis De Filippis (Canada, Italy)

Luis De Filippis is a Canadian-Italian filmmaker whose work has played at international film festivals. Her films include the short For Nonna Anna (2017), which received a Sundance Special Jury Prize, and her debut feature Something You Said Last Night (2022), which received the TIFF Changemaker Award presented by the Shawn Mendes Foundation, the Sebastiáne Award at the San Sebastián film festival, and the IFFR Youth Jury Award.

Idil Ibrahim (USA)
From a Crooked Rib

Idil Ibrahim is an award-winning writer, director, and producer whose work has been featured at some of the top domestic and international film festivals and on television. She is a recipient of Extraordinary Women Awards held by the 92nd Street Y; was selected as one of the “Okay 100 Women” by Okay Africa; and is a director for Queen Latifah’s Queen Collective, a widen the screen initiative from Tribeca Studios, Flavor Unit, and P&G.

Aaron Lucas (Australia, Germany)

Aaron Lucas is an Australian German writer-director based between Sydney and Berlin. In 2022, his feature-length documentary I’ll Be Frank won First Prize Hearts Minds Soul Award at Rhode Island International Film Festival. He was selected to participate in the TIFF Filmmakers Lab with his project in development Luna.

Nesaru Tchaas (USA)
White Rabbits

A writer-director whose films explore the meanings people ascribe to their outsider status, Nesaru Tchaas is a multiracial-Black filmmaker based in Los Angeles and New York. He is a TIFF Filmmaker Lab participant, Princess Grace Awardee in Film, and Sundance Institute Uprise Grantee. His short Some Still Search (2022) is Oscar-qualified.

Farida Zahran (Egypt)
The Leftover Ladies

Farida Zahran is an Egyptian writer-director based in Brooklyn. Most recently, she wrote on the acclaimed TV series Ramy (A24 & Hulu). Her short film, Youth, premiered at SXSW in 2019 and won an Oscar-qualifying award at Palm Springs. Zahran is a graduate of NYU’s Graduate Film Program.