Ernesto Di Stefano / George Pimentel Photography

Honouring Our Heritage, Forging New Futures: The 2019 CFC Annual Garden Party

By Margaret DeRosia ● June 20, 2019 16:15


In a few weeks, this place is going to be full of talented people. We’re going to have filmmakers, actors, music and TV creators and companies accelerating new technologies. They’re all going to be here for anywhere from five to nine months. We’ll have all these very creative people here in one place – and that’s why we’re here.
- Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC


We were delighted to welcome guests to the gorgeous grounds of the Canadian Film Centre for our Annual Garden Party on Wednesday, June 19. This year’s theme, “Honouring our Heritage,” celebrated beautiful Windfields Estate, built in 1936 and leased to the CFC by the City of Toronto in 1988. For more than 30 years, the CFC has supported 1800 alumni and 200 alumni companies on these grounds. Yesterday, on one of this season’s few sunny days, we took time to reflect on this past, savour our successes, and look ahead to an even brighter future.

Our guests of honour at the Annual Garden Party were the CFC’s Circle of Supporters. These philanthropic individual donors generate contributions that make our work possible and keep us at the vanguard of new industry developments. An extra-special guest was our celebrated founder and chair emeritus, Norman Jewison, who, with his wife, Lynne St. David Jewison, graced our event and shared his insights on our heritage. He also thanked Presenting Sponsor Netflix “for having the vision to support the development of Canadian talent – because that’s what it’s all about."


A gallery of six images, all individuals smiling for the camera in clusers of two or three.

Clockwise from top left: Kathryn Emslie, Chief Programs Officer, CFC, and Magali Simard, Film Sector Development Officer, City of Toronto (Ernesto Di Stefano / George Pimentel Photography); Cheryl Hudson, CFC board member, and Jessika Fink, Toronto Life (Tom Sandler Photography); Erin Burke, Associate Director, Programs & Content, CFC, and Lisa Hamilton Daly, Director, Original Series, Netflix (Ernesto Di Stefano / George Pimentel Photography); Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC, with CFC board members Don Carmody and Steven DeNure (Ernesto Di Stefano / George Pimentel Photography); Emmanuel Kabongo, actor and CFC alumnus (Tom Sandler Photography); Donna Slaight and Gary Slaight, President and CEO, Slaight Communications Inc. (Tom Sandler Photography).


Joining Jewison and our Circle of Supporters were CFC board members and notable program alumni and mentors from our evolving slate of programs, with our industry sponsors and partners, including Presenting Sponsor Netflix and Event Sponsors, A&E and Toronto Life. Guests arrived and mingled on the Deluxe Terrace, in the garden and Northern Dancer Pavilion.

Emcees Christina Jennings, CFC Board Chair, Chairman and CEO, Shaftesbury, and Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC, kept the evening’s speeches entertaining, as did guest Lisa Hamilton Daly, Director, Original Series, Netflix, who flew from Los Angeles for this event.

She shared with the crowd concrete examples of and reasons for Netflix’s investment in supporting and nurturing Canadian talent coast to coastand mentioned a few series projects in production involving CFC alumni: season two of Virgin River, with episodes directed by Gail Harvey, and Tiny Pretty Things, by executive producer Michael MacLennan. Hamilton Daly told guests, “We’re here to nurture Canada’s opportunity to bring their stories to the global stage. We can’t do that without partners like the CFC, so we thank you for allowing us to support events like these. Together with the CFC, we are looking to create opportunities and offer targeted support to a diverse group of Canadian creators as they work to showcase their talent and their narrative film and TV projects internationally."


A gallery of six images, all individuals speaking at a podium.

Speakers at the CFC Annual Garden Party (clockwise from top): Norman Jewison; Slawko Klymkiw; Lisa Hamilton Daly; Christina Jennings; Nichole Anderson; Robert Foster (Ernesto Di Stefano / George Pimentel Photography).


This year as in previous ones, we were especially proud to have Business / Arts join us, an organization that Klymkiw noted, “knows how to marry commerce, entrepreneurship, culture and arts.” Nichole Anderson, President and CEO of Business / Arts, spoke to the impact of both the CFC’s and Business / Arts alliances, which are generating economic prosperity, a flourishing cultural sector and, indeed, our greater well-being.

Anderson introduced Business / Arts Chairman Robert Foster, who announced the three award recipients of Business / Arts’ annual awards: Mrs. Jenny Belzberg CM, AOE, LLD, recipient of the Edmond C. Bovey Award; Antoni Cimolino CM, Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival, recipient of the Peter Herrndorf Arts Leadership Award; and Paul Desmarais III, SVP at Power Corporation of Canada, recipient of the Arnold Edinborough Award.

Stellar musical entertainment followed, with the sweet harmonies from Slaight Music Artists Moscow Apartment and Slaight Music Residency alumni-duo In the City (Ashley Jane and Timon Wientzek) both captivated the crowd.

Tented displays chronicled the history of the CFC’s home and gorgeous grounds on Windfields Estate, featuring photographs of many familiar, illustrious faces over the years. Then, after reliving the past, guests took in the future – at CFC Media Lab’s IDEABOOST Innovation Zone.


A gallery of three images. The top two are of musical performers onstage; the bottom is a woman with a VR headset and controller sits in front of a computer screen.

Top row left to right: Musical guests Moscow Apartment and In the City (Ernesto Di Stefano / George Pimentel Photography); Bottom row: A guest takes in the VR experience, 'Mother of the Forest.' (Tom Sandler Photography).


In our Main house were AR demos from two of our IDEABOOST companies, Pixils and Mondo Forma. As well, director Kylie Caraway, a graduate of OCAD U’s Digital Futures Program, demoed her moving VR experience about ancient sequoias, Mother of the Forest, a CFC Media Lab-OCAD U coproduction and product of the Digital Futures Program.

The late afternoon sun waned, making the evening balmy and beautiful – perfect for strolling the grounds full of blooming peonies and tasty treats. An abundance of delectable delights, courtesy of our food and beverage sponsors, dotted the grounds. Guests relished a plethora of signature cocktails, tantalizing apps, and even flights of fine wine.


A gallery of six images, four of which are platters of food on display, one is a trio of wine bottles, and a third is a metallic rose gold bottle of vodka next to a sign.

A sampler of select treats our food and beverage partners brought to the table (clockwise from top left): Holy Cannoli; Tito's Handmaide Vodka; EDO; No Small Feast; Capital B Wines; Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto (All photos Ernesto Di Stefano / George Pimentel Photography except No Small Feast, Tom Sandler Photography).


Thank you to everyone who joined us last night and to all those who support the CFC year-round. Enjoy a selection of photos from the evening.


Special thanks to all of our 2019 CFC Annual Garden Party Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor: Netflix
Event Sponsors: A&E and Toronto Life
Food & Beverage Sponsors: Brickworks Ciderhouse, Capital B Wines, EDO, Flow, Gelato Fresco, Holy Cannoli, Kaiseki Yu-zen Hashimoto, Mill Street Brewery, No Small Feast, Pizzaville, Platterz and Tito’s Handmade Vodka


Join the CFC Circle of Supporters today! Get sneak peeks at the best films before they hit theatres. See familiar friends and meet new ones. Best of all, take pride in advancing Norman Jewison’s groundbreaking legacy – the CFC.


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