Much ado about video awards

It came. We watched. It conquered....

It came. We watched. It conquered.

Late last month, MuchMusic feted and fested the best and brightest of the music video industry, topping off its month-long 10th anniversary celebration with the fifth annual Canadian MusicVideo Awards. It was a celebration on a national scale as the CHUM/City building was transformed into a stage and Much Music honored the talent behind the camera with a live broadcast on Sept. 29.

chum’s latest coup, arts and cultural specialty channel Bravo!, was not left out of the festivities, with appearances by the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Opera Company and Moses Znaimer decked out in a Bravo! tee.

Those lucky enough to garner an invitation to the awards proper (a quick profile of the room – musicians and musician look-a-likes, press, videomakers and broadcasters from Canada, the u.s. and as far away as Australia) had a chance to check out Much’s digs and partake in MuchFood, MuchDrink and MuchSchmooze.

In typical Much fashion, scores of fans gathered at the building’s street-front shooting stage to get a glimpse of music celebrity faves.

Many revelations were had during the evening: Kylie Minogue is not as tall as she appears on television; Ralph Benmergui gets invited to a lot of parties; the American contingent of the guest list was very impressed with the construction of the CHUM/City building (‘They call them street-front windows’); and last but not least, after five short years, the Canadian MusicVideo Awards had arrived.

Yessir, like the Geminis, Genies and the Junos, the cmva has become a Canadian institution – an industry staple, a coveted invite, an event.

A lot has happened since MuchMusic was first unleashed into Canadian homes 10 years ago. In the time we first learned to say ‘v-e-e-j-a-y’ and the time it has become a household word, the ‘music video’ has carved out a niche and respectability for itself in the film and television industry.

It would seem traditional hierarchists – quick to place film at the top of the industry ladder, music video at the bottom with television and commercials limboing somewhere in between – are becoming a thing of the past.

An increasing number of directors, cinematographers and editors are turning away from communicating solely with ‘a’ genre and crossing over into others and then back again.

The 1994 cmva’s 85 nominations (for 18 videomaking categories) were dominated by familiar talent from film, television, and, in particular, spot work including Curtis Wehrfritz (winning for best director and best rap video), Doug Koch (picking up best dop honors), Jeth Weinrich (winning for best editor), Floria Sigismondi (best metal video), Dale Heslip, David Storey, Miroslaw Baszak, Don Allan and Lyne Charlebois to name a few.

The popularity of these awards exemplifies how music videos have evolved into a viable vehicle to showcase industry talent (MuchMusic beams out to over six million Canadian homes) as both a stepping stone for the film, television and commercial makers of tomorrow as well as a valid creative option for already established craftspeople.