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!
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.