Today marks the start of Canadian Screen Week. We can’t gather in person to celebrate, but we can find other ways to show our love to our storytellers. Here is how.
Like you, I am closely following the COVID-19 pandemic that is upending lives around the globe. We are all listening to the recommendations of governments and public health experts—staying at home, taking care of ourselves and each other, and avoiding social gatherings. Keeping our communities safe has never been more important.
Canadian Screen Week starts today, and all events were wisely cancelled, including the annual Canadian Screen Awards, where the industry comes together to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our on- and off-screen talent. This is the right thing to do and we commend The Canadian Academy for putting our health and safety first.
But cancellation doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate. This is a time to adapt, to be creative, to show our Canadian pride. Here’s what we can do.
We can explore
Let’s take advantage of our time at home to dive into the many TV shows and films nominated for a Canadian Screen Award. Find the entire list at academy.ca/nominees.
We can vote
While on the Academy website, take the time to vote for your favourite Canadian working in film, television, or digital media in the Cogeco Fund Audience Choice Awards. The winner will be announced at the end of the month.
We can watch
It’s never been easier to find Canadian content—films and shows are available on several streaming platforms and networks. Fans of Schitt’s Creek are crowing—and yes, that’s a nod to Moira’s (Catherine O’Hara) hilarious performance as a half-crow, half-human scientist in the absurd The Crows Have Eyes III—over the show’s record 26 nominations, including a nod for best comedy series. If you are late to the Schitt’s Creek party now is your chance to catch up on the series that has taken the world by storm. And don’t miss the other nominated comedy shows Kim’s Convenience, Workin’ Moms, Letterkenny, and Jann, all funded by the Canada Media Fund.
Nostalgia lovers can check out the Encore+ YouTube channel, where you can find hundreds of iconic and award-winning Canadian titles. Introduce your kids to TV classics such as Mr. Dressup, or the NFB short The Sweater, the animated version of the beloved story by Roch Carrier.
We can congratulate
Follow the nominees on social media and congratulate them for their outstanding work! Like the rest of us, they are at home and would love to hear from you. Follow them, share their work on your social platforms, and tell your friends and family what you’re watching.
We can learn about each other
The best TV shows and films bring us together as Canadians and as people—and we need that now more than ever. With remote in hand, we can follow storytellers across our vast country and get a glimpse into the lives of Canadians—the series Cardinal brings us face to face with murder investigations in Northern Ontario, the film The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open takes us to the streets of Vancouver where two Indigenous women make a powerful connection, and the movie Antigone sends us to a working-class, Montreal neighbourhood where a young refugee woman fights for justice for her family.
We can unite
Canada’s screen industry brings together communities—from creating space for Francophone actors to work in English-language projects, including Karine Vanasse in Cardinal, Laurence Lebeouf in Transplant, Caroline Dhavernas in Mary Kills People, and others, to providing a platform for a growing number of Indigenous filmmakers, writers, and actors, like writer-director-actor Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers (The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open) and Innu actor and filmmaker Douglas Grégoire (Kuessipan).
The Canadian entertainment industry, like so many industries, has been rocked by the pandemic and its fallout. Productions are postponed, movie theatres are closed, and many of our best crews are left without contracts. This is a difficult time for Canadians, but we are resilient.
Celebrating all those who entertain us and sharing stories that inspire us will not end this crisis, but in this time of isolation they are ways we can stand together—while being apart.