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Maria Topalovich resigns from Academy

TORONTO – Maria Topalovich, President and CEO of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced today that she will resign her position at the Academy at the end of her contract on April 30, 2007.

“I have enjoyed the unique privilege of helping to build this vital association since its inception. After 28 years of serving the Academy and its constituents, sponsors and broadcasters and steering this organization to its present position as a leader in Canada’s film and television community, I feel the time is right to pursue my own personal goals. The baton will be passed to new talents bringing a fresh perspective on the Academy’s essential role in the ever-changing landscape of the Canadian film and television industries,” said Maria Topalovich.

Paul Gratton, Chair of the Academy, acknowledged the invaluable contribution Maria has made to the Academy and to the film and television industries. “During her 28-year tenure, Maria has been a driving force and tireless promoter of our national culture and Canada’s film and television industries. She helped to create the first Genie Awards in 1980 out of the legacy of the Canadian Film Awards. Recognizing the ever-increasing importance of television, she played a key role in the establishment of Canada’s very first national television awards, the Geminis, in 1986. At the same time, the Academy established the Prix Gémeaux and formed its Quebec branch to administer them. Through her dedicated efforts, the Genie, Gemini and Prix Gémeaux are now internationally recognized as standards of excellence and unparalleled honours in our industry.

Maria is the author of two definitive anthologies on the Canadian film industry, A Pictorial History of the Canadian Film Awards and And the Genie Goes To…Celebrating 50 Years of the Canadian Film Awards, both published by Stoddart. Under her stewardship, the Academy also produced a variety of publications including the popular ‘how to’ series – Making It, Selling It and Telling It – on producing, marketing and writing for film and television in Canada, and established essential, year-round professional development and apprenticeship programs, marketing conferences and national Speaker and Screening series for Academy members and the industry at large. Despite the cyclical nature of our business, the Academy remains the largest national professional association of its kind in Canada and today unifies over 4,000 industry professionals across the country. 

“On behalf of the Board of Directors and our membership, I thank Maria for her outstanding contributions to the Academy and the industry as a whole, and wish her continued success in her future endeavours.”

A search committee, comprised of National Chair Paul Gratton, Quebec Chair Charles Ohayon and founding Chair Ron Cohen, will immediately set upon the task of identifying the appropriate candidate who will help guide the Academy through the challenging and exciting times ahead. Until then, Paul Gratton will serve as interim Chief Executive Officer of the Academy.