Polley, Filiatrault, Nealon among WGC Awards winners

Meanwhile, Mark Ellis (pictured) gave a moving tribute upon accepting the Denis McGrath Award for Service to the WGC.

Mark Ellis WGC Sarah Polley, Moira Walley-Beckett and Jason Filiatrault were among the big winners at the 22nd annual Writers Guild of Canada Screenwriters Awards.

Held Monday night at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, the national awards show celebrates the best in Canadian screenwriting.

On the night, Aubrey Nealon took home the award for best writing in a TV drama for the Cardinal (CTV) episode “John Cardinal,” while Polley won the prize for best MOW or miniseries script for the fifth episode of Alias Grace (CBC).

“I’m so grateful to get to do this for a living – to be a part of this community and to be taken seriously in any way as a writer still astonishes me,” said Polley while accepting the prize.

Walley-Beckett, meanwhile, walked away with the award for best script from a show’s debut season for her work on the Anne episode “I Am No Bird, and No Net Ensnares Me.” The showrunner was previously nominated for best writing in a drama series at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards for the same episode.

For the second year in a row, Letterkenny‘s Jared Keeso and Jacob Tierney won the award for best TV comedy, this year taking home the prize for the episode “Relationships.”

On the film side, Playback Five to Watch alum Filiatrault was awarded for his screenplay, Entanglement.

Other winners from the night included Mark Leiren-Young, who won the best script for a documentary award for The Hundred-Year-Old Whale, and Karen McClellan, who won the best short or webseries prize for Spiral (episode “The Girl in the Dream”).

In the tweens and teens section, Matt Kippen was awarded for The Stanley Dynamic (YTV) episode “The Stanley Cheer,” while Sean Jara won for his Mysticon‘s script, “Sisters in Arms.”

Meanwhile, the WGC also recognized Sarah Dodd, who was awarded the Sondra Kelly Award and Sherry White, who received the WGC’s Alex Barris Mentorship Award.

“It wasn’t until I started working in television, in the writers room, when I realized the value in generosity in the creative process. I learned that if I really want to survive this boiling pot of water that is our industry, that I’m better off shoving people out then pulling them back down. I have better chances of being helped out by a successful lobster than a boiled one,” said White.

In addition, Michael MacLennan, who is currently serving as showrunner on the BritBox original The Bletchley Circle: San Francisco, picked up the WGC Showrunner Award.

“It’s especially gratifying for me to win this, or be acknowledged for this, at this time because I’m doing what is probably the best show I’ve ever done thus far in my life and it’s the most gratifying job I’ve ever had,” said MacLennan.

In addition, Mark Ellis (pictured) was the recipient of the Denis McGrath Award for Service to the WGC (formerly the Writers Block Award). During his acceptance speech, Ellis talked about how his connection with McGrath, who passed away in March 2017, helped him in his own career.

“When I landed in this kind of fluke circumstance where my partner (Stephanie Morgenstern) and I managed to pull off Flashpoint, [McGrath] started to really empower me as a writer and [made me] feel like I belonged – because for many years I felt like I was an interloper.

“I had been an actor, I had been a follower, I had worked with an old kind of creative producer model and not so much a showrunner model on Flashpoint and [McGrath] gave me the tools to become a showrunner. He gave me the tools to recognize how important the writing process is,” said Ellis.