Buffy Sainte-Marie to receive the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media
Toronto’s Mustafa to perform musical set
Award presenters include Olivia Colman, Sarah Polley, Jason Reitman, and more…
TORONTO — Cameron Bailey, CEO of TIFF, is delighted to announce that Academy Award®–winning Buffy Sainte-Marie will receive the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media presented by Participant Media. The TIFF Tribute Awards presented by BVLGARI will return to an in-person gala fundraiser during the 47th edition of the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, September 11 at Fairmont Royal York Hotel.
In addition, the Awards night will feature a musical performance from songwriter, poet, filmmaker, and artist Mustafa; presenters confirmed to honour TIFF Tribute Award recipients include Darren Aronofsky, Olivia Colman, Sam Hunter, Sarah Polley, and Jason Reitman, with more names to be announced in the coming days, alongside TIFF Rising Stars Natalia Aranguren, Gabriel LaBelle, Isaiah Lehtinen, Carmen Madonia, Thuso Mbedu, Joshua Odjick, Aaron Pierre, Choi Seung-yoon and Ty Simpkins.
Sainte-Marie, an Indigenous Canadian-American singer-songwriter, musician, Oscar-winning composer, visual artist, educator, pacifist, and social activist, will be attending the Toronto International Film Festival with Madison Thomas’ Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On. The documentary is as captivating and vital as its legendary subject. Buffy Sainte-Marie: Carry It On is produced by Eagle Vision, White Pine Pictures, and Paquin Entertainment and will have its World Premiere on September 8 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
“Buffy Sainte-Marie has been challenging and changing the world for 60 years,” said Cameron Bailey, CEO of TIFF. “Her groundbreaking music, her lifelong activism on behalf of Indigenous people, and her passion for teaching have transformed countless hearts and minds. She is a singular icon and we are thrilled to be honouring her with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media.”
The Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media recognizes leadership in creating a union between social impact and cinema. Past recipients honoured in the prestigious category include Alanis Obomsawin in 2021 and Mira Nair in 2020.
Sainte-Marie joins the recently-announced list of 2022 TIFF Tribute Award honourees, including Hildur Guðnadóttir, who will receive the Variety Artisan Award; Sally El Hosaini, who will receive the TIFF Emerging Talent Award presented by MGM; Michelle Yeoh, who will receive the TIFF Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award presented by BVLGARI; Brendan Fraser, who will receive the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance presented by IMDbPro; Academy Award®–winning filmmaker Sam Mendes, who will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award; and the ensemble of My Policeman, who will receive the TIFF Tribute Award for Performance presented by Polestar.
The TIFF Tribute Awards have served as an awards-season bellwether, with past honourees such as Jessica Chastain, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Joaquin Phoenix, Roger Deakins, Taika Waititi, and Chloé Zhao going on to win awards on the international stage. Once again, the TIFF Tribute Awards honour the film industry’s outstanding contributors and their achievements, recognizing leading industry members, acting talent, directorial expertise, new talent, and a below-the-line artist and creator. The Awards gala event also serves as TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s Every Story fund, which promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging in film and TIFF’s core mission to transform the way people see the world through film.
The TIFF Rising Stars programme provides actors on the verge of making big waves on the international stage with an exclusive opportunity to experience and engage with the Festival. They will have access to professional development sessions, industry events, red carpets, mentorship, and valuable networking opportunities. All Rising Stars are featured in films in TIFF 2022 Official Selection. IMDbPro is proud to be the Media Partner for TIFF Rising Stars.
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Biography
Over the course of her six-decade career, Buffy Sainte-Marie has inspired multiple generations of musicians, artists, and activists. The powerful, raw singer-songwriter with unmatched scope has steadfastly refused to be trapped in the patterns of the past or be entangled in the workings of the contemporary music industry. Since her groundbreaking debut album It’s My Way! (1964), the Cree singer-songwriter has been an informative advocate for Indigenous cultural awareness.
Sainte-Marie is the most recognized, celebrated, and successful Indigenous artist of all time. In addition to winning multiple Canadian JUNO Awards and being inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1995; she won an Academy Award as co-writer of the Best Original Song winner “Up Where We Belong,” from the film An Officer and a Gentleman, in 1983; the song also won Golden Globe and BAFTA honours.
Her appearances on Sesame Street enriched public-access television with important subjects such as breastfeeding, sibling rivalry, and Native American language and culture. When she agreed to take an acting role in the TV series The Virginian, it was conditional that Indigenous roles be filled by Indigenous actors. A natural-born storyteller, Sainte-Marie has recently authored her first children’s chapter book, Tâpwê and the Magic Hat, releasing editions in English and Plains Cree. Her debut children’s book, Hey Little Rockabye, will be followed by the upcoming release Still This Love Goes On.
Twenty-four year old singer-songwriter Mustafa Ahmed grew up fighting. He would do so firstly as a child growing up in Toronto’s Regent Park community, matching up with other children his age at the behest of the older kids from around the way. Somehow, it did not harden him. He would continue fighting, though now against stereotypes, as an adolescent poet dispelling notions of who Black Muslims from Regent Park were with every stanza of his continuously celebrated poetry. He would attempt to fight again, this time on behalf of his immediate community, as a member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Youth Advisory Council, an effort that helped him realize his mission would be better served by amplifying the stories he’d collected over the years through song. And that is how we got Mustafa, child of Sudanese Muslim immigrants, one-time Pan American Games Poet Laureate, cherished collaborator of acts like Majid Jordan, The Weeknd, and Khalid. His debut project, When Smoke Rises, aims to exalt the Regent Park MC whose legacy Mustafa fights for now: Jahvante “Smoke Dawg” Smart, who was murdered in 2018. The project also honours others he’s known and lost, sewing these departures — and his attempts to cope with them — into song, immortalizing friends in the most honest way he knows how.
“It just kind of shattered my entire world,” Mustafa says of Smoke Dawg’s murder. “I didn’t even realize how much weight we shared until I had to take that weight on for myself.” More painfully then, When Smoke Rises isn’t only about Smoke Dawg. The project references a number of presences taken from Mustafa, names like Ano, Santana, and Ali, the friend whose doom Mustafa might have actually felt when he’d ask Ali to relocate for fear of such an unsavory end. That story, titled for its subject, appears as track six on When Smoke Rises. “All of the deaths that I experienced, I experienced through the time constraints of mourning,” Mustafa says. “Specifically, for young Black people in inner-city communities that die while at war with the state or at war with themselves, I wanted to beautify those departures. Because none of those departures were made beautiful for me.” On When Smoke Rises, Mustafa has sewn these departures — and his attempts to cope with them — into song, immortalizing friends in the most honest way he knows how.