Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Monday Night at the GENIES...

This year was my first venture into the world of the Genie Awards, and waiting in the Press Room for things to get started, I could hear music coming from the main floor of the Kool Haus. Why, oh, why, at an event honouring our talents in film, wasn’t there a reciprocal nod to our great musicians? As Don Carmody, producer for Polytechnique said later in the evening, “the talent” is here”. Those of you who listen to The More the Merrier on a regular basis know it, too, because I as much as I support Canadian film I also support Canadian music. Can-Con is not the chore it once was, so I was a little disappointed not to hear our musical talent represented in the mix. Maybe next year?…

I tried to Tweet and do Facebook postings continually last night, but things were moving too quickly for me to keep up. Between watching the on-screen broadcast and listening to the backstage Q & A there was no way I could continue my planned streaming of social network announcements. From your online comments, though, I know a lot of you were interested in my sporadic updates, and I thank you for the feedback.

I was thrilled to see the film Before Tomorrow honoured for Achievement in Costume Design. Winner Atuat Akittirq pointed out that the clothes worn in the film was not current styles and that she had to really search for seamstresses and pattern makers who could make the costumes. Because she was working with hides, particular care had to be given to the costumes to ensure that they would hold up for the run of the film. Akittirq has also done costume design for Atanajut: The Fast Runner and The Journals of Knud Rasmussen.

The big elephant in the room that was mentioned a few times was the absence of Xavier Dolan at the awards ceremony and the lack of nominations for his film, J’ai tué ma mère/I Killed My Mother (see my review). The film received the Claude Jutra Award for outstanding achievement by a first-time director but did not garner any other nominations. Accepting the Jutra for Dolan was Kevin Tierney, who says that was an “aberration” that the film was overlooked, and that having been on juries himself, he understands that these things sometimes happen; however, he did also say that the aberration was akin to Dolan being sent to the “kiddie table” (Dolan was 20 years old when he made the film).

Martha Burns (winner, Best Supporting Actress for Love & Savagery) also found it odd that J’ai tué ma mère/I Killed My Mother was absent from the nomination list. Burns also put it to the Press Room that we as journalists needed to bring culture to the rest of the country and not just to ourselves. I wanted to shout, "hey, I do community radio and that’s what we do everyday!" but I didn’t. Think I’ll invite her to the show to expand on this topic instead.

As you know I was rooting for Nurse.Fighter.Boy to win a few of its 10 Genie Nominations, but, alas, it won only 1--for Original Song ("Oh, Love") by duo John Welsman and Cherie Camp; I was also pulling for this very special, very dark, very beautiful film about death, Danse Macbre, to win in its category of Best Live Action Short Drama, and as you can see Pedro Pires and Catherine Chagnon did not go home empty handed. Message to Best Animated Short winner, Cordell Baker (Runaway/Train en Folie), thank you so much for one of my favourite shorts ever, "The Cat Came Back"

My new girl-crush, the very talented director, Kari Skogland. In these photos she is accepting the award for Best Adapted Screenplay for her film, Fifty Dead Men Walking. Skogland has faced some criticism for being her Irish-focused film being nominated at a Canadian awards ceremony. As she said on Sunday at the First Weekend Club's Genie TalkBack Session, the political struggles of Ireland are a part of her Irish-Canadian identity. As a Canadian she brings that perspective to her filmmaking and challenges those who do not understand the concept of bringing to Canada a story that has some meaning to Irish Canadian families.

Winners Kristina McLaughlin and Alan Zweig (A Hard Name, Best Feature Documentary); Normand Corbeil (Grande ourse: La clé des possibleséThe Master Key, Original Score); Mel Hoppenheim (recipient, Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television Achievement Award for his 45 year contribution to the Canadian film industry)

You should have seen the room scramble as Joshua Jackson came into the Press Room. Jackson won a Best Actor Genie for his role in One Week. Jackson admits that he was "pleasantly surprised" at the length of the film's theatre life, but admits that he is even more taken aback by the recognition he is getting since the film's DVD release.

Polytechnique director and cast; producer, Don Carmody; director, Denny Villeneuve, Maxim Gaudette (Best Supporting Actor), Karine Vanasse (Best Leading Actress)

Well, it's no secret that Polytechnique was the big winner last night. With the December 6th massacre being its subject matter this is not a film that I intend to see any time soon, and the director and cast are aware of this sentiment. While I may not be ready for watching this film, the feedback that I have received from those who have seen the film has been very positive and it seems to me that it deserved to win 9 of it's 11 nominations.

Producer, Maxime Rémillard (behind left), Karine Vanasse (centre); Maxime and Karine; Maxim, Maxime, Karine

Like many of you, I haven't seen all of the nominated films, including the winner for Best Short Documentary, The Delian Mode by Kara Blake and Marie-Josée Saint-Pierre about Delia Derbyshire, the composer of the Dr. Who theme. After attending this year's Genies and hearing about all the films, I'm going to check out a few more of them. Why don't you do the same? The talent is here!

For more information about the Genies and/or to watch trailers of the nominated films, please visit http://www.genieawards.ca/

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