Spotlight: Tonya Williams, 2017 Special Jury Award of Distinction honoree

Spotlight: Tonya Williams, 2017 Special Jury Award of Distinction honoree

With over thirty-five years working in the entertainment industry, award winning actress Tonya Williams has worked in front and behind the cameras.

The Oshawa-raised star began her career 35 years ago, dazzling us in performances on stage, television and screen. Some of us may remember her as a dancer on CityTV’s Boogie! and the host of the beloved children’s show Polka Dot Door in the 1980’s.

To broaden her opportunities, Tonya moved to Los Angeles where she landed her most memorable TV role as Dr. Olivia Hastings in the CBS daytime soap opera, The Young and The Restless. Tonya’s work as an actress has been recognized with numerous accolades, including two NAACP awards, two Emmy nominations, a Harry Jerome award, and an ACTRA Award of Excellence.

As someone who strongly believes in paying it forward and the power of representation in front of and behind the camera, Tonya actively advocates for improved opportunities for media artists of colour in Canada.

She founded Reelworld Film Festival in 2001 to empower underrepresented voices and harness the power of film and storytelling for social good. ReelWorld has become a launching pad for many emerging filmmakers and showcases Canadian and International films that explore some of the most current and pressing social issues facing the world.

Through her production company Wilbo Entertainment she has had the opportunity to produce and direct, and for five years Tonya sat on the Toronto Film Board where she worked diligently at creating more opportunities for emerging talent. She continues to be a passionate, tenacious advocate for filmmakers of colour around the world.


WIFT Toronto Staff

Founded in 1984, WIFT Toronto is a member-based, not-for-profit organization. We are passionate individuals who are dedicated to the education, engagement and empowerment of our members at all stages of their careers in the screen-based media industry.

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