Speaker Tonya Williams

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Tonya Williams

Founder & Executive Director

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Tonya Williams is an award-winning actress and the Founder, Executive and Artistic Director of Reelworld Screen Institute and Reelworld Film Festival, now celebrating its 20th year. With over 40 years in the entertainment industry, she is a passionate and tenacious advocate for Canadian BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) Canadian talent in all areas of the industry. Tonya has utilized Reelworld to launch the careers of hundreds of BIPOC Canadian talent - in front of and behind the cameras. Filmmakers Ritchie Mehta, Dawn Wilkinson, Alison Duke, Samantha Wan, Simu Liu are just a few of those successes that got their start at Reelworld. Additionally, Tonya works with government funding agencies to create more inclusion for diverse applicants; she has worked with Canadian broadcasters to increase diversity at executive levels, and she uses the platform of the Reelworld Film Festival to showcase films that eschew harmful stereotypes of racial sectors in favour of authentic and socially impactful storytelling.  

Speaking on: Chatroom: Creating a healthier and more inclusive industry; Systemic solutions: breaking barriers and rebuilding a better entertainment industry; Reelworld Partner Presentation: Enriching the Production Landscape with Diversity and Inclusion Through Co-Productions and Partnerships

At the Banff Media Festival, we met with Netflix and took a ride up Sulphur Mountain on the gondola. That’s where we made the pitch.
- Naveen Prasad, EVP and GM, Elevation Pictures


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