ACCT unveils Canadian Screen Awards

Martin Short is to host the March gala event that replaces the Geminis and Genies and reflects the evolution of the Canadian domestic entertainment industry, organizers say.
September 4, 2012

In May, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced that it would combine its separate celebrations of the domestic screen industries into one industry event, in a move to boost recognition of Canada’s star system and create a powerhouse show for the Canadian public.

That show, bowing March 3 at 8 p.m. on the CBC, is The Canadian Screen Awards, set to be a two-hour, multi-platform, ratings-grabbing and pride-inducing primetime broadcast, says ACCT CEO Helga Stephenson.

“We are all working very hard to produce a brilliant show that will reflect the quality of the programs and films and digital media that we produce every year,” Stephenson told realscreen sister publication Playback ahead of the new awards show reveal on September 4. “We want to have the most known faces possible so that we can connect directly with the Canadian public. We are definitely taking the audience into consideration, because they are the end-users of all of our products.”

And the event has also nabbed a high-profile, recognizable host: Canadian actor and comedian Martin Short, who in his own statement Tuesday said, “I applaud the fine judgement of the CBC and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television in letting me take the wheel of  the brightest new awards show in Canada. I shall endeavor to return it to them with nary a scratch or door-ding.”

According to Stephenson and ACCT board member Barry Avrich, the new show is the result of extensive industry consultation, including studies and stakeholder interviews, conducted after hearing resounding industry appeals for a “powerhouse” show.

They also wanted the event to be reflective of the increasingly blurring lines between film, TV and digital content.

“A hard look was taken at the old terms of film and television and digital, and really, now it’s about the content and the delivery system,” says Stephenson. “I think the board felt very strongly that they wanted to update, to reflect the reality of the industry as we experience it today and as we’re going to be experiencing it as life goes on.”

The show is also a major milestone in a series of reforms the Academy has undergone over the last year in a move to reinvigorate the organization and Canada’s star system, and is representative of the rebranding the industry will see in the organization going forward, according to Stephenson.

In the leadup to the grand event, the Academy will also put on Canada Screen Week, a series of events that will bring professionals from the country’s screen industries together.

“We are looking to use this to make a footprint where once a year, all of the industries will come together in a celebration of excellence, obviously, but also to meet each other and to discuss issues that are relevant and to help shape the industry, but not in such a siloed way,” says Stephenson. “It’s the screen industry, as opposed to film or television or digital. This is where the industries will come together to talk about how to march into the future and how all of these industries can work together.”

Canada Screen Week – Feb. 27 to March 3, 2013 (preliminary schedule)

Feb. 27 and 28 – Canadian Screen Awards gala events at Metro Toronto Convention Centre

March 1 – Nominee Reception

March 2 – In Studio (second edition) at TIFF Bell Lightbox

March 3 – Canadian Screen Awards red carpet, cocktail reception, broadcast event and gala party (off-air film awards presentation)

(From Playback Daily)

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