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Documentary filmmaker Brandy Yanchyk. (Rachel Boekel photography)
Documentary filmmaker Brandy Yanchyk. (Rachel Boekel photography)

The script for women behind the camera is not a comedy, new studies show Add to ...

Children won’t be an issue for Yanchyk, 36. She has decided not to have kids so she can concentrate on her career – a choice she believes a man in her position does not have to make.

Yanchyk, who will be at Banff next week looking for a broadcaster for her next doc, deliberately works with women as often as she can. Her latest documentary Oil Calling (airing on CBC’s Documentary Channel Monday and Tuesday) has a female editor, and Yanchyk served as director, producer, writer, director of photography, sound mixer and assistant editor. Her lawyer, accountant and bookkeeper are women – and most importantly, she says, most of her interns are women.

“I think more than anything as a female, the fact that you have a female role model changes everything,” she says.

On Mr. Young, Devine made her own change. Last year, working as camera co-ordinator for the series, Devine – at 50 – finally got her shot at directing. She recalls “this quiet joy” on-set as other women congratulated her.

It almost didn’t happen. She had wanted to be a director since she was 12, but contemplated a career change when she turned 45. Then Devine, who has two daughters aged 9 and 16, changed her mind. “I thought if I can’t do this – a middle-aged woman, I’m tough – if I can’t break through this ceiling, how can I look these young women in the face and expect them to do it,” she asks. It took her five years to get into the director's chair, but she’s glad she persevered. “A lot of women my age, they drop out. It’s not time to drop out. I won’t win the Academy Award I wanted when I was 12. But maybe the next generation will or the generation after that. But to drop out now felt wrong. I kind of galvanized myself and I put my foot on the gas. And I made it happen.”

The Banff World Media Festival runs Sunday to Wednesday. Canadian Media Leaders: What the Future Holds will be moderated Sunday by Marsha Lederman.

The Power List

Ten of the women who matter in English Canada as film and TV content creators and decision makers

Barbara Williams, senior vice-president, content, Shaw Media

Corrie Coe, senior vice-president, independent production, Bell Media

Sally Catto, executive director, commissioned and scripted programming, CBC-TV

Susan Schaefer, vice-president, head of networks and marketing, Corus

Entertainment

Christina Jennings, chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury Films

Sarah Polley, film director

Carolle Brabant, executive director, Telefilm Canada

Valerie Creighton, president and CEO, Canada Media Fund

Margaret O’Brien, president, Canada, and COO, Entertainment One Television

Prem Gill, director, content, Telus

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