“The Academy Special Awards are presented annually to uniquely talented people in our industry who have left an indelible impression in the Canadian film, television and digital media landscape,” said Academy Chair Martin Katz. “We are especially proud to recognize these six winners at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards, individuals who have been at the vanguard of our Canadian industry.”
Following is the list of Special Award recipients in alphabetical order:
Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute:
George Anthony Montreal-born writer and producer George Anthony has contributed decades of creative hard and successful work to the Canadian entertainment industry. In his long run as the head of Arts, Music, Science & Variety television programming at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he championed dozens of series, including long-running hits as ROYAL CANADIAN AIR FARCE and THIS HOUR HAS 22 MINUTES, high-rated specials with Anne Murray, Celine Dion and Shania Twain, and TV movies and feature films, notably the critically-acclaimed 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.
Canadian programs under Anthony`s aegis have won more than 100 Gemini awards and an impressive array of other honours, including the Prix Italia and a number of international Emmy Awards.
Anthony initially made his mark as a founding member of the Toronto Sun as both its entertainment editor and its best-read entertainment columnist and critic. He returned to writing with his 2007 biography Starring Brian Linehan and collaborated with Gordon Pinsent on the actor`s 2012 autobiography, Next. He currently serves as the CBC`s creative point person on its highest-rated comedy series, the RICK MERCER REPORT.
Digital Media Trailblazing Award:
Jeffrey Elliott Jeffrey Elliott has over twenty-five years of strategic and creative experience in broadcasting, production and digital media, always at the forefront of emerging technologies in broadcasting and new media.
Elliott was the founder and CEO of GlassBOX Television, which became one of Canada`s leading multiplatform media companies. One of its channels, Bite TV, the world`s first interactive and multiplatform television channel, was awarded an International Emmy for Interactive Broadcasting and won the best in Cross Platform Broadcasting at the DIGIS (Canadian New Media Awards). Prior to GlassBOX, Elliott held senior positions with leading Canadian media companies including Alliance-Atlantis where, as SVP Interactive, he crafted their digital strategy. He was Managing Director at Netstar Communications (then parent company of The Sports Network and Discovery Canada) and Director of Programming at TSN. There he created the award-winning multiplatform content project THE LEGENDS OF HOCKEY. He also led the launch of Discoverychannel.ca and TSN.ca.
He is currently a Board member of Interactive Ontario, an active member of the Interactive Peer Group for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Earle Grey Award:
Paul Gross rose to international stardom as Constable Benton Fraser in the hit television series DUE SOUTH. He has gone on to write, direct and/or appeare in significant roles on the small screen, the silver screen and on stage, garnering innumerable honours, including the Order of Canada.
Gross won four Geminis for the Best Performance By An Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role – two for DUE SOUTH and two for SLINGS & ARROWS – as well as one for Best Writing in a Dramatic Series for DUE SOUTH. Gross starred in the miniseries THE TROJAN HORSE as well as H2O, the latter winning him awards from both the WGC and the DGC.
Gross’ passion project – the feature film Passchendaele – which he wrote, produced and starred in, won the Best Motion Picture Genie and the Academy’s Cineplex Golden Reel award.
Gross is currently directing and starring in a feature film script he wrote: the upcoming Afghanistan war epic Hyena Road.
On stage, the Calgary-born and University of Alberta educated Gross has starred as Hamlet at Stratford, and as Elyot in Private Lives at both the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto and at the Music Box on Broadway.
The Earle Grey Award is presented to an actor/actress for a body of work in Canadian television, or for their significant contribution to the international profile of Canadian television.
Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism:
Ric Esther Bienstock’s documentary films have aired on networks in over 50 countries and have covered topics as diverse as corruption in professional boxing, the trafficking of women, the hard-core pornography industry, single mothers by choice, human organ trafficking and the Ebola outbreak in Zaire. Her films have won almost every major award for excellence in broadcast media.
Her honours include an Emmy Award for Outstanding Investigative Journalism, two Edward R. Murrow Awards, the duPont-Columbia Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism, the Scripps Howard Award, an Amnesty International Award, the British Broadcast Award for Best Documentary, a Royal Television Society Award, two Gemini Awards and a Genie Award for Best Documentary.
Her most recent film, Tales From the Organ Trade, tackles the international black market trade in human organs. The film has garnered two Emmy nominations and received the Norman Bethune Award for Excellence in International Health Reporting. Previously, Bienstock went undercover to produce SEX SLAVES, her expose into the trafficking of women from the former Soviet bloc into the global sex trade. She also spent five weeks at the epicenter of an outbreak for Ebola: Inside An Outbreak (aka The Plague Fighters) which brought her the prestigious duPont-Columbia Award.
Michael Landsberg, host of TSN`s OFF THE RECORD (OTR) speaks publicly about his personal battle with depression and considers his ability to help reduce the stigma of mental illness as his most important professional calling. In 2013 Landsberg`s documentary, DARKNESS AND HOPE: DEPRESSION, SPORTS AND ME, was nominated for a 2013 Canadian Screen Award for Best History or Biography Documentary Program or Series. In 2012, the Canadian Alliance on Mental Health also named Landsberg one of its Champions of Mental Health. He was also recognized by the CMHA and the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario for fighting to reduce the stigma.
In addition, Landsberg hosts a variety of charitable events each year, most often on behalf of The Hospital for Sick Children and eye research.
Landsberg started his broadcasting career as an anchor on SPORTSCENTRE (then called SPORTSDESK), then after 13 years, moved over to host the 30-minute daily sports debate show, OTR.
Landsberg was the Whistler Host for OLYMPIC DAYTIME on CTV during the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games. During the London 2012 Olympic Games, he anchored TSN`s OLYMPIC DAYTIME.
Margaret Collier Award:
Tassie Cameron is a Gemini Award-winning screenwriter, who has written for television series, MOWs, mini-series, and feature films. Tassie is currently co-creator, executive producer and showrunner on the hit series, ROOKIE BLUE, which will begin airing its sixth season on Global and ABC in Summer 2015.
Co-Executive Producer on the first season of CTV’s hit series, FLASHPOINT, Tassie’s other credits include THE ROBBER BRIDE, WOULD BE KINGS, THE ELEVENTH HOUR, DEGRASSI: THE NEXT GENERATION, TOM STONE, FAST FOOD HIGH, RAISING THE BAR (TNT), and the romantic comedy, CAKE.
Cameron has a Masters in Film from NYU, and is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre.
The Margaret Collier Award is presented to a writer for a body of work in Canadian film and/or television, or for significant contribution to the international profile of Canadian film and/or television.
These Academy Special Awards—as well as additional ones to be announced in the coming weeks—will be presented during 2015 Canadian Screen Week (February 23 – March 1, 2015).