2021 Canadian Screen Award Nominees for Documentary


By Pat Mullen

Award season got some Canadian content with the announcement of this year’s Canadian Screen Award nominations. The documentary field is an open race on the feature film front. Several docs scored a pair of nominations each but no contender netted the triple crown in the Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Editing categories. The nominees in the top doc category are The Forbidden Reel, Stateless, Wandering: A Rohingya Story, A Woman, My Mother, and The World Is Bright.

On the television side, five films compete in the race for the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program: 9/11 Kids, Above the Law, Assholes: A Theory, Meat the Future, and The Walrus and the Whistleblower. The category is arguably the top prize on the broadcasting side of the non-fiction field and named for one of Canada’s documentary stalwarts. Also commemorating a documentary favourite is the Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program, named for the late Sharkwater director. The nominees are Be Afraid: The Science of Fear, Pass the Salt, She Walks with Apes, Striking Balance, and Takaya: Lone Wolf. Congratulations also go to POV columnist and former publisher Barri Cohen, whose doc Toxic Beauty scored four nominations including Best Direction for Phyllis Ellis, as well as to the many DOC members represented among the nominations.

On the dramatic side, the Canadian Screen Awards favoured Deepa Mehta’s Funny Boy, which was originally Canada’s submission in the Oscar race for Best International Feature before it was disqualified for having too much English dialogue. Funny Boy scored nine nominations including Best Picture. Jeff Barnaby’s Blood Quantum actually led the film category nominations with 10 citations, but it missed the Best Picture cut. Joining Funny Boy in the Best Picture race were Beans, Nadia, Butterfly, The Nest, and Underground. The Canadian Screen Awards also found some star power in a nomination for Michelle Pfeiffer’s showstopper of a performance in French Exit, based on the novel by Canuck Patrick de Witt.

Winners for this year’s Canadian Screen Awards will be announced during Canadian Screen Week, which runs May 17-20.

The documentary nominees are as follows:

Film Categories

Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary | Meilleur long métrage documentaire Ted Rogers
Sponsor | Commanditaire | Rogers

The Forbidden Reel – Ariel Nasr, Sergeo Kirby, Kat Baulu, Annette Clarke

Stateless – Michèle Stephenson, Jennifer Holness, Lea Marin, Anita Lee, Joe Brewster, Sudz Sutherland

Wandering: A Rohingya Story | Errance sans retour – Mélanie Carrier, Olivier Higgins

A Woman, My Mother | Une femme, ma mère – Claude Demers

The World is Bright – Ying Wang, Jian Ping Su, Jordan Paterson

Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary | Meilleures images dans un long métrage documentaire

Jean-Philippe Archibald – The Free Ones | Les libres

Glauco Bermudez, Mark Ó Fearghaíl – Influence

Kiarash Sadigh – Nahanni: River of Forgiveness

Renaud Philippe, Olivier Higgins – Wandering: A Rohingya Story | Errance sans retour

Ryan A. Randall – Workhorse

Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary | Meilleur montage dans un long métrage documentaire

Jonah Malak – Dave Not Coming Back

Natacha Dufaux – The Free Ones | Les libres

Peter Roeck – The New Corporation: The Unfortunately Necessary Sequel

Natalie Lamoureux – A Woman, My Mother | Une femme, ma merè

Lawrence Le Lam – The World is Bright

Best Short Documentary | Meilleur court métrage documentaire
Sponsor | Commanditaire | Hot Docs

CHSLD – François Delisle

êmîcêtôcêt: Many Bloodlines – Alexandra Bailey, Theola Ross

Jesse Jams – Trevor Anderson, Alyson Richards, Alexandra Lazarowich, Penny Frazier, Kim Hsu Guise, Lizzy Karp, Christina Willings

Mutts | Clebs – Halima Ouardiri

Sing Me a Lullaby – Tiffany Hsiung

Television Categories

Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program
Sponsor | Rogers

9/11 Kids
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Steve Gamester, Michael Kot, Betty Orr, Elizabeth St. Philip

Above the Law
CBC (CBC)
(Lost Time Media / Big Cedar Films)
Geoff Morrison, Marc Serpa Francoeur, Robinder Uppal

Assholes: A Theory
documentary Channel (CBC)
(John Walker Productions Ltd. (A Rude Film Inc.))
Ann Bernier, Annette Clarke, John Walker

Meat the Future
documentary Channel (CBC)
(LizMars Productions Inc.)
Liz Marshall, Janice Dawe, Chris Hegedus

The Walrus and the Whistleblower
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Bunbury Films Inc.)
Frederic Bohbot, Nathalie Bibeau

Best History Documentary Program or Series

Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Steve Gamester, Michael Kot, Sam Sniderman

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Associated Producers Ltd. / Cornelia Street Productions)
Simcha Jacobovici, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Ric Esther Bienstock, Sarah Sapper, Yaron Niski, Eli Selden, Rob Lee, Felix Golubev, Tara Jan

Fight to the Finish
History (Corus Entertainment)
(2727800 Ontario Inc. / 52 Media Inc.)
David York, Bryn Hughes, Barry Stevens

Unabomber: In His Own Words
Discovery Channel (Bell Media)
(yap films)
Elliott Halpern, Elizabeth Trojian

Witches of Salem
T+E (Blue Ant Media)
(Saloon Media in association with Talos Films)
Julian P. Hobbs, Julie Chang, Elli Hakami, Michael Kot, Tara Elwood, Stephen Kemp

Rob Stewart Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series

Be Afraid: The Science of Fear
CBC (CBC)
(90th Parallel Productions Ltd)
Gordon Henderson, Stuart Henderson, Rita Kotzia

Pass The Salt
CBC (CBC)
(Markham Street Films)
Judy Holm, Michael McNamara, Aaron Hancox

She Walks with Apes
CBC (CBC)
(Grand Passage Media Inc.)
Mark Starowicz, Caitlin Starowicz

Striking Balance
TVO (TVO)
(Striking Balance 2 Inc.)
Yvonne Drebert

Takaya: Lone Wolf
CBC (CBC)
(Cineflix (Takaya) Inc.)
André Barro, Martin Williams, Cheryl Alexander, Bruce Whitty, Kim Bondi, Gaby Bastyra

Best Biography or Arts Documentary Program or Series

Aging Well Suzuki Style
CBC (CBC)
(Rezolution Pictures)
Alan Handel, Liam O’Rinn, Daniel Morin, Philippe Chabot

Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell
CBC (CBC)
(Not A Real Company Productions, Inc.)
Eugene Levy, Daniel Levy, Amy Segal, Andrew Barnsley, Fred Levy, Sally Catto, Trish Williams, Greig Dymond, Brad Schwartz, Elizabeth Allan-Harrington, Gabrielle Free

CBC Arts: Exhibitionists
CBC (CBC)
(CBC)
Romeo Candido, Andrew D’Cruz, Mercedes Grundy, Lise Hosein

David Foster: Off the Record
CTV (Bell Media)
(Melbar Entertainment Group)
Randy Lennox, Barry Avrich, Jeffrey Latimer, Gary Slaight, Caitlin Cheddie

There Are No Fakes
TVO (TVO)
(Cave 7 Productions Inc.)
Jamie Kastner, Laura Baron Kastner, Mark Anthony Jacobson

Best Documentary Program

Company Town
CBC (CBC)
(EOTL Productions)
Peter D. Findlay, Mark Johnston, Amanda Handy

Finding Sally
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Catbird Films, Inc)
Tamara Mariam Dawit, Isabelle Couture, Katarina Soukup

Hockey Mom
CBC (CBC)
(Hockey Mom Films Inc)
Teyama Alkamli, Andrew Moir

The Internet of Everything
CBC (CBC)
(EyeSteelFilm)
Brett Gaylor, Bob Moore, Mila Aung-Thwin, Daniel Cross

They Call Me Dr. Miami
documentary Channel (CBC)
(MC2 Communication Media)
Jean-Simon Chartier

Best Direction, Documentary Program

9/11 Kids
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Elizabeth St. Philip

Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Rebecca Snow

There Are No Fakes
TVO (TVO)
(Cave 7 Productions Inc.)
Jamie Kastner

Toxic Beauty
documentary Channel (CBC)
(White Pine Pictures)
Phyllis Ellis

The Walrus and the Whistleblower
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Bunbury Films Inc.)
Nathalie Bibeau

Best Direction, Documentary Series

Being Black In Toronto
CBC (CBC)
(ZaZa Production)
Omolola Ajao, Valerie Amponsah, Yasmin Evering-Kerr, Sharine Taylor, Adrian Wallace, Yvano Wickham-Edwards

Company Town
CBC (CBC)
(EOTL Productions)
Peter D. Findlay

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – Rationalization
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Associated Producers Ltd. / Cornelia Street Productions)
Simcha Jacobovici, Ric Esther Bienstock, George Amponsah

She Walks with Apes
CBC (CBC)
(Grand Passage Media Inc.)
Mark Starowicz, Caitlin Starowicz

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace
CBC (CBC)
(There’s No Place Like This Place Inc.)
Lulu Wei

Best Writing, Documentary

Assholes: A Theory
documentary Channel (CBC)
(John Walker Productions Ltd. (A Rude Film Inc.))
John Walker, Robert Sandler

Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Rebecca Snow

There Are No Fakes
TVO (TVO)
(Cave 7 Productions Inc.)
Jamie Kastner

There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace
CBC (CBC)
(There’s No Place Like This Place Inc.)
Lulu Wei

Toxic Beauty
documentary Channel (CBC)
(White Pine Pictures)
Phyllis Ellis

Barbara Sears Award for Best Editorial Research

Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Natasza Niedzielska, Heather Kohlmann, Steve Gamester, Rebecca Snow, Naomi Wise

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – Resistance
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Associated Producers Ltd. / Cornelia Street Productions)
Margot Daley, Gabi Veras, Anthony Cantor, Avi Merkado, Andrew Theobald, Brennan Leffler

There Are No Fakes
TVO (TVO)
(Cave 7 Productions Inc.)
Laura Baron Kastner, Allya Davidson, Joanne Loton

Toxic Beauty
documentary Channel (CBC)
(White Pine Pictures)
Phyllis Ellis, Sandra Bartlett, Karen Dougherty, Sarah Michael, Connie Littlefield

The Walrus and the Whistleblower
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Bunbury Films Inc.)
Nathalie Bibeau

Barbara Sears Award for Best Visual Research

Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Elizabeth Klinck

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – Abolition
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Associated Producers Ltd. / Cornelia Street Productions)
Tanya Fleet

Gordon Lightfoot If You Could Read My Mind
CBC Toronto (CBC)
(Insight Productions Ltd.)
Cindy Wolfe, Elizabeth Klinck

Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power
documentary Channel (CBC)
(White Pine Pictures)
Kathie McKenna, Nancy Lang, Connie Littlefield, Isabelle Foisy, Michelle Demeyere, Jessica Joy Wise

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
Crave (Bell Media)
(White Pine Pictures)
Daniel Roher, Jessica Joy Wise, Larry Yelen, Cindy Wolfe, Lanna Lucas, Shayne Ciarlo McGreal, Charlie Shekter, Max Berger, Adam Stewart

Best Photography, Documentary or Factual

9/11 Kids
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Chris Romeike

Accidental Wilderness: The Leslie Street Spit
CBC (CBC)
(Alibi Entertainment)
Hugo Kitching, Chris Yapp

Cheating Hitler: Surviving the Holocaust
History (Corus Entertainment)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Mark Caswell, Alysha Galbreath

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – Cultures Left Behind
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Associated Producers Ltd. / Cornelia Street Productions)
Derek Rogers, Paul Jenkins, Elad Winkler, Martin Buzora, Richard Stevenson, Tom Pridham, David Mariottini

There Are No Fakes
TVO (TVO)
(Cave 7 Productions Inc.)
Derek Rogers

Best Picture Editing, Factual

CBC News: the fifth estate – Murder in your DNA
CBC (CBC)
(CBC News)
Liz Rosch

David Rocco’s Dolce Italia – Hope in the New Rome
TLN (TLN Media Group)
(Rockhead Entertainment Inc)
Heath Fashina

Every Child Matters
APTN (APTN)
(Insight Productions Ltd.)
Craig Anderson, Cathy Gulkin, C.C.E., James Kinistino, Ken Yan

Jade Fever – Heavy Lifting
Discovery Channel (Bell Media)
(Omnifilm Entertainment)
Jenypher Fisher, C.C.E., Erin Parks

Still Standing – Pelee Island, ON
CBC (CBC)
(Frantic Films)
Jorge Parra

Best Picture Editing, Documentary

17 And Life Doesn’t Wait
TVO (TVO)
(Makin’ Moves Inc.)
Cathy Gulkin, C.C.E.

Assholes: A Theory
documentary Channel (CBC)
(John Walker Productions Ltd. (A Rude Film Inc.))
Jeff Warren

Company Town
CBC (CBC)
(EOTL Productions)
Cathy Gulkin, C.C.E.

She Walks with Apes
CBC (CBC)
(Grand Passage Media Inc.)
Carole Larsen

There Are No Fakes
TVO (TVO)
(Cave 7 Productions Inc.)
Michael Hannan

Best Sound, Non-Fiction

Canada’s Drag Race – U Wear It Well
Crave (Bell Media)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
John Diemer, Scott Brachmeyer, Daniel Hewett, Dane Kelly, Sarah Labadie, Carlo Scrignaro, Rob Taylor

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – New World Cultures
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Associated Producers Ltd. / Cornelia Street Productions)
Richard Spence-Thomas, Huan Nguyen, Phil Bax, Chris Miller, Peter Sawade, Ollie Machin, Mark Hatch, Mark Paquette, Gary Vaughn, Teresa Morrow

Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power
documentary Channel (CBC)
(White Pine Pictures)
Peter Sawade, Jane Tattersall, Sue Conley, Lou Solakofski, Jesse Fellows

Meat the Future
documentary Channel (CBC)
(LizMars Productions Inc.)
Matt Chan, Graham Rogers, Elma Bello, Michelle Irving

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band
Crave (Bell Media)
(White Pine Pictures)
Chris Jenkins, Sal Ojeda, Dave Draper, Alejandro Ramos Ariansen, Paul Corscadden, Brian Bentz, Max Phillips, Liam Able, Robert Carr, Robert Cooper, Michael Novitch, Stephan Carrier, Scott Hitchon, Paolo Amati

Best Production Design or Art Direction, Non-Fiction

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan – The Rise of Nobunaga
Smithsonian Channel Canada (Blue Ant Media)
(Cream Productions)
Florian Schuck

Big Brother Canada – Episode 1
Global (Corus Entertainment)
(Insight Productions Ltd.)
Peter Faragher

Canada’s Drag Race – Eh-Laganza Eh-Xtravaganza
Crave (Bell Media)
(Saloon Media/Blue Ant Studios)
Peter Faragher

The Detectives – The Cottage Killer
CBC (CBC)
(WAM Media GRP Inc.)
David Blanchard

Enslaved: The Lost History of the Transatlantic Slave Trade – Follow the Money
documentary Channel (CBC)
(Associated Producers Ltd. / Cornelia Street Productions)
Richard Touch

Best Original Music, Non-Fiction

A Bee’s Diary
CBC (CBC)
(Handful of Films Inc.)
Darren Fung

Company Town
CBC (CBC)
(EOTL Productions)
Janal Bechthold

Cottagers and Indians
CBC (CBC)
(Paul Kemp Productions (1962533 Ontario Corp))
Janal Bechthold

Margaret Atwood: A Word after a Word after a Word is Power
documentary Channel (CBC)
(White Pine Pictures)
Todor Kobakov

Toxic Beauty
documentary Channel (CBC)
(White Pine Pictures)
Robert Carli

Best Children’s or Youth Non-Fiction Program or Series

All-Round Champion
TVOKids (TVO)
(marblemedia)
Matthew Hornburg, Mark J.W. Bishop, Steve Sloan, Donna Luke, Michael A. Dunn, Andra Johnson Duke, Jim Bell, Marney Malabar

Backyard Beats
TVOKids (TVO)
(BGM Inc.)
Marlo Miazga, Sean Connolly, Corinna Lehr, Daniel Bourré, Chloe Gray

Every Child Matters
APTN (APTN)
(Insight Productions Ltd.)
Ry Moran, Stephanie Scott, John Brunton, Lindsay Cox, Rose Marra

My Stay-at-Home Diary
TVOKids (TVO)
(Lopii Productions)
Georgina López, Rennata López, Kristen McGregor

Your Kids, Their Questions: A Your Morning Coronavirus Special
CTV (Bell Media)
(Bell Media Studios)
Jennifer MacLean, John Kampilis, Jennifer McLarty, Jonathan Lall, Chris Perez

Best Factual Series

Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan
Smithsonian Channel Canada (Blue Ant Media)
(Cream Productions)
David W. Brady, Kate Harrison Karman, Matthew Booi, Simon George

The Detectives
CBC (CBC)
(WAM Media GRP Inc.)
Petro Duszara, Scott Bailey, Debbie Travis, Hans Rosenstein, Jennifer Gatien

Good People
documentary Channel (CBC)
(SakaMedia Inc.)
Naveen Prasad, Vanessa Case, Mark Sakamoto, Tom Stanley

Wild Archaeology
APTN (APTN)
(5432 Pale Fox Pictures)
Tracy German

You Can’t Ask That
CBC (CBC)
(Productions Pixcom Inc.)
Izabel Chevrier, Nicola Merola, Charles Lafortune, Sylvie Desrochers, Jacquelin Bouchard

Digital Media

Best Web Program or Series, Non-Fiction

Canada’s a Drag
(CBC)
Peter Knegt, Mercedes Grundy, Andrew D’Cruz, Romeo Candido

Dark Cloud: The High Cost of Cyberbullying
(Spotlight Productions)
Mathew Embry, Ravinder Minhas, Kim Hsu Guise, Lizzy Karp, Holly Dupej, Kristy Assu

Love Letters from Everest
(Storyline Entertainment Inc.)
Shasha Nakhai, Ed Barreveld

My Trans Journey
(yap films)
Elliott Halpern, Elizabeth Trojian, Kevin O’Keefe

Pride: The LGBTQ+ History Series
(We Demand Productions)
Mark Kenneth Woods, Michael Yerxa

Best Immersive Experience

The Book of Distance
(National Film Board of Canada)
Randall Okita, David Oppenheim, Anita Lee

The Holy City
(Holy City VR)
Nimrod Shanit, Sean Thomas Evans

In the Land of the Flabby Schnook
(couleur.tv)
Francis Gélinas, Francis Monty, Catherine Cyr, Saule Gélinas, Lileina Joy, Monique Thomas, Daniel Judson, Michèle Paquin, Natasha Vallée-Martin, Olivier Rousseau, Maude Paré, Anne-Marie Robert, Christina Robinson, Gabrielle Leblanc, Marc-André Paquin, Mathieu Dufresne, Éric Guérin

Space Explorers: The ISS Experience
(Felix & Paul Studios)
Felix Lajeunesse