Documentary filmmakers Nettie Wild and Shannon Walsh are among the recipients for this year’s Governor General’s Awards in Visual Media and Arts. The awards were announced yesterday with the two B.C.-based filmmakers representing the non-fiction field. Both filmmakers receive a cash prize of $25,000 with the award.
Wild is a veteran of the documentary field with a portfolio of award winning works to her name. Her films include A Rustling of Leaves (1988), a prizewinner at Berlin; Blockade (1993); A Place Called Chiapas (1998), which won the Genie Award and IDA Award for Best Documentary Feature; FIX: The Story of an Addicted City (2004), which also won the Genie; and KONELĪNE: our land beautiful (2016), which won Best Canadian Documentary at Hot Docs. Wild’s films are notable for their collision of poetry and politics, often drawing from the land and its inhabitants through highly collaborative processes.
Walsh, like Wild, has made a career with films that focus on environmental concerns and human rights issues. Her feature directorial debut H2Oil (2009) received an honourable mention at RIDM, while her 2010 film St-Henri, the 26th of August revisited a neighbourhood chronicled in a classic NFB doc and told residents’ stories through a new lens. Her 2019 doc Illusions of Control explored the environmental impact of human activity across the globe and her 2021 film The Gig Is Up tackled the precarious nature of the app-based gig economy. Walsh’s films are on the pulse of issues unfolding worldwide.
To mark their honours with the Governor General’s Awards, short documentaries have been commissioned to capture the filmmaker’s oeuvres. Wild’s portrait comes courtesy of Hân Phạm and Dave Rodden-Shortt, while Walsh’s is by Rami Katz. Watch their stories below: