Barna, CBC, Campbell, Da Vinci’s Inquest take hold of Gemini 16

Clinching his reputation as Canada’s top TV producer, Laszlo Barna was behind some the biggest wins at the 16th annual Gemini Awards, notwithstanding the fact he was his own biggest competition in the best dramatic series category, with triumphant Da Vinci’s Inquest and newbie Blue Murder vying for arguably the highest TV accolade. Of course, if the Gemini for best TV movie is the greater achievement, Barna, along with Christian Bruyere and Maryke McEwan, took that one too, for Sturla Gunnarsson’s Scorn.

Winning for best dramatic series for the third consecutive year, CBC’s Da Vinci’s Inquest (Haddock Entertainment/Barna-Alper Productions) was the reigning champ of the three-day event, taking home a total of four trophies, including best performance by an actor in a continuing lead dramatic role for Nicholas Campbell, a Gemini 16 star in his own right. On night two, Campbell, whose win on Da Vinci’s was a first, also picked up best performance by an actor in a guest role dramatic series for an episode of Blue Murder, redefining the notion of convergence.

Hosted by the questionably off-the-cuff Mike Bullard, the final evening of the awards show, broadcast on CBC, drew a meager 500,000 viewers, down from 640,000 last year and 632,000 in 1999. It was also the second year the gala was broadcast on a Monday as opposed to the traditional Sunday.

The gala evening gave away 15 of the top awards, 10 of which went to programs aired on CBC and five of which were handed to CTV programs, effectively shutting out Global’s Blue Murder (Barna-Alper) and The Outer Limits (Trilogy Entertainment Group/Alliance Atlantis).

Some of the highlights of night three – the Oct. 29 gala – included best dramatic miniseries for CTV’s WWII courtroom drama Nuremberg from AAC/Productions La Fete.

Salter Street’s industry spoof Made in Canada was given the hardware for best comedy and best ensemble cast, and CBC’s Street Cents took the trophy for best children’s or youth series for the sixth year in a row.

Jerry Ciccoritti, currently shooting the Trudeau miniseries for CBC, was awarded best direction in a dramatic program for Bernie Zukerman’s MOW Chasing Cain.

Suzette Couture picked up the best writing in a dramatic program Gemini for After the Harvest. Couture’s statue was presented by funnyman Colin Mochrie, who upon being introduced by Bullard as a CRTC mandate for Canadian programming, aptly replied, ‘It’s nice to be called overexposed by Mike Bullard.’

But perhaps the most poignant moment of the gala came when screenwriter Donald Martin (My Life as a Dog) was handed the inaugural Humanitarian Award by Luiz Oswaldo Rodriguez, a young Colombian he sponsored through the Foster Parents Plan of Canada. Luiz’s surprise appearance struck an emotional chord with the audience, and even members of the media, who quickly learned that Martin’s sponsorship had gone beyond the initial Foster Parents commitment to include putting the young man through medical school and sponsoring his younger brother with a commitment to put him through law school. Martin also received $10,000 from Global Television to donate to the charity of his choice.

Jackie Burroughs, aka Aunt Hetty from Road to Avonlea, was honored for her contribution to the international profile of Canadian television with the Earle Grey Award, which she later said she would take to Mexico ‘to the house that Kevin Sullivan built.’

The Donald Brittain Award for best social/political documentary went to Breakaway – A Tale of Two Survivors from Nova Scotia director Matthew Walsh.

Night two: Rhombus

pops the cork

With champagne bottle in tow and a smile ear to ear throughout the post-awards banquet, it was hard to miss that night two of the Geminis had been kind to Niv Fichman and his colleagues at Rhombus Media.

The Toronto-based prodco backed three winners on the Oct. 28 evening, including scooping a statue for best performing arts program or series or arts documentary program or series for Don Giovanni Unmasked. Don Giovanni also garnered the best direction in a variety or performing arts program or series for Barbara Willis Sweet, while Rhombus’ production of Four Seasons earned National Ballet premier dancer Rex Harrington the award for best performance in a performing arts program or series.

‘It’s a great feeling,’ Fichman said following the awards show, noting that Rhombus is a perennial winner in the arts program category. ‘Once in a while I feel that we should let others get that [feeling]…but at the same time, you want to know that what you’re doing works for people.’

Another happy recipient was Da Vinci’s Inquest creator Chris Haddock, who added to his previous prizes with awards for best direction in a dramatic series and best writing in a dramatic series, which he shared with cowriter Alan DiFiore.

The night two Industry Gala, which recognized the best in directing, writing and music plus several variety, guest and support performance categories, was hosted by comedian Sean Cullen, who also won for best performance or host in a variety program or series for Just For Laughs.

Cullen was at his comedic best through what could have been an otherwise dull three-hour-plus show with pointed one-liners and hilarious musical performances that affirmed the Academy’s choice for the performance award.

In an evening that, beyond Cullen, lacked any real verve, one highlight came with the presentation of the award for best host or interviewer in a news or talk/general information program or series to Undercurrents’ Wendy Mesley, who was facing off against sentimental favorite Valerie Pringle. Pringle left the host seat at CTV’s Canada AM earlier this year, while CBC pulled the plug on the critically acclaimed Undercurrents after last season.

‘Part of me wanted Valerie to win this. The other part really wanted me to win it,’ Mesley said.

Other notable moments included MuchMusic’s New Music, winning for best talk/general information series, and British actor Brian Cox, winning best supporting actor for his portrayal of Hermann Goering in Nuremberg.

Night one: a CBC News bonanza

Although Global National News anchor Kevin Newman did his network proud as host of the opening-night Gemini Awards, the Oct. 27 evening belonged to multiple-award winner CBC News.

With nods for Life & Times: Jean Beliveau for best sports program or series; Pierre Elliot Trudeau: A Nation Mourns for best live special event coverage; The National: October 2 for best newscast/news special; The National: Cost of Survival for best information segment; and The Fifth Estate: Scandal of the Century for best writing in an information program, for Linden MacIntyre, CBC News took home five trophies, making it the night’s majority winner.

Other multi-award winners at the opening-night gala included Nuremberg for best visual effects and best production design or art direction in a dramatic program or series; CBC’s Canada: A People’s History for best documentary series and best sound in an information/documentary program or series; Rhombus’ Don Giovanni Unmasked for best photography in a comedy, variety, performing arts program or series and best production design or art direction in a non-dramatic program or series; and the National Film Board’s Tokyo Girls for best picture editing in a documentary program or series and best photography in a documentary program or series.

Highlights included the presentation of the Gordon Sinclair Award to Bill Cunningham for his lifetime contribution to broadcast journalism.

‘This honor at this time in my life would seem to confirm the opinion of an old colleague, who, after one of those all-night editing sessions, told me that in TV news, stamina beats either brains or talent,’ quipped Cunningham.

The Canada Award, recognizing the promotion of racial and culture diversity via television, went to the documentary Made in China, produced by Sham Tan and written and directed by Karin L. Lee.

A trio of new awards was handed out to honor interactivity and convergence as they relate to TV. Most innovative website awards were presented to ctvnews.com and angelaanaconda.com, and the most popular website, as chosen by the public, was awarded to tvokids.com.

Following are the 2001 Gemini winners in the Program, Craft and Performance categories.

PROGRAM CATEGORIES

o Best TV Movie: Scorn – producers: Christian Bruyere, Laszlo Barna, Maryke McEwen (Scorn Films)

o Best Dramatic Miniseries: Nuremberg – producers: Peter Sussman, Gerald W. Abrams, Alec Baldwin, Mychele Boudrais, Jon Cornick, Suzanne Girard, Ian McDougall

(Alliance Atlantis Communications/Productions La Fete)

o Best Dramatic Series: Da Vinci’s Inquest – producers: Lynn Barr, Laszlo Barna, Chris Haddock, Arvi Liimatainen (Haddock Entertainment/Barna-Alper Productions)

o Best Comedy Program or Series: Made In Canada – producers: Gerald Lunz, Michael Donovan (Salter Street Films)

o Best Music, Variety Program or Series: East Coast Music Awards – producers: Geoff D’Eon, Jac Gautreau, Michael Lewis (CBC)

o Best News Information Series: W-FIVE – producers: Malcolm Fox, Anton Koschany (CTV)

o Best Lifestyle Series: Skin Deep – producers: Amos Adetuyi, Alfons Adetuyi (Inner City Films)

o Best Talk/General Information Series: The NewMusic – producer: Tania Natscheff (MuchMusic)

o Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program: Breakaway – a tale of two survivors – producers: Mathew Welsh, Johanna Eliot, Johanna Lunn Montgomery (alchemy notion pictures)

o Best History/Biography Documentary Program: My Left Breast – producer: Paul Pope (Pope Productions)

o Best Science, Technology, Nature, Environment or Adventure Documentary Program: Nuclear Dynamite – producers: Gary Marcuse, Betsy Carson, Selwyn Jacob (Face to Face Media/National Film Board)

o Best Performing Arts Program or Series, or Arts Documentary Program or Series: Don Giovanni Unmasked – producers: Daniel Iron, Niv Fichman (Rhombus Media)

o Best Documentary Series: Canada: A People’s History – producers: Mark Starowicz, Hubert Gendron, Gordon Henderson (CBC)

o Best Animated Program or Series: Ollie’s Under the Bed Adventures – producers: Steven J.P. Comeau, Jessica Andrews, Michael-Andreas Kuttner (Collideascope Digital Production)

o Best Preschool Program or Series: Sesame Park – producers: Duncan Lamb, Susan Sheehan, Wendy Smith (CBC)

o Best Children’s or Youth Program or Series: Street Cents – producers: Barbara Kennedy, Robin Johnston, Susan Rogers (CBC)

o Best Sports Program or Series: CBC News: Life & Times: Jean Beliveau – producers: Linda Laughlin, Michael Claydon, Susan Dando (CBC)

o Best Live Sporting Event: The Scott Tournament of Hearts – producer: Laurence Kimber (CBC)

o Best Newscast/News Special: CBC News: The National ‘October 2′ – producers: Cynthia Kinch, Mark Harrison, Lynn Kelly, Fred Parker, Jonathan Whitten (CBC)

o Best Live Special Event Coverage: CBC News Special: Pierre Elliot Trudeau: A Nation Mourns – producers: Chris Waddell, Mark Bulgutch, Fred Parker (CBC)

CRAFT CATEGORIES

o Best Direction in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Jerry Ciccoritti – Chasing Cain (Bernard Zukerman/Salter Street)

o Best Direction in a Dramatic Series: Chris Haddock – Da Vinci’s Inquest ‘It’s Backwards Day’ (Haddock/Barna-Alper)

o Best Direction in a Variety, or Performing Arts Program or Series: Barbara Willis Sweete – Don Giovanni Unmasked (Rhombus)

o Best Direction in a Comedy Program or Series: Chris Labonte – John Callahan’s QUADS! ‘Maimed Manor’ (Nelvana/Media World)

o Best Direction in an Information Program or Series: Matt Cowan – Undercurrents ‘Teen Rebels’ (CBC)

o Best Direction in a Documentary Program: Gerry Rogers – My Left Breast (Pope Productions)

o Best Direction in a Documentary Series: David Tucker – The Nature Of Things ‘Amanda’s Choice’ (CBC)

o Best Writing in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Suzette Couture – After the Harvest (Sarrazin-Couture/Alberta Filmworks/Stornoway)

o Best Writing in a Dramatic Series: Alan DiFiore, Chris Haddock – Da Vinci’s Inquest ‘It’s Backwards Day’ (Haddock/Barna-Alper)

o Best Writing in a Comedy or Variety Program or Series: Daryn Jones, Michael MacKinnon, Morgan Smith – Buzz (MTR Entertainment)

o Best Writing in an Information Program or Series: Linden MacIntyre – CBC News: the fifth estate ‘Scandal of the Century’ (CBC)

o Best Writing in a Documentary Program or Series: Kevin McMahon – COD: The Fish That Changed The World (Salter Street/Primitive Features)

o Best Writing in a Children’s or Youth Program: Gerard Lewis – Mentors ‘Klondike Daze’ (Minds Eye Pictures/Anaid Productions)

o Best Photography in a Dramatic Program or Series: Guy Dufaux – Haven (AAC in association with Paulette Breen Productions)

o Best Photography in a Comedy, Variety, Performing Arts Program or Series: Rene Ohashi – Don Giovanni Unmasked (Rhombus)

o Best Photography in an Information Program or Series: Robert Fresco – Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science ‘Beauty Shop Bandit’ (Exhibit A)

o Best Photography in a Documentary Program or Series: David Frazee – Tokyo Girls (NFB)

o Best Picture Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series: Richard Comeau – Heart: The Marilyn Bell Story (Bernard Zukerman/Cinar)

o Best Picture Editing in a Comedy, Variety, Performing Arts Program or Series: Kevin Cottam, Kris Fleerackers, Andrew Ranford – Sola (King Arthur)

o Best Picture Editing in an Information Program or Series: Omar Majeed – QT-QueerTelevision ‘Secrets of Sight’ (Citytv)

o Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Series: Bonni Devlin – Tokyo Girls (NFB)

o Best Overall Sound in a Dramatic Program or Series: Todd B. Warren, Christian Carruthers, Andrew Tay, Robert Woolfson – RoboCop: Prime Directives: Dark Justice (Fireworks)

o Best Sound Editing in a Dramatic Program or Series: Alice Wright, Diane Boucher, Louis Dupire, Guy Francoeur, Christian Rivest – Bonanno: A Godfather’s Story (La Fete)

o Best Sound in a Comedy, Variety, or Performing Arts Program or Series: Simon Bowers – Jann Arden: Live at Last

o Best Sound in an Information/Documentary Program or Series: Ron Searles, Steve Cupani – Canada: A People’s History ‘Battle for a Continent’ (CBC)

o Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Dramatic Program or Series

Guy Lalande, Frances Calder – Nuremberg (AAC/La Fete)

o Best Production Design or Art Direction in a Non-Dramatic Program or Series: Teresa Przybylski, Graeme Morphy – Don Giovanni Unmasked (Rhombus)

o Best Costume Design: Renee April – The Hound of Baskervilles (Muse Productions)

o Best Achievement in Makeup: Dorota Ergetowski, Joel Echallier, Celine Godeau – Island of Shadows (Red Storm Productions)

o Best Visual Effects: Noel Hooper, Mark Fordham, Robin Mitchell, Michael Pieczonka – Nuremberg (AAC/La Fete)

o Best Original Music Score for a Program or Miniseries: Geoff Bennett, Longo Hai, Ben Johannesen – Dinner at the Edge (Sienna)

o Best Original Music Score for a Dramatic Series: John Van Tongeren – The Outer Limits ‘Simon Says’ (Trilogy/AAC)

o Best Original Music Score for a Documentary Program or Series: Claude Desjardins, Eric Robertson – Canada: A People’s History ‘When the World Began’ (CBC)

o Best Information Segment: Marie Caloz, Eve Savory – CBC News: The National ‘Cost of Survival’ (CBC)

PERFORMANCE CATEGORIES

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Hugh Thompson – Blessed Stranger: After Flight 111 (Big Motion Pictures)

o Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Elisha Cuthbert – Lucky Girl (AAC/Triptych Media)

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role – Nicholas Campbell – Da Vinci’s Inquest ‘It’s Backwards Day’ (Haddock/Barna-Alper)

o Best Performance by an Actress in a Continuing Leading Dramatic Role: Babz Chula – These Arms of Mine ‘So Young’ (Arms Length Productions)

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Guest Role Dramatic Series: Nicholas Campbell – Blue Murder ‘Steel Drums’ (Barna-Alper)

o Best Performance by an Actress in a Guest Role Dramatic Series: Kari Matchett – Blue Murder ‘Intensive Care’ (Barna-Alper)

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Brian Cox – Nuremberg (AAC/La Fete)

o Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Program or Miniseries: Sherry Miller – Lucky Girl (AAC/Triptych Media)

o Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series: Garry Chalk – Cold Squad ‘Loose Ends, Part 2′ (Keatley MacLeod/AAC)

o Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series: Tamara Craig Thomas – Cold Squad ‘The Box’ (Keatley MacLeod/AAC)

o Best Individual Performance in a Comedy Program or Series: Jason Rouse – Comedy Now! The Series ‘Jason Rouse’ (HaydenKid)

o Best Ensemble Performance in a Comedy Program or Series: Rick Mercer, Emily Hampshire, Peter Keleghan, Dan Lett, Leah Pinsent – Made In Canada ‘Alan’s Ex’ (Salter Street)

o Best Performance or Host in a Variety Program or Series: Sean Cullen – Just For Laughs (Les Films Rozon)

o Best Performance in a Performing Arts Program or Series: Rex Harrington – Four Seasons (Rhombus)

o Best Performance in a Preschool Program or Series: Eric Peterson – Sesame Park ‘Old King Cole’ (CBC)

o Best Performance in a Childrens or Youth Program or Series: Brendan Fletcher – Caitlin’s Way ‘The Easy Way’ (Fireworks)

o Best News Anchor: Peter Mansbridge – CBC News: The National ‘P.E.T./Town Hall/Election’ (CBC)

o Best Reportage: Paula Newton – CTV News ‘Kidney Selling’ (CTV)

o Best Host or Interviewer in a News or Talk/General Information Program or Series: Wendy Mesley – Undercurrents ‘Government Ads/Inside Information/Protecting Your Privacy’ (CBC)

o Best Host in a Lifestyle, or Performing Arts Program or Series: David Gale – Loving Spoonfuls ‘Anja Karppinen’ (Indivisual Productions)

o Best Sports Broadcaster: Ron MacLean – NHL All Star Break & NHL All Star Game (CBC)

SPECIAL AWARDS

o Gemini Humanitarian Award: Donald Martin

o Earle Grey Award: Jackie Burroughs

o Roayl Canadian Mint Viewers’Choice Award: Royal Canadian Air Farce – Roger Abbott, Don Ferguson, Luba Goy, John Morgan (CBC)