“Amazing Race,” “Songs of Freedom” win at CSAs

The first night of prize-giving at the Canadian Screen Awards saw factual in the spotlight, with The Amazing Race Canada taking four wins and cross-platform docuseries Songs of Freedom taking home three.
March 9, 2016

While it’s no surprise to see CTV and Insight Productions’ The Amazing Race Canada take home an armful of prizes on the first night of the Canadian Screen Awards, the second-place finisher of the night was more of a dark horse.

Songs of Freedom, produced and directed by Barbara Willis Sweete (formerly a principal at Rhombus Media and now spearheading her own prodco), snuck onto the podium with three prizes on night one (March 8) of awards week. The cross-platform series includes a four-part TV series broadcast on Zoomer Media’s Vision TV, a 90-minute film, website and mobile app and features Canadian opera singer Measha Brueggergosman “in a stylistic blend of musical performance, historical documentary and personal journey.”

Songs took home Best Direction in a Documentary for Sweete, Best Picture Editing: Documentary Program or Series for David New and Best Sound, Non-Fiction Program or Series for Toronto’s Tattersall Sound and Picture.

The Amazing Race Canada, crossing the finish line with four awards, took home the big prize, Best Reality/Competition Program or Series, as well as Best Direction in a Reality/Competition Series for Rob Brunner; Best Photography in a Lifestyle/Reality/Competition Series for Ryan Shaw; Best Picture Editing in a Reality/Competition Series for Seth Poulin, Jonathan Dowler, Ben O’Neil, Burak Ozgan and Michael Tersigni.

Also of note is two wins for The Great Human Odyssey, another documentary executed in an ambitious and innovative fashion. The series, which documents the origins of humanity, aired on CBC’s The Nature of Things in 2015 and is this year embarking on a North American live tour, in which it will host screenings with live narration and orchestral score. The series was nominated for four CSAs and took home Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series and fittingly, Best Original Music for a Non-Fiction Program or Series.

The now-cancelled Ice Pilots NWT snuck in under the wire with two wins: Best Writing in a Factual Program or Series for Samantha Beck and Best Direction in a Documentary or Factual Series for Matt Shewchuk. Also sitting pretty in the two wins category for the night were CTV’s The Marilyn Denis Show (Best Talk Program or Series and Best Direction in a Lifestyle or Information Program or Series for Bob Haller) and Tricks on the Dead: the Story of the Chinese Labour Corps in WWI, a 90-minute doc produced by Jordan Paterson and Zhan Jun that aired in a condensed version on Rogers Media’s OMNI channel. It took home Best Photography in a Documentary Program or Factual Series for Jordan Paterson and Norm Li and Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Non-Fiction Program or Series for Cole Paterson and Candise Paul.

A list of select factual/doc winners follows:

Best Biography or Arts Doc Program or Series
Balletlujah, CBC, Corkscrew Media

Best Cross-Platform Project (NF)
Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (CBC), C. Walker, W. Wolfe-Wylie, Tiar Wilson, K. Ivany, M. Pereira

Best Direction in a Doc or Factual Series 
Ice Pilots NWT – D-Day, History/Shaw Media, Matt Shewchuk

Best Direction in a Doc
Songs of Freedom, Vision TV, Zoomer Media, Barbara Willis Sweete

Best Direction in a Reality/Competition Series
Amazing Race Canada “Man I’ve Got a Big Butt” CTV/Bell Media, Rob Brunner

Best Documentary Program
SOL, Super Channel, Arnait Video Productions, Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Stephane Rituit

Best Factual Series
Still Standing, CBC, Frantic Films, Jamie Brown, Catherine LeggeJeff Peeler

Best History Documentary Program/Series
Vietnam: Canada’s Shadow War, CBC, Merit Motion Pictures, Merit Jensen CarrAndy Blicq

Best Lifestyle Program or Series
Income Property, HGTV Canada, Shaw Media, Scripps Networks Interactive, SKIT Inc., Jennifer Dick, Kit Redmond, Scott McGillivray, Toni MiceliJenna Keane

Best Original Interactive Production Produced for Digital Media
Highrise: Universe Within, NFB

Best Original Music, Non-Fiction Program/Series
The Great Human Odyssey “Rise of a Species,” CBC, Darren Fung

Best Original Program/Series for Digital Media – Non-Fiction
VICE Canada Reports, Patrick Mcguire

Best Photography, Doc Program/Factual Series
Tricks on the Dead: The Story of the Chinese Labour Corps in WWI, OMNI, Jordan Paterson, Norm Li

Best Photography, Lifestyle/Reality/Competition show
Amazing Race Canada “Take Your Clue and Gooo! CTV, Ryan Shaw

Best Picture Editing: Documentary Program or Series
Songs of Freedom, Vision TV, David New

Best Picture Editing, Factual Program/Series
Hockey Wives “Married to the Game” W Net/Corus, Al Manson

Best Picture Editing, Reality/Comp
Amazing Race Canada “Who’s Feeling Sporty Now” S. Poulin, J. Dowler, B. O’Neil, B. Ozgan, M. Tersigni

Best Production Design/Art Direction Non-Fiction
Tricks on the Dead?” OMNI/Rogers Media, Cole Paterson, Candise Paul

Best Reality/Competition Program or Series
The Amazing Race Canada, CTV, Insight Productions

Best Science or Nature Doc Program/Series
The Great Human Odyssey, CBC, Clearwater Documentary, Niobe Thompson

Best Sound, Non-Fiction Program or Series
Songs of Freedom, Vision TV/Zoomer Media, Tattersall Sound & Picture

Best Writing: Doc Program or Series
15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story, iChannel (Stornoway Communications), Nadine Pequeneza

Best Writing: Factual Program or Series
Ice Pilots NWT – D-Day, History Channel Canada (Shaw Media), Samantha Beck

Best Writing, Lifestyle/Reality/Competition Series
Survivorman Bigfoot, “Legend of Klemtu Hill”, OLN, Science Channel, Les Stroud

Donald Brittain Award, Best Social/Political Doc
Sugar Coated, TVO, The Cutting Factory, Michele Hozer, Janice Dawe

(From Playback Daily)

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.