Canadian Screen Award Winners - Documentary Film


By Pat Mullen

The second wave of documentary film prizes for the Canadian Screen Awards were announced yesterday. Alan Zweig’s Hurt, as expected, was the top winner in the feature documentary category as it continued its strong run since topping the Toronto International Film Festival’s new Platform programme last year. Unfortunately, audiences for last night’s show hosted by Norm McDonald didn’t get to see much of Zweig’s doc about fallen Canadian hero Steve Fonyo since none of the documentary categories made the national broadcast. (The film did get a shout-out before a commercial break during frequent recaps of pre-show winners.) Docs shared the wealth in the technical categories with How to Change the World and The Last of the Elephant Men taking the prizes for editing and cinematography, respectively, and Bacon and God’s Wrath making the Canadian Screen Awards extra crispy in the shorts category. (Please see the winners in television and documentary in this previous post.)

Last night’s broadcast was overall a much lighter and smoother showcase for Canadian film even if the documentaries didn’t receive much exposure, which is perhaps an inevitable side effect of an omnibus show honouring the best in film, TV, and digital. Room led the overall list of film winners with nine honours including Best Film and Best Director for Lenny Abrahamson, who was the first non-Canadian to take the prize since Bruce Beresford for 1991’s Black Robe.

Host Norm McDonald amicably encouraged the audience to embrace the new moniker of “The Candys” (or “The Candies”) for the Canadian Screen Awards in honour of late Canadian actor/comedian John Candy. The presenters largely ran with the new name, beginning with nine-year-old actor Jacob Tremblay (Room), who presented the first award by proclaiming, “And the Candy goes to…” However, maybe docs could find more airtime in the show if the Screenies took the name of one of Canada’s documentary icons, even in the non-fiction categories, since documentary is Canada’s national art form. After which documentary icon would you rename the awards?

Congrats to all the winners, especially the four worthy docs!

Ted Rogers Award for Best Documentary Feature
Hurt – Alan Zweig, Peter Gentile

Best Cinematography in a Feature Length Documentary
The Last of the Elephant Men – Arnaud Bouquet

Best Editing in a Feature Length Documentary
How to Change the World – James Scott

Best Documentary Short
Bacon and God’s Wrath – Sol Friedman

What did you think of The Candys last night? Here’s what Twitter was saying:

We didn't win the CSA but fun to see our names up there, and "Bacon and God's Wrath" is a hell of a film to lose to. #canadianscreenawards #candys or is it #candies?

A photo posted by Blake McWilliam (@blakemcwilliam) on