Ten Canadian women directors and actors who have had an outstanding year are being honored at TIFF 2014 on September 18 with the Birks Diamond Tribute, presented by Telefilm Canada and Birks (a Canadian jeweler). The honorees have been selected by a pan-Canadian jury of journalists specializing in the arts, culture and entertainment. Who are they and what have they accomplished? Read on…
Jennifer Baichwal, documentary director and producer, co-directed Watermark, which rated as a New York Times Critics’ Pick and took home the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award presented by the Toronto Film Critics Association, as well as the Canadian Screen Award and the Ted Rogers Award for Best Feature-Length Documentary.
Ric Esther Bienstock is a documentary director and producer, whose credits include Tales from the Organ Trade, which was nominated for two Emmy Awards. The film received the Global Awareness Award and the intermedia-globe Gold Award at the WorldMediaFestival in Germany and the Golden Sheaf Award for Social/Political Documentary at the Yorkton Film Festival.
Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Inuit director and actor Madeline Piujuq Ivalu co-directed Uvanga, which screened at 14 festivals across Canada and around the world. Their debut co-directorial effort, Before Tomorrow (2008), received the CityTV Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film at the Toronto International Film Festival and nine Genie Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress (Madeline Piujuq Ivalu).
Anne Dorval, a popular film and television performer, is one of Xavier Dolan’s favourite actresses, notably starring in his international hit film Mommy. Last year, she also appeared in the films The Rooster of St-Victor and Miraculum and in the television series Les Parent.
Tatiana Maslany, actor, was notably acclaimed for her role in Orphan Black, which earned her a Golden Globe nomination and the 2013 and 2014 Critics’ Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Drama Series. She also appeared in the series Cracked and starred in the film Cas & Dylan.
Sophie Nélisse, actor, attracted attention in The Book Thief, which earned her several prestigious nominations for such a young performer as well as the 2013 Hollywood Spotlight Award. She will also be remembered for her performance in Monsieur Lazhar, nominated for the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. She is currently shooting the film Pawn Sacrifice.
Molly Parker, actor, who garnered acclaim for her role in House of Cards, also appeared in the series Deadwood and The Firm. Her credits include many films for cinema and television, including the 2013 Canadian feature Hold Fast.
Nancy Florence Savard, writer, director and producer, directed the first Canadian 3D animated feature film, The Legend of Sarila, which has been sold in 20 territories around the world and was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award and two Jutra Awards. She also recently produced the feature The Rooster of St-Victor.
Cobie Smulders, star of How I Met Your Mother, played opposite Vince Vaughn in Delivery Man, the American remake of Starbuck. In 2014, she appeared in the films Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Lego Movie and They Came Together. She is the star of The Avengers in the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise.
The pan-Canadian jury is made up of renowned journalists covering the arts, culture and entertainment: Katie Bailey (Playback), Linda Barnard (Toronto Star), Maxime Demers (Le Journal de Montréal), Manon Dumais (freelance journalist), Noreen Flanagan (Elle Canada), Teri Hart (The Movie Network), Brian Johnson (Maclean’s), Tanya Lapointe (CBC/Radio-Canada), Marc-André Lussier (La Presse), Katherine Monk (Postmedia), Andrea Nemetz (The Chronicle Herald), Odile Tremblay (Le Devoir) and Marni Weisz (Cineplex Magazine). Note that Linda Barnard and Katherine Monk are AWFJ members.
The jury selected the women to be honoured based on the impact of their work and their talent, the recognition they have received from respected organizations and their peers, and the visibility they generated for Canada this past year. Nominees were also required to have either directed or appeared in a production during that year.
The Tribute Sponsors:
Telefilm Canada is dedicated to the cultural, commercial and industrial success of Canada’s audiovisual industry. Through its various funding and promotion programs, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creative talent here at home and around the world. Telefilm also administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund.
Birks Group is a leading operator of 51 prestige jewelry stores in Canada and the United States. The company operates 30 Birks stores located in most of Canada’s major urban areas, 18 Mayors stores in Florida and Georgia, two Brinkhaus stores in Calgary and Vancouver and one Rolex store in Orlando, Florida. Founded in 1879, Birks has over the years become one of Canada’s leading retailers, designers and manufacturers of high-end jewellery, watches, sterling and silver-plated silverware, as well as gifts.