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Banff: Robin Roberts Touts Inclusivity at Rockie Awards Gala

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Good Morning America host Robin Roberts talked up the benefits of embracing diversity in storytelling when receiving the Inclusion Award at the 2024 edition of the Banff World Media Festival on Monday night.

“Immense gratitude to everyone who is involved in this dynamic, vibrant inclusive festival, where everyone is not only welcomed, but embraced,” Roberts told the Rockie Awards gala. “Diversity is being on the team, inclusion is getting in the game. I’m so grateful to A&E to allow me to be in the game, with you,” Roberts, who went from star athlete to becoming a TV anchor, added about A&E, the sponsor of the gala award.

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Kevin Beggs, chairman and chief creative officer at the Lionsgate Television Group, was on hand to receive the Award of Excellence at the Rockie Awards gala after serving for seven years as chairman of the board at the Banff TV festival.

“Through it all, Kevin has been an amazing partner. I’ve taught him some Yiddish, and he’s taught me what it means to be a mensch,” Sandra Stern, vice chairman of the Lionsgate Television Group, said when introducing Beggs to the gala audience.

Beggs, when accepting the award, returned his admiration for Stern from the stage of the Banff Springs Van Horne ballroom. “Sandra, as you mentioned, you and I have been sharing stories and making each other laugh as we built a television studio together for decades. We have had wins and losses. But through it all, you’ve always taught me the importance of relationships, character and integrity,” Beggs said.

Girls5eva actor Renée Elise Goldsberry, who was also in the original Hamilton cast, was a no-show to pick up the Creative Voice Award in Banff as she discovered on Sunday that she had failed to renew her passport and could not fly to Canada.

“The only thing that could have kept me from being there to accept in person was an expired passport. Yesterday was a hard day. But I am so grateful for the opportunity to accept virtually,” Goldsberry told the Banff audience via a taped acceptance speech.

Also Monday night, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, when receiving the Canadian Award of Distinction, paid tribute to Kim’s Convenience, a homegrown comedy set around a Korean-Canadian family running a corner shop in Toronto, and which also starred Simu Liu. “I got the opportunity to be the lead actor in an award-winning show that was a love letter to my parents and the human experience in Kim’s Convenience,” Sun-Hyung Lee said when accepting his career tribute.

The Rockie Awards gala took a comic turn when Tom Green came on stage to receive the Sir Peter Ustinov Comedy Award. “From what I know about Peter Ustinov, I see this all makes perfect sense. Sir Peter won the Academy Award for his role in Spartacus. I was in Road Trip,” Greene said, recalling his role in the 2000 comedy adventure pic.

Emmy-winning director and writer Allana Harkin (Full Frontal with Samantha Bee) hosted the flagship Banff Rockie Awards, which also saw Richard Speer, president and founder of Montreal-based indie producer Attraction, accept the Innovative Award.

“I’d like to take the opportunity to recognize everyone who’s working so hard right now to make our industry better. Times are not easy for Canadian content,” Speer, whose production banner has a first look deal with Netflix Canada, told the Banff gala.

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