Oakville college professor to participate in prestigious workshop at Festival de Cannes


Published May 11, 2023 at 12:56 pm

Sheridan College professor Sibel Guvenc is one of 10 film producers from across the world who have been selected to participate in a prestigious series of workshops at this month's Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival) in France. SHERIDAN COLLEGE IMAGES

A professor at the Oakville campus of Sheridan College is among a select few who have been chosen to participate in a series of workshops at the Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival) in France.

Sibel Guvenc, who teaches the Sheridan Honours Bachelor of Film & Television program, is one of just 10 film producers across the world invited to take part in a prestigious series of workshops at the film festival this month.

Guvenc and Vancouver’s Nach Dudsdeemaytha will represent Telefilm Canada in Marché du Film’s impAct Producers Lab, an initiative designed to foster international co-production and guide emerging producers to create more meaningful, sustainable and impactful films.

She and Dudsdeemaytha will be joined by producers from Taiwan, the Netherlands, Germany, Zimbabwe and Trinidad & Tobago.

The workshop will see the group exchange ideas, reflect on the current industry climate, engage in constructive debate and focus on the values inherent in a diverse film industry with content that speaks to all audiences.

The Turkish-Canadian director, writer and producer has received over 30 awards and nominations at international film festivals, including a Humanitarian Award Honourable Mention for her 2019 film Turkish Mesir Macunu.

Guvenc’s invite to the impACT Producers Lab recognizes her feature drama project LOYA, one of 100 original independent feature film projects to be shortlisted from 10,000 entries in Netflix’s Canadian Virtual Pitch Day in 2020.

LOYA (picture below) is scheduled to be filmed next summer in Turkey.

The film explores a father-daughter relationship in a complicated family dynamic against a backdrop of a village struggle with an environmental change.

After the death of her adoptive father due to deforestation, Loya — an 11-year-old storyteller facing a cancer diagnosis — reconnects with her birth father and discovers he is the head of a Canadian gold mining company that is destroying her village and is forced to repair their relationship in order to save her land.

“Companies talk about sustainability and being green, Guvenc says, “but do they really practise those values,”Guvenc says.

“LOYA asks that question by shining a light on the environmental impact that mining can have and demonstrating how it changes the lives of people who reside in the region.”

The Sheridan professor Guvenc will also be heading to next month’s Banff World Media Festival as a participant in the Netflix-Banff Diversity of Voices Initiative.

The initiative provides underrepresented professionals with high-level industry access to form partnerships, develop, pitch, fund and distribute their projects.

Guvenc was presented last year with a Transformative Learning Award from Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design.

The student-nominated honour recognizes Sheridan faculty or staff who foster learning experiences and environments that are transformational to how their students see themselves, their skills, disciplines and/or the world differently.

“I encourage my students to understand why they’re telling a story,” says Guvenc, who supervises fourth-year BFTV students’ development and production of thesis films. “That’s what a good producer does — ask questions and dig deeper, pushing writers to say what they really want to say.”

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