Filmmaker & Female Eye Film Festival Founder Leslie Ann Coles Celebrates 19 Years

Leslie Ann Coles is a new member of the Writers Guild of Canada and the Directors Guild of Canada. She was invited to join in 2019 under their documentary initiatives. She is a longstanding member of ACTRA. As a writer and director, she works with both scripted and non-scripted material. When working with scripted material, she creates original stories with compelling character-driven dialogue and action and she understands the actors’ process intuitively, and gravitates to realism and nuanced characters.

Coles recently completed her award winning debut feature screenplay, “Soiled Dove,” a femme- centric western set in 1873 that marries her love of classic westerns with the expertise she’s gained from her social-services work in violence against women. “Soiled Dove” is on The Red List. It is a 2020 PAGE Award Quarter-Finalist, the top 10% of over 8000 entries worldwide, and is a 2020 Screen Craft – Drama Prize Quarter Finalist.

Her multi-award-winning documentary “Melody Makers” which she wrote, directed, and produced, was released in 2019. Her most recent documentary, “My Life, My Community, My Ontario,” was produced with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts; the Ontario Arts Council, through a Creative Engagement Grant; and Status of Women Canada, through a fund set up to finance the creation of permanent works of art to stop violence against women.

Coles is an alumnus of the Women in the Director’s Chair (WIDC) program, a recipient
of three CTV Banff Fellowships for original series, and founder and executive director of The Female Eye Film Festival (FeFF). In her capacity as festival director, she evaluates and selects independent films from more than 2,500 international entries every year.

Leslie Ann dedicated 18 years to modern dance as a choreographer/performer, and arts
Educator before transitioning from the stage to the screen in 2001, with her debut drama, “In the Refrigerator,” which she wrote, directed, and starred in. In 2001, “In the Refrigerator” was invited to screen before the Oscar jury by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for Best Live Action after screening in 35 international film festivals and garnering 13 awards. She has been producing, acting, and making films ever since!

The Female Eye Film Festival is an international competitive women’s film festival providing an exclusive showcase for Canadian and international independent filmmakers. FeFF pays tribute to the best and most creative the film and television industry has to offer, bridging the gap between the written, visual, and media arts. MovieMaker magazine voted FeFF one of the World’s Top Fifty Film Festivals for the ninth consecutive year in 2021.

FeFF has reinvented itself for 2021, meeting the challenge of the pandemic and the subsequent lockdown that has taken on so many in the cultural sectors. This year FeFF will present a strong slate of female directed films, digitally, while unpacking a powerful series of industry initiatives virtually, and free to the public, you won’t want to miss. 

The Female Eye Film Festival will present a stellar selection of films from across North America with foreign films from Hungary, Taiwan, Japan, Costa Rica, Germany, United Kingdom, Iran, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Russia on digital TIFF Bell Lightbox, March 26 to 28.   

FeFF 2021 will commence, March 8th, on International Women’s Day (IWD) with a special FeFF Best in The Biz Tribute and Maverick Award to be presented to filmmaker, PATRICIA ROZEMA, in partnership with and streamed via the Encore+ YouTube channel. The FeFFMaverick Award celebrates innovation, creativity and perseverance in the film and television industry. Patricia Rozema is an award- winning filmmaker who has blazed a unique and enduring trail in the industry, both nationally and internationally.

“Encore+ is proud to support the Female Eye Film Festival. Encore+ hosts dozens of iconic Canadian films directed by women and will this year serve as a digital showcase for works selected for the 2021 edition of the FeFF,” says Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund. “I am delighted that this year’s Honorary Maverick Award will be bestowed upon internationally acclaimed director Patricia Rozema via Encore+, followed by a screening of “I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing,” winner of the Cannes Film Festival’s Best First Feature Award and ranked one of 150 essential works in Canadian cinema history by the Toronto International Film Festival in 2016.”

The Female Eye Film Festival thanks Telefilm Canada, Ontario Creates, Encore+, Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC), and St. John’s International Women’s Film Festival for their support of FeFF2021.

Encore+ screenings are FREE to view on any screen worldwide: March 8–28.

TIFF screenings are available to view in Canada at March 26–28 at

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