WIFT-T unveils 2019 Crystal Award winners

This year's recipients include producer Mary Young Leckie, maxine bailey and Esta Spalding.

MaryYoungLeckie-headshotSolo Productions’ Mary Young Leckie and former TIFF VP of advancement maxine bailey are among the six women set to celebrated at the 32nd annual Crystal Awards from Women in Film & Television – Toronto (WIFT-T) this December.

Established in 1988, the awards have honoured over 145 trailblazers who have made significant contributions to Canada’s screen-based media industry.

In addition to the two, this year’s honourees include: showrunner Esta Spalding; Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival executive director Tammy Frick; Ontario Creates program consultant Kim Gibson; and Oya Media Group co-founder Alison Duke.

Leckie (pictured) will receive the gala’s Creative Excellence Award, which is presented to a woman in recognition of her dynamic quality of work. With over 70 hours of scripted content under her belt, Leckie’s work includes films like Prom Queen and Maudie, which walked away with the title of Best Feature Film as well as several other awards at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards.

Meanwhile, bailey will be presented with the special jury award of distinction. In 2017, she created Share Her Journey, a five-year fundraising and awareness initiative from TIFF focused on investing in the next generation of female filmmakers. Currently, she serves on the board of The Walrus, the Canadian Academy and the Ontario Cultural Attractions Fund (OCAF).

The organization’s International Achievement Award will go to Spalding, who serves as executive producer and showrunner of On Becoming a God in Central Florida starring Kristen Dunst (Marie Antoinette). The showrunner, screenwriter, children’s author and poet’s credits also include Masters of Sex, The Bridge and Would be Kings. She also has an overall development deal with Sony Pictures.

Frick, who has led the Cinéfest Sudbury International Film Festival as executive director for 25 years, will receive the Outstanding Achievement in Business prize. In 2007, she also led the development and introduction of the Laugh Out Loud Sudbury Comedy Festival (LOL) and was a founding member of Music and Film in Motion, an organization aimed at fostering the growth and sustainability of Northern Ontario’s music, film and TV industries.

Additionally, interactive digital media veteran Gibson is being honoured with the Digital Trailblazer Award. With more than 20 years of experience, she has designed and operated programs that have contributed towards Ontario’s digital media industry like the Interactive Digital Media Fund.

Finally, the Mentorship Award will celebrate Duke, whose work includes establishing Goldelox Productions to produce content focused on social issues and kickstarting year two of Black Youth! Pathway2Industry, a three-year initiative that supports access to training, mentors and the film industry for black youth. Most recently, she co-wrote and produced the TV documentary Mr. Jane and Finch and directed two-hour TV documentary special Cool Black North for CityTV and Rogers. She is also producing Laurie Townshend’s feature documentary ​Mothering in the Movement​ under ​Oya Media Group​.

These honourees were nominated by WIFT-T members and selected by a jury of past winners, which include: Innovate By Day CEO and chief strategist Deb Day; producer and Women in the Director’s Chair co-creator Carol Whiteman; and ReelWorld Film Festival founder Tonya Williams.

The Crystal Awards will be hosted by Shakura S’Aida on Dec. 3, 2019 at Arcadian Court in Toronto.