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In honour of Asian Heritage Month, we’re excited to announce that film editor Mary Stephen will be the 2023 recipient of the Fire Horse Award! The $25,000 cash award is being presented annually to an Asian Canadian individual who has made an extraordinary contribution to the film and media-arts community.
Mary Stephen has an extensive and impressive list of work with 52 credits and four best-editing nominations under her name. She is also a mentor to an ever-growing array of established and up-and-coming international filmmakers. Her body of work includes works such as Blind Mountain, Last Train Home, The Apology, and, most recently, Love After Love.
Now based in Paris, Mary was born in Hong Kong and immigrated with her family to Montreal, where she spent her formative years. She moved to Paris for graduate studies, later becoming the film editor and co-composer for renowned French New wave master director Eric Rohmer, with whom she collaborated very closely for several decades. Stephen and her work were featured in Reel Asian’s Artist Spotlight program in 2002.
Mary Stephen will be presented with her award at a ceremony on May 31st hosted by Reel Asian.
This year’s recipient will be awarded #25,000 in cash, of which Golden Globe award-winning actor Sandra Oh has committed to $50,000 over five years. This contribution matches a generous lead donation from donor Ha-kyung Helen Song. More recently, Pan Asia Food Co., Ltd. has also pledged $25,000 over the next five years to the award. The company has been serving the Korean community in Canada for over 50 years. Ongoing contributions from the Reel Asian community will ensure the sustainability of the award for years to come.
The Fire Horse Award recognizes one Asian Canadian member of the film and media-arts community. This member demonstrates qualities of the Chinese zodiac symbol in their work: Fire Horses are changemakers, creative thinkers, and visionary leaders who significantly impact the larger community. The award was created on the occasion of Reel Asian’s 25th Anniversary in 2021 to honour Reel Asian founder Anita Lee whose groundbreaking work and determination has made Reel Asian a staple in Canada’s festival landscape.
Find out more about the jury that selected this year's recipient. Reel Asian is also currently accepting contributions in support of the Fire Horse Award and invites you to make a donation to support this cause.
The Fire Horse Award will recognize the award recipient’s remarkable body of work and its significant impact on the larger community, and anticipation of future contributions to the fields of film, television, media arts, and other screen-based practices, which have a powerful influence on how Asians see ourselves and how others see us—making the support of authentic voices vital.
We’re currently raising funds for the Fire Horse award and invite you to make a donation to support this cause.
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Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival is a unique showcase of contemporary Asian cinema and work from Asia and the Asian diaspora. Works include films and videos by artists in Canada, the U.S., Asia and all over the world. As Canada’s largest pan-Asian film festival, Reel Asian provides a public forum for Asian media artists and their work, and fuels the growing appreciation for Asian cinema in Canada.
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