The Hudson’s Bay Foundation has contributed $50,000 to the “For the Love of Film Fund” of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Through the fund, which serves underrepresented Canadian filmmakers, the foundation awarded two Canadian self-identified BIPOC content creators as Fellows in TIFF’s Filmmaker Lab, a program to develop the talents of emerging creators and open doors for those who need it most.
“While TIFF may look different this year, Hudson’s Bay is proud to continue its support by announcing Shawn Gerrard and Jeff Wong as the recipients of the Hudson’s Bay Foundation Fellowship in TIFF’s Filmmaker Lab,” said Iain Nairn, president and chief executive officer of Hudson’s Bay. “As Hudson’s Bay works to ensure greater diversity and representation internally, we are also ensuring we support the BIPOC community in our external outreach.”
“It’s through partnerships like this that we expand the reach of new perspectives and ideas,” said Cameron Bailey and Joane Vicente, co-heads of TIFF. “TIFF is dedicated to spotlighting the work of Black, Indigenous and people of color and amplifying their voices.”
Gerrard is a filmmaker from Toronto and an alumnus of the York University film production and screenwriting program. He has directed short films on the struggles of people looking to make a place for themselves in the world. Inspired by his biracial background, a major theme of Gerrard’s work is the contextualization his characters face around their racial identity and issues of injustice. The intersections of family and race, and how they can or can’t define a person, are pivotal in his upcoming works.
Wong, who was born in Vancouver, studied screenwriting and photography at Columbia University, and completed NYU’s film graduate program in Singapore. He created short films that premiered at the USA Film Festival and at TIFF and has been working on commercials and music videos for brands such as Huawei and artists such as Jackie Chan.
The festival runs from Sept. 10 to 19 and will have physical screenings and drive-ins, digital screenings, virtual red carpets, press conferences and industry talks, in a format reshaped due to the COVID-19. TIFF is one of the world’s largest film festivals. Hudson’s Bay will sponsor a Sept. 15 screening of Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI,” a documentary on the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. “MLK/FBI” is TIFF’s 2020 “official selection film.”