I was sitting there at the Cineplex - Quartier Latin, for the Canadian Screen Award (CSA) Press Conference, anxiously awaiting the announcements of the nominees, which coincidentally was located at the same place SWEEPING FORWARD was presented over 3 days at the MWFF, (and, yes, I will toot my horn) and won the People's Choice Award for most popular Canadian Feature at the Montreal World Film Festival. In awe, I watched the theatre fill up with reporters, cameramen, Directors, Producers... I was filled with anticipation... until the unveiling of the nominees started... then my heart started to sink.
Let me explain…
David Cronenberg directed 'Maps of Stars'; with recognizable stars such as; Julianne Moore, John Cusack and Robert Pattinson… who were being nominated.
Let’s take the important nomination for a; Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role… out of 5 of the nominees, only 2 are Canadian. Same for; Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role… out of 5 nominees, only 2 are Canadian. 6 Canadian Performers have lost the chance to be nominated.
It's daunting for me as a Canadian artist working with Canadian talent to possibly be overlooked on a technicality. A technicality that started this year’s CSA event with the announcement that Andrea Martin (an American born actress) would be hosting the Canadian Screen Awards gala. I wouldn't mind if the Canadian Screen Awards wouldn't insist on being known as ALL CANADIAN - even their eloquent motto shone bright on the big screen 'Glamorous. Talented. Canadian.' But are they fully supporting their mandate by nominating foreigners - thus removing the chances of Canadians candidacy?
The CSA has 'loopholes' in their eligibility process; which allow minority co‐productions to be nominated for Best Motion Picture; as are the craft and performance categories in those films where Canadians received an eligible credit. Where the director and/or screenwriter(s) are Canadian, a minority co‐production will be deemed a majority Canadian coproduction for the purposes of eligibility in all categories of the film awards. So this entitles 'foreigners' to be eligible for:
-Best Motion Picture
-All Performance categories
-All Feature Film craft categories
In layman's terms, this means that if a feature film is written and/or directed by a 'Canadian', that all other sections can nominate any nationality for an award.
Plus, the CSA's biggest supporter is Telefilm, which to me, poses a conflict of interest, as many of their films were nominated; such as Elephant Song, Mommy, Tu dors Nicole, Cast No Shadows (first time feature director from NFLD), Henri, Henri (which I feel the Claude Jutras Award will go to Martin Talbot), even 1987 (a 2013 production) was nominated.
I’m just curious, why isn’t there a fee schedule associated with the CSA’s applications for films under $250.000?
Just an observation: The CSA doesn't have an award (nomination section) for Canadian, Independent Films, which I feel they should - I realize it's biased coming from me, but we are Canadian Artists and need recognition as well.
The above is simply my own views, observations and opinions.