Sook-Yin Lee

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David Cronenberg name-checks Dilbert at the 2014 Canadian Screen Awards

David Cronenberg. (Image: Courtesy of the Canadian Screen Awards)

David Cronenberg. (Image: Courtesy of the Canadian Screen Awards)

The Canadian Screen Awards are a mystifying thing. Formed in 2012 out of a merger of the Gemini Awards and the Genie Awards, the new ceremony is still relatively unknown, even among Canadians. Last night’s glitzy CBC broadcast from the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts seemed designed to help change that, and perhaps it did.

Among the winners were some well-known Cancon treasures like Sook-Yin Lee, for her portrayal of Olivia Chow in Jack, and Tatiana Maslany, who took home a well-deserved statuette for playing half a dozen identical clones on BBC America’s Orphan Black. There was an award for Jason Priestley, for his work on Call Me Fitz, and there was even a little recognition for Toronto-shot The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a fantasy movie appreciated by its tweenaged target audience but not nominated for any major awards in the U.S. Also, Michael Bublé won an award for hosting an awards show (the 2013 Junos), presumably because no Canadian award ceremony would be complete without him.

Host Martin Short kept the ceremony moving, and his self-deprecating humour was a nice antidote to the typical award-show self-importance. The highlight of the night, though, was when David Cronenberg took the stage to accept his Lifetime Achievement Award and, as a way of illustrating his ambivalence over accepting a prize for a career that isn’t finished, spent a chunk of his speech summarizing this Dilbert comic from 2001. (Even “The Dark Knight” likes to kick back with some cartoons from time to time, we guess.)

Read on for a list of the night’s winners, plus a gallery of photos of them holding their freshly minted statuettes.

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The Informer

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Mayor In Waiting: an inside look at Olivia Chow’s political ambitions

Olivia Chow’s public mourning after Jack Layton’s death cast her in a new light: dignified, likeable and, well, mayoral. Toronto wants her to run, but does she want Toronto?

Olivia Chow

(Image: Christopher Wahl)

The morning of December 13, Olivia Chow woke up with a strange feeling on the left side of her face. Her ear was also a little sore, but it had been like that for a week. It was only when she went to the mirror that she realized she couldn’t smile. Her skin drooped; she looked older and more tired. But she felt normal, thoughts whirring inside her head at the same pace as always. So she went right on with the phone interview on Newstalk 1010 she had scheduled for 7:30 a.m., before going to her family doctor.

The culprit turned out to be Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a complication from a shingles infection of her facial nerve. It wasn’t a serious illness, just bad luck. There was only a small spot of shingles inside her ear. Her doctor put her on a week of the steroid prednisone and an antiviral. About three quarters of patients who are treated within three days recover from the syndrome; she had arrived within a few hours, so the prognosis was good.

It’s tempting to invest this minor medical incident with heavy meaning. Chow has been a politician for 28 years, first as a school trustee, then a councillor, and, as of 2006, the MP for Trinity-Spadina. For politicians, a face is not just a thing you park in front of a computer in the morning and show to the family at night. A politician meets new people, all day, every day, and people are inquisitive, and not all of them have tact.

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TIFF

TIFF 2009

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TIFF weekend round-up: the top 10 stories from the Toronto International Film Festival, September 11 to 13

ROUND-UP

Photo by Karon Liu

1. We chat with George Clooney at the Men Who Stare at Goats after party on the Bridle Path

2. Jennifer Connelly is torn apart by bigwig exec but exacts her revenge flawlessly

3. Of all places: was George Clooney dining at Jack Astor’s?

4. Michael Douglas watches sports more than movies; is not a fan of ‘MyFace’ or Twitter

5. Perez Hilton tells us why TIFF is better than Cannes and how he is happy that Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page are making out

6. Q&A with Hugh Hefner: the patron saint of Viagra is featured in a new Canadian documentary

7. “Anti-TIFF” party at Lo’La delivers old-time Hollywood with flair

8. Mena Suvari spent most of the Vitamin Water party playing with goats

9. Sook-Yin Lee demands party guests share an orgasm story

10. We don’t care about the young folks: the Park Hyatt is overrun with stargazing 20-somethings in short skirts

TIFF

TIFF 2009

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Chatting up Being Erica hunk Tyron Leitso at the Celebrate Ontario party

ethan

What a coif! Being Erica star Tyron Leitso

With politicians talking tax credits, Celebrate Ontario was hardly the average stiletto-studded TIFF affair. Hazelton Lanes’ Manyata Courtyard Café was flooded with yours-to-discover devotees feting the festival’s eight Ontario titles. Alongside pinstriped suits and the occasional popped collar pink polo, casual arty types like Sook-Yin Lee (see coverage of her directorial debut, Year of the Carnivore, here), rocked low ponies and denim jackets. Are we still in Yorkville, Toto?

We weren’t lost long. Young and the Restless lass Tonya Lee Williams was cruising the locavore circuit with The Border’s brooding James McGowan. She’s toned down her typical four-film-a-day frenzy: “I’m old now!”

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TIFF

TIFF 2009

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Sook-Yin Lee demands party guests share an orgasm story

sookyinlee

Sook-Yin Lee subscribes to a kiss-and-tell philosophy

“Who is going to share a story of their first orgasm?” belted director Sook-Yin Lee from a mic at the back of Rolly’s Garage on Oz. Silence. The crowd gathered to celebrate The Year of the Carnivore had a drunken gaze and nervous laughter, so Lee broke the ice “I had my first orgasm on a bunk bed post.” Still, no one was willing to share. She grew impatient, “You! YOU COME UP! YOU!! YOU WITH THE CAMERA TRYING TO HIDE BEHIND IT!!” (Er, that would be us.) Just when we thought we’d get kicked out for not divulging our most private acts to a room packed with strangers, a man ran to the rescue. Unfortunately, it was also last call so his tale of having an orgasm with a British accent was muffled by drunk people rushing to the bar.

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TIFF

TIFF 2009

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Midnight dance party with Sook-Yin Lee and Buck 65 on Ossington

Sook Yin Lee and Buck 65 get friendly at Rolly's Garage (Photo by Karon Liu)

Sook-Yin Lee and Buck 65 get friendly at Rolly's Garage (Photo by Karon Liu)

Maybe it’s lack of hoops to jump through or three-hour waiting period to secure a viewing location, but parties thrown by Toronto filmmakers are always among the most enjoyable at TIFF. Last night’s Year of the Carnivore bash hosted by director and writer Sook-Yin Lee felt more like a wrap party than a calculated industry event. Set inside Rolly’s Garage—a small car repair shop-cum-gallery—and spilling on to its front steps, the open bar and swag table containing CDs, Crystal Castle T-shirts and Come As You Are gift packs created icebreakers.

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TIFF

TIFF 2009

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Today at TIFF: September 10, 2009

Our daily roundup of the most buzz-worthy opening galas, parties and screenings.

Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man free public screening, Yonge–Dundas Square, noon
Steamboat Bill Jr. free public screening, Yonge–Dundas Square, 3 p.m.
• Live video feed from the opening night gala at Roy Thomson Hall, Yonge–Dundas Square, 7 p.m.
Year of the Carnivore premiere, Varsity 8, 7:30 p.m.
Creation premiere, Roy Thomson Hall, 8 p.m.
• Free opening night concert featuring DJ Champion, Yonge-Dundas Square, 9 p.m.
• TIFF opening night party, Liberty Grand, 9 p.m.
Broken Embraces premiere, Roy Thomson Hall, 9:30 p.m.
Year of the Carnivore party (guests include Sook-Yin Lee and a performance by Buck 65), Rolly’s Garage

TIFF

TIFF 2009

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CanCon at TIFF: Atom Egoyan’s latest and Heath Ledger’s final film among newly announced titles

Even though it’s just a press conference, the announcement of TIFF’s Canadian lineup is considered to be the unofficial pre-gala kickoff for locals. Homegrown filmmakers, actors and distributors packed into the Royal York’s Imperial Room yesterday to pose for the camera and decimate the open bar and buffet table in a manner befitting this country’s underfunded film industry. Since a British film—Creationwas chosen for opening night, a Canadian project was widely expected to close the festival. Organizers didn’t disappoint. The honour went to The Young Victoria, a look at titular queen’s early years on the throne directed by C.R.A.Z.Y. filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée. Other notable announcements included:

Atom Egoyan’s Chloe, about a wife (Julianne Moore) who hires a PYT (Amanda Seyfried) to catch her husband (Liam Neeson) in the act of cheating;
Reginald Harkema’s follow-up to Monkey WarfareLeslie, My Name Is Evilwill have its world premiere;
Terry Gilliam’s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the tale of a travelling theatre show staring Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Heath Ledger in his last role. A Canada-U.K. co-production, this one just squeaked into the CanCon category.

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