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Paul Bronfman joins Canadian Hall of Fame

Pinewood Toronto Studios facility boss

TORONTO -- Canadian director Norman Jewison recalls a lunch last month at Pinewood Toronto Studios where facility boss Paul Bronfman, sitting next to Queen Elizabeth, pitched the British monarch on Pinewood Shepperton's North American beachhead.

"He not only charmed the Queen, but I think he sold her a part of the studio," Jewison said Monday night at the Toronto International Film Festival as Bronfman was inducted into the Playback Canadian Film and Television Hall of Fame.

Bronfman, who started out in entertainment as rock band roadie, at Monday night's ceremony recalled a scene in the Mike Myers-starring movie "Wayne's World" where the two main characters, Wayne and Garth, get to go backstage at an Alice Cooper show by telling the rock star "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!"

"It's very humbling and very flattering to be recognized by your peers," he said just before accepting the industry tribute.

Now Bronfman got to go front-of-stage Monday night after for three decades supplying high-tech soundstages and film and TV rental equipment to local and Hollywood shoots in Canada as head of the Comweb Group and chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios.

Judy Bronfman said her husband has a humbleness and human touch that endears him to his Canadian film and TV industry colleagues.

But significantly, she sees her husband having settled in his own mind how to work in the entertainment business with a family name that precedes you.

"The chip has softened, he's comfortable in his own skin, and he's come into his own as an industry leader," Judy Bronfman said.

Other Canadian hall of fame inductees Monday night included the late comic and actor John Candy, the Oscar-winning writer, producer and director Paul Haggis, filmmaker Alanis Obomsawin, actors Donald Sutherland, broadcaster David Suzuki and veteran film producer Don Carmody ("Chicago").

Carmody, who flanked by six actors dressed as zombies after his "Resident Evil: Afterlife" won the weekend box office, praised the feature creatures.

"I've made a lot of genre movies. But I've stayed away from vampire movies because my keen sense of taste tells me they can never be sexy," Carmody said with a wry grin.

The Toronto International Film Festival runs through to Sept. 19.