Ingrid Veninger Announces pUNK Films Femmes Lab

From left: Sophie Deraspe, Danishka Esterhazy, Michelle Latimer, Ingrid Veninger,
Mars Horodyski, Anais Granofsky. Photo: John Gundy
Ingrid Veninger is once again proving herself to be a maverick among the Canadian independent film scene. Veninger, whose film The Animal Project was recently announced among the titles for TIFF’s digital release partnership with Vimeo, is turning art into activism by making opportunities for more Canadian female filmmakers to take creative risks. Veninger announced today the launch of the pUNK Films Femmes Lab Screenwriting Intensive, which features six Canadian participants and support from Oscar-winning actress Melissa Leo (Francine, Prisoners).

The mission began with a proposal Veninger issued on Facebook asking female filmmakers to pitch ideas that they would work together through the completion of six screenplays. The project then took a new turn at the Whistler Film Festival. “When I won the EDA Award for The Animal Project at the Whistler Film Festival from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists,” notes Ingrid, “I decided to take a chance at the podium. I offered a first look at the 6 scripts written in the Femmes Lab, to the first person who stepped up with $6000… The room was stone silent until Melissa Leo stood up and shouted, “I’ll do it!”… she’s is a true champion. Over the holidays I received Melissa’s cheque, which will be shared between the participating women. Then TIFF offered us a place to meet at the Lightbox. So it’s on!” 

The six participants in the pUNK Films Femmes Lab are Michelle Latimer (Choke, Alias), Sophie Deraspe (Missing Victor Pellerin, Vital Signs), Mars Horodyski (Ben's At Home), Anais Granofsky (The Limb Salesman, On Their Knees), Danishka Esterhazy (Black Field, H&G). pUNK Films FEMMES LAB will run a total of six months, from January to June, 2014, where the 6 participants will meet once a month. At the end of the six months, six feature film screenplays will be complete.

Veninger previously put her money where her mouth is back in 2012 when she took the $5000 prize she earned for winning the Jay Scott Prize from the Toronto Film Critics Association for her film i am a good person/i am a bad person and launched the 1K Wave, which challenged independent filmmakers to show what they could do with a modest budget of $1000. The creation of the pUNK Films Femmes Lab is a bold move for Veninger. Veninger, whose The Animal Project was coincidentally among six films made by women to make my list of the top ten Canadian films of 2013, has gradually built a profile for herself by taking risks that pay off. The Femmes Lab embraces the philosophy of “nothing is impossible” that serves as the driving force behind pUNK Films and has allowed audiences in the festival circuit to take note for her unique, intimate, and idiosyncratic style of filmmaking.