ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: Rebecca Fisseha chosen for esteemed TIFF Writers’ Studio

By VFS, on May 22, 2024

TIFF recently revealed the participants of the 2024 TIFF Writers’ Studio and we’re ecstatic to announce that VFS’s Writing for Film, Television & Games alum Rebecca Fisseha was one of the 6 writers selected (from more than 200 applicants)!

This prestigious program is a 5-day intensive lab designed to empower Canadian and International screenwriters and writer-directors. Participants take part in workshops, panel discussions, peer-to-peer mentorship, and one-on-one project development consultations aimed to help writers advance their careers. This year’s lab was focused on the development of feature film scripts and the workshops were facilitated by industry professionals including Emma Donoghue (Writer, Room), Ashley Comeau (Actor, Writer, Producer), and Brad Fraser (Playwright, Executive Story Editor on Queer as Folk).

VFS Writing alum Rebecca Fisseha was chosen to participate in the 2024 TIFF Writers' Studio to develop her screenplay adaptation of Daughters of Silence.

Rebecca is a Toronto-based Ethiopian Canadian writer of short stories, creative non-fiction, personal essays, and articles. She's currently working on the screenplay adaptation of her first novel Daughters of Silence and working to finish her second novel Only Because It's You. In addition to participating in the Writers' Studio, Rebecca received the Renee Perlmutter Memorial Fellowship for Literary Adaptation, which is a grant given to a Writers' Studio participant who is focusing on adapting literary work for the screen. 

Daughters of Silence follows Bessie, a Canadian flight attendant with Ethiopian descent. She finds herself stranded in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and visits her grandfather's home where she uncovers buried truths about her recently deceased mother. This novel explores themes of identity, family, and trauma. It was recognized as part of Quill & Quire magazine's Breakout Debuts of 2019 and Margaret Atwood's selections for the gritLIT Festival Spotlight Series (and the perfect pick for your book club).

Rebecca's play wise.woman was produced by the Theatre Centre in Toronto in 2009.

Rebecca's talent extends beyond the page with her play wise.woman, a story placed in Ethiopia that switches between the historic meeting of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and their modern counterparts – the Canadian-raised Saba, who returns to Ethiopia and reunites with her childhood partner Solomon. This thought-provoking play was produced by the Theatre Centre in Toronto and was directed by the award-winning artist ahdri zhina mandiela.

We're thrilled to cheer Rebecca on as she continues to develop her projects, and we can't wait to see Daughters of Silence on the big screen one day soon!



What is the purpose of the TIFF Writers' Studio?
The TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) Writers' Studio is a program designed to nurture and develop emerging screenwriters. It aims to provide them with guidance, mentorship, and resources to enhance their skills and help them bring their stories to life on screen. The purpose is to support the growth and diversity of storytelling in the film industry by fostering the talents of promising writers. Through workshops, masterclasses, and networking opportunities, participants can refine their craft, receive feedback on their work, and connect with industry professionals who can help them advance their careers. Overall, the TIFF Writers' Studio serves as a platform for aspiring screenwriters to learn, grow, and ultimately, make meaningful contributions to the world of cinema.

Who are some of the industry professionals facilitating workshops at the 2024 TIFF Writers' Studio?
The TIFF Writers' Studio hosts some of the most established industry professionals including International Story Consultants Trey Ellis and Christina Lazaridi, Filmmakers Ashley Comeau, Brad Fraser, Howard Wiseman, and Emma Donoghue, and Canadian Actors Getenesh Berhe, Vivien Endicott-Douglas, Thomas Antony Olajide, and Ajuawak Kapashesit.

Apart from her participation in the Writers' Studio, what additional recognition has Rebecca received for her literary work?
Rebecca has been featured in multiple articles for CBC Books including “Six Canadian writers of black heritage to watch in 2020” and “34 works of Canadian fiction to watch for this fall.” Her work has also been mentioned in The Toronto Star, Atlantic Books Today, Winnipeg Free Press, Zora Magazine, Lithub, and Pickle Me This.


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