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The Founding College of the University of Toronto

Spotlight Shines on Former BFDVs in Acclaimed Film

UC in the News
Writing Centre

Two former Barker Fairly Distinguished Visitors (BFDV) at University College are making waves in advance of 95th Academy Awards.

Women Talking, a film directed by former BFDV Sarah Polley (2012-13) based on a novel of the same name by Miriam Toews (2015-16), has been nominated for the Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for the upcoming Academy Awards on March 12.  

The film and novel are based on a series of sexual assaults that took place at a Mennonite colony in Bolivia from 2005 to 2009. While the colony's men are away for a time, the women come together and hold a referendum offering three choices: to do nothing, to fight, or to leave.   

In addition to the Academy Awards nominations, the film also received multiple nominations for the Golden Globe Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards, amongst many others. It was named one of the Top 10 Films of the Year in 2022 by the American Film Institute Awards and won the Best Adapted Screenplay at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards in January 2023. 

The novel, Toews' eighth book, was a finalist for the Governor General's Award and the Trillium Book Award. It was also longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. 

The BFDV was established in 1985 to augment links between UC and prominent Canadian cultural figures. The individual acts as a writer-in-residence, participating in various UC events and meeting individually with students seeking writing advice.