Maria Duncalf-Barber wins prestigious TIFF Award

A huge congratulations to longtime Spinning Reels volunteer, Maria Duncalf-Barber, who is the proud — and very deserving — recipient of a nation-wide award from the Toronto International Film Festival for her important contribution to the Film Circuit through Spinning Reels.

Below is the text of her nomination, written by Carol Quinn and the Spinning Reels board, longtime volunteers who also deserve a huge pat on the back. Congratulations to you all!

The inimitable Maria Duncalf-Barber

The inimitable Maria Duncalf-Barber

Maria Duncalf-Barber is 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 counselor, 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.

Maria has been on the board of Spinning Reels for 13 years. She holds 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.

As Maria loves film, and works closely with young people in the community, it was her 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.
This began in 2009 and this year will be the tenth year of the Bursary. Maria is happy and excited that young people in the community have this opportunity to enable their future.

Over the ten years with help from a board member and the board’s permission, she has presented over $14,000.00 to over 14 students in the community.
Each year she writes an article on the winning recipients that have been published in the local paper. Plus, she would send a copy to TIFF and they would publish it in their annual magazine.

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 eleven 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.

As a freelance writer for the local magazines she ensures that Spinning Reels events are covered by written word and photography events in the papers.
Maria will continue to be on the board of Spinning Reels and continue the good work, as it has become one of the greatest parts of her life.

Maria is a true community activist and a passionate lover of film. Through this passion she is able to convey the importance of this art form and the way that it educates, informs and connects all of us to the wider world.

Our community is so fortunate in having such a valued and enthusiastic member. Maria is a first class, honest, dedicated volunteer and she deserves to be nominated for this achievement.

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And the winners of the 2018 Student Bursary are….

Sandy Yudin, Mitchell Brock, Maria Duncalf Barber

Mitchell Brock with Sandy and Maria of Spinning Reels

We are happy to announce that this year Spinning Reels has selected two promising graduates to receive the 2018 Spinning Reels bursary. Drumroll please… the recipients are: Mitchell Brock and Preslee Bertrand.

Mitchell attended BMLSS where he participated in Improv and school plays as well as a number of PRISM performances of Shakespeare in Annie Williams Park under the tutelage of Robin Clipsham. He is off to York University to study acting and film. “Thanks to Spinning Reels and this bursary I will be able to put the award towards buying my books for the course. I can get four of them,” he said, adding, “This will make my experience easier and better for my first year at York.”

Preslee (sorry no picture!) attended St. Dominic and has been accepted to Canadore College in North Bay to study film editing and learn about advanced visual and audio editing. Both of them plan to join Canada’s thriving film industry as soon as they can.

Mitchell and Preslee, we wish you much success!

About the Spinning Reels Student Bursary

We are committed to helping the next generation of creators, and every year we select one or more students who are moving on to their post-secondary education to receive a Spinning Reels Student Bursary.

Do you know someone in his or her last year of high school who is planning their post-secondary studies in an arts-related field such as theatre, multimedia, photography or filmmaking?

Contact Spinning Reels at to receive information about how they can apply for a Spinning Reels student bursary.

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Monday November 12, 2018


Info to come


Thanks to our Sponsor

Roy DeHaan Carpentry

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The Bookshop

Monday October 22, 2018


Info to come


Thanks to our Sponsor

Bigwin Realty Inc.

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Leave No Trace

the stars of Leave No Trace

Will (Ben Foster), an Iraq War veteran suffering from PTSD, lives with his thirteen-year-old daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), in a public park outside Portland, Oregon. They live in almost total isolation, only entering town for occasional food and supplies. Will makes their money by selling his VA-issued painkillers to other veterans. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini.

109 minutes

Official trailer for Leave No Trace

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“Once again, Granik introduces us to a kind of family that cinema rarely captures believably, and she does so with a style that’s both lyrical and realistic at the same time, anchored by a pair of unforgettable performances.”                                                 –  Brian Tallerico, Roger


Monday September 24, 2018

7:00 p.m. at the Norwood Theatre

Thank you to our sponsor

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Mary Shelley

Elle Fanning, star of Mary ShelleyMARY SHELLEY tells the story of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Elle Fanning) and her fiery, tempestuous relationship with renowned romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth.) The pair are two outsiders constrained by polite society but bound together by a natural chemistry and progressive ideas that are beyond the boundaries of their age and time. Mary and Percy declare their love for each other and much to her family’s horror they run away together, joined by Mary’s half-sister Claire (Bel Powley.) In the midst of growing tension within their relationship during their stay at Lord Byron’s (Tom Sturridge) house at Lake Geneva, the idea of Frankenstein is conceived when a challenge is put to all house guests to write a ghost story. An incredible character is created, which will loom large in popular culture for centuries to come, but society at the time puts little value in female authors. At the tender age of 18, Mary is forced to challenge these preconceptions, to protect her work and to forge her own identity.

120 minutes

Monday, September 10th

7:00 p.m. at the Norwood

Official trailer for Mary Shelley

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Thank you to our Sponsor

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Finding Your Feet

the cast of Finding Your Feet                 What a way to end the Spinning Reels season!

When ‘Lady’ Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) discovers that her husband of forty years is having an affair with her best friend, she seeks refuge with her estranged, bohemian, older sister Bif (Celia Imrie). Sandra couldn’t be more different to her outspoken, serial dating, free spirited sibling. But it turns out different is just what Sandra needs and she reluctantly lets Bif drag her along to her community dance class, where gradually she starts finding her feet… and romance.

Finding Your Feet is a hilarious and heart-warming modern comedy proving that it’s never too late to start again.     Cineplex                     

poster for Finding your Feet

Click to view the Official Trailer

111 minutes

Monday, May 28th, 2018  

7:00 p.m. at the Norwood Theatre


*A  very  special  thanks  to  our  Sponsor *

The Norwood Theatre

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The Norwood is a fourth generation family-run theatre serving Muskoka for over 90 years, and is the host for all Spinning Reels movies. Presenting first run movies in a vintage building. Contemporary visual, sound and seating in climate controlled comfort. Open year round.








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Meditation Park

the cast of Meditation ParkIn her latest feature, Mina Shum directs an all-star cast including Cheng Pei Pei, Sandra Oh, Tzi Ma, and Don McKellar. Set in Vancouver, Meditation Park tells the story of a devoted wife and mother (Pei Pei) who is forced to reassess her reverence for her husband after she finds another woman’s thong in his laundry. Her efforts to find out the truth send her on an unexpected journey of liberation.

Sandra Oh and Cheng Pei Pei

“Shum mines her favourite theme — immigrant experience in Canada — in what seems at first to be a gentle slice of life but eventually develops a powerful emotional force.”
– Susan G. Cole,  NOW Magazine

Click to view


90 minutes

Monday, May 14th, 2018

7:00 p.m. at the Norwood Theatre


Thank you to our sponsor

Brackenrig Nursery


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The Party

Join us on Monday, April 23rd, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Norwood Theatre

The Party  

the cast of The PartyIn Sally Potter’s new dark comedy THE PARTY, Janet (Kristin Scott Thomas) is hosting an intimate gathering of friends in her London home to celebrate her political ascension, while her husband, Bill (Timothy Spall), seems preoccupied. Janet’s acerbic best friend, April (Patricia Clarkson), arrives and others follow, some with their own dramatic news to share, but an announcement by Bill provokes a series of revelations that gradually unravel the sophisticated soiree, and a night that began with champagne may end with gun play.                                                                                               ~ Rotten Tomatoes

In its review of this 2017 U.K. film, The Guardian calls The Party “the dinner bash from hell” and gives it four stars!

71 minutes   

poster for The Party

Click image to view trailer

Thank you to our Sponsor

Catherine Nasmith

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The Leisure Seeker

The Leisure Seeker

The film stars Academy Award-winner (R) Helen Mirren and two-time Golden Globe-winner (R) Donald Sutherland as a runaway couple going on an unforgettable journey in the faithful old RV they call The Leisure Seeker, travelling from Boston to The Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West.

Ella (Mirren) is dying of cancer. John (Sutherland) is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Neither is interested in quietly fading away surrounded by nurses and machines just to needlessly prolong a winnowing life. With the end of the road in sight, they recapture their passion for life and their love for each other on a road trip that provides revelation and surprise right up to the very end.

Based on the novel by Michael Zadoorian, The Leisure Seeker is a pleasure giver. Despite the sombre rationale behind Ella and John’s journey, the film brims with humour, affection, observation, and more than a little satire.                   TIFF 2017

Official Trailer

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112 minutes                                                                                

Monday, April 9th, 2018

7:00 p.m. at the Norwood Theatre


Karen Acton Royal LePage

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Karen Acton

Karen Acton

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