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Film and media personality will be CFUW speaker

Cecilia Nasmith

By Cecilia Nasmith, Northumberland Today


The Canadian Federation of University Women-Northumberland has announced an award-winning film and media-arts personality will be the featured speaker at their 2017 scholarship luncheon in May.

Helga Stephenson, the former chief executive officer of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, will be in the spotlight at the May 10 event at the Lions Community Centre in Cobourg.

Stephenson was executive director of the Toronto International Film Festival from 1986 to 1996. She was instrumental in expanding TIFF venues beyond the GTA, including theatres in Northumberland County.

Credited with morphing the Genie Awards and Geminis into the Canadian Screen Awards, Stephenson was honoured last fall after announcing her departure from the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television following the Canadian Screen Awards.

Born and raised in Montreal, the McGill University alumna has also chaired of the Toronto Downtown Jazz Festival, been co-chair of the Metro Toronto Round Table on Culture, and served as advisor on the City of Toronto Mayor’s Economic Partnership Council and the Women’s Leadership Conference of the Americas.

A list of her other achievements would include co-founding the Human Rights Watch in Canada and chairing the Toronto Human Rights Watch Film Festival, Viacom Canada, Canada Council and the National Arts Centre.

Advance tickets for the luncheon are $65 per person, and will soon go on sale at the Victoria Hall Concert Hall box office, with partial tax-deductible receipts available for each purchase.

Businesses and corporations are encouraged to make donations to the fund or sponsor tables of eight for students to attend — full tax receipts will be issued for such donations. 

Since 1991, the proceeds of these luncheons have provided scholarships and bursaries for numerous Northumberland high school and college students. In 2016, seven high school students each received $750 scholarships, including a new award for a First Nations, Metis or Inuit student.

Speakers at previous luncheons have included former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, former auditor general of Canada Sheila Fraser, CBC radio and television personality Carol Off, and Canadian Council of Muslim Women executive director Alia Hogben.

For more information, contact Canadian Federation of University Women-Northumberland vice-president Noreen O'Rinn at 905-372-9077 or 

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