Now in its sixth year, the Canadian Screen Awards Broadcast Gala caps-off a week of celebrations in Toronto honouring the Country’s very best in Film, Television and Digital Media. Held at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, the Awards are an answer to Canada’s humility and need for a real star system. The Gala was hosted by Jonny Harris and Emmy Hunter.
Winning top honours this year was the Aisling Walsh Film MAUDIE based on the life of Canadian folk artist Maudie Lewis starring Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins. The Drama won a total seven Canadian Screen Awards tonight including Best Picture, Best Director, Supporting Actor (Hawke), Best Actress (Hawkins) and more. Walsh in what was a common theme of female empowerment and inclusion in light of the #AfterMeToo movement in Canada, tells the audience,“Every woman in this room who has dreamed of directing, writing or acting in a Film, go ahead and do it!”.
CBC‘s ALIAS GRACE scored two Canadian Screen Awards including Best Limited Series or Program and Best Actress in a Drama or Limited Series (Sarah Gadon). Based on Canadian literary icon Margaret Atwood‘s Book of the same name, tonight we saw the Author herself honoured with the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute Award. Atwood says “I am very lucky to work with the brightest talent including Sarah Polley. I am supporting #AfterMeToo (and what their actual mission is) and the Canadian Women’s Foundation.”.
Tying in the Television categories tonight were fellow CBC Series KIM’S CONVENIENCE and ANNE with two wins each. The former is a Sitcom centering on a Korean-Canadian family in Toronto and their convenience shop and it won Best Comedy Series and repeated for Best Actor in a Comedy Series (Paul Sun-Hyung Lee). The latter is based on the internationally-adored Children’s Book Series Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery and it scored for Best Drama Series and Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Program or Series (R.H. Thompson).
Hochelaga, Land of Souls would take home four Canadian Screen Awards for Visual Effects, Art Direction, Cinematography and Overall Sound.
Angelina Jolie-produced Animated Feature The Breadwinner nabbedAdapted Screenplay, Music, Original Score, Sound Editing and Original Song.
Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World would win forFeature Length Documentary and Editing in Feature Length Documentary.
The Gala was a star-studded affair graced by the likes of Presenters: Kawa Ada, Shamier Anderson, Jann Arden, Adrienne Arsenault, Andrea Bang, Amanda Brugel, Billy Campbell, Nicholas Campbell, Saara Chaudry, Kim Coates, Wendy Crewson, Gerry Dee, Caroline Dhavernas, Sadaf Foroughi, Sarain Fox, Sarah Gadon, Marc-André Grondin, Allan Hawco, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee, Daniel Levy, Eugene Levy, Tatiana Maslany, Lisa Meeches, Amybeth McNulty, Natasha Negovanlis, Catherine O’Hara, Charles Officer, Amanda Parris, Jasmeet “JusReign” Raina, Catherine Reitman, Maxim Roy and Aurora Browne, Meredith MacNeill, Carolyn Taylorand Jennifer Whalen.
In addition to honouring the most notable Canadian productions of the past year, the Gala paid tribute to longstanding excellence. Media personality Peter Mansbridge, known as the face of CBC‘s The National, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from AdrienneArsenault. Rick Mercer received an Icon Award from adored Singer/Songwriter Jann Arden for his work on now-concluded The Mercer Report. Actor/Director Clark Johnson was awarded the Earle Grey Award, presented by his sisters Molly and Taborah.
In addition to critical merit, popularity too was awarded at the Broadcast Gala. The Golden Screen Award for TV Drama went to CBC‘s Murdoch Mysteries, while the Golden Screen Award for TV Reality Show was handed to CTV‘s The Amazing Race Canada. The Cineplex Golden Screen Award for Feature Film was given to De père en flic 2.
The Cogeco Fund Audience Choice Award, decided upon by fans online went to star of Webseries Carmilla, Elise Bauman, whom last year saw her Co-Star Natasha Negovanlis win the same award.
Earlier in the week, awards were handed for Excellence in Non-Fiction Storytelling, Excellence in Creative Fiction Storytelling and Excellence in Digital and Storytelling. Also, fans got to meet up-close some of their favourite stars of the Canadian productions at Family Fan Day, including the likes of Jerry O’Connell, Allan Hawco, Amybeth McNulty, Daniel Maslany, Elise Bauman, Natasha Negovanlis, Viviane Hicks, the Cast of Kim’s Convenience and many more.
See more Photos of the night. Hover cursor left and right to navigate slideshows.
Saara Chaudry (The Breadwinner), Billy Campbell (Cardinal), Allan Hawco (Caught), #AFTERMETOO, Caroline Dhavernas (Mary Kills People) Natasha Negovanlis (Carmilla), Elise Bauman (Carmilla) and more in the Highlight Reel below:
(Photo/video credit: Mr. Will Wong/Amanda Gilmore)
ALMOST ADULTS tells the story of two young women, best friends Mackenzie and Cassie, who face relationship strains as the former copes with her sexuality and the latter deals with the end of a long-term relationship. The Film, brought to life with the generosity of donors via crowdfunding, gives a voice to a generation of Millennials and some of the issues they face in relationships. We had the pleasure of chatting with Director Sarah Rotella and Writer Adrianna Dilonardo on their first Feature Film.
You both have collaborated together multiple times now. Tell us how your partnership came about and what makes you click?
Dilonardo: Sarah and I met in high school in a video class. We began making short films together and haven’t stopped since. I think it’s one of the reasons why we work so well together, because we’ve known each other for so long and have worked together for so long that we are very honest with each other. No one’s feelings get hurt and no one has an ego, we trust each other’s opinions so that we make the best content we can. –
Congrats on being a major crowdfunding success story. Can you shed some light on the experience of getting this story off the ground and made into a polished looking product?
Rotella: Thank you! We knew we wanted to do a crowdfunding campaign right away but were overwhelmed by the support we received. Our original goal was $40,000, which we reached 50% of in less than 24 hours and 100% of in a week and by the end of the campaign we were at 305%. The original goal was to cover our production budget and we were planning on trying for post-production funding once we had shot the Film, but surpassing our goal allowed us to cover everything we needed to finish the Film. We were able to tell this story because there is a lack of LGBTQ stories in Film and the millennial audience that has supported us from day 1 really just wanted to see themselves on screen and see their stories being told.
What was your greatest challenge making the Film?
Dilonardo: For being our first Feature, every step went better than we could have hoped for. We didn’t have any major stumbles or issues during the process. However having said that, being our first Feature Film the entire process was a challenge, as we made the entire Film, along with our Producer Rebecca Swift, by ourselves. We didn’t have any help from a production company, we didn’t get any financial funding (other than what we raised ourselves on Kickstarter) and we didn’t use a sales agent to sell the Film.
We know Elise Bauman (Mackenzie) and Natasha Nevoganlis (Cassie) from Web-series Carmilla. Describe what went behind casting these two actresses as your leads?
Rotella: They were a part of our normal casting process, but it wasn’t until we had them paired together for a chemistry read that we knew we had to have them as Cassie and Mackenzie. They had worked together for a couple years prior, and it really came through in the casting process. They knew how each other worked so well that if someone forgot a line, or improved a line, they could keep going without missing a beat. For two characters who have been lifelong friends, it was a benefit to the Film to cast leads that had started developing a relationship, opposed to casting two leads that we would have had to start from the ground and work our way up.
How much of yourselves do you see in Mackenzie and Cassie?
Dilonardo: I find parts of myself in both Cassie and Mackenzie. Mackenzie is probably the most similar to myself in regards to her sense of humour, her naiveté when it comes to dating and her eating habits. Cassie‘s character and her relationship with her parents is a little similar to mine. My parents aren’t as hard on me as Cassie‘s are, but growing up they didn’t support my career choices, because they wanted me to get a traditional 9-5 job, and be a “responsible adult”. Cassie‘s struggle in wanting to break away from those expectations her parents have on her really connected to me.
Rotella: We have already shot our second Feature Film and are in post-production. The Film is about five struggling actor friends that go away to a cottage for a weekend and while they’re there, one of them books a life-changing, blockbuster role, which in turns brings out everyone’s pettiness and jealousy and begins tearing their friendships apart.
ALMOST ADULTS is available across Canada in all digital and on-demand platforms.