Screen Nova Scotia hosted its sixth annual awards gala on Friday, December 4th. Due to COVID-19, the event was held virtually, with all video packages available for viewing on Screen Nova Scotia’s Vimeo page (HERE).
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 Industry Champion 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 critically-acclaimed indie drama Murmur from writer/director Heather Young and producer Martha Cooley. The micro-budget film — funded through the Telefilm Canada Talent to Watch Program — centres on Donna (Shan MacDonald), a lonely, alcoholic woman who is ordered to perform community service in an animal shelter after being arrested for drunk driving. When she rescues an elderly dog from being euthanized, she finds new meaning and purpose in her life but quickly becomes obsessed with saving animals to the detriment of her own well-being. Young also took home the Best Nova Scotia Director Award from Women in Film & Television – Atlantic.
The second season of Pure (WGN America) from showrunner Michael Amo and Two East Productions was crowned the winner of the Best Television Series Award, while Cory Bowles won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Male Role for his role in the series as Detective Jay Gates.
Rebel Road Films’ Wildfire (written/directed by Bretten Hannam) won the Best Short Film Award. The Indigenous Two-Spirit film was adapted into the feature film Wildhood, which recently wrapped filming in Nova Scotia (with a Spring 2021 release date).
“Celebrating projects and their makers at the Screen Nova Scotia Awards Gala feels particularly special this year,” said Laura Mackenzie, Executive Director, Screen Nova Scotia. “While gathering to celebrate our community in person just wasn’t an option, we hope that all award winners, nominees, and industry members who contributed to the creation of a #NSFILMJOBS production paused for a moment tonight to acknowledge the combined grit and tenacity that drives these projects to world-class excellence.”
Vinessa Antoine won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead or Featured Female Role for playing lawyer Marcie Diggs in the CBC series Diggstown. Antoine made history in 2019 as the first Black Canadian woman to helm a prime-time drama in Canada. Gay Hauser also won for her role on Diggstown, taking home the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Female Role.
Allister MacDonald won Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead or Featured Male Role for his role as the drag queen Joan of Arkansas in Thom Fitzgerald’s feature Stage Mother. MacDonald starred alongside Jacki Weaver, Lucy Lui, and Adrian Grenier in the film.
The Best Documentary Award went to Conviction from Teresa MacInnes, Ariella Pahlke, and Nance Ackerman. The feature doc envisions alternatives to prison through the eyes of women behind bars and those fighting on the front lines of the decarceration movement. Digital animation was also spotlighted at the awards, with Boomerang’s Care Bears: Unlock the Magic winning Best Animated Series for the Halifax-based Copernicus Studios.
This year’s prestigious Industry Champion Award was awarded posthumously to locations manager Shaun Clarke, accompanied by a tribute video. Shaun worked as a locations manager, scout and actor for over 35 years and was a pillar in the screen industry and community. A snapshot of Shaun’s credits include The Lighthouse, This Hour Has 22 Minutes, Black Cop, The Healer, Trailer Park Boys, Mr. D, and Call Me Fitz, along with countless commercials and short films.
Siblings Elizabeth, Joanne, and Robert Hagen won the 2020 Film Crew Excellence Award, and together they have more than six decades of experience working on film, television and commercial productions in Nova Scotia. Joanne works as a script supervisor (recent credits include Books of Blood, The Good House, The Lighthouse); Elizabeth as a production accountant (recent credits include Pure, Cavendish, and Let’s Get Physical); and Robert as an assistant accountant and payroll accountant (recent credits include Escaping NXIVM and Polaroid). The Hagens were nominated for their contribution to the industry and for their positive, kind, and professional demeanour, even when working long hours in high-stress situations. Currently, all three are working on the EPIX series Chapelwaite, filming in N.S.
The 2020 Community Recognition Award went to Brian Shaw, Production Security (Chester, Nova Scotia). For over 20 years, Brian and his team have kept film sets and communities safe, working for productions including Haven, Cavendish, and Pure.
The Screen Nova Scotia Awards were made possible this year due to the generous support of our sponsors, including Support4Culture, a designated lottery program that supports arts, culture, and heritage in communities across Nova Scotia; and CBC. Special thanks to 902 Post and the Hideout Studios.
Read more in The Chronicle Herald: Murmur, Diggstown, Stage Mother among 2020 Screen Nova Scotia award winners
THE FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS:
Screen Nova Scotia Awards:
Best Feature Film: Murmur (Houseplant Films)
Best Television Series: Pure, Season 2 (Two East Productions)
Best Documentary Film: Conviction (Sea to Sea Productions)
Best Short Film: Wildfire (Rebel Road Films)
Best Animated Series: Care Bears: Unlock the Magic (Copernicus Studios)
ACTRA Maritimes Awards:
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead or Featured Female Role: Vinessa Antoine (Diggstown)
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead or Featured Male Role: Allister MacDonald (Stage Mother)
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Female Role: Gay Hauser (Diggstown)
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Male Role: Cory Bowles (Pure)
WIFT-AT Award for Best Director:
Heather Young (Murmur)
Film Crew Excellence Award:
Elizabeth Hagen, Joanne Hagen, and Robert Hagen
Community Recognition Award:
Brian Shaw, Production Security
Industry Champion Award:
Shaun Clarke, Locations Manager