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Genre Lab Film Program Begins Next Week

Exciting news reverberates across the Canadian film landscape as the eagerly awaited Genre Film Lab program, formerly known as From Our Dark Side, prepares to embark on its transformative journey. This highly anticipated accelerator program stands as a beacon of support for advanced-stage genre film projects, offering invaluable assistance in developing effective financing, packaging, and pitching strategies. 

With a curated lineup of five exceptional films, the Genre Film Lab program promises an immersive experience, enabling aspiring filmmakers to sharpen their skills and emerge with newfound industry recognition. In this enthralling exploration, we delve into the intricate fabric of this program, unraveling the diverse and captivating projects that have been chosen. Brace yourself for an extraordinary opportunity that holds the potential to ignite the careers of these visionary Canadian filmmakers.

Program Overview

This year, the Genre Film Lab program received numerous submissions, and a jury of renowned filmmakers and genre industry experts carefully evaluated and selected the five winning projects. The selected teams, consisting of writers, directors, and producers, showcased their original narrative feature film concepts, highlighting their creativity and talent.

The program is designed to guide these talented filmmakers through various stages of development, equipping them with the necessary skills to succeed in the genre film industry. Led by filmmaker, programmer, educator, and former Programming Director for Frontières International co-pro market, Vanessa Meyer, the Genre Film Lab program aims to foster an inclusive and supportive community that makes underrepresented voices heard.

Captivating Projects Selected for the Genre Film Lab

With a lineup of five outstanding films, this year’s Genre Film Lab program promises to be an incredible opportunity for aspiring filmmakers to hone their craft and gain industry recognition.

Married to Murder

Samantha Loney directs “Married to Murder,” a compelling film that tells a thrilling narrative. The project, which Samantha Loney also serves as writer, is produced by Morgan Frey and Samantha Loney under the Leave It To Beavers Productions banner. Production is taking place in the province of Ontario.

Our Blood’s Thicker Than Water

Michelle Godoy Priske helms “Our Blood’s Thicker Than Water,” a compelling film that delves into intricate family dynamics. The screenplay is crafted by Liz Wallace, while Liz Wallace takes the lead as the producer alongside Michelle Godoy Priske and Maritama Carlson. The project also features Ekaterina Kan as a co-producer. The production is set in British Columbia.


“Aisha” is a thought-provoking film written by Brishkay Ahmed. The project is produced by Bonnie Do and Brishkay Ahmed under the banner of Digital Warriors Productions Inc. The production takes place in the province of British Columbia.


Hayley Gray directs “Alligator,” an intense and gripping film that promises to captivate audiences. Hayley Gray also serves as the writer, while Michael Khazen produces the project under High Deaf Productions. The production is set in British Columbia.

Mt. Asha

Alex Vance and Stephanie Izsak co-direct “Mt. Asha,” a visually stunning film that combines their creative visions. The screenplay is penned by Alex Vance, while Nic Altobelli produces the project under Naltobel Productions. The production takes place in British Columbia.

Program Structure

The Genre Film Lab commenced in early June with a masterclass on pitching, led by Helene Granqvist, the Head of Women in Film and Television International. This session provided invaluable insights into crafting compelling pitches and capturing the attention of industry professionals.

Throughout the program, participants engaged in a series of sessions and consultations tailored to their needs. The curriculum included an introductory group pitch masterclass, three strategy sessions focused on financing and packaging, one-on-one pitch development sessions, and individualized consultancies. These interactions with genre industry experts provided the filmmakers with invaluable guidance and mentorship.

Key Dates and Eligibility

The application process for the Genre Film Lab closed recently, and the selected projects were announced in April. The program is scheduled to run from June to July, with consultations on packaging, financing, and pitching concluding at the Frontières International Genre Film Finance and Packaging Forum, held in conjunction with the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal in July and August.

The program is open to all creators who are equity-deserving on the basis of gender. The organizers strongly encourage applications from Indigenous, Black, People of Colour, people with disabilities, and 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals. The program aims to build an inclusive and diverse community that reflects the true essence of Canada’s talent pool.

Costs and Support

The program offers an incredible opportunity for individuals to participate at no cost. However, it is important to note that while there is no fee associated with joining the program, certain expenses related to travel and accommodation may need to be covered by the team members themselves. To assist with these expenses, a travel stipend will be provided to partially alleviate the financial burden of travel and accommodation costs. 

This stipend serves as a valuable support system, helping team members manage their partial expenses and ensuring that the program remains accessible to a wide range of participants. By offering this travel stipend, the program aims to facilitate the involvement of dedicated individuals from diverse backgrounds, enabling them to fully engage and benefit from the opportunities provided.

Wrapping Up

The Genre Film Lab is a groundbreaking program that empowers Canadian film creators and propels their projects to new heights. Through its comprehensive curriculum, industry mentorship, and inclusive environment, the program aims to nurture underrepresented voices and showcase their talent to a wider audience. 

With the support of Telefilm Canada, Creative BC, and Warner Bros Discovery Access Canada, the Genre Film Lab promises to be an enriching experience for the selected filmmakers, equipping them with the skills and resources necessary to succeed in the genre film industry.


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