Share has been the voice of the city’s Black community for over three decades.
Arnold Auguste, who started the weekly publication on April 9, 1978, is to be honoured for journalistic excellence and his steadfast community commitment with a Visionary Award at the 12th annual ReelWorld Film Festival next month.
The award recognizes individuals who are making significant contributions to the Canadian film, television and media industry by opening doors and changing the industry’s landscape.
“Share was the only newspaper that connected me to the Black community when I was a young girl,” said ReelWorld Film Festival founder, Tonya Lee Williams. “I had no idea of anything that was happening in the community until I picked up that paper, which was also one of the first to recognize me for my work in the entertainment industry back then.
“This community has a lot to be grateful for that this paper is out there. I am in awe and I celebrate anyone who can keep any business going for more than 30 years. The Visionary Award is for people who don’t get very much recognition. It’s for those people who are behind the scenes doing really tremendous things that impact our community, but are rarely in the spotlight. That’s what we like to do with this award.”
Migrating from Trinidad & Tobago in 1970, Auguste edited Contrast newspaper and Spear magazine – both publications are now defunct – before launching Share out of his apartment 34 years ago.
The newspaper has withstood the test of time becoming one of the largest and most highly respected and successful Canadian ethnic publications.
“My passion to serve the community in the field of journalism has never waned and I enjoy the opportunity to be able to tell our stories in a very positive way,” said Auguste, who studied journalism at Ryerson University. “Most of the stories that Share publishes will never be seen anywhere else.”
Previous Visionary Award winners include broadcaster and television producer, Fil Fraser, Toronto International Film Festival artistic director, Cameron Bailey and filmmaker, Claire Prieto.
The festival also honours ethnically diverse Canadian entertainment industry professionals whose work broaden horizons with Trailblazer Awards.
Shernold Edwards, who is writing an adaptation of the acclaimed novel, A Day Late and A Dollar Short, will be a 2012 recipient of the award which was created a decade ago.
“What is amazing about Shernold is her real commitment and dedication to becoming a great screenwriter in TV, said Williams who is best known for her role as Dr. Olivia Hastings on the daytime drama, The Young and the Restless, with which she has been associated since 1990. “I think it’s important that Black women integrate themselves within the system as it exists right now so they could make that voice louder.”
Edwards co-produced CTV’s The Listener and was the executive story editor on Shaw Media’s cop drama Shattered and the co-executive producer of season two of Da Kink in My Hair. As a former CTV production and development executive, her projects included the Gemini-award winning Doomstown and Last Exit.
“It’s really an honour to be named a ReelWorld Trailblazer,” said Edwards who last month joined the writing staff of Haven, a supernatural drama TV series. “I have had a great relationship with Tonya over the past few years. I sat on a panel that participated in the Indie Film Lounge when I was a network executive at CTV and I was thrilled when ReelWorld premiered the short film (Full of Grace) that I wrote and directed in 2006.
“I am a child of television. I watched a lot of it growing up and still do. Telling stories is how we share things with each other. I have always wanted to work in the industry based on a type of storytelling that’s so immediate and reaches so many people.”
Williams, Miss Black Ontario 1977, founded the ReelWorld Film Festival to showcase Canada’s diversity and provide a platform for visible minorities to display their artistic talent and, in the process, motivate audiences through film.
“I try to keep a consistent festival and every year we have a full array of films from the Aboriginal, Black, Asian and other multi-racial communities,” she said. “This year, we are really excited to kick off the festival with Sheldon Candis’ Luv. “He had a film in the festival years ago, but this is his first feature and it’s going to be an amazing opening night film for us.”
The film depicts an 11-year-old Baltimore orphan whose dream of a better life is shattered when his uncle – a convicted felon who spent eight years in prison – is denied a bank loan to open a business and turn his life around.
The movie features hip hop artist Common, Danny Glover and Charles Dutton.
Candis, a University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts graduate, will attend the opening night presentation at Cineplex Odeon on April 11.
A total of 62 films will be screened during the five-day festival. They include the Canadian short narrative, The Toboggan, to be shown on April 13 at 4 p.m. and April 15 at 3.30 p.m. at Famous Players Canada Square.
Ryerson University Film program graduate Richard Pierre directs the film which is making its Canadian premiere. He recently won the Naish McHugh Award for Emerging Artists at the Toronto Urban Film Festival.
NBC is sponsoring the special feature presentation, Hopelessly in June, that tells the story of a financial analyst who falls in love with a California businesswoman. The independent romantic comedy was chosen as an official selection in last October’s Hollywood Film Festival.
Keith David, who plays the role of the financial analyst, will be in Toronto for the festival.
The ReelWorld Festival will also showcase 23 music videos.
“The music video night is going to be exceptional with RT interviewing Kardinal Offishall,” said Williams who landed small TV roles and worked in Canadian theatre for a few years before heading to Los Angeles 26 years ago in search of a major acting role. “They will be on stage after the program and then there will be a party a block away which will be a continuation of the music video screening night.”
Cazhhmere, who was recognized the last two years for the most outstanding video at the ReelWorld Film Festival, is the music videos programmer.
By RON FANFAIR