Everything about Awards, eh?

Banff announces gala and Rockie Awards hosts and esteemed gala honourees

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) proudly unveils the distinguished recipients of the Rockies Gala Awards, recognizing some of the entertainment industry’s most influential business figures and most talented creatives. These prestigious awards will be bestowed on the evening of June 10th, as part of the 45th edition of the Festival taking place June 9 – 12, 2024 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada.

Hosting the Festival’s flagship honours is Emmy Award winning Executive Producer, Correspondent, Director and Writer Allana Harkin. Allana has garnered ten Emmy nominations for her work over seven seasons on TBS’s Full Frontal with Samantha Bee where she was the show’s first on-air correspondent. As well as starring in numerous television shows Allana has written and directed for Amazon, Nick Jr., TBS, TNT CBC, CTV and Hulu. Most recently she directed and executive produced the series Nesting for Crave which has been nominated for a 2024 Banff World Media Festival Rockie Award and is the host of the upcoming podcast series “How Dare You with Allana Harkin”. She can be found @allanaharkin.

The first round of recipients of the Rockies Gala Awards are as follows:

INCLUSION AWARD: Robin Roberts (Good Morning America, Rock’n Robin Productions)

Presented by A+E Media Group, the Inclusion Award recognizes an individual whose efforts and vision in media champion and reflect the diversity of the world in which we live. Past Honorees include: Vivica A. Fox, Danielle Brooks, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Murray and Elizabeth Vargas.

CREATIVE VOICE AWARD: Renée Elise Goldsberry (Girls5eva, Hamilton original cast)

The creative voice award is bestowed on an executive or creative talent that has created outstanding work that breaks through, inspiring and connecting global audiences. Past honourees include Rose Matafeo and Jennifer Podemski.

SIR PETER USTINOV COMEDY AWARD: Tom Green (The Trades, Freddy Got Fingered, Charlie’s Angels)

The award recognizes a creative talent who has made an outstanding comedic contribution to the media industry. Past honourees include: Kenan Thompson, Sean Hayes, John Cleese, Tracey Ullman, Bob Newhart, Tantoo Cardinal, John Candy, Bill Hader, Ana Gasteyer and Craig T. Robinson.


Presented by Lionsgate, the Innovative Producer Award recognizes the entrepreneurial excellence and achievements of an independent producer in TV/digital media. Past honorees include: Eagle Vision, Sinking Ship Entertainment, Wattpad Studios, Scott Brothers Entertainment, New Metric Media, Wolf + Rabbit, Don Carmody and marblemedia.

CANADIAN AWARD OF DISTINCTION: Paul Sun-Hyung Lee (Avatar: The Last Airbender, Kim’s Convenience)

Presented by the Canada Media Fund (CMF/FMC) and MadeNous, the award is given to a Canadian whose body of work exemplifies outstanding achievement in the entertainment industry. Past honourees include:  Simu Liu, Eric McCormack, Kim Cattrall, Sheila Hockin and Jean-Marc Vallée.

AWARD OF EXCELLENCE: Kevin Beggs, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, Lionsgate Television Group and Chair of the Board of Directors, BANFF Television Festival Foundation

The Award of Excellence acknowledges exceptional achievement through a body of work over an extended period of time. Past honourees include: Sharon Horgan, Paul Feig, Jeremy Podeswa, Kenny Ortega, Eugene Levy, Carol Mendelsohn and David E. Kelley.

“We’re thrilled to announce the incredible hosts of our awards shows and our esteemed Rockie Award Gala recipients. Each of these accomplished individuals and companies have left an indelible mark and made profound contributions in shaping the landscape of the entertainment industry,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director. “We’re looking forward to celebrating their achievements and creativity in grand style at the festival.”

On the following evening, Tuesday June 11th, BANFF will feature the juried Rockie Awards International Program Competition, hosted by Jasmeet Raina (creator and star of the Crave Original series Late Bloomer). Timed at the kickoff to Emmy Award nomination voting, this global competition attracts participation from more than 45 countries and boasts an international jury of 150 senior entertainment industry professionals. Category winners, including the Grand Jury Prize, the Rogers Prize for Canadian Content, the Emerging Talent Prize, the Prix Francophone Prize, and other special prizes, will be announced during the Festival on June 11th.

Additional Rockies Award Gala recipients will be revealed at the ceremony.


2024 WGC Screenwriting Awards winners announced

From a media release:

The winners of the 28th annual Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriting Awards were announced this evening at Koerner Hall in Toronto. Tonight’s gala brought together hundreds of Guild members, industry professionals, and fans—all in celebration of the Canadian screenwriters behind the programming and shows viewers enjoy in Canada and around the world.

Some winners of 2024’s top prizes include Enuka Okuma (Workin’ Moms), Zoe Hopkins (Little Bird), Lienne Sawatsky (Pinecone and Pony ), Marie Clements (Bones of Crows), and many others. Special awards were also presented to Meredith Vuchnich, winner of the Sondra Kelly Award, Ben Joseph, winner of the Alex Barris Mentorship Award, and Alex Levine, who was awarded the Denis McGrath Award for Service to the WGC for his exceptional service to the Guild and the Canadian screenwriting community. Mark Haroun, showrunner and executive producer of Heartland, received the Showrunner Award—the prestigious final prize of the event.

The ceremony was hosted by Jessica Holmes, known for her funny mental health keynotes as well as her work in The Holmes ShowRoyal Canadian Air Farce, and The Communist’s Daughter. Awards were presented on stage by writer/producer Ken Craw (Heartland, Family Law); writer/producer/director Sasha Leigh Henry (Bria Mack Gets A LifeSinking Ship); actress Malaika Hamadi (Bria Mack Gets A Life, Law & Order Toronto: Criminal Intent); actor/writer/producer Andrew Phung (Run the BurbsKim’s Convenience); actor Jonathan Langdon (Run the Burbs, Robyn Hood); writer Karen Walton (Ginger SnapsOrphan Black); writer Doug Taylor (SpliceA Christmas Horror Story); writer Ben Joseph (Rolie Polie OlieHotel Transylvania: The Series); actor/writer Mike D’Ascenzo (Dino Ranch, Charlie Bartlett); and actor/writer Sugith Varughese (TransplantFraggle Rock).

Pinecone and Pony, “Hero Soup” | Written by Lienne Sawatsky                                                

Workin’ Moms, “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” | Written by Enuka Okuma       

Little Bird, “Bineshi Kwe” | Written by Zoe Hopkins                                       

Irena’s Vow | Written by Dan Gordon                                                    

The Burning Season | Written by Jonas Chernick and Diana Frances   

Bones of Crows, “To Be Here” | Written by Marie Clements       

Superbuns, “The Sweet Sound of Christmas” | Written by Suzanne Bolch and John May                

SHORTS (includes web series, drama and comedy series episodes under 15 minutes)
I Will Bury You, “Depression” | Written by Ravi Steve Khajuria                                     

Popularity Papers, “Pain in the Bat Mitzvah” | Written by Jeff Detsky


AMI’s That Sex Show and Bell Fibe’s Vollies among Screen Nova Scotia 2024 award winners

From a media release:

Screen Nova Scotia hosted its tenth anniversary awards gala on Saturday, May 11th, in the Bruce Guthro Theatre at Casino Nova Scotia in front of a sold-out crowd of industry members and supporters. The annual event celebrates the incredible talent, creativity, and passion that are the trademarks of Nova Scotia’s screen industry. Awards handed out included the ACTRA Maritimes Awards for Outstanding Performances, the Film Crew Excellence Award, the Women in Film & Television – Atlantic Award, the Community Recognition Award, and the Screen Nova Scotia awards for best television, film, and animation. New 2024 awards included the Screen Nova Scotia award for Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting and the addition of a new category from ACTRA Maritimes for Series Ensemble.

The night’s finale was the Screen Nova Scotia Award for Best Feature Film, sponsored by the Director’s Guild of Canada, which went to The Queen of My Dreams from writer/director Fawzia Mirza and producers Marc Tetreault and Jason Levangie (Shut Up & Colour Pictures) and Andria Wilson (Baby Daal Productions). Filmed in Pakistan and Nova Scotia, the film tells the story of a mother, Mariam (Nimra Bucha) and her daughter, Azra (Amrit Kaur) coming of age in two different eras while exploring the characters’ complicated relationships to their home countries and each other.

The third season of the Bell Fibe TV1 series Vollies from Canadian Content Studios was crowned the winner of the Best Scripted Television Series Award. The fresh, funny comedy follows the Essex-West-Essex Fire Department, a small town volunteer fire department that never has any actual fires to fight. The cast of Vollies (Jonathan Torrens, Mary Austin, Brian George, and James Faulkner) also took home the inaugural ACTRA Maritimes Award for Series Ensemble.

Meanwhile, the Best Unscripted Television Series Award went to That Sex Show (featured image above) from Ocean Entertainment. The AMI series, hosted by sex educator Rachele Manett, features experts and members of the disability community discussing the myths and misconceptions surrounding the sex lives of people with a disability.

The Best Documentary Film Award went to Cold Dip from Amy Mielke and Brittany Gavin (A+B Roll Films). The film follows Jessica Wiebe, a Canadian veteran and artist, who practices cold dipping in Nova Scotia as a way to heal physical and emotional trauma. Mielke and Gavin also took home the Best Nova Scotia Director Award from Women in Film & Television – Atlantic.

The new award for Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting went to writer/director Taylor Olson for his 2020 award-winning micro-budget feature Bone Cage, while Best Animated Production was awarded to Toopy and Binoo: The Movie, animated by HH Animation.

Locally filmed TV series proved to be a showcase for N.S. talent, with Kristin Howell (Moonshine) and Shelley Thompson (Sullivan’s Crossing) both taking home ACTRA Maritimes trophies for Outstanding Performances. Britt Loder also won an Outstanding Performances award for her role in the Hallmark movie Christmas Island, while David Rossetti won for his performance in the short film Remnants, which was made in the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative’s Film5 Program.

Songs of Unama’ki (Ruby Tree Films) was the winner of the Best Short Film Award. Directed by Mi’kmaw filmmaker Dawn Wells and Jeff Miller, the film details how the Mi’kmaq of Unama’ki (Cape Breton) are turning to the musical traditions of their ancestors in a race against time to revive their dying language and culture.

The Groundbreaking Performance Award, which celebrates a performer who identifies as being from an underrepresented community and does not yet meet the eligibility criteria for the ACTRA awards for their work in a film or television/web series, went to drag performer Deva Station (Steven MacLeod) for their role in the series Apocalyptic Kitchen. The award recipient is determined by an online voting process, to better engage the wider community outside of the screen industry.

This year’s Film Crew Excellence Award went to art director and production designer Ewen Dickson. A skilled carpenter and member of DGC Maritimes, Dickson has worked in the Nova Scotia film and television industry for over 25 years on countless productions of all sizes, genres, and budgets. A mentor to many, Dickson is known for his skill, generosity, enthusiasm and professionalism. His credits include Kids vs AliensBooks of Blood, MoonshineDiggstown, and Hobo with a Shotgun, as well as countless short films.

The 2024 Community Recognition Award recipient was Janet Hawkwood, a former lead instructor of the Screen Arts program at the Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC). Hawkwood was recognized for her dedication to nurturing, promoting, and elevating the local film scene through mentoring hundreds of emerging filmmakers over her 20 year tenure at the college. She was pivotal in the development of the two-year filmmaking diploma at NSCC that has since served as a launching pad for many individuals who have gone on to create impactful and critically acclaimed work.

This year’s prestigious Industry Champion Award was awarded posthumously to visionary television producer David MacLeod. A passionate industry advocate and a pillar in the local production community for over 30 years, MacLeod will be remembered for mentoring and encouraging an entire generation of Nova Scotian filmmakers. MacLeod was a true trailblazer and instrumental in the early success of Screen Nova Scotia as a founder and long-time board member.

The Screen Nova Scotia Awards were made possible this year due to the generous support of many sponsors, including Platinum Partners at the Directors Guild of Canada, Support4Culture, the Canadian Media Producers Association, and William F. White International Inc. Special thanks to 902 Post, Narrative Environment Studios, and The Hideout Studios for their continued work to ensure another successful event in 2024.

2024 Winners:

– Best Feature Film: The Queen of My Dreams (director Fawzia Mirza / producers Shut Up & Colour Pictures) 

– Best Documentary Film: Cold Dip (directors/producers Amy Mielke and Brittany Gavin, A+B Roll Films)

– Best Scripted Television Series: Vollies S3 (Canadian Content Studios)

– Best Unscripted Television Series: That Sex Show S1 (Ocean Entertainment) 

– Best Short Film: Songs of Unama’ki (Ruby Tree Films)

– Best Animated Series: Toopy and Binoo: The Movie (HH Animation) 

– Outstanding Achievement in Screenwriting: Taylor Olson, Bone Cage 

– Groundbreaking Performance: Deva Station (Steven MacLeod), Apocalyptic Kitchen 

– ACTRA Maritimes Awards for Outstanding Performances: Britt Loder (Christmas Island); David Rossetti (Remnants); Kirstin Howell (Moonshine S3); Shelley Thompson (Sullivan’s Crossing S1)

– ACTRA Maritime Series Ensemble: Vollies (Jonathan Torrens, Mary Austin, Brian George, and James Faulkner)

– WIFT-AT Award for Best Nova Scotia Director: Amy Mielke and Brittany Gavin (Cold Dip)

– Film Crew Excellence Award: Ewen Dickson, Art Director/Production Designer

– Community Recognition Award: Janet Hawkwood, NSCC Screen Arts Program (retired)

– Industry Champion Award: David MacLeod, Producer 


Banff’s 2024 Rockie Awards International Program Competition nominees announced

From a media release:

The Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) is pleased to announce the 2024 Rockie Awards International Program Competition Nominees, recognizing excellence in television and digital media from around the globe. The Rockie Awards ceremony will be held in-person as well as live-streamed during this year’s Festival on Tuesday, June 11th at 5:30pm MT (4:30pm PT/ 7:30pm ET).

The Rockie Awards Grand Jury chooses the coveted Grand Jury Prize, selected from the top-scoring programs across the entire field of nominees. This year’s esteemed Grand Jury includes:

Javiera Balmaceda
Head of Originals, Latin America, CA & AU at Amazon MGM Studios

Julie Chang (above)
EVP, Business Strategy & Co-Productions at Blue Ant Media

Prentiss Fraser
President, TV Distribution at Fifth Season

Nichole T. Roberts
Head of Unscripted at Hoorae

Michael Thorn
President, Scripted Programming at FOX Entertainment 

Morgan Wandell
Head of International Content Development at Apple TV+

“We’re delighted to unveil the nominees for this year’s Rockie Awards, a field that truly embodies excellence and innovation within our industry. This is the best of the best across international content. Deep appreciation goes to the esteemed members of the Grand Jury, whose discerning adjudication elevates the program immeasurably,” said Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director. 

In addition to the Grand Jury Prize, the $25,000 Rogers Prize for Excellence in Canadian Content, awarded to the top Canadian production and the Prix Francophone for the top French language production will also be awarded as well as other special awards. In total, 30 awards will be bestowed in the category streams of Documentary & Factual, Arts & Entertainment, Children & Youth, Scripted, and Podcast, in addition to the presentation of several Rockies Gala Awards to be announced soon.

Leading nominations by company are:

  • British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) – 22 nominations
  • 20th Television – 8 nominations
  • Sky – 5 nominations

Leading nominations by country are:

  • USA – 51 nominations
  • UK – 50 nominations
  • Canada – 40 nominations
  • France – 8 nominations
  • Germany – 7 nominations
  • Taiwan – 6 nominations

Additional countries represented in the nominations are:

  • Australia
  • Belgium
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Singapore
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • The Netherlands
  • Wales

FOR THE FULL LIST OF NOMINEES, PLEASE VISIT: https://docs.google.com/document/d/16zvZwg34SHW190DzBYx35AY5RGtxcRrvMGnLa_nK5VQ/edit?usp=sharing

About the Rockie Awards:

With a 45-year legacy, the Rockie Awards International Program Competition is open to genres and platforms including drama, non-fiction, digital, kids, youth and podcasts. Timed in the heart of awards voting season, the prestigious Banff World Media Festival competition recognizes excellence in global television and digital content. Entries from more than 45 countries compete each year, and winners are selected by an international industry jury of 150+ senior entertainment and media professionals.


2024 WGC Screenwriting Awards finalists announced

From a media release:

The WGC Screenwriting Awards are now in their 28th year of celebrating the very best Canadian screenwriters—the all-important talent behind the most engaging and powerful Canadian-made series, films, and shorts.

In contention for the 2024 awards are scripts from Children Ruin Everything (Kurt Smeaton, Jessica Meya, Kathleen Phillips, Anita Kapila), Pinecone and Pony (Tally Yong Knoll, Lienne Sawatsky, Corey Liu), Murdoch Mysteries (Simon McNabb), Bones of Crows (Marie Clements), Builder Brothers’ Dream Factory (Desmond Sargeant, Sonya Ballantyne), Little Bird (Zoe Hopkins), Suze (Linsey Stewart & Dane Clark), and many others.

Please see the complete list of categories and finalists below.

The 2024 WGC Screenwriting Awards will recognize Canadian screenwriters and their scripts at a ceremony on Monday, May 13 at Koerner Hall in Toronto. The ceremony will be hosted by Jessica Holmes.

In addition to the eight categories featured, one WGC member will be awarded the prestigious Showrunner Award, a special prize previously won by Susin Neilsen (Family Law, Robson Arms), Anthony Q. Farrell (Shelved, Run the Burbs), Morwyn Brebner (Coroner, Saving Hope) and others. Other special prizes will be awarded, including the Alex Barris Mentorship Award, and the Sondra Kelly Award which is generously supported by AFBS.

Interstellar Ella, “Big Little Problems” | Written by Emer Connon

Interstellar Ella, “A Star is Born” | Written by Anne-Marie Perrotta Jane, “Ursus maritimus” | Written by J.J. Johnson

Pinecone and Pony, “Once in a Violetmoon” | Written by Tally Yong Knoll

Pinecone and Pony, “Hero Soup” | Written by Lienne Sawatsky

Pinecone and Pony, “Pinecone and Horse” | Written by Corey Liu

The Lake, “Death on Denial” | Written by Julian Doucet & Lori-Ann Russell

Children Ruin Everything, “Arguments” | Written by Kurt Smeaton

Children Ruin Everything, “Therapy” | Written by Kurt Smeaton & Jessica Meya

Children Ruin Everything, “Clothes” | Written by Kathleen Phillips

Children Ruin Everything, “Babysitters” | Written by Anita Kapila

Shelved, “Jane Eyre FICTION BRO” | Written by Anthony Q. Farrell

Workin’ Moms, “It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere” | Written by Enuka Okuma

Family Law, “Under the Influence” | Written by Sarah Dodd

Transplant, “Crete” | Written by Joseph Kay & Rachel Langer

Pretty Hard Cases, “Always a Bridesmaid” | Written by Tassie Cameron & Sherry White

Moonshine, “Get My Baby Back” | Written by Sheri Elwood & Alexander Nunez

Murdoch Mysteries, “The Porcelain Maiden” | Written by Simon McNabb

Little Bird, “Bineshi Kwe” | Written by Zoe Hopkins

Butterfly Tale | Story by Heidi Foss and Michael Solomon/Screenplay by Heidi Foss and Lienne Sawatsky

Irena’s Vow | Written by Dan Gordon

Suze | Written by Linsey Stewart & Dane Clark

The Burning Season | Written by Jonas Chernick and Diana Frances

Bad Romance: The Vicky White Story | Written by Gregory Small & Richard Blaney

The Amityville Curse | Written by Dennis Heaton

Bones of Crows, “To Be Here” | Written by Marie Clements

Builder Brothers’ Dream Factory, “Groom-Ba” | Written by Desmond Sargeant

Builder Brothers’ Dream Factory, “Orange Shirt Day” | Written by Sonya Ballantyne

Mittens and Pants, “Bunny Family Wedding” | Written by Katherine Sandford

Dino Ranch, “Luna Sees The Light” | Written by Naomi Jardine

Superbuns, “The Sweet Sound of Christmas” | Written by Suzanne Bolch & John May

SHORTS (includes web series, drama and comedy series episodes under 15 minutes)
I Will Bury You, “Depression” | Written by Ravi Steve Khajuria

Armadillo Avalanche, “Clem” | Written by Celeste Koon

Armadillo Avalanche, “Raven” | Written by Alix Markman

Popularity Papers, “Pain in the Bat Mitzvah” | Written by Jeff Detsky

Popularity Papers, “Ghost Mortem” | Written by Evan Thaler Hickey

The Hardy Boys, “The Crash” | Written by Ramona Barckert

The Hardy Boys, “At the Old House” | Written by Chris Pozzebon

The Writers Guild of Canada represents 2,500 professional English-language screenwriters across Canada, the creators of Canadian entertainment enjoyed on all screens. wgc.ca