Mel McCarthy

2023 Winner

“Our project doesn’t fit neatly into categories, much like life doesn’t follow a locked script. We’re always works in progress, so we need to learn or remember how to accept whatever circumstances arise, pause to get our wits about us, then try some new ways of being in the world and in community.  We need to improvise, play, and show up for each other.  These are qualities that Jane LeBlanc always remembered.  She made up her own story, had adventures of all kinds, and encouraged others to do so.  So I love that the JL Legacy folks saw fit to take a chance on our experiment in improvising our way forward  We believe this format has the potential to help creatives, including ourselves, to find/improve/sustain our abilities to share our creative gifts.”

Mel McCarthy is a creator based in Atlantic Canada.  Her stories and events show audiences how each of us holds power for change.  Twenty years in salaried positions enabled her to develop a broad range of experience managing events, contingencies, budgets, deadlines, and people.  She is currently resting and playing more, and pushing the edges of her comfort zone by delving into short films, music, and Improv performance.  

She is a longstanding member of the New Brunswick Filmmakers’ Co-operative, serving since 1999 in many capacities, from boom operator to director, to President of the Board of Directors. She has won prizes in essay and poetry contests, as well as a Short Film Venture grant and the NBFC Volunteer Award.  She participated three times in the PEI Screenwriters’ Boot Camp, and is redeveloping scripts that grew there. She has recently  taken Improv training through Solo Chicken Productions, and practices and performs with local troupe, Department of Improvised Comedy.

She is also a Reiki Master and practitioner, certified in Mental Health First Aid, a trainer of dogs and humans, and a strong advocate for active inclusion practices in places of work and play.