Film student says grace at luncheon for the Queen

Joel Kim was already nervous when he received a phone call telling him he was going to meet Queen Elizabeth. His state of mind had nothing to do with any long-held dreams of meeting Canada’s sovereign or the realization that he would be rubbing elbows with major film company executives and politicians at a luncheon held at Pinewood Toronto Studios in the Docklands – all reason enough for a third-year film production student’s pulse rate to quicken.

Joel Kim and Lisa RayRight: Joel Kim and Canadian actor Lisa Ray at the luncheon for the Queen

No, Kim had a much more mundane reason for being on edge – he was at a test centre to take his driver’s test and had no idea he was even being considered as the person who would say grace at the Queen’s table.

“Oh my gosh,” he said, when he was asked by Stephanie Dixon, administrative assistant to Amnon Buchbinder, chair of the Film Department in the Faculty of Fine Arts, if he would like to represent York at the event. “I never really expected to be doing something like this,” Kim said. “It was so random!”

And indeed it was almost random. Staff at Premier Dalton McGuinty’s office called Buchbinder and requested York nominate a film student to say grace at the luncheon for about 300 people during the visit by the Queen and Prince Philip to the 250,000-square-foot film & television facility, the largest in Canada.

Kim said he was so overwhelmed at being chosen that he couldn’t think of anything special to say during his 30-second offering of the grace, so he asked organizers to provide him with the simple text that he read to the assembled guests, which included Toronto Mayor David Miller, MPs and MPPs, and a host of film industry executives and actors, including MC Lisa Ray. His role also earned him an invitation to the VIP reception where he was among the 50 or so people who were to meet the Queen. “For me it was pretty exciting,” said Kim. “I’m not a VIP like the others who were there.”

Before he spoke his lines at the luncheon, Kim, who wore a business suit, was given a guide on how to meet the Queen, which he read through, but he didn’t get to speak with her or perform a gentleman’s bow. “Overall, the experience was quite amazing and I will never forget the moment when I was literally right in front of the Queen!” Kim said.

Kim will be entering his fourth year in York’s Film Production Program this fall and plans to concentrate on cinematography and editing. His third-year film project, a 15-minute short titled Bonds on which he served as director of photography, was chosen for the Faculty’s CineSiege year-end screenings.

By David Fuller, YFile contributing writer