Leslie Ann Coles
Nominated for the award: Film & Television and Digital Arts
Company: LA Coles Fine Art Films & The Female Eye Film Festival
Position: Film-maker/ Founder & Executive Director, Female Eye Film Festival
Biography: Leslie Ann Coles is an actress, filmmaker, and the founder and executive director of the Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF). She dedicated 18 years to choreography and modern dance before transitioning to film and TV in 2000, at which time she was granted full ACTRA membership based on her professional reputation on the stage. Her debut film, “In the Refrigerator,” which she wrote, directed, and starred in, garnered 13 international awards – for Best Director, Best Actress, Best Debut Filmmaker, Best Short Film, Best Picture, and the Grand Jury Award for Filmmaker in an Acting Role – and was invited to screen before the Academy in L.A. for nomination for Best Live Action Short. Coles founded FeFF in 2001 after noting the absence of female filmmakers at the international film festivals she attended. FeFF celebrates its 16th edition in June 2018. Recognized internationally by directors, screenwriters, and industry alike, FeFF has been named one of MovieMaker magazine’s “Top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for six consecutive years (2013–2018). Under the auspices of FeFF’s community outreach, Coles has acted as mentor/director and executive-produced the debut short films of 46 at-risk female youth; 26 films were directed by young Indigenous women and all premiered at FeFF. Her feature documentary, “Melody Makers,” is now screening at international film festivals and has won multiple awards, including Best Feature Documentary, Best International Documentary, Best Feature Music Documentary, and several Audience Choice awards. At the Bare Bones Film Festival in 2017, was presented with the Lois Weber Legacy Award for her work as a producer, director, mentor, and as FeFF’s executive director. Coles is currently in post-production with an integrated media-arts project involving young Indigenous women aged 13 to 17. Funded by Status of Women Canada the project aims to stop sexual violence and harassment against Indigenous women in Ontario. “My Life, My Ontario, My Community” will be released in 2018. Coles also has two narrative features in the works, and, beginning with the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, House of Film in L.A. will represent “Melody Makers” in the international marketplace.