Celebrating World-Class Canadian Talent: The 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser

By Cory Angeletti-Szasz ● September 09, 2019 15:35


Norman Jewison at the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser from Canadian Film Centre on Vimeo.


There was a crisp but refreshing fall breeze in the air yesterday as CFC alumni, donors, sponsors and a mix of Canadian creative talent descended upon the lush and expansive grounds of Windfields Estate, home of the CFC, for the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser, presented by Netflix. The cloudy skies didn’t dim our sunny spirits, as a crowd of 1500 guests came together to share drinks, laughs, food, stories, and a common love of all things entertainment, film and TV, while supporting the CFC and our slate of programs in film, television, screen acting, composing and songwriting, and digital and immersive media.


A collage of guests posing for pictures at a BBQ event

Guests enjoying the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser. (Photos: Danilo Ursini/Tom Sandler Photography)


Shortly after the event got underway, Christina Jennings, Chair of CFC’s Board of Directors, welcomed guests to the BBQ, and introduced our CEO, Slawko Klymkiw, to say a few words. Klymkiw explained that the BBQ, our largest event of the year, is one of the ways that we’re not only able to fundraise for our programs, but also honour and celebrate the work of our alumni. This year, we are proud to have 58 alumni working on 23 projects that are screening at TIFF, including CFC productions MEASURE and FLOOD, produced through the Cineplex Film Program, as well as features Easy Land and Tammy’s Always Dying, which were developed as original feature concepts at the CFC.

Klymkiw also took the opportunity to thank the Government of Canada, and BBQ guest Rob Oliphant, MP for Don Valley West, for the $ 3.4 million investment in the Canadian Film Centre through their Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which will enable us to deliver a suite of programming to help strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs in the digital media space. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more information on the programming. The Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport, was also a guest at the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser. During a VIP reception, co-hosted by Crave, she announced that Ontario’s government is supporting the CFC with a $350,000 grant.


Two photos, each of an individual addressing a crowd while standing at a podium

Honourable Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport and Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC address guests at the BBQ. (Photos: Tom Sandler Photography)


Klymkiw then introduced Audrey Gardiner, Director of Content and Acquisition at Netflix, the Presenting Sponsor for the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser, to address the guests. Audrey explained that the CFC is one of Netflix’s strategic partners across Canada, and that this partnership, the Netflix-CFC Global Project, will foster and accelerate a broad scope of diverse Canadian creators and their film/TV projects, and will advance Canadian talent and opportunities in the international marketplace through one of three accelerators. Read more about this partnership HERE. Audrey also announced the opening of the Netflix House at the CFC, a place where CFC residents can work together, workshop projects, and grow their cross-disciplinary partnerships.


A woman standing at a podium making a speech

Audrey Gardiner, Director of Content and Acquisition at Netflix, with Norman Jewison and Lynne St. David-Jewison (Photos: Danilo Ursini [L]/Tom Sandler Photography [R])


Following Audrey’s remarks, Klymkiw invited Norman Jewison, CFC’s founder and renowned filmmaker, to say a few words. Excitement in the crowd grew, as BBQ-goers always look forward to hearing Jewison speak at the BBQ. He opened by sharing a story of how he ran into one of the first-ever film residents at the CFC, Peter Raymont, a few weeks ago, and Peter shared some news he had just learned that a documentary that he executive produced, Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, would be the Opening Night Film at TIFF ’19. Jewison shared his excitement and congratulations with Peter, to which Peter responded that this incredible honour and accomplishment would not have happened if he had not come to the CFC. “It gives me a real sense of pride that so many of our graduates are now accomplishing and contributing so much,” shared Jewison. “The talent is blossoming; and it’s thanks to you – all of you – who have supported the [Canadian] Film Centre. […] We’ve accomplished a lot, and this kind of success just doesn’t happen overnight; it happens when the public and private sectors join forces to empower Canadians. And that’s what we celebrate today: world-class Canadian talent, and our partners and partnerships that have helped get us where we are today.”


A man standing at a podium addressing a crowd

Norman Jewison addressing guests at the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser (Photo: Danilo Ursini)


After the speeches, guests were treated to live musical performances courtesy of Slaight Music. First up, Toronto-based singer/songwriter Sam Drysdale serenaded BBQ guests with his silky voice and raw lyrics, including a performance of his single “Wasted”. Ava Kay, an alumna of The Slaight Family Music Lab, and a self-taught pianist, songwriter and singer with a smooth and powerful voice, performed two original songs, accompanied by Adam Hart Owens.


Two musicians singing and standing in front of a microphone

Sam Drysdale and Ava Kay performing at the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser. (Photos: Danilo Ursini/Cory Angeletti-Szasz)


Throughout the BBQ, guests were invited to explore CFC Media Lab’s Immersive Learning Zone, where they could experience six different demos of learning technologies, powered by CFC Media Lab, and largely created by female entrepreneurs:

  • Springbay Studios: an award-winning iBiome series invites students to learn about nature through gameplay.
  • AVA Animation and Visual Arts: award-winning animation for projection mapping
  • Mother of the Forest: an immersive VR experience that explores the symbiotic relationships of sequoia trees with their wider ecosystem, provoking contemplation of the current biodiversity decline linked to climate change.
  • Yumi and Boom: an episodic VR experience featuring a young girl, Yumi, and her capricious creature-friend, Boom, who teach tweens key mindfulness techniques for better emotional regulation.
  • Holy City: a sensory narrative experience that allows users to travel to one of the world's spiritual epicentres, built using stunning photogrammetrical scans of Jerusalem.
  • Little Robot Friends: teaches kids ages 7 through 12 about coding and electronics by using fun, creative and engaging activities.

Man sitting on a chair with a VR headset on

BBQ guests experience different immersive learning technologies at the Immersive Learning Zone. (Photos: Emily Gagne/Tom Sandler Photography)


Finally, the winner was announced for this year’s amazing raffle prize – a seven-night all-inclusive vacation for two to the all-new, five-star Planet Hollywood Beach Resort Costa Rica, courtesy of Sunwing and Planet Hollywood Hotels & Resorts. All proceeds from the raffle, and all funds raised through the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser, go directly to supporting the CFC’s programs.

The 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser was a huge success, and of course, we could not host this wonderful event without the support of our individual sponsors and corporate donors. We express our sincere thanks to all of this year’s donors and sponsors, whose generosity and commitment to the CFC and our Canadian creative industry is truly appreciated. Please see below for a list of all of this year’s sponsors.


A collage of different food vendor stations at a BBQ

Some of the sponsors of the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser. (Photos: Tom Sandler Photography)


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


Thank you to all of the 2019 CFC Annual BBQ Fundraiser Sponsors


Presenting Sponsor


  • Netflix

Platinum Sponsors


  • Crave – VIP Sponsor Reception Co-Host
  • A&E – Check-In Sponsor
  • Slaight Family Foundation – Official Entertainment
  • Corus
  • Super Channel
  • AMC
  • Shaftesbury
  • Craft
  • The Spoke Club
  • Highway Entertainment
  • Bell Media
  • Sunwing and Planet Hollywood Hotels & Resorts – Raffle Sponsor

Gold Sponsors


  • Cinespace Film Studios
  • TriBro Studios
  • Pinewood Studios
  • Entertainment One
  • Cast & Crew Entertainment Services LLP
  • Stingray
  • BFL Canada

Silver Sponsors


  • William F. White International Inc.
  • Don Carmody Productions
  • Boat Rocker Media
  • Breakthrough Entertainment
  • Dufferin Gate Studios
  • PRG
  • CBC
  • DHX Media
  • Blue Ice Pictures

Bronze Sponsors


  • Take 5 Productions
  • SPIN VFX
  • Thunderbird Entertainment
  • Whizbang Films
  • Toronto Film School
  • Post City Picture and Sound
  • CHUBB Insurance Company of Canada
  • BDO Canada LLP
  • Lionsgate
  • Chesler Perlmutter Productions
  • Halfire Entertainment
  • Nordicity
  • Roy Foss Motors – CFC Automotive Sponsor

Media Partners


  • Toronto Life
  • National Post
  • Toronto Star

Event Sponsors


  • Event Rental Group
  • VIB Events
  • Whites LES
  • Luxe Modern Rentals
  • Digital Mirror

Food Sponsors


  • Corbin – Official VIP Reception Caterer
  • Pizzaville
  • 10tation
  • The Real Jerk
  • The Mighty Cob
  • Schinoussa Super Foods
  • Lollicakes
  • Honeybutter Desserts
  • Gelato Fresco

Drink Sponsors


  • Peller Family Vineyards – Official Wine Sponsor
  • Tito’s Handmade Vodka – Official Vodka Sponsor
  • Mill St. Brewery – Official Beer Sponsor
  • Flow – Official Water Sponsor
  • Brickworks Ciderhouse
  • Nespresso

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Cory
Cory Angeletti-Szasz

Manager, Communications