2015 Spotlight Award Winners Announced

Established in 1999, the Spotlight Awards™ are presented by Women In Film and Television. The awards bring together the BC Film community to celebrate the outstanding achievements of BC women in screen-based media.

The Awards this year will be presented at a Gala Celebration on June 15th at Performance Works on Granville Island. Please click here for event details.

WIFTV is honoured to present the following awards:

Presented to Patricia Gruben (Writer, Filmmaker, Educator, Associate Professor at SFU). This award is presented to a woman who has achieved a significant success in the field of film or television, and who is recognized for mentoring other women in the industry.

Patricia, a writer and filmmaker of considerable accomplishment, has extended her generosity, through her tireless work with Praxis and SFU, to help the emerging talents of this country. Her selfless endeavors, not just for this year, but for years past and for years to come make her a worthy recipient of praise from her peers. 

Madeline Grant (filmmaker). This award honours a woman who demonstrates filmmaking excellence.

Madeleine Grant is a gifted and visionary filmmaker who deftly balances hope with reality, as in her award-winning documentary feature, The Backward Class, about youth from India’s untouchable class re-framing their world. Madeleine’s art reminds us of the extraordinary in the ordinary, the beautiful in the seemingly invisible, and how impossible things can become real if we all believe not only in our own potential, but in the potential of all people.

Pauline Heaton (Cinematographer). The Artistic Innovation Award honours women who demonstrate vision, experimentation and innovation and who have created a significant body of work in these forms or an outstanding new work.

Pauline Heaton is an award-winning underwater cinematographer and filmmaker. Her years of practical experience have provided many opportunities for innovation in a field that requires innovation as a constant. Both her artistic accomplishments and her innovation of equipment and underwater techniques have earned her international accolades. 

Maureen Webb (Casting Director, Co-founder of Project Limelight Society). The Wayne Black Service Award honours a woman with a ‘behind-the-scenes’ role and for her continued efforts within the film and television community. This award is named in memory of Wayne Black of Alpha Cine who gave tirelessly of his time and talent to help filmmakers.

As one of Vancouver’s top casting directors for almost 20 years, Maureen has harnessed her deep insight into people to cultivate community resources that develop and support youth, like Project Limelight and East of Main Café. Her inspiring and creative approaches to providing a forum and training for giving voice to people from all sectors of society have made her a valued mentor and industry leader.

Don Thompson (President, Founder of Finalé Editworks). The Honoured Friend Award recognizes a person who has played a significant role in supporting women in the industry as well as promoting the success of the organization. Men are eligible for this award.

Don Thompson’s reputation precedes him: he takes joy in what he does and has an innate generosity of spirit that has benefited many filmmakers over the years by not only sharing his passion but assisting them to realize their dreams. His kindness and willingness to share his time and his experience are exceptional. As an Entrepreneur, Don has also been active over the years in the launch or direction of many of Vancouver’s most influential production and facilities companies. 

Elizabeth Yake (Producer, President of True West Films) The Sharon Gibbon Lifetime Member Award honours a member in recognition of her volunteer work with WIFTV advancing the organization’s goals. The award is named in memory of Sharon Gibbon, who exemplified these qualities in a career cut short too soon.

Elizabeth Yake is an extraordinary producer, and alongside her creative and business accomplishments she brings so many others forward to realize their dreams. Her warm and authentic presence in our community sets a standard that inspires and nurtures, from mentoring emerging producers, to educating writers and producers and blazing a trail for the professional presence of the west coast film community internationally.

Michelle Brezinksi (Filmmaker) The Image Award is awarded to a female director or DOP for a recent short work that shows excellence in overall production value or a unique, visionary approach to the cinematography or storytelling.

Michelle Brezinski’s courageous film Madness is a testament to the filmmaker’s own healing from PTSD, aimed at bringing hope to other sufferers of this crippling condition. Brezinski’s collaboration with Director Shannon Kohli has been recognized internationally for the excellence in production that brings this emotional story to the screen with period sets and design well beyond the resources available to the filmmakers. Michelle has gifted us with a very personal film that overcomes many challenges, launching her forward toward a promising and inspiring career as a bold and brave storyteller.

Ingrid Torrance (Actor, Educator, Director, Producer, Author) The Leadership in Education Award recognizes Vision And Excellence in the Teaching of Screen Based Media and for creating opportunities for and providing mentorship to women students.

Ingrid Torrance has transformed her vast experience and talents as an accomplished actor, director and producer into a supportive force for Vancouver’s aspiring talent helping countless actors to excel to new levels. Her devotion to helping others achieve their best, and her keen entrepreneurial spirit has set her apart as a shining jewel of education within the film community. 

St. John's International Women's Film Festival, represented by Barbara Janes, and Women In View, represented by Rina Fraticelli. This award honours a person or organization that has made a major contribution to promote gender equality in film, television or screen based media.

SJIWFF and WIV are responsible for creating and hosting the St. John’s Summit on Women in Media in 2014, which was focused on promoting gender equity in Canada's film and television industry. This was an historic summit, the first of its kind ever held in the country, and was attended by fourteen leaders of women’s media organizations and unions, representing over 40,000 professional members of Canada’s film and television industry. 

To read full winner bios, please the Spotlight Awards website.

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