– Industry leaders and advocates took to the stage Tuesday night to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Women in Film & Television Vancouver’s annual Spotlight Awards Gala. Nearly 300 guests gathered in the Exhibition Hall at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, to honour a group of individuals who have devoted their talent and resources to improving the screen-based media landscape. The theme of the evening was a nod to classic Black Tie, to emphasize the celebratory milestone of the night. The eclectic jazz bass strings from Jen Hodge Allstars paired with comedic host Morgan Brayton and the excitement around the cutting of the cake, also solidified the anniversary.
Not only has it been an incredible year for women working in screen-based media all across Canada, but there has been an increase in gender parity awareness, intersectional recognition, and allyship, which was evident by last night’s award winners and attendees. Each recipient had powerful words during their acceptance speeches, and were each overcome by profound emotion. Highlights of the evening included a standing ovation for Woman of the Year Award recipient Doreen Manuel, whose presence reinforced her triumphs. A special tribute in honour of the late Barb Cranmer, recipient of the UBCP/ACTRA Impact Award, brought the room to tears, as her family sang and danced on stage, followed by singers Renae Morriseau and Jenifer Brousseau from the group M’Girl. Numerous attendees including members of Cranmer’s family, and community members who had the privilege of working with her traveled from various locations in order to demonstrate their support for her legacy. Ann Marie Fleming and Mayumi Yoshida choked up dedicating their awards to their chosen families, and support was no less apparent for Creative BC’s VP Robert Wong, whose team showed up in numbers, echoing in cheers. Recipient of the Please Adjust Your Set Award Amanda Coles traveled all the way from Australia to deliver a thought-provoking speech that brought light to the importance of advocacy. Congratulations to all of the winners of the night: Doreen Manuel, Amy Fox, Suzanne Thompson, Meeshelle Neal & Jax Smith, Julia Ivanova, Mayumi Yoshida, Lily Hui, Shana Mayara, Natasha Tony, Barb Cranmer, Dawn McCormick, Robert Wong, Amanda Coles, and Ann Marie Fleming.
Spotlight Award Winners 2019
Teamsters Canada Woman of the Year Award – Doreen Manuel
This award is presented to an industry leader who has achieved significant success and who has created opportunities for other women in the industry. Doreen Manuel is a Secwepemc/Ktunaxa First Nations filmmaker and Director of the Bosa Centre for Film and Animation at Capilano University. She is an inspiring leader and artist who has affected many with her films and mentorship and is the first Indigenous woman to head a major academic filmmaking training institution in Canada.
Please Adjust Your Set – Amanda Coles
This award honours a key creator of a recent production or body of work that exemplifies vision, experimentation and innovation. Amanda Coles has researched and investigated our national film and television organizations and the structural impediments to gender equity and inclusion. Her work has provided essential analysis and data that has assisted in launching new policies and programs designed to address these issues.
DGC BC Artistic Achievement Award – Julie Ivanova
This award honours a screen-based media artist (i.e. writer, director, producer, editor, director of photography or performer) who has created an outstanding recent work or a significant body of work. Julia Ivanova is a prolific award-winning Vancouver director, writer and editor who has made ten feature-length film and television documentaries that have appeared in numerous festivals.
Cast & Crew Artistic Achievement Award – Ann Marie Fleming
This award honours a screen-based media artist (i.e. writer, director, producer, editor, director of photography or performer) who has created an outstanding recent work or a significant body of work. Ann Marie Fleming is an award-winning independent filmmaker, writer, and artist, who creates work that addresses themes of family, identity, history, and memory. Her creative and signature animation has garnered international acclaim.
YVR Screen Scene Innovation Award – Amy Fox
The Innovation Award honours a key creator of a recent production or body of work that exemplifies vision, experimentation, and innovation. Amy Fox’s ground-breaking work has unapologetically trailblazed an unusual path to success in an industry traditionally resistant toward female ideas and leadership and has created opportunities for transgender actors in lead roles portraying transgender characters.
Capilano University Leadership in Education Award – Natasha Tony
The Leadership in Education Award is presented to a screen industry teacher who has demonstrated a commitment to creating opportunities for and sharing expertise with female students within an academic or professional development context. After fifteen years in casting, Natasha Tony expanded her training to hone her skills in advocacy, training, negotiation, and conflict management. She has developed curriculum on workplace safety, diversity and inclusion.
Integral Artists Wayne Black Award – Suzanna Thompson
The Wayne Black Service Award honours a major contributor to the screen-based media community while working ‘behind the scenes’. This award is named in memory of Wayne Black of Alpha Cine who gave tirelessly of his time and talent to help filmmakers. Suzanne Thompson is a leading advocate for the film and television industry and the current VP of Sales at Encore Vancouver. She is involved as a board member in a number of industry organizations and has demonstrated visionary leadership in support of those working in the Post industry.
Bron Iris Award – Shana Myara
The Iris Award is given to a person who has demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of female creators and their screen-based works either through curating or programming or through print and online media sources. Named after the Greek mythological figure Iris, associated with communication, messages, and new endeavors. For years, Shana Myara has been working to create intersectional opportunities for women and people from many diverse communities. As Director of Festival Programming for the Vancouver Queer Film Festival, she curated 50 percent of the festival’s feature programs to be created by women and in her role as Acquisitions at OUTtv she finds homes for Vancouver and Canadian produced LGBTQ films.
Finalé Special Jury Award for Outstanding Career– Lily Hui
This award is presented to a person with a profound career in the industry. Wearing so many hats, it was difficult for the jury to find a fitting category for Lily, so this award was created. Lily Hui has had an incredible career that has spanned over 30 years in film and television, including a promotion as executive producer on an award-winning television series.
Matrix Production Services Image Award – Meeshelle Neal & Jax Smith
The Image Award is awarded to a director, writer, editor or director of photography of an outstanding short work that shows production excellence or a unique, visionary approach. Duo Meeshelle Neal and Jax Smith are risk takers, whose films tell relevant stories in uniquely creative ways. Their work has brought together women, both veterans and newcomers of the industry, to create art that is brave.
Encore Vancouver Newcomer Award – Mayumi Yoshida
The Newcomer Award recognizes a new artist or technician, including one who is shifting from one career to another (i.e. from an actor to a director) whose first few works have laid the foundation for an inspiring new career. Mayumi Yoshida is a successful award-winning working actor in Vancouver, who has made impressive contributions to the arts and has been featured in numerous festivals.
Troika Sharon Gibbon Award – Dawn McCormick
The Sharon Gibbon Award honours a member in recognition of her volunteer work with WIFTV advancing the organization’s goals. The award is named in memory of Sharon Gibbon, who exemplified these qualities in a career cut short too soon. Upon retiring, Dawn McCormick has been volunteering with WIFTV over the past 5 years, and has been instrumental in coordinating volunteers for various WIFTV events.
We are very grateful to ACFC Bron Media Corps Capilano University Cast and Crew Canada DGC-BC East Van Brewery Encore Vancouver Finale Gearbase IATSE Local 891 Integral Artists Liberty Wine Merchants Line 21 Matrix Production Services Teamsters Local Union 155 Trembling Void Troika Productions UBCP ACTRA Wendy D Photo YVR Screen Scene Award
Photo’s Courtesy of Wendy D