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TIFF Recognizes Local Volunteer

Maria Duncalf Barber of Bracebridge is the recipient of the 2018 TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) Film Circuit Volunteer of the Year award. The award recognizes Duncalf-Barber’s 13 years of volunteer work as vice president and sponsorship facilitator at Spinning Reels.

In the nomination submitted by Spinning Reels, Duncalf-Barber is described as “a one-woman dynamo of our film group, Spinning Reels, and we have benefited greatly in many ways. She has an outstanding rapport with our community. If you need something done, ask Maria - if she can't do it, she knows someone who can!

“As a professional counsellor, she has worked tirelessly with the local high school youth mentoring them as well as actively promoting the arts. Maria is also a dedicated booster and supporter of our local youth guiding and mentoring them in times of need.”

She has held the position of vice president for the last eight years and sponsorship facilitator for over a decade. As Sponsorship Facilitator she arranges for 16 sponsors annually to support Spinning Reels. She has been very successful as the group shows a film every two weeks. At the end of the year the board gives charitable monies to the libraries, senior centres, the local Manna Food Bank and the bursary.

An avid film lover and as someone who works closely with young people in the community, it was Duncalf-Barber’s idea to formulate the Spinning Reels Bursary Scholarship to enable students in Muskoka to apply for a grant of over $1,000 to aid them in their post-secondary education in film, animation, television, theatre art production or digital media studies. The bursary began in 2009.

Over the past 10 years, over $14,000 has been presented to over 14 students in the community.
As a freelance writer, Duncalf-Barber ensures that Spinning Reels events are covered by written word and photography events in the local media.

The nomination further states: “Maria is proud of the work she does for Spinning Reels and says she can trace back her love of movies to her childhood. As the eldest of 11 she used to sit in the dark and watch TV with her mother in England when all the siblings had gone to bed. Being in the theatre watching movies these days reminds her of being close to her mother and having her all to herself. The theatre is her favourite place to be and when the lights go down she always feels the excitement in the air.”

“I am so happy and very proud,” says Duncalf-Barber of winning the award.

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