In what felt like an especially volatile year, I wanted to spotlight five people who stood up to expand representation, enhance understanding and offer a vision for a better, more inclusive culture just by being themselves.
MAXINE BAILEY, FUNDRAISER, ADVOCATE AND ACTIVIST
Having started TIFF’s Share Her Journey project to empower and promote female filmmakers – and getting it halfway to its 2020 goal of raising $3 million – bailey resigned as the organization’s vice-president of advancement (and tireless fundraiser) earlier this fall. But she went out on a high note, with an #AfterMeToo rally during September’s festival that gathered over 1,000 people to hear Amma Asante, Amanda Brugel, Nandita Das, Geena Davis and Mia Kirshner, among others, speak against gender discrimination and encourage new voices. bailey says she’s going to focus on producing and writing in the next phase of her career. Whatever she does, expect it to be interesting, relevant, uncomfortable and necessary.
TANTOO CARDINAL, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST
In addition to becoming the first actor to receive the Toronto Film Critics Association’s Clyde Gilmour award – reserved for Canadians “whose work has in some way enriched the understanding and appreciation of film in their native country” – the Métis legend and long-time environmental and First Nations activist appeared in four films at TIFF in 2018: Miranda de Pencier’s The Grizzlies, Jeremy Saulnier’s Hold The Dark, Don McKellar’s Through Black Spruce and Darlene Naponse’s Falls Around Her, which cast Cardinal as an Anishinaabe rock star who comes home to her Northern Ontario reserve. It was, after more than 100 screen credits and 43 years in the business, her first leading role. Don’t let it be her last.