Screen Nova Scotia hosted its seventh annual awards gala on Thursday, November 25th. The event was once again held virtually, with all video packages now available on Screen Nova Scotia’s Vimeo page HERE. The virtual awards were accompanied by an in-person screening party for nominees, hosted by comedian/actor MJ Miller (Diggstown, Pure) at The Marquee Ballroom in Halifax. The awards gala is expected to return to a full-capacity live event in May 2022.
The awards gala celebrates the incredible talent, creativity, and passion that are the trademarks of Nova Scotia’s screen industry. Notable awards include the ACTRA Awards for Outstanding Performances, the Film Crew Excellence Award, the Women in Film & Television Atlantic Award, and the Community Recognition Award, along with the Screen Nova Scotia Awards for best television, film, and animation.
The night’s finale was the Screen Nova Scotia Award for Best Feature Film, which went to the dystopian sci-fi thriller Tin Can from writer/director Seth Smith, writer Darcy Spidle, and producer Nancy Urich (Cut/Off/Tail Pictures). The film stars Anna Hopkins as Fret, a parasitologist who is working on the cure to a fungal pandemic when she is abducted and imprisoned in a life-suspension chamber by mysterious forces. The film was recently required by levelFILM for domestic distribution.
The second season of the CBC legal drama Diggstown from showrunner Floyd Kane and executive producers Karen Wentzell (Waterstar Entertainment) and Amos Adetuyi (Circle Blue Entertainment) was crowned the winner of the Best Television Series Award. Earlier this year, the series was picked up by the U.S. network Fox, bringing seasons one and two of the show to American audiences. Diggstown star Vinessa Antoine picked up her second consecutive ACTRA Maritimes Award for Outstanding Performances for her role as lawyer Marcie Diggs.
The Best Documentary Award went to The Killing of Philip Boudreau from director Megan Wennberg and producers Edward Peill and Erin Oakes at Tell Tale Productions. The CBC Docs POV film unravels the complicated story of the murder of Phillip Boudreau, a local man known for poaching lobsters, that tore apart the Nova Scotia community of Isle Madame, a postcard-perfect collection of Acadian fishing villages off the coast of Cape Breton Island. Wennberg also took home the Best Nova Scotia Director Award from Women in Film & Television – Atlantic for her work on the documentary.
“Congratulations to all the nominees and award winners,” said Laura Mackenzie, Executive Director, Screen Nova Scotia. “This night celebrates you and all those who contributed to bringing Nova Scotia stories to life. While we’re not yet gathering the industry together in person, know that the collective pride we have because of you is palpable throughout the community tonight and all year long”.
Nova Scotia feature film Bone Cage proved to be a showcase for local talent, with stars Taylor Olson and Ursula Calder both taking home awards for Outstanding Performances for their work in the film. Olson stars as Jamie, a forestry worker in rural Nova Scotia whose ethical conflicts with his job are starting to affect his personal relationships, while Calder plays his loving fiancée, Krista.
Deadstick John from writer/director/producer Gwydion Morris (Good Yawn Pictures) won the Best Short Film Award, while Allister MacDonald won an Outstanding Performance award for his work in the short film Liar (directed by Wayne Burns).
Digital animation was also spotlighted at the awards, with Curious George winning Best Animated Series for the Nova Scotian animation studio Copernicus Studios. The series is currently airing on Peacock Jr.
This year’s Film Crew Excellence Award went to Paul Mitcheltree, a trailblazer with over 40 years of experience in the film and television industry. Paul was an IATSE 667 camera operator who specialized in helicopter/aerial camera work and directly contributed to the education of countless NS filmmakers. Now retired, Paul leaves behind a legacy of professionalism and kindness that continues on film sets today. He was described by the many directors, producers, production managers and camera crew who nominated him as passionate, generous, supportive, knowledgeable, and humble.
The 2021 Community Recognition Award went to Allen Webber, Warden for the Municipality of Chester, for his tireless efforts to consistently ensure that Chester is a welcoming community for film and TV production. Recent productions filmed in Chester, Nova Scotia, include Amblin Partners’ feature film The Good House, starring Sigourney Weaver and Kevin Kline, and the USA Network series The Sinner, starring Bill Pullman.
The Screen Nova Scotia Awards were made possible this year due to the generous support of our sponsors, including Support4Culture, CBC, IATSE 667 and ACTRA Maritimes. Special thanks to 902 Post and the Hideout Studios.
THE FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS:
Screen Nova Scotia Awards:
Best Feature Film: Tin Can (Cut/Off/Tail Pictures)
Best Television Series: Diggstown S2 (Freddie Films, Waterstar Entertainment, Circle Blue Entertainment)
Best Documentary Film: The Killing of Phillip Boudreau (Tell Tale Productions)
Best Short Film: Deadstick John (Good Yawn Pictures)
Best Animated Series: Curious George (Copernicus Studios)
ACTRA Maritimes Awards for Outstanding Performances:
Vinessa Antoine (Diggstown S2)
Taylor Olson (Bone Cage)
Ursula Calder (Bone Cage)
Allister MacDonald (Liar)
WIFT-AT Award for Best Director:
Megan Wennberg (The Killing of Phillip Boudreau)
Film Crew Excellence Award:
Paul Mitcheltree, 1st Camera Assistant
Community Recognition Award:
Allen Webber and the Municipality of Chester, Nova Scotia.