By John Bernstein
At a ceremony at Toronto’s Westin Harbour Castle on Sunday, Atom
Egoyan’s “The Sweet Hereafter” was the big winner at Canada’s answer to
the Oscars, winning a total of 8 trophies including one for Best
Picture. The Genies, awarded by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and
Television to celebrate excellence in Canadian filmmaking, celebrated
their 18th anniversary by richly awarding Egoyan’s film, which tells
the somber tale of a small town dealing with the aftermath of a deadly
school bus accident. The film dominated the evening, also picking up
honors for Best Direction (Egoyan) and Best Performance by an actor in a
lead role (Ian Holm), as well as nods for Best Cinematography (Paul
Sarossy), editing (Susan Shipton), original score (Mychael Danna),
overall sound (Daniel Pellerin, Keith Elliott, Peter Kelley, Ross
Redfern and Tony Van Den Akker), and sound editing (Steve Munro, Sue
Conley, Goro Koyama, Andy Malcolm and David Drainie Taylor).
Egoyan was edged out in the Best Screenplay category by Thom Fitzgerald,
writer and director of “The Hanging Garden“. That film also earned
Fitzgerald the Claude Jutra Award for best first feature, as well as
best supporting actor and actress Genies for Peter MacNeil and Seana
The only other multiple award winner was Gabriel Pelletier’s
French-language vampire spoof, “Karmina“, which took top honors for art
direction (Normand Sarrazin), costume design (Denis Sperdouklis), and a
special make-up award for Pierre Saindon.
A special award was also given to Telefilm Canada in honor of the
organization’s 30th anniversary. Telefilm was recognized for their role
in fostering the investments of more than $370 million in Canadian film,
and triggering the production of more than 600 feature films.
The Best Actress award went to Molly Parker for her powerful performance
in “Kissed“, Lynne Stopkewich’s disturbing drama about a young woman’s
obsession with the world of necrophilia.
Other Genie award winners included; Anne-Claire Poirier’s “Tu As Crie (Let Me Go)“, Best Feature-Length Documentary; “Unveiled: The Mother/Daughter Relationship” (Janis Lundman, Maureen Judge), Best Short
Documentary; Sylvain Chomet’s “The Old Lady And The Pigeons“, Best
Animated Short; “The Hangman’s Bride” by Naomi McCormack, Best Live Action
Short Drama; Luc Plamondon and Francois Dompierre’s theme for “L’Homme Ideal“, Best Original Song; and Charles Martin Smith’s, “Air Bud“, took the
Blockbuster Golden Reel Award for grossing more than $1.6 million
dollars in Canadian box office receipts.