Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

Toronto – The Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee (TAWC) is pleased to announce the winner of the 2nd Annual Nell Shipman Award. Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik is best known as the creator, writer and showrunner of Strange Empire; co-creator, executive producer and Gemini Award-winning writer of Durham County; supervising producer and writer of Bliss; and writer and story editor of Cold Squad. The award was presented to Ms. Finstad-Knizhnik at a gala celebration at The Spoke Club on Monday, May 25th, 2015.  The evening also featured a special screening of Girl Couch, a short film created through TAWC’s Toolkit 2.0 professional development program.

The Nell Shipman Award honours a female producer, writer or showrunner who has advanced gender equity in the screened entertainment industry both in front of and behind the camera.

“We are thrilled to be honouring Laurie Finstad-Knizhnik for her tremendous talent and leadership. By creating fulfilling work opportunities for women, she is reshaping the landscape of screen-based drama in this country,” said Wendy Crewson, V.P. Internal, ACTRA Toronto. “And like Nell Shipman, she is unafraid to upend convention, boldly envisioning a rugged world where women’s courage and ingenuity is exalted.”

“Amid a myriad of challenges, women make incredible contributions to this industry in key creative positions,” said Freya Ravensbergen, Co-Chair of TAWC. “We think it is important to recognize and celebrate the women in decision-making positions who work tirelessly to make sure we are getting our stories told and our voices heard.”

Support for the evening was provided by: Mirvish Productions, Green Beauty, Malpass Park, Lazy Cat Oils, Toronto Monologue Slam, Tabule, The Spoke Club and Control Over Destiny Jewelry Design.

TAWC is a committee of ACTRA Toronto. ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing more than 15,000 of Canada’s 22,000 professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. As an advocate for Canadian culture since 1943, ACTRA is a member-driven union that continues to secure rights and respect for the work of professional performers.