Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film

Presented by Birks and Telefilm Canada, the sixth annual Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film celebrates Canada’s storytellers on both sides of the camera – actresses Tantoo Cardinal (Dances with Wolves) and Pascale Bussières (When Night is Falling), screenwriter Susan Coyne (Slings and Arrows), and directors Nettie Wild (Koneline: Our Land Beautiful), Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses) and Jeanne Leblanc (Isla Blanca).

Birks is known for producing an event as elegant as its jewellery (a certain Duchess is also a fan). Held at The Atrium outside of Ricarda’s restaurant, the busy red carpet is a prelude to what lies ahead; it’s the place to be tonight. Servers offer glasses of bubbly and I take one, to keep one of my hands occupied. Looking around, I see a few friends (many of which I haven’t seen in more than a year) and some celebrities from the worlds of film and TV. It’s all very casual, albeit in a rather dressed up way.

Waiting for the speeches to commence, I walk up to Y’lan Noel (Daniel from the hit show, Insecure) and tell him I’m a fan. There to support Meghie (director of his newest film, The Weekend, with co-stars DeWanda Wise and Sasheer Zamata), I ask about his thoughts of TIFF. “It’s good, man, it’s good.” Sadly, I didn’t inquire about any spoilers for the rest of the season.

With the ceremony underway, the crowd is now hushed and the only noise heard is the occasional cork being popped, perfectly timed to the end of one of the awards being presented.

While every nominee makes an impassioned speech, it’s Tantoo Cardinal who has people nodding with her empowering words. In a Native language, the word for fire is made up of two words: woman and heart. It perfectly encapsulates the sentiment of the evening.

Checking my phone for messages, actress/director/writer Kelly Fanson comes up to me and we begin a conversation about the event and its message. “It’s nice to see that Birks has been supporting women in film before #metoo,” I say, and she agrees.

Before walking out, I spot actress Laura Vandervoort and tell her I miss her show, Bitten. “Oh, so you’re the one!” she jokes. We chat for a minute before I head out into the rainy night. Although there are more glamorous award ceremonies during the year, there are few that are as important – and relevant – as this one.

(Birks Diamond Tribute to the Year’s Women in Film photos courtesy of Facebook)

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Steven Carver
International Editor

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