FOR FILM AND TELEVISION VETERAN SEAN BUCKLEY, THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND HIS SUCCESS COMES DOWN TO STRENGTH OF FAMILY.
- PHOTOGRAPHY: YURI DOJC
- STYLE: SERGE KERBEL
The Toronto International Film Festival was a time of great pride for Sean Buckley, founder and CEO of Toronto’s Buck Productions, a content creation company with Gemini, Genie, Canadian Screen Award, and Director’s Guild of Canada successes in feature films, television, branded content, documentaries and commercials. A film that he was one of the producers on, Wet Bum, had its world premiere at TIFF. Sean spoke to Re: Luxe about the idea that drives his company – that the direction of production is founded on the currency of the ideas from the team behind it, reaching audiences with bold, sometimes risky, projects, rather than the “bigger-is-better” model. But what drives his work ethic? We found out when we visited the family home in Oakville for a fashion shoot, a home they were just moving into, outside of Toronto. There, we joined Sean, wife Jennifer, and their children, Jade (14), Tess (14), Avery Grace (11) and Adelaide (6). Jennifer is a stay-at-home mother with a passion for art, painting for their home and for close friends (“Only if they ask!” she tells us.)
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF FAMILY, AND HOW BOTH OF YOU ARE ABLE TO BALANCE WORK WHILE RAISING FOUR KIDS?
Sean: Both of us work very hard each day. My job isn’t more important than Jennifer’s. At the end of the day what she does allows me to make the commitment and do the hours that still press Buck Productions forward, and still have the balance. I work hard to provide for my family with the things they are blessed to do – including having the girls in great schools — but on the flipside, we are so connected as a family because of the work Jennifer does. It’s like a pendulum – and we always have each other’s back. The term stay-at-home mom doesn’t even scratch the surface of what Jennifer does. She is the epicenter of this family. She is passionate and caring and enjoying this moment with our children – such a fragile moment in time. They grow up so quickly, so this time, and having her there for it in the way she is, we consider such a blessing.
CAN YOU EXPAND ON YOUR KIDS’ INTERESTS, AND HOW THEY ALL SEEM TO BE HEADING TOWARDS ARTISTIC ENDEAVOURS?
Jennifer: Jade, our first born by 22 minutes, is the gifted artist. Her painting and sketches have been singled out and have won awards. It boggles my mind to see the work she is doing at the age of 14. She just placed third at the Ontario provincials alpine snowboard racing. She’s competed at the U.S. national level in Colorado in both Alpine and Boarder Cross, along with her sisters Tess & Avery Grace.
Tess is the songbird. She began singing standards and jazz at a very young age. She’s a gifted piano player and she recomposes songs to bring them to life in her own way. Some have commented that Tess has a beautiful, old soul.
Avery Grace is our dancer. After auditioning for the National Ballet School of Canada two summers in a row she was accepted this year into the July program. The Artistic Director approached her at the end of the program and asked her to attend as a full time resident. There were many long conversations of even contemplating sending her away at the age of 11, but she was so passionate about dance and this opportunity and we listened to her. She will be attending classes in September, with many visits from her loving parents.
Adelaide picked up the nickname “The Hurricane” at an early age. She never was given the opportunity to embrace the concept “the youngest” as our family lives in poetic chaos. She, at this stage, could be our “all-of-the-above” child as she dances, sings, plays the piano and really wants a dog. She even created a Powerpoint presentation on getting a dog.
SEAN, CAN YOU EXPAND ON HOW YOUR FAMILY LIFE ENERGIZES YOU WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR DAY-TO-DAY ENDEAVOURS, RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS?
I’m at a rare position in my life where I can provide for my family while doing what it is that I love to do. It’s not easy. There are many challenges that are designed to hold you back. One of the things that anchors me and is of paramount importance is my reputation, my company’s reputation and anyone I have the good fortune of working with at Buck Productions.
WHEN YOU ARE BOTH AT WORK, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO WEAR (FAVOURITE DESIGNERS)? WHEN YOU ARE BOTH IN CASUAL MODE, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO WEAR?
Sean: I like nice clothes. I enjoy unique, well-made pieces. I really like John Varvatos’ stuff. I have always adored watches and have a humble collection. A few years ago I met with a tailor from Hong Kong in a room in the Hyatt and got a tailor suit made, but I thought – there has to be a better way of doing this. So I started an event in Oakville called Spokeville where I invite a collection of friends and family and this tailor who brings some of his best fabrics and makes custom made suits, shirts, tuxedos, pants. Not only can my friends get their own pieces made with a distinctive style, but they come for scotch and cigar tastings, they can check out some cool vintage cars – at the end of the day, I wanted to make the ultimate “man cave” for a day. My every day style when I’m working or at festivals – I love dressing up. I love the opportunity to dress in a way that is respectful of the environment I am in. At the cottage – my go-to style is a pair of board shorts, flips flops and a Habs cap.
Jennifer: I have eclectic taste in fashion. At home I live in comfortable basics like James Perse, Splendid and Vince. Some Bohemian styles like Free People are great, and special for occasions I love Stella McCartney. Montreal- based designer Veronique Milijkovitch is another favorite. At the cottage – my go-to style would be Sean’s oversize T’s … it’s what I live in.
WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF LUXURY?
Sean: Being able to stare into the eyes of someone you’ve shared a fascinating journey with and sincerely look forward to growing old with them, enjoying our family all the things we have accomplished together – that’s luxury.
Jennifer: My true passion for the last decade has been introducing all that I have learned to our incredible girls. That is my luxury and when I am most at peace — with my family, our four daughters and that incredible man that I love so much, who keeps our life forever interesting. That unconditional love and respect is what drives us.