Last night at the posh Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto, Telefilm Canada and jewelerer Birks feted a dozen women in Canadian film at the Birks Diamond Tribute. They included actresses Amanda Crew (Silicon Valley),Caroline Dhavernas (Hannibal) Christine Horne (Hyena Road),Sandra Oh (Grey's Anatomy, Window Horses) and Jennifer Podemski (Fire Song); directors Tracey Deer (Mohawk Girls),Ann Marie Fleming (Window Horses), April Mullen (Below Her Mouth, 88), Léa Pool (Set Me Free) and Ann Shin (My Enemy, My Brother); and, for the first time, screenwriters Emma Donoghue (Room) and Marie Vien (La passion d'Augustine).
What distinguishes this list of honourees this year from last is racial diversity. In 2015, the honoured women were all white, a point not lost on some attendees. Perhaps to rectify this imbalance (particularly in the year of #OscarsSoWhite), Telefilm has included Asians (Oh, Shin and Fleming) and First Nations (Podemski, Deer) in a profound way.
Documentarian Shin feels she she has been "lucky" in getting her films made about Asian and black issues, but is about to make her first fictional film. "I hear it's tougher," she says. In particular, she feels it's hard to get Asian males on screen. "There's a bias."
From the red carpet:
|Emma Donoghue (screenwriter, Room)|
|Below Her Mouth director April Mullen (center) with her stars (left and right) Natalie Krill & Erika Linder|
|Julia Sarah Stone (Mean Dreams)|
|Mouna Traoré (Murdoch Mysteries)|
|Richie Mehta (director, India in a Day)|
|Sandra Oh hugs Tzi Ma|
|Tracey Deer (director, Mohawk Girls)|
|Tzi Ma (Hell on Wheels)|
|Zacharias Kunuk (director, Maliglutit - Searchers)|