Tonya Lee Williams in “Empire Of Dirt” at the Toronto International Film Festival!, September 6th, 2013, Toronto

Tonya Lee Williams will appear as “Sandra” a Social Worker in the film “Empire Of Dirt”, produced by Jennifer Podemski, written by Shannon Masters and directed by Peter Stebbings, screening at this years Toronto International FIm Festival on September 6.  The two-time Emmy nominated actress is thrilled and honored to be a part of TIFF 2013.  
Empire of Dirt, a story about three generations of Native Canadian women who find history repeating itself.  At 15, Lena (Cara Gee) was pregnant and kicked to the curb by a mother (Podemski), only 14 years her senior.  Since then, she’s been struggling to make ends meet in Toronto.  But when her own 13-year-old daughter (Shay Eyre – daughter of Smoke Signals director Chris Eyre) overdoses, and when her social worker (Williams) gets involved, Lena decides to return home and face the past she’s tried to escape.  Can family provide a second chance?
Williams ability to humanize her characters showing both their vulnerabilities as well as their strengths in honest portrayals has endeared her to dedicated fans world wide.  The actress, best known for her role as Dr. Olivia Winters on The Young and The Restless has worked with actors such as Danny Glover in the feature film Poor Boy’s Game, Tia and Tamara Mowry in the Lifetime film Double Wedding, Canadian actor James Robert McGowan in the CBC night-time hit drama The Border and with Rob Lowe in Prosecuting Casey Anthony.  A tireless advocate for diverse Filmmakers, the two-time NAACP recipient puts her notoriety to good use. Williams revolutionized the Canadian entertainment industry by founding the ReelWorld Film Festival, based in Toronto Canada, now in its 13th year.  ReelWorld’s mandate, to create opportunities for racially diverse artists, both in front of and behind the camera.  “I’m thrilled that Tonya accepted our offer to be in Empire of Dirt.  She’s a grounded and natural actor who’s participation helped us achieve the strength and realism we were hoping for. I’m forever grateful!”    Jennifer Podemski – producer