Canadian Film Centre Annual Gala & Auction, Toronto
It was directors, not actors, who took centre stage at the 2020 Canadian Film Centre gala on Feb 20. The gathering celebrated and recognized the contributions of the roughly 300 behind-the-lens creators who are among the CFC’s list of illustrious alum.
Director Norman Jewison, who founded the centre in 1988, delivered opening remarks for the centre’s most important annual fundraiser via video from his home in California. His advice for budding directors? The same counsel the legendary Billy Wilder shared with him: “Get yourself a good pair of boots, because you’re gonna be on your feet 12 hours a day, six days a week” he said, adding “between a good hat, the boots and a great cast, that’s about all you need!”
Later, Slawko Klymkiw CEO of the CFC, spoke, as did Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, whose impassioned remarks focused on the economic impact of the Ontario film, television and animation industries, which contributes, she said, about $2-billion annually to the province’s economy.
Dotting the room were tables hosted by presenting sponsors Netflix and the Slaight Family Foundation, which underwrites the CFC’s Slaight Family Music Lab (single name performers from the lab, TiKA and Jillea, took to the stage during the eve), and elsewhere Corus, Crave, Entertainment One and Apple TV were on hosting duties. Yours truly was a guest of long-time CFC board member Kate Alexander Daniels, and among those at her table were actor Kim Cattrall and her partner, Russell Thomas, Labatt’s Charlie Angelakos and his wife, Beth, television host Rick Mercer and his partner, producer Gerald Lunz; and Hal Jackman Foundation executive director Victoria Jackman.
Funds from the evening will go toward the centre’s programs to support Canadian creators in screen-based industries. Among others out: Mr. Jewison’s sons Michael and Kevin; chair of the CFC’s board of directors Christina Jennings; Toronto chief of police Mark Saunders and his wife, Stacey; actors Aidan Shipley, Amanda Brugel and Alice Moran; and a plethora of directors, including Patricia Rozema, Warren P. Sonoda, Don McKellar, Amy Jo Johnson, Charles Officer, Fab Filippo, Adrienne Mitchell, Cory Bowles and Lindsay Gossling.