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Corner Gas: Live & Animated

Corner Gas: Live & Animated, image,

Corner Gas: Live & Animated
by Staff

(March 22, 2018 – Toronto, ON) It was the tiny Saskatchewan community most viewers wished they could move to, even if they couldn’t spell Saskatchewan, or pronounce it. It was Dog River and you can’t find it on a map because it never existed. Yet, legion of fans dutifully showed up to watch the hit comedy show, Corner Gas, which was set in the fictional town. Adding some sense of reality to the non-existent, tiny town, Corner Gas was said to be the only gas station for some 60 kilometres in any direction. The series went on to run for six seasons, 107 episodes, winning six Gemini awards. It had reached into the hearts of all who Hot Docs Ted Rogers cinema, image,watched series star Brent Butt and the rest of the cast to such an extent that the Premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, proclaimed April 13, 2009, the day the last episode was broadcast as “Corner Gas Day” in Saskatchewan.

As a measure of the show’s popularity, beginning from its very first broadcast in January of 2004, Corner Gas maintained an audience of more than a million viewers for all 107 episodes of the series. Naturally it went into syndication and there was a feature-length movie in 2014. Now, reaching some new plateau for a Canadian show, the cast returns to offer their voices to a new series, Corner Gas Animated, which will have its premiere on April 2 on The Comedy Network.

But before that, on Thursday, March 29 at 7:00 PM to be precise, Toronto fans are in for a very special treat when the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema plays host to Brent Butt and the rest of the cast for a one-of-a-kind live event. Ticket holders will be able to watch the cast go through a live reading from one of the scripts. This will be followed by a world-exclusive sneak preview of the much anticipated series, and then a Q&A session with the actors.

It’s a great opportunity to show your love for the original series, the characters and the people who played the people of Dog River, Saskatchewan. Click here for tickets and more information.

Howie Mandel: Funny Money

Howie Mandel: Funny Money, image,
Photo of Howie Mandel at the 2017 Canadian Screen Awards © Ralph Lucas.

Howie Mandel: Funny Money
by Staff

(March 22, 2018 – Toronto, ON) When the founder of the Just For Laughs empire, Gilbert Rozon stepped away from his company last October following accusations of sexual misconduct and assault spanning three decades, there was little speculation who would end up owning the most successful comedy event in North America. Considered a “cultural treasure” in Québec, one of its largest shareholders, the all-powerful Québecor Group was thought to be the most obvious new owner. But a funny thing happened on the way to the bank.

There were seven groups interested in buying the Just For Laughs Group. As it turns out, based on a 2012 partnership deal with the comedy festival, Québecor maintained a Right of First Refusal. What that means is they could effectively block any potential bid simply by matching it or offering a little more. Québecor announced last week it would not exercise that right and yesterday in Montreal it was announced that the company had been sold to Canadian comedian Howie Mandel and ICM Partners, a Los Angeles-based talent and literary agency.

ICM assured everyone that the Just For Laughs offices and festival would remain in Montreal. In fact, Pierre-Marc Johnson, the chairman of Just For Laugh’s board of directors stated, “They gave their word that they intend to keep operations in Montreal.”

Mandel, who has performed at Just For Laughs many times in the past 10 years said, “I consider it to be a cultural treasure not only for the Montreal and Quebec communities, but also for Canada.”

It should be noted that Gilbert Rozon has denied the allegations against him and they have not been proven in court.

The 36th annual Just For Laughs Festival will run from July 14 to July 28 in Montreal.

The Detail

Detail Details, image,
The main cast of The Detail. Photo courtesy of CTV.

10×60 minutes – Crime, drama,
First broadcast: March 25, 2018
Originating Network: CTV

2018 – 10×60 minutes (March 25, 2018)

The Detail is a female-driven, police procedural chronicling three Homicide Detectives within the Metropolitan Police Service who work tirelessly to solve crimes while navigating the complicated demands of their personal lives. Detective Stevie Hall (Angela Griffin) is an experienced interrogator who can extricate information from suspects and witnesses alike, even while her thorny family life teeters on the edge of full-blown implosion. Her partner, Detective Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Cooper (Shenae Grimes-Beech) is a street-smart rookie with a messy personal life. The unit is overseen by larger-than-life Staff Inspector Fiona Currie (Wendy Crewson) – a formidable boss who works overtime to keep the weekly case board clear and the streets safe.

The DetailThe Detail
Producer:Ilana Frank
Executive Producer:

Ilana Frank
Ley Lukins (Co-Showrunner)
Adam Pettle (Co-Showrunner)
Linda Pope
Nicola Shindler
Sally Wainwright
Jocelyn Hamilton (Entertainment One)

Co-Executive Producer:

Sonia Hosko
Gregory Smith

Consulting Producer:

Kathy Avrich Johnson


Jordan Canning
John Fawcett
James Genn
Grant Harvey
Sara St. Onge


Sandra Chwialkowska
Matt Doyle
Sarah Goodman
Naledi Jackson
Joe Pernice
Katrina Saville
Graeme Stewart


David Perrault


Teresa Hannigan
Jean Coulombe


Ian LeFeuvre
Benjamin Pinkerton

Production Designer:

Benno Tutter

Costume Designer:

Jenifur Jarvis


Wendy Crewson
Shenae Grimes-Beech
Angela Griffin
David Cubitt
Matthew Edison
Al Mukadam
Matt Gordon
Claire Qute
Richie Lawrence
Dan Abramovici
Elizabeth Whitmere
Guest Stars:
Ben Bass
David Ferry
Rebecca Liddiard
Melanie Nicholls-King
Sheila McCarthy
Ella Ballentine
Emily Pope
Sergio Di Zio
Kevin Hanchard
Huse Madhavji
Jordan Todosey
Kari Matchett
Latoya Webb
Alex Carter
Mark Rendall
Ian D. Clark
Josh Beech

Staff Inspector Fiona Currie
Detective Jacqueline Cooper
Detective Stevie Hall
Detective Kyle Price
Jono Hall
Detective Aaron Finch
Detective Donnie Sullivan
Katie Hall
Nate Hall
Noah Griffin
Rita Moretti

Marc Savage
Harry Barker
Emma Write
Helen Mailer

Detail Details

Detail Details, image,
The main cast of The Detail. Photo courtesy of CTV.

Detail Details
by Staff

(March 21, 2018 – Toronto, ON) This Sunday, CTV takes a bold leap with a new mid-season series titled The Detail. It’s a cop show, but the big twist here is the cops in question are three resilient female Homicide Detectives risking it all to get the job done.

Produced by Ilana Frank of ICF Films with Entertainment One (eOne) in association with CTV, The Detail costars British actor Angela Griffin as Detective Stevie Hallis, an experienced interrogator who can extricate information from suspects and witnesses alike, even while her thorny family life teeters on the edge of full-blown implosion. Her partner is Detective Jacqueline ‘Jack’ Cooper played by Canadian Shenae Grimes-Beech. Her character is a

Wendy Crewson, actress,
Photo of Wendy Crewson at the Canadian Screen Awards
© 2017 by Ralph Lucas.
street-smart rookie with a complicated personal life that threatens to eclipse the bright light of her policing prowess. The unit is overseen by larger-than-life Staff Inspector Fiona Currie, played by the award-winning Wendy Crewson. Currie is a formidable boss who works overtime to keep the weekly case board clear and the streets safe.

The premiere episode, entitled “Wake Up Call” airs Sunday, March 25 at 9 p.m. ET/MT on CTV and CTV GO).

The Detail ushers in a new onscreen status quo – where a police procedural anchored by three strong female lead characters surprises no one,” said Mike Cosentino, President, Content and Programming, Bell Media. “The Detail is a powerful addition to our exciting mid-season and Sunday night slate, and we can’t wait for viewers to watch the action unfold and meet the show’s brilliant, funny, flawed, and very real characters.”

“I am proud to work with our partners at CTV and eOne on this timely female-led series,” said Ilana Frank, Executive Producer. “Angela, Shenae and Wendy perfectly capture these strong, complicated and authentically flawed characters that struggle against the obstacles that women face in their personal and professional lives every day.”

The all-star ensemble cast includes David Cubitt as Detective Kyle Price, Stevie’s old flame and new co-worker at the division; Matthew Edison as Stevie’s husband Jono Hall; Al Mukadam as the well-connected Detective Aaron Finch; and Matt Gordon as Detective Donnie Sullivan, the surly yet lovable lug of homicide.

Shot in and around Toronto during the summer of 2017, guest stars in the inaugural season include Ben Bass as Marc Savage, Jack’s silver-tongued boyfriend; David Ferry as Harry Barker, Stevie’s step-father and retired cop; as well as appearances by Shelia McCarthy, Sergio Di Zio, Kevin Hanchard, Huse Madhavji, Jordan Todosey, Kari Matchett, Latoya Webb, Rebecca Liddiard, Alex Carter, Mark Rendall, Ian D. Clark and Josh Beech.

Encore presentations of The Detail will air the following Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/MT on CTV. The Detail can also be seen on demand at CTV.ca, on CTV GO, and through video on demand partners, such as Bell Fibe TV (visit CTV.ca for local listings). South of the border, The Detail will air on ION Television.

HOT DOCS Hits 25

HOT DOCS Hits 25, image,

(March 20, 2018 – Toronto, ON) – When the 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival kicks off on April 26th, it will be the start of an annual Spring tradition in Toronto and it will mark the 25th anniversary of a festival that began as a simple idea and has grown to become North America’s largest documentary festival. A quick look at the numbers indicates a strong documentary industry as this year’s slate of films was gleaned from 3059 submissions, resulting in a schedule of 246 films and 16 interdisciplinary projects from 56 countries in 14 screening programs. Organizers can be justifiably proud of the announcement that female filmmakers represent 50 per cent of the 2018 program.

“Formidable filmmakers, in unrelenting pursuit of the truth are a hallmark of this year’s Hot Docs Festival programming, and Toronto audiences have the chance to

Hot Docs Hits 25, image,
Shane Smith, director of programming for Hot Docs.
explore stories from around the world, and engage with the people who tell them,” said Shane Smith, director of programming for Hot Docs. “As we celebrate 25 years of Hot Docs, it’s exciting to see that documentary storytelling is as outstanding and outspoken as ever, a vital cultural force in connecting us to our world and to each other.” 

For the Festival’s 25th anniversary, Hot Docs will thank Toronto audiences by inviting them to a free world premiere IMAX screening at the Ontario Place Cinesphere of The Trolley, which takes viewers through 34 cities around the world to rediscover the public transit invention that revolutionized urban life. Additionally, Hot Docs will also present 25th anniversary screenings of Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker’s The War Room and Alanis Obomsawin’s Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance, at which the directors will be present for post-screening discussions.

Hot Docs Hits 25, image,
Maya Gallus at Hot Docs 2018.

The opening gala screening will come from the Festival’s Special Presentations program. It is the world premiere of Maya GallusThe Heat: A Kitchen (R)evolution, a glimpse into the kitchens of the world’s top female chefs. The director, no stranger to Hot Docs, was on hand to talk briefly about her new film. Other notable films in the Special Presentations program include: Active Measures, a deep-dive into Russia’s alleged involvement in the 2016 US presidential election; Andy Irons: Kissed By God, which profiles the legendary surfing champion and his struggles with mental illness; Behind the Curve, which looks at the rise of flat Earth believers; The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From a Mythical Man, which goes in search of true stories of the famous actor popping up in random scenarios; The Blue Wall, a film that recounts the police killing of unarmed Black teenager in Chicago; and Love, Gilda, a touching biopic of beloved actor and comedian Gilda Radner.

In addition to the Special Presentations program, there are a 11 other different programs at Hot Docs. Following are details on all of them:

This year’s expanded DocX program, an interdisciplinary section of the Festival celebrating documentary work that lives outside of the traditional format, will feature virtual reality and interactive experiences, including: Anote’s Ark (VR) and a special photo exhibit of Kiribati; Greenland Melting, a story of climate change told through dazzling 360° perspectives; The Guardians of the Forest, following the Indigenous volunteer force striving to save the Amazon, Holy City VR, an innovative experience that lets you walk within the walls of Jerusalem; and more. Free DocX programming will be available at Autodesk @ MaRS with a satellite location at Brookfield Place. The program will also feature a one-night-only performance of Toronto filmmaker Kelly O’Brien’s Postings From Home, and the video installation Havarie, presented by the Goethe-Institut Toronto in partnership with Hot Docs, Images Festival and Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival.
In the competitive Canadian Spectrum program, notable films include: The Guardians, which exposes the rampant corruption that’s transformed Nevada’s guardianship system into a con game; Letter from Masanjia, which looks at the mystery behind a SOS letter written by a Chinese political prisoner that turns up in Halloween decorations sold in Oregon; This Mountain Life, which follows a 60-year-old mother and daughter’s six-month trek through the stunning but treacherous Rocky Mountains; United We Fan, about how super-fans of famous TV shows fight to keep them on the air; and Love, Scott, a heartbreaking film about a young gay musician’s brave recovery after a vicious attacked left him paralyzed.

In the competitive International Spectrum program, notable films include: I, Dolours, a first-hand account from militant IRA activist Dolours Price of her life; Ubiquity, about the ever-expanding digital network and how those suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity are coping; Commander Arian – A Story of Women, War and Freedom, where a 30-year-old commander leads her female battalion to retake an ISIS-controlled city; and We Could Be Heroes, the story of a Moroccan gold medal-winning Paralympian who, after being abandoned by his athletic federation, must find the drive to defend his title.
Hot Docs Hits 25, image
In the World Showcase program, notable films include: 93Queen, about a lawyer and mother of six who creates her Orthodox Brooklyn community’s first all-female ambulance corps; The Feeling of Being Watched, which uncovers one of the largest FBI terrorism probes conducted before 9/11; Call Her Ganda, about the brutal murder of a transgender woman by a US Marine in the Philippines; Golden Dawn Girls, which reveals the women who take the reins of Greece’s ultranationalist party after its leaders are jailed; Grit, which sees the evolution of a young activist fighting for reparations ten years after an industrial accident in Indonesia; The Broker, which offers a glimpse into the goings-on at an Iranian dating agency; Circles, about a high school counsellor who swaps zero tolerance for restorative justice; and My Father is my Mother’s Brother, a touching family narrative about a bohemian singer/artist who becomes a father to his young niece when his sister’s mental health deteriorates.

The Made In Mexico program includes: Artemio, a tale of reverse migration where visa issues force a young American-born boy and his mother to move from California to rural Mexico; Eternity Never Surrendered, a look into the grief of two women who have lost loved ones to crime and corruption; I’m Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy), about the struggles of an undocumented worker planning his return to Mexico; Mamacita, the incredible story of a young filmmaker stumbling upon his grandmother’s questionable past; Rush Hour, which profiles three long-distance commuters who reflect on their quality of life after losing countless hours in traffic; and Witkin & Witkin, a heartfelt human story that explores the identity of two identical twin artists.

The Artscapes program, which showcases creative minds, artistic pursuits and inventive filmmaking, includes: Bathtubs Over Broadway, a fun look at the genre of corporate musicals that were commissioned from Broadway’s hottest talent; Yellow is Forbidden, a behind-the-runway look at the extravagant creations of Chinese designer Guo Pei; Shirkers, about a young writer from Singapore who shoots the country’s first indie road movie; Rezo, a peek into the surreal inner world of Georgian artist and puppeteer Rezo Gabriadze; Don’t Be Nice, about an upstart slam poetry team from NYC preparing for national championships; and Bachman, an epic biopic of Canadian music legend Randy Bachman.

The Nightvision program, which features future cult classics, includes: The American Meme, which explores the age of social media mega-platforms and the stars it creates; I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story, which looks at four different generations of boyband fans and the impact their fandom had on their lives; Queercore: How to Punk A Revolution, a look back at the pre-internet 1980s, when Bruce LaBruce and G.B. Jones fabricated Toronto’s “queercore” scene out of thin air; and Obscuro Barroco, a mesmerizing audiovisual poem about a Brazilian transgender icon who guides us into the heart of Rio’s festive nights.
The Changing Face of Europe program includes: The Distant Barking of Dogs, about a child and his grandmother who choose to stay in their Eastern Ukrainian village on the  border of a war zone; Of Fish and Foe, the story of Scotland’s last traditional fishing family battling animal activists on the high seas; To Want, To Need, To Love, which follows three people who travel through Europe participating in an ambitious performance art project; Global Family, where a displaced Somali family living in different countries must overcome bureaucracy in the face of a familial crisis; and The White World According To Daliborek, a dark satire that profiles the rise of the right as seen in a lonely middle-aged Czech man.

The Silence Breakers program, which features stories of brave women speaking up and being heard, includes: Afghan Cycles, which tells the story of Afghan women breaking the country’s gender barriers by training on the Women’s National Cycling Team; Netizens, which profiles women who are fighting back against online harassment; Slut or Nut, the Diary of a Rape Trial, a horrifying story of a sexual assault survivor who resorts to bold activism to challenge rape culture in Canada; Nothing Without Us: The Women Who Will End Aids, a film that follows brave women fighting the HIV/AIDS pandemic which disproportionately affects women; Yours in Sisterhood, a revealing look at the progress of feminism through the hundreds of strangers who read and react to 40-year-old letters written to the editors of Ms. Magazine; and Time For Ilhan, about a Muslim Somali-American seeking election to the Minnesota House of Representatives.

The Good Fight program, which features stories of battles–both personal and global–being fought with heart and soul, includes: The Accountant of Auschwitz, about a 94-year-old former SS Guard standing trial for his crimes; Crime + Punishment, which follows 12 NYPD cops as they risk their reputations, careers and safety to blow the whistle on corrupt police practices; Recovery Boys, examining the painful recovery of four men battling opioid addictions; Warrior Women, an inspirational film that charts the lifelong activism and struggle of a Lakota woman; and The Lonely Battle Of Thomas Reid, a David vs. Goliath story about an Irish farmer fighting an American multinational seeking to evict him.

The Redux program, a retrospective showcase of documentaries that deserve another outing on the big screen, will this year feature 19 Canadian films from coast to coast to coast.

This year’s Big Ideas Series presented by Scotia Wealth Management will welcome such notable guests as: director Morgan Neville and co-director of the Fred Rogers Center Dr. Junlei Li (Won’t You Be My Neighbor?); director Cynthia Lowen, founder of Feminist Frequency Anita Sarkeesian and victims’ rights attorney Carrie Goldberg (Netizens); directors Hans Block and Moritz Riesewieck and Assistant Professor of Information Studies, UCLA, Dr. Sarah T. Roberts (The Cleaners); director Mattieu Rytz and former president of Kiribati Anote Tong (Anote’s Ark); and rapper, singer-songwriter, record producer and activist M.I.A. (MATANGI / MAYA / M.I.A.).

Additionally, Hot Docs is pleased to present two retrospective programs: Focus On John Walker, a retrospective of the Canadian filmmaker’s work; and the Outstanding Achievement Award Retrospective, honouring the timeless work of documentary filmmaker Barbara Kopple.

Also a premier documentary conference and market, Hot Docs will be welcoming over 2,000 industry delegates who will partake in a wide array of industry events and services, including conferences sessions, receptions and parties, Hot Docs Deal Maker, The Doc Shop and the Hot Docs Forum, May 1 to 2.

Ticket information and more information about his year’s lineup is available online.

Remembering Mike MacDonald

Remembering Mike MacDonald, actor, comedian,

(March 18, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Born in 1954, Mike MacDonald’s father served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and so like other Canadian actors, notably Paul Gross, MacDonald grew up on military bases all over the world. When his dad retired, the family moved back to Ottawa and MacDonald went to that city’s Brookfield High School.

Following graduation he took whatever work came his way but when he turned 24 he started to hone his standup skills in whatever comedy club would give him the chance. As his reputation grew he started getting serious bookings and went on to gain fame thanks to his live performances in clubs all over North America. He was a regular at Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and Yuk Yuk’s. MacDonald was also a frequent guest on TV, including The Arsenio Hall Show and the David Letterman Show. He had battled drug addiction and bipolar disorder in his adult life and worked his afflictions into some of his sketches, true to his conviction there is humour in most everything. He also performed for a wide variety of charities — from those that support abused women to others involved with combating mental illness.

In 2011, MacDonald returned to Ottawa from Los Angeles, where he’d been based for two decades. He had a liver transplant in March 2013. One month earlier he had been honoured with a Canadian Comic Legend Award from his peers at Cracking Up The Capital, a comedy festival that raises awareness and money for mental health issues. He’d also been awarded with a special tribute at the Just For Laughs 30th anniversary in Montreal. Between his comedy club and TV appearances, he also wrote and starred in many movies, most notably landing roles in Three Fugitives, The Funny Farm and Mr. Nice Guy, a Jackie Chan film he helped write. MacDonald also hosted the Gemini Awards and the Canadian Comedy Awards.

In 2011, MacDonald announced that he had been diagnosed with hepatitis C. His brother, J.P. MacDonald said that his brother died on Saturday afternoon, March 17, from heart complications at the Ottawa Heart Institute. Mike MacDonald was 63. Some sources state that he born in Canada.

Also see: Mike MacDonald’s filmography.

Mike MacDonald

Mike MacDonald, actor, comedian,

B: June 21, 1954 in Metz, France
D: March 17, 2018 in Ottawa, Ontario

Born in 1954, Mike MacDonald’s father served in the Royal Canadian Air Force and so like other Canadian actors, notably Paul Gross, MacDonald grew up on military bases all over the world. When his dad retired, the family moved back to Ottawa and MacDonald went to Brookfield High School. Following graduation he took whatever work came his way but when he turned 24 he started to hone his standup skills in whatever comedy club would give him the chance. As his reputation grew he started getting serious bookings and went on to gain fame thanks to his live performances in clubs all over North America. He was a regular at Just for Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal and Yuk Yuk’s. MacDonald was also a frequent guest on TV, including The Arsenio Hall Show and the David Letterman Show. He had battled drug addiction and bipolar disorder in his adult life and worked his afflictions into some of his sketches, true to his conviction there is humour in most everything. He also performed for a wide variety of charities — from those that support abused women to others involved with combating mental illness. In 2011, he returned to Ottawa from Los Angeles, where he’d been based for two decades. He had a liver transplant in March 2013. One month earlier he had been honoured with a Canadian Comic Legend Award from his peers at Cracking Up The Capital, a comedy festival that raises awareness and money for mental health issues. He’d also been awarded with a special tribute at the Just For Laughs 30th anniversary in Montreal. Between his comedy club and TV appearances, he also wrote and starred in many movies, most notably landing roles in Three Fugitives, The Funny Farm and Mr. Nice Guy, a Jackie Chan film he helped write. MacDonald also hosted the Gemini Awards and the Canadian Comedy Awards. In 2011, MacDonald announced that he had been diagnosed with hepatitis C. His brother, J.P. MacDonald said that his brother died on Saturday afternoon, March 17, from heart complications at the Ottawa Heart Institute. Some sources say Mike MacDonald was born in Canada.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

The Mystery of the Million Dollar Hockey Puck (1975)

The Funny Farm (1983)
Oddballs (1984)
Loose Screws (1985)
Recruits (1986)
Mr. Nice Guy (1987)
Three Fugitives (1989)

The Nutcracker Prince (voice, 1990)
Once in a Blue Moon (1995)
The Rogers’ Cable (1998, short)

Soother (2001, short)
Comedy Night in Canada (TV-2003)
Chasing Robert (2007)

The Bend (2011)

TV Series – Cast:
The Ripping Friends (voice, 2001-2002)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Mosquito Lake (1989)

Super Dave’s Vegas Spectacular (1995)

Ren & Stimpy ‘Adult Party Cartoon’ (voice, 2003)

Nabil Rajo

Nabil Rajo, actor,
Photo of Nabil Rajo © 2018 R.A.Lucas.

B: in Asmara, Eritrea

Nabil Rajo was born in Asmara, Eritrea but moved to Toronto when he was six-years-old. His education didn’t involve the arts as he devoted time to his studies and competitive basketball. In 2012, influenced by an uncle, a prominent independent director in Eritrea, Nabil Rajo took his first steps into the world of cinema, focusing on directing and performance. He is pictured with his 2018 Canadian Screen Award for best lead actor in a feature film for his role as Hakeem in the Montreal production of Boost, where he said, “You have no idea what this means to a kid from Asmara, Eritrea. I’ve waited a very long time to see a character like Hakeem on the big screen. Representation does matter.”

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B (TV-2014)
Muna (2015, short)
Boost (2017)

TV Series – Guest appearances:
Remedy (2014, 2015)
Man Seeking Woman (2015)
Rookie Blue (2015)
Suits (2017)

Boost, movie, poster,

Maudie Takes Seven

(March 12, 2018 – Toronto, ON) A Canadian film that was years in the making walked away with seven Canadian Screen Awards last night as the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television honoured the best in 2018 Canadian film and television. The awards gala was broadcast live from the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts in downtown Toronto on CBC, with actor-comedians Jonny Harris and Emma Hunter (pictured above) having fun and keeping a packled theatre as well as a national TV audience entertained as forty-three awards were presented to Canada’s best screen talent.

“We continue to be inspired by the caliber of our Canadian directors, actors, screenwriters, producers, composers and designers who dedicate their lives to their craft and the betterment of Canada’s screen and entertainment industries,” said Beth Janson, CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “It’s wonderful to have a stage like the Canadian Screen Awards to showcase Canada’s talent to the world, and reignite Canadians’ passion in homegrown television and film. As well, Jonny and Emma did an amazing job hosting the event, as we knew they would. Everyone was laughing and having a great time, we couldn’t have asked for better hosts.”

The Canadian Film Maudie was the night’s big winner, taking seven of the coveted awards for the Mongrel Media release including best actor in a supporting role, best actress, best director and the top award, Best Motion Picture. Following is the complete list of Canadian Screen Awards handed out on the last night of Screen Week 2018:


Best Motion Picture
Maudie – Bob Cooper, Mary Young Leckie, Mary Sexton, Susan Mullen

Achievement in Art Direction / Production Design
François Séguin – Hochelaga, Land of Souls | Hochelaga, Terre des Âmes

Achievement in Cinematography
Nicolas Bolduc – Hochelaga, Land of Souls | Hochelaga, Terre des Âmes

Aisling Walsh, director,
Photo of Aisling Walsh © 2018 R.A.Lucas.

Achievement in Costume Design
Trysha Bakker – Maudie

Achievement in Direction

Aisling Walsh – Maudie

Achievement in Editing
Sponsor | Sim
Stephen O’Connell – Maudie

Achievement in Make-Up
Sponsor | M•A•C Cosmetics
Érik Gosselin, Marie-France Guy – The Ravenous | Les Affamés

Achievement in Music – Original Score
Mychael Danna, Jeff Danna – The BreadwinnerThe Breadwinner

Achievement in Music – Original Song
Qais Essar, Joshua Hill – The Breadwinner – “The Crown Sleeps”

Achievement in Overall Sound
Sponsor | Deluxe Toronto
Claude La Haye, Bernard Gariépy Strobl, Daniel Bisson, Louis-Antoine Lassonde – Hochelaga, Land of Souls | Hochelaga, Terre des Âmes

Achievement in Sound Editing
Nelson Ferreira, John Elliot, J.R. Fountain, Dashen Naidoo, Tyler Whitham, – The Breadwinner

Achievement in Visual Effects

Anita Doron, screenwriter,
Photo of Anita Doron © 2018 R.A.Lucas

Sponsor | SPIN VFX
Alain Lachance, Yann Jouannic, Hugo Léveillé, Nadège Bozzetti, Antonin Messier-Turcotte, Thibault Deloof, Francis Bernard – Hochelaga, Land of Souls | Hochelaga, Terre des Âmes

Adapted Screenplay
Anita DoronThe Breadwinner

Original Screenplay
Sherry WhiteMaudie

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Nabil RajoBoost

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Ethan Hawke – Maudie

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Sally Hawkins – Maudie

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Bahar Nouhian – Ava

Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary
Sponsor | Rogers Group of Funds
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World – Stevie Salas, Tim Johnson, Christina Fon, Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana, Linda Ludwick, Lisa M. Roth, Ernest Webb, Diana Holtzberg, Jan Rofekamp

Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary
Alfonso Maiorana – Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary
Benjamin Duffield, Jeremiah Hayes – Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Best Short Documentary
Sponsor | Hot Docs
Take a Walk on The Wildside  – Lisa Rideout, Lauren Grant, Sasha Fisher

Kim's Convenience, cast,
Photo of the cast of Kim’s Convenience © 2018 R.A.Lucas


Best Drama Series
Sponsor | National Bank of Canada
CBC (CBC/Netflix)
(Northwood Entertainment)
Moira Walley-Beckett, Miranda de Penciller

Best Comedy Series
Sponsor | Bell Fund
Kim’s Convenience
(Thunderbird Entertainment)
Ivan Fecan, Ins Choi, Kevin White, Alexandra Raffé, Anita Kapila, Sandra Cunningham

Best Reality/Competition Program or Series
The Amazing Race Canada
CTV (Bell Media)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby, Mark Lysakowski, Mike Bickerton, Sarah James, Kyle Martin, Robyn Bigue, Ann Camilleri, Guy Clarkson, Steff Millman, Catherine Petersen

Best Lead Actor, Drama Series
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Take 5 Productions)
Alexander Ludwig

Best Lead Actress, Drama Series
Orphan Black
Space (Bell Media)
(Boat Rocker Media)
Tatiana Maslany

Best Lead Actor, Comedy
Kim’s Convenience
(Thunderbird Entertainment)
Paul Sun-Hyung Lee

Best Lead Actress, Comedy
Schitt’s Creek
(Not A Real Company Productions, Inc.)
Catherine O’Hara

Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program
Sponsor | Rogers Group of Funds
The Secret Path
(Secret Path Film Inc.)
Stuart Coxe, Mike Downie, Jocelyn Hamilton, Gord Downie, Justin Stephenson, Jeff Lemire, Sarah Polley, Patrick Downie

Best Performance, Sketch Comedy (Individual or Ensemble)
Baroness von Sketch Show
(Frantic Films)
Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, Jennifer Whalen

Best Limited Series or Program
Alias Grace
(Halfire Entertainment)
Noreen Halpern, Sarah Polley, Mary Harron, D.J. Carson

Best Lead Actor, Drama Program or Limited Series
CTV (Bell Media)
(JCardinal Productions Inc.)
Billy Campbell

Best Lead Actress, Drama Program or Limited Series
Alias Grace
(Halfire Entertainment)
Sarah Gadon


Golden Screen Award for TV Drama
Murdoch Mysteries
Christina Jennings, Scott Garvie, Yannick Bisson, Peter Mitchell, David Clarke

Golden Screen Award for TV Reality Show
The Amazing Race Canada
CTV (Bell Media)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby, Mark Lysakowski, Mike Bickerton, Sarah James, Kyle Martin, Robyn Bigue, Ann Camilleri, Guy Clarkson, Steve Millman, Catherine Petersen

Cineplex Golden Screen Award for Feature Film

Clark Johnson, actor, director,
Photo of Clark Johnson © 2018 R.A.Lucas

De père en flic 2 – Denise Robert, Émile Gaudreault
(Les Films Séville)

Best First Feature Award, supported by Telefilm Canada
Sadaf Foroughi – Ava

Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute, supported by Indigo
Margaret Atwood

Academy Icon Award
Rick Mercer Report

Earle Grey Award
Clark Johnson

Lifetime Achievement Award
Peter Mansbridge

Elise Bauman – Carmella


Canadian Screen Awards – Take Two

Canadian Screen Awards - Take Two
Baroness von Sketch Show at the Canadian Screen Awards © 2018 R.A.Lucas

(March 8, 2018 – Toronto, ON)) One of the things about award shows is the friendly competition to see which production grabs the most trophies. That was the big thing about The Shape of Water. Imagine… 13 nominations and 4 Academy Awards. More than anyone else. That’s bragging rights and last night the CTV detective mini-series Cardinal took more than any other production with five trophies on the second of several nights of the Canadian Screen Awards. Cardinal’s haul included awards for best achievement in casting and best supporting actress for Allie MacDonald (pictured below).

Canadian Screen Awards, Allie MacDonald,
Photo of Allie MacDonald at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards © 2018 RA.Lucas.

Last night’s gathering honoured the creators of Canadian fiction television. These are the storytellers. The people with ideas, unique talents, dreams. However, on this night they are like kids at Christmas. Some walked away with treasure and others just got to enjoy the twinkling lights, glitter and being there with their fellow tribe members. The show, which wasn’t broadcast, was hosted by Kim’s Convenience costar Andrew Phung who did a cute bit when he phoned his mother on his cellphone and used the speaker option to get her to admonish the
Canadian Screen Awards, Sarah Polley,
Photo of Sarah Polley © 2018 by R.A.Lucas.
gathered crowd to settle down and stop talking. His show was nominated for a number of awards winning in the category of best supporting or guest actor, for Phung.

CBC’s Baroness von Sketch Show and Alias Grace tied with four awards each. The Sketch Show took trophies including best sketch comedy program or series and best writing in its genre. The mini-series Alias Grace, based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, took awards for Sarah Polley who wrote the script and Mary Harron, who wasn’t at last night’s festivities, won for directing.

The TVOKids animated children’s series PAW Patrol was called to the stage three times for Best Preschool Program or Series. Orphan Black, now out of production but in syndication, won two trophies for its final season, including best writing in a drama series. CraveTV’s odd throwback comedy Letterkenny won best writing and best direction in a comedy and CBC’s Schitt’s Creek also got two nods, including best supporting actress for Emily Hampshire.

Global TV’s Mary Kills People won Best direction in a drama series and a best guest actor award for Steven McCarthy. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs also took two Canadian Screen Awards, including the top of category Best Animated Program or Series.

History’s Vikings, TVOKids’ Odd Squad, and YTV’s L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables: Fire & Dew, brought the series star Ella Ballentine her first Canadian Screen Award.

Canadian Screen Awards,Ella Ballentine,
Photo of Ella Ballentine © 2018 by R.A.Lucas

Things can get a little complicated for viewers when there’s more than one series with similar content. CBC also has their take on Canada’s most famous young women. A CBC-Netflix coproduction, Anne went into the night with a remarkable 13 nominations but by the night’s end, only R. H. Thomson won for his work on the series in the role of Matthew Cuthbert proudly unveiling his Best Supporting Actor Canadian Screen Award.

Wrapping up this look at the second night of the Canadian Screen Awards by the numbers, CBC, in partnership with its production partners, walked away with 12 awards from The Academy of Canadian Film & Television. The final awards show will be broadcast from the Sony Centre of Performing Arts on CBC at 8 p.m., 9 p.m. AT and 9:30 p.m. NT.

Also see: Canadian Screen Awards – Take One.

Canadian Screen Awards – Take One

Canadian Screen Awards, image,

(March 7, 2018 – Toronto, ON) Just because the event wasn’t televised, you shouldn’t think Night One of the Canadian Screen Awards wasn’t full of glitz and glamour. About an hour before the awards show started staff of Toronto’s Westin Hotel were busy making sure the the stemware was spotless and the silver was shining. Meanwhile, on the other side iof the cavernous convention floor controlled chaos wrapped the Red Carpet area and to make sure there was glitz for everyone, the red carpet was actually a glittering gold.

The 2018 Canadian Screen Awards kicked off with a Gala Honouring Excellence in Non-Fiction Programming. Hosted by Canadian Screen Award nominee and co-anchor of The Comedy Network’s The Beaverton, Miguel Rivas, everything non-fiction, from news shows to sports, Beth Johnson,documentaries and reality TV, creators, journalists and storytellers were spotlighted to highlight their winning achievements.

“What a great way to kick-off Canadian Screen Week, and the Canadian Screen Awards, with tonight’s award gala honouring excellence in Non-Fiction Programming,” said Beth Janson, CEO, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. “It’s important to recognize those who dedicate their lives to gathering news and information to keep Canadians informed about local and world events. A huge congratulations to all the winners!”
Following is the complete list 2018 Canadian Screen Awards Non-Fiction Category Winners:

Best Host or Interviewer in a News or Information Program or Series
CBC News: the fifth estate – Cross Lake: This is Where I Live
(CBC News)
Gillian Findlay

Best News Anchor, Local
British Columbia Votes
CBC British Columbia (CBC)
(CBC British Columbia)
Andrew Chang

Best Reportage, National
Global National – Ontario’s Troubled Probation System
CHAN (Corus Entertainment)
(Global News)
Mike Omelus, Dawna Friesen, Carolyn Jarvis

Best News or Information Segment
APTN Investigates – Against Their Will
Cullen Crozier, Holly Moore, Paul Barnsley

Best News or Information Program
Viceland (Rogers Media)
(Vice Studio Canada Inc.)
Jack Armstrong, Canadian Screen Awards,
Suroosh Alvi, Bernardo Loyola, Peter Salisbury, Michael Kronish, Shane Smith, Eddy Moretti

Best Sports Analyst
Raptors Basketball on TSN
TSN (Bell Media)
(Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment)
Jack Armstrong (pictured)

Best Sports Feature Segment
Sound of Thunder
TSN (Bell Media)
Matt Dorman, Brent Blanchard, Devon Burns, Kevin Fallis

Best Sports Opening/Tease
2016 Grey Cup
TSN (Bell Media)
Craig Chambers, Devon Burns, Troy Hacock

Best Live Sports Event
Sponsor | Dome Productions
2016 MLS Cup
James Duthie, Canadian Screen Awards, 2018
TSN (Bell Media)
Jim Panousis, Steve Abitrante

Best Sports Host
2017 TradeCentre
TSN (Bell Media)
James Duthie (pictured)

Best Photography, News or Information
CBC News: The National – Dancing Towards the Light
(CBC News)
Ed Ou, Kitra Cahana

Best Photography, Lifestyle or Reality/Competition
The Amazing Race Canada – Can I See Your Kuna?
CTV (Bell Media)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
Ryan Shaw
Best Photography, Documentary or Factual
Abandoned – Newfoundland Coast
Viceland (Rogers Media)
(Vice Studio Canada Inc.)
Alex Craig, David Ehrenreich
Best Picture Editing, Documentary
Canada In A Day
CTV (Bell Media)
(Screen Siren Pictures)
Nick Hector
Best Picture Editing, Reality/Competition
The Amazing Race Canada – Finale
CTV (Bell Media)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
Al Manson, Jonathan Dowler, Clare Elson, John Niedzielski, Jay Prychidny, Jordan Wood,
Michael Tersigni
Best Picture Editing, Factual
Hello Goodbye – Lean on Me
(FORTÉ Entertainment Inc.)
Derek Esposito
Best Children’s or Youth Non-Fiction Program or Series
Science Max: Experiments at Large
(Breakthrough Entertainment)
Nat Abraham, Michael McGuigan, Ira Levy, Peter Williamson, Joan Lambur, Phil McCordic, Leanne Brennan

Best Variety or Entertainment Special
P.K. Subban: Shots Fired
(Juste Pour Rire TV Inc.)
Bruce Hills
Barbara Sears Award for Best Editorial Research
W5: Making a Terrorist
CTV (Bell Media)
(CTV News W5)
Madeline McNair, Brennan Lefler, Victor Malarek
Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research
League of Exotique Dancers
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Storyline Entertainment)
Erin Chisholm
Best Writing, Factual
Still Standing – Fort McMurray
(Frantic Films)
Jonny Harris, Fraser Young, Steve Dylan, Graham Chittenden
Best Writing, Lifestyle or Reality/Competition
The Amazing Race Canada – We Just Saw Johnny Mustard
CTV (Bell Media)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
Mark Lysakowski, Jennifer Pratt, Rob Brunner
Best Writing, Documentary
Unstoppable: The Fentanyl Epidemic
(Dam Builder Productions)
Robert Osborne

Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series
The Wild Canadian Year
(River Road Films Ltd. (Wild Year Productions Ltd.))
Jeff Turner, Sue Turner, Caroline Underwood

Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series
Rush: Time Stand Still
HBO Canada (Bell Media)
(Fadoo Productions)
Allan Weinrib, Pegi Cecconi, Ray Danniels, John Virant, Corey Russell

Best Factual Series
Discovery Channel (Bell Media)
(Cineflix (Mayday 16) Inc.)
Alex Bystram, Kim Bondi, Martin Pupp

Best History Documentary Program or Series
The Nature of Things with David Suzuki: Lost Secrets of the Pyramid
(Alibi Entertainment, Windfall Films)
Alan Handel, James Hyslop, Carlo Massarella, Dan Kendall

Best Documentary Program
Viceland (Rogers Media)
(Vice Studio Canada Inc.)
Michelle Latimer, Tania Natscheff, Bernardo Loyola, Patrick McGuire, Heather Rae, Michael Kronish, Spike Jonze, Eddy Moretti, Shane Smith

Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism
Karyn Pugliese

Best Original Music, Non-Fiction
Sponsor | YANGAROO
The Secret Path
(Secret Path Film Inc.)
Gord Downie, Kevin Drew, Dave Hamelin
Best Sound, Non-Fiction
Where The Universe Sings: The Spiritual Journey of Lawren Harris
(White Pine Pictures)
Sanjay Mehta, Ian Rodness, Steve Blair, Dustin Harris
Best Production Design or Art Direction, Non-Fiction
Big Brother Canada – Finale
Global (Corus Entertainment)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
Peter Faragher, Kevin Halliday, Aaron Scholl, Andy Roskaft
Best Direction, Live Sports Event
2016 MLS Cup
TSN (Bell Media)
Richard Wells
Best Direction, Lifestyle or Information
Canada Day 150! From Coast to Coast to Coast
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
David Russell
Best Direction, Reality/Competition
The Amazing Race Canada – Finale
CTV (Bell Media)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
Rob Brunner
Best Direction, Documentary or Factual Series
Real Vikings: Viking Women
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Take 5 Productions)
Rebecca Snow
Best Direction, Documentary Program
Canada In A Day
CTV (Bell Media)
(Screen Siren Pictures)
Trish Dolman
Best Host in a Live Program or Series
Sponsor | Corus Entertainment
Canada Day 150! From Coast to Coast to Coast
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
Rick Mercer
Best Talk Program or Series
The Marilyn Denis Show
CTV (Bell Media)
(Bell Media Studios)
Michelle Crespi, John Simpson
Best Lifestyle Program or Series
Sponsor | Corus Entertainment
Property Brothers
HGTV (Corus Entertainment)
(Cineflix (Property Brothers 6) Inc.)
Gerard Barry, Drew Scott, Jonathan Scott, Kim Bondi, Jessica Vander Kooij
Best Live Entertainment Special
The JUNO Awards 2017
CTV (Bell Media)
(Insight Production Company Ltd.)
John Brunton, Barbara Bowlby, Randy Lennox, Allan Reid, Mark Cohon, Lindsay Cox, Pam De Montmorency, Tracy Galvin, Kristeen Von Hagen, Luciano Casimiri, Mark Vreeken, Howard Baggley, Simon Bowers, Doug McClement, Alex Nadon
Best News or Information Series
CBC News: the fifth estate
(CBC News)
Jim Williamson, Julian Sher
Best Host in a Program or Series
Your Special Canada
(The Fantastic Hour Inc.)
Jonathan Torrens
Best Local Newscast
CBC News: Vancouver at 6
CBC British Columbia (CBC)
(CBC Vancouver)
Alexandra Gibb, Joan Marshall, Eric Rankin, Natalie Clancy, Amar Parmar
Best National Newscast
CTV National News with Lisa LaFlamme
CTV (Bell Media)
(CTV News)
Heather Hiscox, Canadian Screen Awards,
Lisa LaFlamme, David Hughes, Rosa Hwang, Allan Myers, Allan Black

Best News Anchor, National
CBC News Network with Heather Hiscox
CBC News Network (CBC)
(CBC News)
Heather Hiscox (pictured)
Best Reportage, Local
CBC News: Vancouver at 6 – Kati’s Story
CBC British Columbia (CBC)
(CBC Vancouver)
Eric Rankin, Cliff Shim, Amar Parmar
Best News Special
Fort McMurray: The Road Back
Global Edmonton (Corus Entertainment)
(Global News Edmonton)
Deb Zinck, Kerry Powell, Darcy Craig, Christine Meadows, Kent Morrison, Fletcher Kent

Best Sports Play-by-Play Announcer
2016 MLS Cup
TSN (Bell Media)
Luke Wileman

Best Sports Program or Series
Aaron Sanchez – Limitless
Sportsnet (Rogers Media)
Paul Sidhu, Stephen Brunt, Elia Saikaly, Mark Wade, Marc LeBlanc

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is the largest non-profit professional arts organization in Canada. Dedicated to recognizing, advocating for, and celebrating Canadian talent in the film, television, and digital media sectors, more than 4,500 members encompass industry icons and professionals, emerging artists, and students.

 The Canadian Academy produces Canadian Screen Week, an annual celebration of excellence in media features a multi-platform, national program of events and celebrations, and which culminates with the Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast Gala live on CBC, Sunday March 11, 2018 at 8 p.m. (9 p.m. AT/ 9:30)

ACTRA Names 2018 Woman of the Year

ACTRA Woman of the Year 2018,
Photo of Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell by Rex Deverell.

(March 6, 2018 – Toronto, ON) ACTRA has announced the name of their National Woman of the Year for 2018. Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell, best known as a television broadcaster and social activist and a recipient of the Order of Canada, was born in Texas but moved to Canada in 1967. She began her television career in 1972 as the producer of a children’s television program and two years later joined CBC Television as a journalist, including a stint with Take 30. She left in 1983 to become a journalism professor at the University of Regina, and in 1988 she left there to become one of the founders of Vision TV. She also served as News Director for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) from 2002 to 2005.

“In addition to being a gifted artist, Rita is a trailblazer and role model who continues to inspire,” said ACTRA National President David Sparrow. “From her instructive performances to her pioneering work as a broadcaster, Rita has also shown a passion for social justice through her work on industry boards and councils in Canada. We’re proud to add ACTRA’s name to the list of the many organizations that have already recognized Rita for her outstanding contributions to her community and industry.”

An ACTRA member since 1974, Deverell coordinated ACTRA’s earliest study on diversity, Equal Opportunities to Perform, in 1987, and served on the ACTRA Saskatchewan Branch Council and the National Executive in the 1970s and ‘80s.

“It is a totally energizing surprise to have this wonderful honour from my fellow Canadian media artists drop out of the sky, said Rita Shelton Deverell upon being named ACTRA Woman of the Year. “International Women’s Day marks a great moment for me, like ACTRA, to keep on keeping on, with relevant and delightful art, social justice, and equity for the under-represented.”

Deverell has been named to the Maclean’s Honour Roll of Outstanding Canadians and to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. She has also been a board member of Obsidian Theatre Company, a Toronto company which specializes in Black Canadian drama. She is a two-time Gemini award-winner and has received numerous other awards in recognition of her work and career achievements, including Women in Film & Television – Toronto’s (WIFT-T) Crystal Award in 1995 and the Black Women’s Civic Engagement Network Leadership Award in 2010. She has served on the boards of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, OCAD University, WIFT-T and Women in the Director’s Chair. She is also an active volunteer with both the Canadian Senior Artists Research Network and MediaSmarts and is a Trustee of the Royal Ontario Museum. Her Order of Canada was given in 2005.
The ACTRA Woman of the Year Award is bestowed annually on an ACTRA member who uses her passion to support her fellow female ACTRA members and women within the audiovisual industry as a whole. Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell joins past recipients Shirley Douglas, Tantoo Cardinal, Sandi Ross, Mary Walsh, Jean Freeman, Amanda Tapping, Catherine Joell MacKinnon and Tina Keeper.
ACTRA (Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists) is the national union of professional performers working in the English-language recorded media in Canada. ACTRA represents the interests of over 23,000 members across the country – the foundation of Canada’s highly acclaimed professional performing community.


The Shape of Water Wins 4

The Shape of Water, image,
Image from The Shape of Water courtesy of FOX Searchlight Pictures.

(March 5, 2018 – Toronto, ON) The Shape of Water has won four Oscars® at the 90th Academy Awards including Best Picture against some strong competition from the films Get Out, Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. The film also took Academy Awards for Best Score, Best Production Design and Guillermo del Toro was honoured with the Oscar® for Achievement in Direction. It was his first nomination for Best Picture. He had been nominated in 2007 for best original screenplay and best foreign language film for Pan’s Labyrinth.

Speaking about how the film came to be made, the Mexican-born director said, “The place I like to live the most is at Fox Searchlight because in 2014, they came to listen to a mad pitch with some drawings and the story and a maquette. And they believed that a fairy tale about an amphibian god and mute woman done in the style of Douglas Sirk, and a musical and a thriller was a sure bet.” Canadian producer J. Miles Dale was on hand and joined del Toro on stage.

Canadian Production Designers Paul Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau shared the trophy for crafting the look of the Cold War-era merman romance. Viau said, “A big thank you to our amazing crew back in Toronto. Without you guys we definitely wouldn’t be here today, thank you.”

Having led the nominations list with 13, The Shape of Water won best film at the Critics’ Choice awards and the Producers Guild awards, but lost out to Three Billboards at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs.

Other Canadian wins include Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 which took home the Oscar® for Achievement in Visual Effects. Visual effects supervisors John Nelson, Paul Lambert, and Richard R. Hoover, along with special effects supervisor Gerd Nefzer, all took the stage to accept the award. Roger A. Deakins, considered one of the best cinematographers in the world with 13 Oscars nominations finally got his hands on the coveted trophy when he won for Achievement in Cinematography for his work on Denis Villeneuve’s film.

The Breadwinner lost out to Coco for Best Animated Feature.

Also see: Guillermo del Toro and J. Miles Dale talk backstage at the 90th Academy Awards.

The Shape of Water

123 minutes – Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Festival release date: September 7, 2017 (TIFF)
U.S. release date: December 1, 2017 (New York)
Canadian release date: December 8, 2017 (Toronto)
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures

At the height of the Cold War two workers discover a terrifying secret experiment. Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a hidden, high-security government laboratory in 1962 Baltimore. Her life changes forever when she discovers the lab’s classified secret — a mysterious, scaled creature from South America that lives in a water tank. As Elisa develops a unique bond with her new friend, she soon learns that its fate and very survival lies in the hands of a hostile government agent and a marine biologist.

The Shape of Water received 13 Academy Award nominations in January 2018. Shot in Toronto and Hamilton, it features a large number of Canadians in the cast and crew. It won Oscars® for Original Score, Production Design, Achievement in Direction for Guillermo del Toro and Best Picture at the 90th annual Academy Awards.

Also see: A Banner Year for Canadians at the 2018 Academy Awards.

The Shape of WaterThe Shape of Water
Producer:J. Miles Dale Guillermo del Toro
Associate Producer:

Daniel Kraus


Guillermo del Toro


Guillermo del Toro
Vanessa Taylor


Dan Laustsen


Sidney Wolinsky


Alexandre Desplat

Production Designer:

Paul D. Austerberry

Art Director:

Nigel Churcher

Costume Designer:

Luis Sequeira


Sally Hawkins
Michael Shannon
Richard Jenkins
Octavia Spencer
Michael Stuhlbarg
Doug Jones
David Hewlett
Nick Searcy
Stewart Arnott
Nigel Bennett
Lauren Lee Smith
Martin Roach
Allegra Fulton
John Kapelos
Morgan Kelly
Marvin Kaye
Dru Viergever
Wendy Lyon
Cody Ray Thompson
Diego Fuentes
Madison Ferguson
Jayden Greig
Karen Glave
Danny Waugh
Dan Lett
Deney Forrest
Brandon McKnight
Clyde Whitham
Jonelle Gunderson
Cameron Laurie
Evgeny Akimov
Sergei Nikonov
Vanessa Oude-Reimerink
Alexey Pankratov
Shaila D’Onofrio
Edward Tracz

Elisa Esposito
Richard Strickland
Zelda Fuller
Dr. Robert Hoffstetler
Amphibian Man
General Hoyt
Elaine Strickland
Brewster Fuller
Mr. Arzoumanian
Pie Guy
Burly Russian
Military Policeman
Sally (Secretary)
Tammy Strickland
Timmy Strickland
African American Wife
African American Husband
Cadillac Salesman
Wet Cinema Patron
Bus Passenger #1
Bus Passenger #2
Russian Band
Russian Band
Russian Band
Russian Band
Elisa Dance Double
Amphibian Man Dance Double

CBC & Sundance-TV Join Forces

Sarah Wayne Callies to costar in CBC-Sundance-TV mini-series.

(March 2, 2018 – Toronto, ON) CBC and SundanceTV have announced casting for a new dramatic eight-part mini-series which chronicles the tainted blood scandal beginning in the 1980’s. Titled Unspeakable, the production costars American actor Sarah Wayne Callies (pictured above) and Canadian actors Shawn Doyle (pictured below), Michael Shanks and Camille Sullivan. Production is set to begin this spring in Vancouver for broadcast on CBC in Canada and SundanceTV in the United States.

Created by Robert C. Cooper (Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis) and based on first-person experience and non-fiction books, Bad Blood by Vic Parsons and The Gift of Death by Andre Picard, Unspeakable chronicles the emergence of HIV and Hepatitis C in Canada in the early 1980s and the tragedy that resulted after thousands of people were infected by tainted blood. One of the largest medical disasters in Canadian history, the blood scandal triggered a federal inquiry and precedent-setting lawsuit resulting in billions of dollars in compensation to victims.

“First and foremost, the series is about the emotional impact this terrible tragedy had,” said Robert C. Cooper, creator and executive producer. “I couldn’t be more thrilled to have such incredibly talented people committed to bringing our lead characters to life.”

Sarah Wayne Callies made an indelible impression on audiences worldwide by bringing complex and unique female characters to life on screen. She was recently seen in National Geographic’s mini-series The Long Road Home, opposite Michael Kelly, Kate Bosworth, Jason Ritter, and Noel Fisher. She also currently stars on USA’s drama series Colony, opposite Josh Holloway. She also recently appeared in Warner Brothers’ action-packed Into the Storm, directed by Steven Quale.

Shawn Doyle can be seen on TV starring opposite Jason Momoa in Netflix’s Frontier. He was last seen in theatres starring Shawn Doyle, actor,opposite Joanne Kelley and Jason Priestley in the independent film Away From Here, directed by Justin Simms. Doyle also starred in season three of the Emmy® nominated Netflix series House of Cards, as well as season one of Fargo and USA’s Covert Affairs. Shawn starred opposite Tatiana Maslany in the Sundance hit Grown Up Movie Star, and played “Joey” (Bill Paxton’s unlucky brother) in the critically acclaimed HBO show Big Love.
Michael Shanks, after a decade-long stint as fan-favourite Dr. Daniel Jackson in sci-fi series Stargate SG-1, has gone on to star on several other hit series, TV movies, and films, including, most recently, the drama series Saving Hope which earned him a Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Dramatic Series in 2013. Shanks played opposite Anne Archer in the made-for-TV movie Judicial Indiscretion, and portrayed the hockey legend Gordie Howe in Mr. Hockey: The Gordie Howe Story, a role which earned him a 2014 Leo Award for Best Lead Performance by a Male in a Television Movie. He also co-starred in the Emmy Award®-winning William H. Macy telefilm Door to Door and the film adaptation of Jack London’s Call of the Wild.

Camille Sullivan is an award-winning Canadian actress. Most recently, she was nominated for a 2018 Canadian Screen Award for her work on the mini-series The Disappearance. Sullivan has twice been nominated for Gemini Awards: once for her portrayal in the series lead role of Amy Lynch on Shattered, and then again for her portrayal of Francine Reardon in Chris Haddock’s Intelligence for CBC. Sullivan costarred opposite Gabrielle Rose in the heartbreaking film Birdwatcher for which she was given a UBCP/ACTRA Best Actress Award. Her performance in Normal brought her a Leo Award for Best Actress in a Feature Length Film.

Unspeakable is produced by Mezo Entertainment, with Cooper and Meridian Artists’ Glenn Cockburn serving as executive producers. The series is a passion project for Cooper, who himself was a victim, having contracted Hepatitis C from tainted blood. The series is written by Cooper, Carl Binder, Adriana Capozzi and Lynn Coady, with Cooper and Callies set to direct episodes.

AMC Studios will manage worldwide distribution outside of Canada.


Canadians and the Oscar® – 2018

Canadians and the Oscar - 2018

Canadians and the Oscar® – 2018
by Ralph Lucas & Wyndham Wise

(March 2, 2018) With the Academy Awards set for this Sunday, we thought it was time to take another look back at Canada’s long history with the Oscars®. Wyndam Wise has already covered the 2018 nominations in a separate short piece that will bring you up to date on what might be in store this year.

The 2017 awards season was a mixed bag. As usual pundits looked to The Golden Globes for any sign of what might be in store at the Oscars®. In the category Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy, La La Land was a solid contender and walked away with the coveted trophy with the globe on top. Emma Stone took Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Canadian actor Ryan Gosling was handed Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Damien Chazelle won Best Director and Best Screenplay and the film went on to win Best Musical Score and Best Song.

A few weeks later La La Land did not take Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Ryan Gosling lost to Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea. We did have two Oscar winners in 2017. Montreal’s Sylvain Bellemare took home an Oscar for Sound Editing for his work on Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival and Alan Barillaro of Chippawa, Ontario won an Oscar for his Pixar-produced animated short Piper.

Canada’s entry in 2017 for Best Foreign Language Film, Juste la fin du monde from Xavier Dolan made it all the way to the December short list, but did not make the final cut for Oscar contention. This year a film virtually no one outside of Québec has seen, Hochelaga terre des âmes by director François Girard was submitted but not nominated.

We haven’t made a submission every year. Our first was Claude Jutra’s Mon oncle Antoine at the 44th Academy Awards in 1971. It would go on to be one of 33 films (so far) entered but not nominated. The first film to be nominated was Denys Arcand’s The Decline of the American Empire in 1986. He was also nominated for Jesus of Montreal in 1989 and won for Les Invasions barbares in 2003. In 2007 his L’Âge des ténèbres made it all the way to the short list. After Arcand, Québec whizkid Xavier Dolan has had three films entered to represent Canada.

Virtually all of the films that have been entered were French, however Deepa Mehta’s 2008 entry, Water, was in English and Hindi and Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner from Zacharias Kunuk was entered in 2001 and was not nominated and it was in Inuktitut.

When the nominations for the 2016 Academy Awards® were announced there was general jubilation in most Canadian film circles. No one jumped up and down but some champaign corks were surely popped when for the first time ever, two… count ’em, two films with Canadian connections ended up on the Best Picture nominee list; Brooklyn and Room, two very different films, both Ireland-Canada coproductions. This was history making. Both films also had their screenplays nominated and both films had their lead actress nominated. Brie Larson for Room and Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn. American actress Brie Larson won the Best Actress Oscar® and Rachel McAdams picked up a well-deserved nomination for her work in Spotlight, which was partially shot in Hamilton, Ontario. Spotlight was that year’s Best Film.

Other nominations for Canadian filmmakers in 2016 included Adam Benzine for Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy for A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness. They competed against each other in the Best documentary short subject category and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy walked away with the Oscar®.

Toronto R&B singer-songwriter The Weeknd and his Canadian songwriting collaborators Stephan Moccio, Ahmad Balshe and Jason Daheala Quenneville shared an original song nomination for “Earned It” from the film Fifty Shades of Grey. A film shot mostly in Canada, but not a Canadian film nor Canadian co-production, The Revenant, which featured a number of Canadian actors, was nominated in twelve categories including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and Best Visual Effects. Some of the technical categories included Canadians, such as visual effects artist Cameron Waldbauer, set decorator Hamish Purdy, sound technician Chris Duesterdiek (for sound mixing) and makeup and hair artist Robert Pandini. Paul Massey was also in the Sound Mixing category, nominated for his work on The Martian, and finally, in the Animated Short category, Richard Williams shared his nomination with Imogen Sutton for the short, Prologue.

Fans of Denis Villeneuve kept track of his film Sicario, which was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and and Best Achievement in sound editing, but missed on all three

We described 2014 as being a lean year for Canada at the Oscars® and 2015 was essentially an encore performance. With the exception of Québec-born animator and animation director Dean DeBlois whose film How To Train Your Dragon 2 was nominated for Best Animated Feature, there wasn’t much buzz for Canadian filmmakers that year. Unfortunately DeBlois was up against The Boxtrolls, which was co-directed by Sault Ste. Marie-born Graham Annable, and the ultimate winner of the coveted trophy, Big Hero Six, which was co-directed by Chris Williams, who picked up his first Oscar®. Williams was born in the United States, but grew up in Ontario and is a graduate of the animation program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario. He was previously nominated for the 2008 film Bolt. The other nominees in the animated feature category were Song of the Sea from Tomm Moore and Paul Young, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, from Isao Takahata and Yoshiaki Nishimura.

The other winner at the 87th Academy Awards was Oakville, Ontario’s Craig Mann. A graduate of the music engineering program at Fanshawe College in London, Ontario, he worked at Toronto’s Casablanca Sound before moving to Los Angeles. He shared his Oscar with Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley in the Best Sound Mixing category for their work on Whiplash.

In addition to the feature-length animation category, the NFB and Torill Kove were nominated in the Best Animated Short category for her film Me and My Moulton, but the award went to Feast and Patrick Osborne, Kristina Reed.

In 2014, the only nominations Canadians had going into the awards ceremony was for editing Jean Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club. With a total of six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Vallée himself didn’t end up in the Best Director category. However using the alias John Mac McMurphy, he along with the film’s other editor, Montrealer Martin Pensa, were nominated for editing but didn’t win. The only other nomination was for Toronto’s Andy Koyama who shared a nomination for sound mixing on the film Lone Survivor with sound mixing associates Beau Borders and David Brownlow.

In mid-February of that year, the scientific and technical division of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences met to honour those who had won Academy Awards for their advancement of the craft of filmmaking. The names Tibor Madjar, Colin Doncaster and Yves Boudreault may not mean anything to the average filmgoer, but for those who pay attention to the “Oscars for nerds” this is as prestigious as any other Academy Award. The award itself is not one of those little gold statues, but technical achievement recipients receive certificates while scientific and engineering winners get plaques.

Yves Boudreault was part of the team credited with making “bullet-time” possible in The Matrix, a film that costarred Canadians Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss. Tibor Madjar, who lives in Toronto, was part of the team that came up a new way to sculpt digital models for films including King Kong, James Cameron’s Avatar, Life of Pi and The Avengers. Colin Doncaster is a visual-effects expert who devised an efficient way to merge images in The Day the Earth Stood Still. These three Canadians were among 52 people recognized for 19 scientific and technical achievements at a gala dinner held at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

There has been a Canadian connection to the Academy Awards® right from their beginning. In the late 1920s film was changing as the star system has growing, the large studios became the predominate producers and sound was about to make its debut. It was MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer who came up with the idea for what became the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in 1927. One of the 36 original founders of the Academy was Toronto-born Mary Pickford, known as America’s Sweetheart. Pickford was also one of the people who voted to approve the design of the Award of Merit, as the Oscar® statuette it is properly known, in 1928. MGM’s art director Cedric Gibbons, another original Academy member, supervised the design of the trophy in 1928. Looking for a model, it was suggested he meet with Mexican-born film director and actor Emilio Fernández. Fernández was at first reluctant but later agreed to pose for the statuette now widely known as Oscar®. The most most popular story of where that name came from involves an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences librarian and future executive director, Margaret Herrick. As the story goes, Herrick, upon seeing the statuette sitting on a table exclaimed “it looks just like my Uncle Oscar!”

Another common story involves actress and two-time Academy Award winner Bette Davis, who reportedly named it after her ex-husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson, Jr. In 1934 Hollywood reporter Sidney Skolsky was apparently the first columnist to use the name when making reference to Katherine Hepburn’s win that year. Walt Disney is also reported to have called it by that name in the

Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford in a publicity still for Coquette,
scanned from an original in the Northernstars Collection.
same year at the Awards ceremony. The name stuck and it has been called by that name ever since. In fact, in 1939 the Academy itself began using the name officially.

Back when it all started, the period for eligibility was different. The first awards were handed out on May 16, 1929, to honour films that had been released in Hollywood from the beginning of August 1927 to the end of July 1928. This continued until 1934. With the 7th Academy Awards, held in 1935, the period of eligibility became the full previous calendar year from January 1 to December 31.

At the second gathering, held in 1930, to award films released in 1928/1929 season, Mary Pickford, Toronto-born America’s Sweetheart, was named Best Actress for her role in Coquette. What is often forgotten is Pickford’s role in spearheading the movement to establish the Academy in the first place. Montreal-born, Norma Shearer, wife of MGM’s all powerful production head Irving Thalberg, was nominated that year for Their Own Desire and won the very next year (1929/1930) for her role in The Divorcée. She went on to receive nominations four more times in her career, for a total of six. To complete the trifecta, Cobourg, Ontario-born Marie Dressler won in 1931 for Min and Bill and was nominated a year later for Emma. Remarkably, for the first three years the Best Actress Oscar® was given to three Canadian-born women.

At the 1931 ceremony, not only did Norma Shearer win for The Divorcée, but she shared the stage with her older brother, Douglas, who won an Academy Award that night too. It is the only time in Oscar® history that a brother and sister were awarded on the same night. Douglas Shearer was one of the technical geniuses Hollywood has been able to attract – people with talent

Norma Shearer
Norma Shearer image scanned from an original
photo in the Northernstars Collection.
beyond acting and directing, but vital to filmmaking and the creation of magic. His particular genius was sound recording, and later special effects, and his win that year for The Big House was the first of 21 nominations he collected between 1931 and 1945. He won again in 1935 for Naughty Marietta, 1936 for San Francisco, 1940 for Strike Up the Band, 1944 for Thirty Seconds over Tokyo (special effects), in 1947 it was Green Dolphin Street (special effects) and 1951 brought one for The Great Caruso. He was also given an Award of Merit in 1937 and seven Oscars® for scientific and technical achievements.

Other Canadians who won big in the so-called craft categories were two huge talents from Victoria, B.C., Richard Day and Stephen Bosustow. Day, a gifted illustrator, worked with the legendary Erich von Stroheim on Foolish Wives and Greed, films that set a new standard for realistic art direction. He was with MGM from 1923 to 1930, and from 1939 to 1943 he headed the art department at 20th Century-Fox. Day was nominated 20 times for an Academy Award (winning seven), the most ever for an art director. He won for The Dark Angel (1935), Dodsworth (1936), How Green Was My Valley (1941), My Gal Sal (1942), This above All (1942), A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and On the Waterfront (1954). Bosustow began working professionally as a cartoonist in the early 1930s. He joined the

Walter Huston
Photo of Walter Huston scanned from
an original in the Northernstars Collection.
Walt Disney assembly line of animators, but in 1945 he and several other disenchanted Disney artists formed United Productions of America (UPA), an animation company that allow its artists greater creative freedom. While president of UPA, he personally produced nearly 100 cartoons, received 11 nominations and won three Oscar® winners – Gerald McBoing McBoing (1950), When Magoo Flew (1954) and Mister Magoo’s Puddle Jumper (1956).

Toronto-born Walter Huston was nominated as Best Actor for his role in Dodsworth and again for The Devil and Daniel Webster (1941) and Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), but all three times he saw the award go to someone else. In the spring of 1947 he starting shooting Treasure of the Sierra Madre under the direction of his son, John Huston, and at the 1949 Academy Awards ceremony he picked up his Oscar® for Best Supporting Actor. John Huston was named Best Director, and the father and son win was another Hollywood first.

During the 1940s, Raymond Massey was nominated for Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940), Walter Pidgeon for Mrs. Miniver (1942) and Madame Currie (1943), Lucille Watson for Watch on the Rhine (1943), Alexander Knox for Wilson (1944), Hume Cronyn for The Seventh Cross (1944) and John Ireland for All the Kings’s Men (1949), but the 1950s were a long dry spell for Canadians in Hollywood.

We were mostly overlooked through much of the early 1960s as well. Then Norman Jewison’s The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming was nominated for Best Picture in 1966. The following year he was nominated for Best Director, and although he didn’t win (Mike Nichols

Norman Jewison
This autographed photo of Norman Jewison was scanned from
an original in the Northernstars Collection.
took the award for The Graduate), In the Heat of the Night remains one of the most powerful pieces of filmmaking to come out of Hollywood. In the Heat of the Night won Oscars® for Best Picture, Best Actor (Rod Steiger), Best Sound (Samuel Goldwyn Studio), Best Editing (Hal Ashby) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Sterling Silliphant). In 1972, his production of Fiddler on the Roof earned him nominations for Best Director and Best Picture, and again in 1987 Monstruck earned him those two nominations. Cher won her Oscar® for that film. Jewison’s A Soldier’s Story was nominated for Best Picture in 1985, but Amadeus was the winner, and the following year Agnes of God picked up three nominations, including Best Actress (Anne Bancroft), Best Original Score and Best Supporting Actress for Meg Tilly. In all, films directed by Norman Jewison have been blessed with 45 Academy Award nominations, winning 12; however, personally, he remained winless after seven separate nominations. In 1999, he was presented with the Irving G. Talberg Memorial Award for his contributions to the art of cinema.

There were no Canadian winners in the acting categories during the 1970s and 1980s, although we did pick up a few nominations: Geneviève Bujold for Anne of the Thousand Days (1969), Chief Dan George for Little Big Man (1970), Dan Aykroyd for Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Graham Greene for Dances with Wolves (1990) and Kate Nelligan for Prince of Tides (1991). Then in 1993 there was an audible gasp, followed by thunderous applause when child actor Anna Paquin was named Best Supporting Actress for The Piano. She was not quite 11 years old. Listed in many film directories as being born in New Zealand, Paquin was born July 24, 1982, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 1995, Jennifer Tilly (older sister of Meg) was nominated for Bullets over Broadway.

In the Adapted Screenplay category, Mordecai Richler and Lionel Chetwynd where nominated for The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz in 1975, and in the Original Screenplay category, Ted Allan was nominated in 1976 for Lies My Father Told Me, but the award went to Dog Day Afternoon and the American writer Frank Pierson. In the Musical Score category, Toronto’s Howard Shore won three times for his work on The Lord of the Rings trilogy, twice for Best Score and once for Best Song. The Red Violin won for Best Score in 2000.

Art-house darling Atom Egoyan found himself with both Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations for The Sweet Hereafter in 1998, the only time a Canadian director has been nominated in the Best Director category for a Canadian film. Ironically, that same year, James Cameron, from Kapuskasing, Ontario, won three Oscars® for Titanic, Best Picture, Best Director and Best Editing, the only time a Canadian-born director has won in those categories. The film was nominated for 14 Academy Awards, and won 11.

Recently, the Canadian Oscar® golden boy was London, Ontario-born Paul Haggis. The prolific writer/director was nominated five times over three consecutive years beginning in 2005 with a nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay for the Clint Eastwood film, Million Dollar Baby. In 2006 he was nominated for Best Original Screenplay for Crash in addition to a Best Director nomination. In 2007 he was up for Best Original Screenplay for Clint Eastwood’s Letters from Iwo Jima.

In 2007, Deepha Mehta’s Water was nominated for Best Foreign-Language Film (it was shot in Hindi with English subtitles), a category in which Canadian films have had past success. Deny Arcand’s The Barbarian Invasions won in 2004, and Arcand was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. He was also nominated for Jesus of Montreal in 1990 and The Decline of the American Empire in 1987. In 1978, A Special Day, a Canada/Italy co-production starring Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastroianni (who received a Best Actor nod) was also nominated in the foreign-language category. In 1981, Atlantic City, a Canada/US/France co-production, was nominated for Best Picture, the first time a Canadian film competed in that category.

In other, less high-profile categories, Canadians have done very well over the years. The National Film Board has received dozens of Oscar® nominations for animation, short films and documentaries. Norman McLaren was first to win for his NFB short, Neighbours, in 1952. In 2007 The Danish Poet, directed and animated by Torill Kove was given an Oscar®. Canadians have also done well in the documentary category. There have been three feature-length winners: The Man Who Skied down Everest in 1976, Just another Missing Kid in 1983 and Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got in 1987.

In 2008, Oscar® nominations included Julie Christie and Ellen Page together in the Best Actress category. Christie was nominated for her work in the Sarah Polley film, Away From Her, and Ellen Page for her work in the hit film, Juno. Sarah Polley was nominated for her adapted script for Away From Her which was based on an Alice Munro short story.

Canadian-born Jason Reitman was nominated for a Best Director award for helming Juno, and the film itself, although technically not a Canadian production, had been nominated in what is considered to be the top category, Best Picture. While not Canadian, actor Viggo Mortensen was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar for his leading role in the David Cronenberg film, Eastern Promises and American writer Diablo Cody was nominated for her screenplay for Juno.

Rounding out 2008 were nominations for two films in the animated short category. One was I Met The Walrus and the other was the National Film Board’s beautiful short, Madame Tutli-Putli, which was the NFB’s fourth nomination in as many years. Neither won. Another disappointment in 2008 came with the news L’Âge des ténèbres had not made the final cut in the Best Foreign Language film nominations. And when it was all over, despite a bumper crop of nominations, there were no awards for Canadian actors, directors or movies that year.

In 2009 we were able to grab just one nomination. Chris Williams, who was born in Kitchener, Ontario, was a co-director on Bolt, which had been nominated in the Best Animated Feature category.

Despite multiple nominations for James Cameron’s Avatar at the 2010 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, the film ended up with only three of the highly coveted golden statuettes, winning for Art Direction, Cinematography and Visual Effects. Cameron had been up against an impressive field of directors including fellow Canadian Jason Reitman whose picture, Up in the Air was also in the running for an Oscar®. But neither of them got the nod as Kathryn Bigelow won for The Hurt Locker, which took six of the nine categories it had been nominated in, including Best Picture. As the night wore on it became clear it was going to be a shut-out for Canada.

In 2011, Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies was up against films from Algeria, Denmark, Greece and Mexico. There was a lot of buzz around the Mexican entry, Biutiful, starring Javier Bardem but the Oscar® went to Denmark’s entry, In a Better World. Incendies may have confused voting members. While we thought it to be a terrific film, those who had a say in the final voting may have been confused by a Canadian film shot mostly outside of Canada and mostly in a language other than English or French.

Last but not least, DreamWorks’ 2011 film, How to Train Your Dragon was nominated for Best Animated Feature. It was up against Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, which won the Academy Award, and The Illusionist. Dean DeBlois, who was born in Aylmer, Quebec and began his career as an animator in Ottawa working on the kid’s show, The Racoons was one half of the team responsible for How to Train Your Dragon. The other half was Chris Sanders. They worked together on the 1998 Disney film Mulan and then co-wrote and co-directed the Oscar-nominated Lilo & Stitch in 2002. Two notes: He wasn’t nominated but Jay Baruchel provided the voice of Hiccup, the scrawny teen who befriends the dragon in How to Train Your Dragon and Canadian Paul Dutton was director of animation on the film The Illusionist from French director Sylvain Chomet.

Hopes were high once again for 2012. Two Canadian films had made it through the long process of cuts to end up on the final list of five films vying for Best Foreign Film. Unfortunately neither Monsieur Lazhar, nor the Canada-Germany-Poland co-production In Darkness won the coveted Oscar®. Howard Shore was nominated for his score for Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. The film picked up five Academy Awards, but not for its music. Hugo did win for Best Visual Effects and a number of Canadians, all of them associated with Toronto’s Seneca College were on the team that made the magic happen. They included Professors Mahmoud Rahnama (division computer graphics lead) and Kenny Tam (division computer graphics supervisor) and graduates Tricia Kim (matchmove artist), John Dinh (compositor), Karen Cheng (compositor), Rickey Verma (compositor).

Patrick Doyon is a Montreal-based animator and his short Sunday-Dimanche was nominated in the Best Short Film (Animated) category. Running a little under 10 minutes it was an NFB production that took two years of full-time work to complete. The nomination extended the NFB’s remarkable list of nominations from the Academy.

The big news was the win of the Best Supporting Actor award for the venerable Christopher Plummer. Then 82 he became the oldest person to win an Academy Award for his role in Beginners. The late George Burns held the previous title winning when he was 80. Earlier in the year Plummer been given a Golden Globe for the same role. At the 2018 Oscars®, he is up for an Academy Award for his work in All the Money in the World. The studio initially rejected him and Kevin Spacey got the role. When Spacey was accused of various sexual misdeeds, the film was in trouble and with just a few weeks before its scheduled release all of his scenes were reshot with the role of J. Paul Getty now filled by the actor the film’s director, Ridley Scott wanted in the first place, Christopher Plummer.

Academy Awards, by year:

This list includes Oscars® presented to Canadians and Canadian-born actors, actresses, producers, directors, writers, animators, and Canadian-produced films or co-productions. The Awards are listed according to the year they were presented. Co-productions, American, and foreign films are indicated in parenthesis.

Actress: Mary Pickford, Coquette (US)

Actress: Norma Shearer, The Divorcée (US)
Sound Recording: Douglas Shearer, The Big House (US)

Actress: Marie Dressler, Min and Bill (US)
Short Subject (Novelty): Wrestling Swordfish (US), Mack Sennett (p)

Interior Decoration: Richard Day, Dark Angel (US)
Sound Recording: Douglas Shearer, Naughty Marietta (US)
Scientific or Technical Award: Douglas Shearer

Academy Award of Merit: Douglas Shearer
Interior Decoration: Richard Day, Dodsworth (US)
Scientific or Technical Award: Douglas Shearer
Sound Recording: Douglas Shearer, San Francisco (US)

Honorary Award: Mack Sennett
Scientific and Engineering Award: Douglas Shearer
Scientific and Engineering Award: Douglas Shearer

Honorary Award: Deanna Durbin

Documentary: Churchill’s Island, Stuart Legg (p/d)
Sound Recording: Douglas Shearer, Strike Up the Band (US)

Interior Decoration: Richard Day, How Green Was My Valley (US)
Scientific or Technical Award: Douglas Shearer

Interior Decoration (colour): Richard Day, My Gal Sal (US)
Interior Decoration (b+w): Richard Day, This above All (US)

Special Effects: Douglas Shearer, Thirty Seconds over Toyko (US)

Honorary Award: Harold Russell
Supporting Actor: Harold Russell, The Best Years of Our Lives (US)

Special Effects: Douglas Shearer, Green Dolphin Street (US)

Supporting Actor: Walter Huston, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (US)

Short/Cartoon: Gerald McBoing McBoing (US), Stephen Bosustow (exp)

Art Direction (b+w): Richard Day, A Street Car Named Desire (US)
Sound Recording: Douglas Shearer, The Great Carcuso (US)

Short Documentary: Neighbours, Norman McLaren (p/d/an)

Art Direction (b+w): Richard Day, On the Waterfront (US)
Short/Cartoon: When Magoo Flew (US), Stephen Bosustow (p)

Short/Cartoon: Mister Magoo’s Puddle Jumper (US), Stephen Bosustow (p)

Irving G. Thalberg Award: Jack L. Warner

Scientific or Technical Award: Douglas Shearer

Scientific or Technical Award: Douglas Shearer

Picture:  My Fair Lady (US), Jack L. Warner (p)

Live-Action Short: A Place to Stand, Christopher Chapman (p/d)

Animated Short: A Christmas Carol (US), Richard Williams (d/an)

Feature Documentary: The Man Who Skied down Everest, Budge Crawley (p/d)
Honorary Award: Mary Pickford

Live-Action Short: I’ll Find a Way, Yuki Yoshida (p), Beverly Shaffer (d)
Animated Short: The Sand Castle, Gaston Sarault (p), Co Hoedeman (d/an)

Animated Short: Special Delivery, Derek Lamb (p), John Weldon and Eunice Macauley (d/an)

Animated Short: Every Child, Derek Lamb (p), Eugene Fedorenko (d/an)

Animated Short: Crac!, Hubert Tison and Frédéric Back (p), Frédéric Back (d/an)
Picture: Chariots of Fire (UK), Jake Eberts (exp)

Feature Documentary: Just another Missing Kid, John Zaritsky (p/d)
Make-up: Michèle Burke, Quest for Fire
Short Documentary: If You Love This Planet, Edward Le Lorrain (p), Terre Nash (d)

Live-Action Short: Boys and Girls, Seaton McLean (p), Don McBrearty (d)
Short Documentary: Flamenco at 5:15, Adam Symansky and Cynthia Scott (p), Cynthia Scott (d)

Animated Short: Charade, John Minnis (d/an)

Feature Documentary: Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got, Brigitte Berman (p/d)
Make-Up: Stephan Dupuis, The Fly (US)
Picture: Platoon (US), Pierre David (production executive)
Scientific or Technical (Scientific and Engineering Award): IMAX Systems Corporation

Animated Short: The Man Who Planted Trees, Hubert Tison and Frédéric Back (p), Frédéric Back (d/an)

Honorary Award: National Film Board of Canada
Special Achievement Award: Richard Williams, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (US)
Special Effects: Richard Williams, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (US)

Picture: Driving Miss Daisy (US), Jake Eberts (exp)

Picture: Dances with Wolves (US), Jake Eberts (exp)

Supporting Actress: Anna Paquin, The Piano (Australia)

Animated Short: Bob’s Birthday, Alison Snowden, David Fine, and David Verrall (p), Alison Snowden and David Fine (d), Alison Snowden, David Fine, and Janet Perlman (an)
Original Screenplay: Roger Avary, Pulp Fiction (US)

Scientific and Technical (Scientific and Engineering Award): William Reeves for the original concept and development of particle systems used to create computer-generated visual effects

Director: James Cameron, Titanic (US)
Editing: James Cameron, Titanic (US)
Picture: Titanic (US), James Cameron (p)
Scientific and Technical (Scientific and Engineering Award): Dominique Boisvert, Réjean Gagné, Daniel Langlois, and Richard Laperrière of Softimage
Scientific and Technical (Scientific and Engineering Award): William Reeves for the development of the Marionette Three-Dimensional Computer Animation System
Scientific and Technical (Technical Achievement Award): Kim Davidson and Greg Hermanovic of Side Effects Software

Irving G. Talberg Memorial Award: Norman Jewison
Scientific and Technical (Scientific and Engineering Award): Dominique Boisvert, André LeBlanc, and Phillippe Panzini for the development and implementation of Flame and Inferno software
Scientific and Technical (Technical Achievement Award): Ed Zwaneveld and Frederick Gasoi of the NFB and Mike Lazaridis and Dale Brubacher-Cressman of Research in Motion

Animated Short: The Old Man and the Sea (Canada/Japan/Russia), Bernard Lajoie (p)
Musical Score: The Red Violin (Canada /UK/Italy)

Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award: Arthur Hiller
Musical Score: Howard Shore, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (US)

Animated Short: The ChubbChubbs (US), Eric Armstrong (an)
Art Direction (Sets):  Gordon Sim, Chicago (US)
Feature Documentary: Bowling for Columbine (US), Michael Donovan and Charles Bishop (p)
Picture: Chicago (US), Don Carmody (co-p)
Scientific and Technical (Academy Award of Merit): Alias/Wavefront
Sound: David Lee, Chicago (US)

Foreign-Language Film: Les Invasions barbares (Canada/France), Denise Robert and Daniel Louis (p), Denys Arcand (d)
Musical Score: Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (US)
Song: Howard Shore, The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (US)

Animated Short: Ryan, Steve Hoban, Marcy Page, and Mark Smith (p), Chris Landreth (d)
Make-Up: Valli O’Reilly, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (US)

Original Screenplay: Paul Haggis, Crash (US)
Picture: Crash (US), Paul Haggis (co-p)


Animated Short: Torill Kove, The Danish Poet

Scientific and Technical (John A. Bonner Medal): Denny Clairmont of Clairmont Camera

Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque): John Lowry, Ian Cavan, Ian Godin, Kimball Thurston and Tim Connolly
Scientific and Engineering Award: Raigo Alas, Greg Marsden, Michael Lewis and Michael Vellekoop
Technical Achievement Award: Andrew Clinton and Mark Elendt
Visual Effects: Hugo, The team included Canadians Mahmoud Rahnama, Kenny Tam, Tricia Kim, John Dinh, Karen Cheng and Rickey Verma
Documentary Short: Saving Face, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
Supporting Actor: Beginners, Christopher Plummer

Best Original Score: Mychael Danna, Life of Pi
Best Production Design: Jim Erickson, Lincoln
Best Visual Effects: Guillaume Rocheron, Life of Pi

Best Documentary Short: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (Malcom Clarke, director)

Animated Feature: Big Hero 6, Don Hall, Chris Williams, and Roy Conli
Sound Editing: Whiplash, Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, and Thomas Curley

Documentary Short: A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Sound Editing: Arrival, Sylvain Bellemare
Short Film (Animated), Piper, Alan Barillaro


102 minutes – Drama
Festival release date: 2016 (Festival du Nouveau Cinéma)
Release date: April 7, 2017
Release date: March 2, 2018 (Vancouver, Toronto, Whitby, Ottawa)

Hakeem is the teenage son of east African immigrant parents living in Montreal’s tough Parc-Ex neighbourhood. Along with his best friend ‘A-Mac’, Hakeem works at his uncle’s car wash ’spotting’ luxury sports cars for a local crime syndicate to make extra money. A-Mac eventually persuades Hakeem to boost a car on their own leading to dire consequences and forcing Hakeem to make a life altering decision and define the type of man he will become.

Boost has been nominated for 5 Canadian Screen Awards including outstanding performances for Lead Actor – Nabil Rajo, Supporting Role (Actor) – Jahmil French, and Supporting Role (Actress) Oluniké Adeliyi.

Producer:Frederic Bohbot Kieran Crilly
Executive Producer:

Paul-E. Audet
Antonello Cozzolino
John Hazlett

Associate Producer:

Valerie Shamash


Darren Curtis


Darren Curtis


Pawel Pogorzelski


Jared Curtis


Mike Silver

Art Director:

Frédérique Cournoyer-Lessard

Costume Designer:

Eugénie Clermont


Nabil Rajo
Jahmil French
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Fanny Mallette
Patrick Goyette
Juliette Gariépy
Oluniké Adeliyi
Brent Skagford
Marc Rowland
Juliette Gosselin
Théodore Pellerin
Émeraude Lapointe-Provost
Daniel Marcoux
Jean Petitclerc
Sebastien Beaulac
Djibril Toure
Alex Stines
Sara Sue Vallee
Austin Beauchamp
Kenneth Fernandez
Kevin Darwish
Teneisha Collins

Hakeem Nour
Anthony ‘A-Mac’ Macdonald
Ramaz ‘Ram’
Madame Tessier
Detective Belanger
Amina Nour
Rich Guy
Mr. Dibiase
Police Officer
Ali Nour
Russian Hitman
Teenage son’s Girlfriend
Teenage Son
Bro car driver

Sylvia Hamilton – Biography

Sylvia Hamilton, film director,
Photo of Sylvia Hamilton by Nick Pearce.

Sylvia Hamilton was born in the historically black community of Beechville, Nova Scotia, west of Halifax. The second youngest child of six to Gerald Hamilton, a labourer, and Marie Hamilton, a teacher. Hamilton first attended a segregated all-black primary school and then switched to a non-segregated high school outside of her community. She earned post-secondary degrees, including a BA from Acadia University, an MA from Dalhousie University and three honorary degrees from Saint Mary’s, Dalhousie and Acadia Universities. From 2001 to 2004 she held Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax. Hamilton taught at Acadia University and has given lectures at the University of New Brunswick, Memorial, Queens, York and Simon Fraser universities, and at Middlebury College in Vermont, as well as the University of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica.

Prior to becoming involved in the film industry, Sylvia Hamilton worked in cable television, as a radio journalist and as a freelance broadcaster. She worked with the National Film Board’s Studio D in Montreal where she co-created New Initiatives in Film (NIF), the first specific program of its kind designed to provide opportunities for women of colour and First Nations women from across Canada to make films. As Chair of the Women in Media Foundation (formerly the WTN Foundation) she lead the creation of technical training programs for girls and women in the television/film industry.

Honoured with numerous awards for her work, Hamilton was given a Gemini Award for her 1993 film Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia. Other awards include the Japan Broadcasting Corporation’s Maeda Prize, the Progress Women of Excellence Award for Arts and Culture, the CBC Television Pioneer Award, and Nova Scotia’s Portia White Prize for Excellence. She was given the National Film Board Kathleen Shannon Documentary Award for Black Mother Black Daughter at the 1990 the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival and the Rex Tasker Award for Best Atlantic Canadian Documentary for Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia at the Atlantic Film Festival in 1993. She was a 2008 Mentor with The Trudeau Foundation.

Also see: Sylvia Hamilton’s filmography.

Sylvia Hamilton

Sylvia Hamilton, film director,
Photo of Sylvia Hamilton by Nick Pearce.

B: in Beechville, Nova Scotia

Multi-award-winning filmmaker Sylvia Hamilton was born in the historically black community of Beechville, Nova Scotia, west of Halifax. The second youngest child of six to Gerald Hamilton, a labourer, and Marie Hamilton, a teacher. Hamilton first attended a segregated all-black primary school and then switched to a non-segregated high school outside of her community. Prior to becoming involved in the film industry, she worked in cable television, as a radio journalist and as a freelance broadcaster. She worked with the National Film Board’s Studio D in Montreal where she co-created New Initiatives in Film (NIF), the first specific program of its kind designed to provide opportunities for women of colour and First Nations women from across Canada to make films.

Read more about Sylvia Hamilton.

Features & TV Movies:
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Black Mother Black Daughter (1989, co-directed with Claire Prieto)

Speak It! From the Heart of Black Nova Scotia (1992)
Against the Tides: The Jones Family (1994)
No More Secrets (1999)

Portia White: Think On Me (2000)
Keep on Keepin’ On (2004)
The Little Black School House (2007)

We Are One (2011)

Marc Rowland

Marc Rowland, actor,
Publicity still of Marc Roland from the movie Boost courtesy of Filmoption International.

Features & TV Movies:
VR indicates Direct-to-Video Release

Living the Dream (2011, short)
Bad Hair Day (TV-2015)
Boost (2017)

Boost, movie, poster,