Toronto – May 22, 2019. On the evening of May 22, 2019, actor-writer-filmmaker and V.P. of ACTRA Newfoundland Ruth Lawrence presented the 6th annual Nell Shipman Award to screenwriter and filmmaker Sherry White and fellow Newfoundlander at Toronto’s The Spoke Club. The Nell Shipman Award is presented annually by The Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee (TAWC) to honour a female-identifying producer, writer, showrunner, mentor or programmer who has advanced gender equity in front of and behind the camera in the Canadian film and television industry. Control Over Destiny Jewellery Designs custom designed a wearable award for Ms. White.

ACTRA Toronto (CNW Group/ACTRA Toronto)

Sherry White recently directed an episode of Global’s upcoming drama series Nurses after showrunning and directing the eagerly-awaited Season II of Little Dog for CBC, starring Joel Thomas Hynes. Previously, she was an executive producer on Tassie Cameron’s ABC drama series Ten Days in the Valley. She was a writer and executive producer on Season II and III of Netflix/Discovery’s period drama Frontier, as well as co-executive producer on Shondaland’s series The Catch. Before that, Sherry was a co-executive producer for the ABC/Global series Rookie Blue, a show she had been a writer on for six seasons. She has also written and produced for Orphan Black, as well as CTV’s hit series Saving Hope. 

Her work in feature film includes writing the award-winning Maudie, starring Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins. Other film writing credits include Relative Happiness, Down to the Dirt, and The Breadmaker. She also wrote and directed the Genie Award-nominated feature film Crackie, starring Mary Walsh, which screened at over 30 festivals worldwide, including TIFF, Karlovy Vary, and Torino Film Festival, where it took home the jury prize. It was also named one of the top 10 films in Canada for 2009 and screened at the MOMA in New York City in March 2010. Sherry has also directed several award-winning short films that played at various festivals around the world. 

“Writer, director, producer, actress-like Nell Shipman, Sherry White does it all!” says TAWC Co-Chair Freya Ravensbergen. “From Sherry’s remarkable work on series like Rookie Blue, Saving Hope, Ten Days in the Valley and her award-winning feature film Maudie, her stories have been delighting audiences and employing women in key creative roles for years! We are so proud to honour her with this well-deserved award.” 

“I am thrilled to be this year’s Nell Shipman Award recipient,” says Sherry White. “Creating stories for and about women is at the heart of my work, so it is an honour to be recognized for advancing the careers of the women I have been privileged to collaborate with. Many thanks to the Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee for this honour!”

“Producers, directors, showrunners and green-lighters who boost gender equality and diversity in front of and behind the camera deserve special recognition because they help dismantle barriers, diversify the kinds of stories we see and help create safe and respectful workplaces,” says ACTRA Toronto President Theresa Tova. “ACTRA Toronto and TAWC are proud to honour the inspirational Sherry White, a shooting star moving so fast we are lucky she can touch down with us for the Nell Shipman gala.”

This year marks 100 years since Nell Shipman’s film Back to God’s Country. Film historian Alicia Fletcher presented an overview of Shipman’s legacy.

Shoegazer, the latest film coming out of TAWC’s professional development program, the Short Film Creation Lab, was screened at the gala. The film is produced by Rachel Cairns, directed by Isa Benn, written by Aisha Evelyna and stars Aisha Evelyna, Olunike Adeliyi, Ruth Goodwin, Cory Lipman, Nalini Ingrita, Sarah Afful and Brittany Robinson. It tells the story of a 27-year-old black female who desperately tries to carve out a place for herself after learning there is more to her relationship with her hair than she thought.

The Toronto ACTRA Women’s Committee (TAWC) is a committee of ACTRA Toronto. The committee’s initiatives encourage women of all diversities to create work and to advocate for a richer and more realistic portrayal of women and girls in storytelling media. 

ACTRA Toronto is the largest organization within ACTRA, representing more than 15,000 of Canada’s 25,000 professional performers working in 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. 


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