CFC Celebrates 35th Anniversary and Canadian Talent at Annual Fundraising Gala

Posted: May 16, 2023

A collage of images from The CFC Gala: Take 35 - people posing for a camera

On Thursday, May 11 at Rebel in Toronto, we celebrated The CFC Gala: Take 35, presented by Netflix, a fundraising gala in support of the next generation of Canadian storytellers. After three years apart, we were thrilled to host our annual gala again this year, and to bring together folks from all corners of Canada’s entertainment industry to (re)connect and celebrate Canadian creators and content. 

This year’s gala fêted CFC’s 35th anniversary and 35 years of empowering Canadian storytellers. The festivities were inspired by the 80s – the decade the CFC was ‘born’ – from the entertainment straight through to the decor, atmosphere and fashion. Thanks to the generous support of our gala partners, sponsors and guests, we raised $650,000 towards full entrance scholarships for incoming residents and our suite of programs across film, TV, acting, music and digital / immersive media, surpassing our half million dollar goal.

As guests arrived at the gala, they walked the red carpet and mingled at a lively cocktail reception in Rebel’s City Bar, hosted by Shaftesbury and AMC. Before sitting down to enjoy dinner, gala-goers enjoyed a wild surprise performance battle between dance troupe Mayhem’s Finest and The Collective, a group of local Toronto musicians, featuring vocals by Cleopatra Williams and Chris Rouse.

Then Alan Shane Lewis – the evening’s host, who you may recognize from his other hosting gig on the CBC’s Great Canadian Baking Show – took to the stage to officially welcome everyone to the gala. 

Guests also heard from CFC board chair, Christina Jennings, and CFC executive director, maxine bailey, who thanked our generous partners and sponsors who make our events, programs and operations possible. Christina also reminded the crowd that we wouldn’t be celebrating this milestone if it weren’t for the vision, tenacity and passion of our founder, Norman Jewison, who opened the CFC back in 1988. Mr. Jewison sent in a special message for gala guests, which you can listen to here:

We were pleased to welcome The Honourable Neil Lumsden, Ontario’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, to celebrate with us at the gala. He joined maxine and Christina onstage to speak about the importance of the cultural industries, the value and impact of CFC alumni and Canadian creators and how the Government of Ontario is committed to ensuring our industry continues to thrive. “We will continue to partner with Ontario’s screen-based industries to ensure our province remains one the largest centres of production in North America,” said Minister Lumsden. He went on, “Actually, I want to make a change here – let’s not be one of the largest, let’s be THE largest.”

A collage of photos from The CFC Gala: Take 35 - people eating fries and posing for the camera, guests speaking at a podium, performers singing onstage with a microphone.
Photos by Julie Riemersma

Throughout the evening, guests were serenaded by incredible performances from The Collective featuring Cleopatra Williams, Slaight Music Artist Theo Tams, Juno-nominated roots contemporary artist Shakura S’Aida, and Gordon Deppe and Sandy Horne of iconic Canadian new wave band, Spoons. Plus, they enjoyed onsite activities, including a 360 photo booth and a digital auction filled with exciting packages and experiences, like a private villa in St. Vincent & The Grenadines, weekend getaways at exclusive resorts across Ontario, shopping sprees, spa treatments, unique cultural experiences, and more.

A collage of images from The CFC Gala: Take 35 - musicians performing on stage, people posing for pictures

Photos by George Pimentel Photography

After dinner, guests moved upstairs to Rebel’s Club Noir for CFC’s first-ever after party, CFC After Dark, presented by Eggplant Music & Sound, for an 80s dance party. At CFC After Dark, guests enjoyed an incredible live hip hop performance by The Eggplant Collective, followed by a video dance party with DJ Jade Elektra, while fuelling up on snacks from Eatable, McCain and Gelato Fresco, and upping their 80s glam thanks to onsite makeup application by M∙A∙C Cosmetics. 

Thank you to all our guests and to all the individuals and organizations who supported this important fundraising event. As a charitable organization, we simply couldn’t do our work without our community of supporters. See you again at next year’s gala!

A collage of photos from The CFC Gala: Take 35 - people dancing at an after party, people dressed in 80s outfits posing for the camera, people sitting in a chair getting their makeup done, people singing into microphones on stage.

Photos by George Pimentel Photography

See more photos from The CFC Gala: Take 35 here.

Thank you to our supporters:

Presenting Partner: Netflix

Cocktail Reception Hosts: Shaftesbury and AMC

CFC After Dark Host: Eggplant Music & Sound

Photobooth Host: Dellray Group

Event Partners: Blink 49 Studios, Cineplex, The Slaight Family Foundation

Print partner: The Printing House

Media Partners: The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, Playback, Toronto Life, Fashion Magazine and Now Toronto

Design partner: Super Duper

Special thank you to our incredible volunteers and the many businesses – like Eatable, McCain, Oyster Bay, MAC Cosmetics, Gelato Fresco – who helped bring this event to life.

Share this post: