The 27th Annual David Billington Award Luncheon was held on November 7, 2015, honouring multi award-winning filmmaker Gil Cardinal. The event was hosted by Michelle Thrush (Blackstone, North of 60) with special guests Bonnie Thompson (National Film Board), Daron Donahue (The Great Human Odyssey) and Producer Tom Cox (Heartland, North of 60).
Mayor Don Iveson brought greetings on behalf of the City of Edmonton and gave an inspired speech on the role art can play in bringing awareness to social issues of concern to aboriginal peoples. Gil Cardinal was a trailblazer in the respect, known for exploring raw subject matter such as substance abuse, the foster care system and the struggles of his own cultural identity and Métis ancestry.
Unfortunately, Gil was unable to attend the event due to illness, but his friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate his invaluable contributions to our Alberta industry. The Award was presented to Gil previously at a private ceremony. However, over 120 industry professionals, students and members of the public were in attendance to celebrate Gil’s achievements at the Sutton Place Hotel in Edmonton. Notable attendees included past Billington Award recipients Dale Phillips, Jane Bisbee, Doug MacLeod and Murray Ord.
MLA David Shepherd (Edmonton Centre) brought greetings on behalf of Alberta Minister of Culture and Tourism David Eggen and Premier Rachel Notley. Other MLA’s included: MLA’s Lorne Dach (Edmonton McCLung), Richard Feehan (Edmonton Rutherford) and Rod Loyola (Edmonton Ellerslie). Also in attendance were Alberta Culture and Tourism Assistant Deputy Minister Lora Pillipow and Jeff Brinton, Executive Director of Creative Industries, Alberta Culture and Tourism.
Following the program, an announcement was made regarding the Gil Cardinal Legacy Fund, which will provide funding for emerging Aboriginal filmmakers to kickstart their careers. More information with be forthcoming shortly.