Putting Canada on the Screens of the World: The 2018 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser

By Margaret DeRosia ● September 11, 2018 15:30

2018 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser from Canadian Film Centre on Vimeo

Chilly winds and grey skies did not deter the more than 2,000 guests from attending this year’s CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser on Sunday, September 9. Guests took a break from movies and pitches at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) to head to the CFC’s heritage grounds of Windfields Estate. This year’s gathering, one of our largest and most well-attended fundraisers ever, also marked the CFC’s 30th anniversary. Since 1988, the CFC has produced and nurtured great Canadian talent. Two exciting announcements made at the BBQ reveal that this work will continue and broaden in scope, thanks to a new five-year Netflix-CFC partnership and scholarship for Indigenous filmmakers.

The CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser contributes to our charitable work of accelerating the content, careers and companies of Canadian creative and entrepreneurial talent in the screen-based and digital industries. It is also a key festival destination and popular networking event. Held annually during TIFF’s opening weekend, the CFC BBQ has grown in scale, much like the festival itself.

Three shots, each with a group of men and women smiling in close-up.Top row (left to right): Norman Jewison, CFC Founder and Chair Emeritus; Lynne St. David Jewison; Conrad Black, National Post Journalist; Blayne Lastman; Marc Jordan, Songwriter Chair of The Slaight Family Music Lab; Amy Sky, Singer/Songwriter; and Ivan Fecan, Executive Chair/Producer, Thunderbird. Bottom row (left to right): Christina Jennings, Chair, CFC Board of Directors, and Chair & CEO, Shaftesbury; Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC; Paul Bronfman, Chair and CEO of Comweb Corporation/William F. White International Inc.; Norman Jewison; Mel Lastman, Mayor of the former City of North York and Mayor of Toronto from 1998-2003; and Jaye Robinson, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 25, Don Valley West (Photos: Tom Sandler Photography)

Our emcee for the afternoon was Christina Jennings, Chair, CFC Board of Directors, and Chair & CEO, Shaftesbury, with host Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC, and CFC Founder and Chair Emeritus, Norman Jewison (who attended with Lynne St. David Jewison) also speaking. 

The CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser also offers us an opportunity to applaud our many talented CFC alumni and supporters with projects in TIFF – a direct result of the talent coming out of our programs.

Four shots: top two are of small groups of people standing and facing the camera, smiling; bottom two are of a man (right) and a woman (Left) smiling in close-ups.

Clockwise from top left: The TIFF 2018 Rising Stars, including CBC Actors Conservatory alumna Devery Jacobs (far left); Slaight Family Music Lab alumni Liam Russell, Matthew O'Halloran and Adaline; Slaight Family Music Lab alumnus Ben Fox; and CBC Actors Conservatory alumna Emily Piggford (Photos: Danilo Ursini, Tom Sandler Photography)

CFC alumni have found much success in recent weeks. 2018/2019 Cineplex Entertainment Film Program resident Karen Chapman, for example, was recently named one of Playback’s 5 to Watch. The Bell Media Prime Time TV Program new residents arrive on September 24 to work with in-demand showrunner Alexandra Zarowny. Recent CBC Actors Conservatory alumna Devery Jacobs is one of this year’s TIFF Rising Stars. CFC Features just announced two new projects, selected from a groundbreaking partnership with Women in View, from filmmakers  Tracey Deer and Sadaf Foroughi. Slaight Family Music Lab alumnus Spencer Creaghan recently won first place in the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Emerging Audio-Visual Composers. And CFC Media Lab co-produced VR experience Made This Way: Redefining Masculinity was in competition at this year’s Venice International Film Festival.

Mid-afternoon, Christina Jennings took to the stage to thank our sponsors (see the full list below!) for helping us celebrate “30 years of shaping Canada’s entertainment landscape.” She also made the first of our two major announcements, sharing that on Friday, September 7, Paul Bronfman, Chair and CEO of Comweb Corporation/William F. White International Inc., and Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC, announced the creation of the Jay Switzer Comweb/William F. White Indigenous Creator Scholarship to be administered through the CFC in memory of this visionary leader. The award, valued at $100,000, will be distributed over 10 years at $10,000 per year, and honours Jay Switzer’s legacy and his unwavering support of the Indigenous creative community. “Through this award,” Jennings noted, “he will live on in our industry."

Top photo is a woman speaking at a podium in close-up; bottom photo is a man, seen from behind, addressing a large crowd outside.

Emcee Christina Jennings and host Slawko Klymkiw address the guests (Photos: Tom Sandler Photography)

Slawko Klymkiw spoke next, and began by celebrating the more than 1,800 talented CFC alumni and residents who have formed “hundreds of renowned and award-winning content, production, technology and digital media companies.” He also expressed gratitude to the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto, “for their vital support of the CFC from the very start."

Klymkiw then made a second major announcement – the establishment of the prominent new five-year partnership, the Netflix-CFC Global Project. This project will encompass three distinct accelerators, all focused on expanding opportunities for Canadian creators, who, he noted, “offer a diversity of perspectives and voices to showcase their talent, support their projects, and increase their potential to achieve global resonance.” Klymkiw reminded guests that “Netflix is no stranger to the CFC,” given Brad Wright's acclaimed series, Travelers (developed here through the Bell Media Prime Time TV Program), as well as their work with and investment in original work from CFC alumni such as Dennis Heaton, Shelley Eriksen, Aaron Martin, Brad Peyton and Vincenzo Natali, among many others.

A man stands at a podium and speaks to a large crowd outside.Norman Jewison speaks to the crowd about the value of putting Canada on "the screens of the world" (Photo: Danilo Ursini)

Of course, we all treasure the opportunities to hear our Founder and CEO, Norman Jewison, offer his reflections on the CFC’s history and future. As usual, he did not disappoint. He began by bringing onstage and paying tribute to the honourable former mayor of North York and Toronto, Mel Lastman, for agreeing to provide the CFC with Windfields Estate. Lastman was, in Jewison’s words, “the man who really made it happen.” Thirty years ago, Jewison went to Lastman with “an idea for a film centre, where young filmmakers can come, because Canada didn’t have one.” At the time, Jewison said, “The Americans have the American Film Institute, the British have the British Film Institute, the French have the French Cinematheque. Canada needs a film centre. You can do this, Mel, if you give me the rights to the estate of Windfields. Because we need a place. You have to start with a place.” Lastman replied that this would “cost” Jewison – a whole dollar a year!

Jewison noted that both the CFC and wider industry are once more on the cusp of change; after all, TIFF’s opening film this year was from Netflix. As the festival heads into its 43rd year, he noted that we at the CFC have “grown alongside” TIFF – and that we are now both “growing in the right direction.” Thanks to this new Netflix-CFC Partnership, Jewison noted we are “moving with the industry” and building new generations of Canadian talent to be proud of. Our CFC alumni are now working all over the world, he said, “producing wonderful stories that are putting this country on the screens of the world."

Two photos: top is a man singing, bottom is a woman singing, both in closeup.

Theo Tams (top) and Rebecca Everett (bottom) perform (Photos: Danilo Ursini)

There was no shortage of delectable refreshments or entertainment throughout the day. After the speeches, we were treated to two riveting musical performers: Rebecca Everett, alumna of the Slaight Family Music Lab, followed by Theo Tams, who performed courtesy of Slaight Music. Also, as part of the event’s fundraising activities, we held a raffle for one lucky winner of a two-night stay at the unique Anndore House in Toronto, with dinner for two at Constantine Restaurant and a $250 gift card donated by Anzie Jewelry.

Two photos, top is a group of people clusered around an iPad, with paintings on the walls in the background; bottom photo is a woman putting on a VR headset.

BBQ guests experience augmented reality demos at the "AR Dome" (Photos: Tom Sandler Photography)

The CFC Media Lab “AR Dome” proved a popular destination, offering augmented reality (AR) demos from some of our IDEABOOST-Network Connect companies: Arfront Technologies Inc., whose AR product Sensei offers a peer-to-peer video platform; Battleverse, an entertainment and game development company featuring unique, action-packed experiences; House of VR, who shared “Prosthetic Reality”, an AR art show created by Australian artist, Sutu (Stu Campbell); Impossible Things’ 2016 Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO)-commissioned AR project, ReBlink, which digitally “re-mixed” select paintings from the AGO’s collection; LARGE (Location-based Augmented Reality Gaming Engine) by Albedo Informatics, which lets everyone create, share and experience rich AR content with just a mobile device; and LumièreVR, a cross-border team based in Silicon Valley, Canada and China working in VR who brought three distinct demos to BBQ attendees – Magic Leap, Vive and a VR Theatre.

Overall, the afternoon was a huge success, with an unprecedented number of guests showing up to celebrate our past 30 years of shaping Canada’s entertainment landscape and toast to our future. 

Relive the magic of the day with our gallery of photos.

An arching banner of green, white and black balloons outside, with a display of boxwood and the words "CFC 30" on it.

Thank you to all of the 2018 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser Sponsors!

A&E – Check-in Sponsor
Corus Entertainment
Spoke Club

Entertainment One
Cast & Crew Canada
Cinespace Film Studios
Highway Entertainment
TriBro Studios

William F. White
Don Carmody Productions
SIM Digital
Boat Rocker Media
Pinewood Studios
Director’s Guild of Canada
Dufferin Gate Studios
BFL Canada
Breakthrough Entertainment

Take 5 Productions
Whizbang Films
Thunderbird Entertainment
Sony Pictures Television
Fresh TV
Toronto Film School
20th Century Fox Incendo
Chubb Insurance Company of Canada
Post City Picture & Sound
Chesler Perlmutter Productions
Halfire Entertainment
Love Jacked

Roy Foss Motors

Silver Group Hotel

Slaight Music
The Slaight Music Residents

Event Rental Group
Whites LES

DMC – Official Caterer of the VIP Pre-Reception
Holy Chuck
Gelato Fresco
Dolce Moda
Holy Cannoli
Schinoussa Super Foods
Real Jerk
The Mighty Cob

Kim Crawford – Official Wine Sponsor
Crystal Head Vodka – Official Spirit Sponsor
Mill Street – Official Beer Sponsor
Flow Water – Official Water Sponsor
Brickworks Cider
Signal Hills
Panarea Gin