WIFT-T names Crystal Award winners

Discovery Networks' Edwina Follows and Ontario Creates president and CEO Karen Thorne-Stone are among this year's recipients.

Edwina FollowsDiscovery Networks’ Edwina Follows (pictured) and Ontario Creates president and CEO Karen Thorne-Stone are two of the honourees who will be celebrated by Women in Film & Television – Toronto (WIFT-T) at this year’s Crystal Awards Gala.

The gala, which is celebrating its 31st anniversary, pays tribute to women who have made a significant contribution to Canada’s screen-based media industry, as well as the men who champion them.

In addition to Follows and Thorne-Stone, the 2018 recipients are Grace Carnale-Davis, VP of sales and client services at Technicolor; Deborah Day, CEO and chief strategist at Innovate By Day; and veteran director of photography Zoe Dirse.

Follows will receive the creative excellence award, celebrating her more than 30 years experience in Canadian film and TV. As director of commissioning and production at Discovery Networks, Follows oversees an annual slate of 180 hours of original programming, including Highway Thru Hell and Frontier. 

The special jury award of distinction will be presented to Thorne-Stone, who has led Ontario Creates since 2007 (when it was called the Ontario Media Development Corporation). In the role, she oversees all aspects of the agency’s programs and services and works to spur economic development in the creative industries.

The digital trailblazer award will go to Day, who founded Innovate By Day in 2010 in an effort to help producers develop digital and social media campaigns for their projects. She’s since helped create campaigns for Mohawk Girls, Rookie Blue and Saving Hope. 

Dirse, who was only one of two female camera assistants in IATSE 644 when she began her career in 1979, will be presented the mentorship award. Dirse (Wisecracks, Forbidden Love: the Unabashed Stories of Lesbian Lives) has taught cinematography at Sheridan College since 2000, where she’s also mentored her female students.

Lastly, the outstanding achievement in business award will be presented to Carnale-Davis who has worked in the industry for the past 29 years, first at Kodak Canada, before moving to post-production facility Medallion PFA, which was purchased by Technicolor in 2008. In her role, Carnale-Davis has championed projects such as The Book of Negroes, Pillars of the Earth and Flashpoint. 

The awards gala will take place Dec. 4 at Arcadian Court in Toronto.