Playback‘s Canadian Film & TV Hall of Fame ceremony, as always, is one of polarities.
The promise of new careers; the legacy of those long established. Tears; laughter. Tributes; jabs.
All were in effect Thursday night as Canada’s film and television talent descended on TIFF event venue C Lounge for the seventh edition of our annual industry tribute.
Six industry luminaries were inducted, three honoured with special awards and 10 up-and-coming talents were recognized for the early achievements of their careers.
Just as touching as the tributes to long, illustrious careers were, so too were the tributes to those just on the cusp.
“His name will become an adjective,” writer-director Patricia Rozema said of the prodigious career of 24-year-old Xavier Dolan, who received Playback‘s Breakout Award for the 10 to Watch honouree who most impressed the industry in the year following their inclusion on the list.
Of careers that ended too early: “He was a treasure to this country,” Adam Waxman said of his late father Al Waxman, whose long and highlight-filled career was honoured with a posthumous induction.
And of careers in full swing: “We’re too old to be in 10 to watch and too young to be in HOF – that’s what my therapist would call a midlife crisis,” joked Matt Hornburg, co-CEO of Playback Outstanding Achievement award winners marblemedia, who accepted the award with business partner Mark Bishop.
The evening, however, was largely dedicated to the impressive careers of the inductees, who were recognized over the two-hour ceremony by family, friends and industry peers.
They included: Rock Demers, who was introduced by Jean-Francois Pouliot with a story of how Warner Bros Bonnie and Clyde came to screen on the strength of Demers’ convictions as then-president of the Montreal International Film Festival; actor Colm Feore, introduced by producer Kevin Tierney, who, in reference to Feore’s lengthy IMDB profile, joked, “This man says ‘no’ less than Michael Caine”; Al Waxman, whose induction was accepted by his wife Sara and son Adam; writer-producer George Anthony, introduced with fond recollection by CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi; Ted Kotcheff, introduced by his longtime friend and advocate, Helga Stephenson; and the CFC’s Slawko Klymkiw, bolstered by the ceremony’s biggest cheering section and introduced with heartfelt tribute by Shaftesbury CEO and CFC alumus Christina Jennings: “In one word if I had to describe you, you are a mensch.”
The night also bestowed three awards, including the aforementioned Dolan and marblemedia and, to rousing applause, David Suzuki, the 2013 recipient of the Swarovski Humanitarian Award.
Suzuki was introduced by CBC’s George Stroumboulopoulos, who recalled Suzuki’s influence while growing up (“England had Johnny Rotten & Joe strummer… here in Canada we had the greatest punk rock icon: David Suzuki”). The television host and environmentalist took the opportunity to thank his peers and advocate, as always, for greater recognition of the risks human activity poses to the environment. “We elevate the economy above the air we breathe,” he chided the federal government.
Also recognized were Playback‘s 10 to Watch honourees: Katie Boland, Ian Harnarine, Sean Patrick O’Reilly, Jason Lapeyre, Ramona Pringle, Jordan Nahmias, Patrick O’Sullivan, Michelle Latimer, Chloé Robichaud, and Brandon James Scott.
The evening ended with tiny cheesecakes, poolside cocktails and, for this writer anyway, a broader and greater appreciation for the outstanding talent this country (often so modestly) produces.