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Michael McNamara to receive Don Haig Award
By Staff

;Michael McNamara given Don Haig Award;
(April 28, 2014 – Toronto, Ontario) Toronto`s Hot Docs Festival has announced that Toronto-based producer-director-writer Michael McNamara will be the recipient of this year`s the Don Haig Award. The Award is presented by the Hot Docs Board of Directors to an outstanding Canadian independent producer with a feature-length film in competition at the Festival, and selected by a jury of independent producers, including Merit Jensen Carr, Nick de Pencier and Michael McMahon. The Award recognizes creative vision and entrepreneurship, as reflected in the recipient’s body of work and Festival film, as well as a track record of mentoring emerging Canadian filmmakers.

Michael McNamara has been an editor, a sound recordist, a cameraman, a writer, a producer and a director, sometimes all at once, for thirty years. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to get this award,” said McNamara. “Don Haig`s generous spirit touched so many emerging film makers and helped build an entire industry. It`s so fitting that this award is a part of Hot Docs. I’ve attended Hot Docs since the films were running on TV screens perched on bars along College Street . I love the festival, I love what it`s doing for documentary and the city of Toronto , and I love everything this award stands for. I’m deeply honoured to receive it.”

Fourteen years ago, McNamara cofounded Markham Street Films with partner Judy Holm. Over the years he has followed his passion for pop culture, music, art and science, writing and directing films such as 100 Films & A Funeral and Acquainted with the Night, as well as worked on series such as Driven by Vision and Fanboy.

The film that is screening at Hot Docs this year is titled David & Me, which was co-produced by Aaron Hancox and Michael McNamara. Directed by Ray Klonsky and Marc Lamy, the film tells the story of David McCallum. When he was just 16-years-old, was arrested for the kidnapping, robbery and murder of Nathan Blenner. David and his friend Willie Stuckey were convicted and sentenced to 25-years-to-life for those crimes. Their conviction in 1985 lacked physical evidence and was based on coerced testimonies and a questionable police investigation. David & Me is an emotional story about friendship, perseverance and an unwavering belief in justice.

McNamara`s talents in both documentary and scripted films have resulted in excellence and awards for Markham Street Films and he has increasingly used these talents to work with young filmmakers, such as Klonsky and Lamy. Also look for Daniel Perlmutter`s feature comedy Big News from Grand Rock that will hit the festival circuit this fall.

Northernstars.ca joins with others in congratulating Michael McNamara on this award. Past winners of the Don Haig Award include filmmakers Merit Jensen Carr (2013), Mia Donovan (2012), Rama Rau (2011), Philip Lyall and Nimisha Mukerji (2010), Brett Gaylor (2009), Yung Chang (2008), Hubert Davis (2007), and Guylaine Dionne (2006).