Gallery: WIFT-T Crystal Awards 2014

The holiday season officially kicks off for the women in Toronto’s film and TV industry with the Crystal Awards, presented by Women in Film and Television Toronto. This ceremony this year took place Dec. 2 at the Arcadia Court in downtown Toronto, with a sold-out room in attendance to see industry luminaries such as Insight’s Barbara Bowlby, CBC’s Sally Catto and Bell Media’s Corrie Coe be recognized for their career achievements.

Bowlby, who is president, COO and executive producer with Toronto-based Insight Productions, was awarded the Outstanding Achievement in Business award. In an emotional acceptance speech, she thanked her father, “a dreamer and visionary,” for showing her the business ropes, and teaching her “how to do win-win contracts.”

In accepting her Creative Excellence award, Catto, GM, CBC English-language TV, described her journey from lawyer to literary agent and eventually into the business of TV, joking that she “wasn’t always a fantastic lawyer.” In an accompanying video, Heather Conway, CBC’s EVP of English Services, said in promoting Catto to GM, she consistently heard from the industry that Catto was a “great choice” and that “Sally’s notes are the ones you actually want.” To which legendary Canadian actor Donald Sutherland chimed in (with the appropriate amount of drama): “Sally’s notes are absorbed by your soul.”

Also recognized was Corrie Coe, SVP independent production, Bell Media, who earned the mentorship award for her work developing new talent in the industry.  As much as film and TV is a business, she noted, “it’s a community first” and thus something that has to be nurtured.

And finally, Canadian TV dynamo Trina McQueen took the stage to receive her Special Jury Award of Distinction. The former head of CBC News, founding President of the Discovery Channel and president of CTV, now teaching in the Schuilch School of Business, accepted her award with a rallying cry to the industry. “We are defining ourselves too much as consumers,” McQueen said. “We are seeing ourselves too much as economic units. We know that there is more to Canadians than points and loyalty cards…we need art and artists. Not everyone is an artist but it is the job of everyone in this room to enables and support artists.”

Referencing the recent Let’s Talk TV hearings, McQueen questioned the focus on stats and data over creativity. “Some people think our system should be completely disrupted – but I didn’t hear much about art. We need a bit of crazy and we need good budgets.”

Closing off the ceremony was actor Anne Dorval, who received the 2014 WIFT-T Crystal Award for International Achievement.

To view the thumbnails in full-size, click on each photo.