A personal note from the founding director of FITC, Shawn Pucknell

One year ago, we were forced to adapt to a new reality. We moved into a more solitary existence and temporarily saw an end of in-person events.

There were many days last March where I was sure it was the end of FITC, just shy of our twenty-year milestone.  Thankfully, with a lot of help and hard work, we've been able to survive. I am incredibly proud of what we've accomplished, and have spent much of this time thinking about these past twenty years and the next.

I’ve spent those years asking people across the media arts and technology world to share, to be vulnerable. I’ve asked them to come onto a stage in front of an audience, in most cases in a city they’ve never been to, under the bright lights, and share their stories, their fears, their inspirations, and their struggles and failures. It’s a hell of a lot to ask, and it’s not easy, but yet they’ve come.

And now, it’s my turn to share.

Twenty years is another anniversary for me personally; my mother passed just before my first FITC. The past year has given me time to think about what matters most in my life. My eldest daughter will be celebrating her first wedding anniversary, my youngest daughter will be starting to drive, and my wonderful wife and I celebrated our 24th year together.

A little over thirty years ago, my Mom needed a kidney transplant due to a hereditary disease. Fortunately, her sister was able to donate, giving us another ten years together. Her care came from the amazing staff at the Toronto General Hospital. This year, I sat in the same hospital and was given the news that this same disease has progressed for me.

I’m about to start that same journey as my mother. 

For this year, I’ve decided that we will be donating a percentage of every ticket sale from FITC Toronto 2021 to the Multi-Care Kidney Unit at the Toronto General Hospital (TGH).

Shawn Pucknell