Norman Jewison Razzle Dazzles Guests at 2015 CFC Garden Party

By Cory Angeletti-Szasz ● June 25, 2015 13:45

A time-lapse video that provides a behind-the-scenes look at the incredible transformation of our beautiful grounds and gardens for the CFC Annual Garden Party.

We celebrated our CFC Annual Garden Party yesterday evening on the beautiful grounds of Windfields Estate, home of the CFC campus. Every year, we hold a Garden Party to thank our benevolent CFC Circle of Supporters and its donors and sponsors who play a fundamental role in helping us achieve our mission of accelerating the careers of Canada’s brightest talent in film, TV, onscreen acting, music and digital media.

The tradition of hosting a Garden Party in the summer dates back to CFC’s inception in 1988, when on August 8, 1988, our founder Norman Jewison started the event to thank a key group of public CFC supporters that were then called “The Second Monday Reel Club”. The first party was a themed “Gatsby Party”, with guests dolled up in classic ‘20s garb. The tradition continues to this day, now held in June, as a way for us to show our appreciation for the Circle of Supporters and its donors and sponsors, who play a fundamental role in the success of CFC and our programs. We simply wouldn’t be able to do the work we do without their generous support.

We had the pleasure of partnering with Business for the Arts (BFTA) to present this year’s Garden Party. As a visionary national organization whose mandate is to strengthen arts and culture in Canada by building partnerships between the private and cultural sectors, it seemed only a natural fit for us to team up with BFTA on this year’s Garden Party to celebrate the many wonderful individuals who support the arts. BFTA took the opportunity at this year’s celebration to present two individuals with awards: Philip Taylor, Senior Managing Director of Invesco Ltd., was named the recipient of the 2015 Edmund C. Bovey Award, which honours a business professional who has demonstrated a lifetime of significant philanthropy or leadership in arts and culture in Canada. Following this, Jan-Fryderyk Pleszczynski, Co-Owner and President of Digital Dimension, was presented with the Arnold Edinborough Award, which recognizes a young business professional age 40 and under who has demonstrated exemplary leadership and volunteerism in the arts.

Among our many wonderful attendees of the Garden Party, we had a few special guests, including John Carmichael, MP for Don Valley West and Jaye Robinson, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 25, Don Valley West. The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto provide vital support to the CFC, and we are deeply grateful for their commitment to our organization and to the arts. Christina Jennings, Chair of our Board of Directors, and board members Gary SlaightDavid Middleton and Ralph Brown also came out to show their support.

Also in attendance were several of the CFC Circle of Supporters, the very individuals we were celebrating at last evening’s event. They are a wonderful group of individuals whose donations to the CFC directly benefit our various programs in film, television, screen acting, music and digital media. Going strong after 27 years, the Circle of Supporters (originally called “The Second Monday Reel Club”, then “The Reel Club Insiders” and after “CFC Insiders”), assists with the development of our talent and we are truly grateful for their ongoing belief in the CFC and the emerging storytellers who participate in our programs.

Another guest of honour at last evening’s event was our Founder and Chair Emeritus Norman Jewison, who conceived of “The Second Monday Reel Club” in 1988 with Garth Drabinsky, then head of Cineplex Odeon, as a film premiere club modelled on the ones so popular in Hollywood in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Norman reminisced about talking to Charles P. B. Taylor, son of E.P. Taylor, on the terrace of what is now CFC’s Main House (and was then the home of E.P. Taylor and his family) 27 years ago, explaining to him Canada’s need for a national film centre, “If you want to control the screens of the world, you’ve got to celebrate the talent.” And that’s exactly what Norman did. E.P. Taylor’s Windfields Estate became the home of the CFC, and through its programs, CFC began celebrating Canadian talent and accelerating their careers.

Norman went on to share his thoughts on the relationship between business and the arts in today’s screen-based entertainment landscape, “The relationship between business and the arts has never been more critical than it is today. The CFC's programs instils in our talent the need to embrace the business aspects of what they do as much as the artistic. And I think this is one of the reasons our alumni are really doing so well. They’re not just creating exciting content, they’re also building companies and building relationships all over the world. This has been a great strength to our industry.” He added, “What I’m getting at here is that the CFC’s agenda is very much in sync with what Business for the Arts is doing, and I hope that our two organizations will continue to build bridges between the creative artists and our business leaders. Remember, it’s not just show business, it’s smart business.”

Finally, Norman invited his wife Lynne St. David-Jewison to the podium to help him share some final words of wisdom with Garden Party goers. Just as the crowd expected serious insights into the industry, Norman and Lynne instead broke out into song, singing “Razzle Dazzle”, providing a final great piece of advice: “Give 'em an act with lots of flash in it, and the reaction will be passionate.”

At CFC, we certainly recognize that we are very fortunate to have wonderful corporate sponsors who make events like the Garden Party possible. So we would like to say a special thanks to our 2015 CFC Annual Garden Party food and beverage sponsors, who provided a delicious spread of offerings throughout the event: South St. Burger, Crystal Head Vodka, Flow Water, Gelato Fresco, Holts Café, Holy Cannoli, Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto, Karlo Estates, Mill St., and Nisos Importing. We also extend sincere thanks to Cineplex Entertainment, Toronto Life and the many film distributors who provide us with special sneak peek movie screenings. We couldn’t serve our community without you.

Our warm appreciation also extends to Robyn Dell’Unto, an alumna of the 2013 Slaight Music Residency, who played a wonderful performance for our Garden Party guests. Robyn is a gifted artist with a powerful voice; keep an eye out for her as she starts production on her third album.

After Robyn’s performance, guests continued to mingle, roam the CFC gardens and explore the Northern Dancer Pavilion until the sun began to set.

And that’s a wrap on another successful CFC Annual Garden Party to celebrate our incredible Circle of Supporters and its donors and sponsors who make such events, and all CFC events and activities, possible. Thank you to everyone involved in our 2015 CFC Annual Garden Party!

To view more photos of the evening, CLICK HERE.

Are you interested in joining the Circle of Supporters? CLICK HERE to find out more about this program, or contact Michelle Johnson for additional information:

Cory Angeletti-Szasz

Manager, Communications (Mat Leave)