Filmmaker Lab Spotlight: Isabelle Mecattaf and D.W. Waterson

Filmmaker Lab Spotlight: Isabelle Mecattaf and D.W. Waterson

Every year, 20 filmmakers from around the world are invited to participate in TIFF’s Filmmaker Lab, a renowned talent development programme where participants are invited to learn, grow, and hone their skills.

This year, TIFF’s first-ever Every Story Fellowships were offered to support participants from equity-deserving communities. Filmmaker Lab ran from September 7 to 11, and we caught up with Isabelle Mecattaf (TIFF Every Story People’s Fellowship) and D.W. Waterson (TIFF Every Story Fellowship) to see what it was like!

How do you feel after Filmmaker Lab?

Isabelle: The Filmmaker Lab has been the most amazing experience. I felt supported and cared for, and I learned so much in the process. There’s nothing better than having the chance to talk to so many amazing filmmakers, share ideas, and lift each other up, and I am so honoured to be a part of that group.

D.W.: What a ride. I had no idea how many incredible filmmakers I would meet and how inspired I would be after this Lab.

What was the coolest thing you learned?

Isabelle: One of the coolest things I learned… I don’t know, there is so much! We got the chance to talk to Cristian Mungiu (R.M.N.) whose films I adore, and he said that for him the most important thing is to stay curious ― there’s always more to learn and see. That if you have nothing to say about what’s happening around you, then why make a movie at all? I have a lot to say, and I hope that I can craft my stories as artfully as him.

D.W.: “Dialogue shouldn’t serve as the story.” –Cristian Mungiu

Every Story Fellows are supported by TIFF’s Every Story fund, which promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in film. Help us support even more Every Story Fellows next year!

Lebanon/France, TIFF Every Story People’s Fellowship
Isabelle Mecattaf

Isabelle Mecattaf is a French Lebanese filmmaker based in New York City. She studied English Literature and Philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, after which she worked on independent and studio productions.

Currently finishing her MFA in Filmmaking at NYU Tisch, Isabelle has worked on projects in Beirut, New York, Paris, and Los Angeles. Titles include Sweet Thing by Alexandre Rockwell (Crystal Bear at Berlinale 2020, Critics’ Choice at Tribeca Film Festival 2021), Plaisir by Molly Gillis (SXSW 2021 premiere, Aspen Shortsfest 2021 Youth Jury Award), and more.

Her most recent short film Beity (2021) was officially selected to TIFF, Aspen, and Hollyshorts (where it won an award), among others. It was purchased by The New Yorker and is streaming on their online platform.

Canada, TIFF Every Story Fellowship
D.W. Waterson

D.W. Waterson is an award-winning, non-binary/queer filmmaker and world-touring electronic music artist. Waterson is the creative force behind the 6 million-viewed, 40+time award-winning digital series That’s My DJ (3 seasons) — a series based on Waterson’s life as a music artist and DJ in the Toronto underground electronic scene. Waterson’s work has garnered a Canadian Screen-award nomination, won five Best Director awards as well as Noteable’s 2017 Director of the Year award. Waterson also directed the Crave Original, The D Cut, CBC Gem’s Devout + Out and multiple music videos for prominent artists. On their original tracks, Waterson has collaborated alongside and featured artists like Tanya Tagaq, Casey MQ, and Exmiranda.

Named a Resident at the 2022 TIFF Filmmaker Lab, Waterson is leading up to shoot their feature debut Backspot. Alongside directing, Waterson is also creating an original electronic soundtrack to accompany the film.