All week long, social media has been abuzz with congratulatory notes for both the nominees and winners at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards, presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. The event honours and celebrates the incredible talent in this country, and for audiences, the list of honourees also serves as a wonderful resource for what to watch.
Everyone knows that award-winning series like Schitt’s Creek, Kim’s Convenience, and Baroness Von Sketch are available to watch on Netflix and CBC, but you might not know where to watch some of the other absolute gems.
We want to help light the path because in order for our industry to thrive, we need to support it, but also…YOU NEED TO WATCH ALL OF THESE FILMS AND SERIES because they are remarkable and will make you proud of the powerful diverse storytelling and creative achievement in this country! We feel excited and hopeful about the direction that Canadian film and TV is heading in.
Get to know the brilliant minds behind these award-winning titles.
Set in an upper class Tamil community in Sinhalese country, in the turbulent years leading up to civil war between the 1970s – 1980s, Funny Boy is a coming-of-age love story like no other. Arjie is a beautiful 8-year-old boy who discovers that he enjoys dressing in women’s clothing. He is shamed for his behaviour, and thus begins his long journey of trying to fit into an oppressive society where homosexuality is viewed as a sin, forcing him to constantly dim his queerness to protect himself. The film moves between young Arjie who has the love and support of his Aunty Radha, and older Arjie whose sexual awakening happens as the civil war erupts around him.
“For me, Funny Boy is a quintessentially Canadian story, and could only be written by a Sri Lankan who had emigrated to Canada,” says Director Deepa Mehta. “The objectivity that Canada provides, through which we can look at our respective homelands, is I think, this country’s greatest gift.”
What it took home at the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards…
2021 Best Motion Picture; 2021 Achievement in Make-Up (Elizabeth Gruszka); 2021 Achievement in Direction (Deepa Mehta); 2021 Achievement in Music – Original Score (Howard Shore); 2021 Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Agam Darshi); 2021 Achievement in Sound Mixing (Lou Solakofski, Joe Morrow, Randy Wilson, Ron Mellegers); 2021 Achievement in Sound Editing (James Sizemore, Jane Tattersall, David McCallum, Steve Merdeiros, Krystin Hunter, Stefan Fraticelli, Jason Charbonneau); 2021 Adapted Screenplay (Shyam Selvadurai, Deepa Mehta); 2021 Achievement in Visual Effects (Peter McAuley, Michael Bishop, Derek Gerhart, Armen Bunag, Luke White, James Marin, Marco Polsinelli, Andrew Rolfe, Davor Celar)
Watch now on CBC Gem.
In a crime-noir about the urban child-soldier, Akilla Brown captures a fifteen-year-old Jamaican boy in the aftermath of an armed robbery. Over one gruelling night, Akilla confronts a cycle of generational violence he thought he escaped.
What it took home at the 2021 Canadian Screen Awards….
2021 Achievement in Cinematography (Maya Bankovic); 2021 Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (Saul Williams); 2021 Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Thamela Mpumlwana & Ronnie Rowe Jr.); 2021 Achievement in Casting (Nicole Hilliard-Forde); 2021 Achievement in Sound Mixing (Graham Rogers, James Bastable, Brad Dawe, Daniel Moctezum); 2021 Achievement in Sound Editing (David McCallum, David Rose, Krystin Hunter, William Kellerman); 2021 Original Screenplay (Charles Officer, Wendy Motion Brathwaite)
Pre-order now on iTunes.
Director Kelly Fyffe-Marshall was compelled to make Black Bodies after experiencing a racist incident at an Airbnb. Black Bodies premiered at TIFF, made the 2020 TIFF Top Ten list, and also played at Sundance 2021.
“I approached this film with feelings first. I thought about all the emotions I felt during the incident, and everything I wanted people to know about being Black and we channeled it into the film,” says Fyffe-Marshall. “Watching Black Bodies is an experience that evokes your senses similar to theatre, I used two main pillars to convey my message: the beautiful imagery lensed by Jordan Oram and the poignant poetry by Komi Olaf.” Read our full interview with Fyffe-Marshall here.
Black Bodies took home the award for Best Live Action Short Drama (Kelly Fyffe-Marshall, Tamar Bird, Sasha Leigh Henry). Read our interview with Producer Sasha Leigh Henry here.
Watch Black Bodes and other shorts at Tiff Bell Lightbox.
Twelve-year-old Beans is on the edge: torn between innocent childhood and reckless adolescence; forced to grow up fast and become the tough Mohawk warrior she needs to be during the Oka Crisis, the turbulent Indigenous uprising that tore Quebec and Canada apart for 78 tense days in the summer of 1990.
See all the awards that Beans scooped at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards…
2021 Best Motion Picture (Anne-Marie Gelinas); 2021 Achievement in Cinematography (Marie Davignon); 2021 Achievement in Casting (Maxime Giroux, Rene Haynes); 2021 Achievement in Sound Mixing (Stephane Bergeron, Yann Cleary); 2021 John Dunning Best First Feature Film Award (Tracey Deer)
Pr-order now on iTunes. More info on the Beans website.
We’ve been raving about this web series for years. The dark comedy follows two inseparable, once-BFFs, Amy and Tara. Following a period of depression in her twenties, Tara has taken her own life, leaving behind her grieving and anxiety-ridden best friend. Fast forward three years, Amy seemingly has her life together again. Then, on the three-year anniversary of Tara’s death, Amy’s world is completely thrown off its axis when her now “ghost BFF” returns from the dead. Read our past interviews with creator, writer and star Vanessa Matsui here.
Ghost BFF received three big nominations at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards…
Best Lead Performance, Web Program or Series (Vanessa Matsui, Kaniehtiio Horn); Best Supporting Performance, Web Program or Series (Angela Asher, Jean Yoon)
Visit https://www.ghostbff.com/ to watch Ghost BFF, or head to Kinda TV. (Watch Season 1 and 2 for free!)
Infertility, a lacklustre marriage, and crushed dreams are just some of the mid-life issues that the characters of Band Ladies are facing before they ditch their book club to start a punk band. This is a hilarious, fun, and relatable web series created by a crew of local women we love.
“I want to go to a room where it’s safe, and totally acceptable to just smash a whole bunch of stuff. Then I can let go of a whole bunch of anger I was bottling up and go back to my life,” says writer and star Kate Fenton, and we can say with upmost honestly that we know the feeling! Read our full interview here.
The web series received two nominations and one win at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards…
2021 Best Supporting Performance, Web Program or Series (Tricia Black), 2021 Best Lead Performance, Web Program or Series (Lisa Michelle Cornelius).
Watch Band Ladies on Highball.TV.
We saw this at Canadian Film Fest not long ago and it blew our minds. Darren is a twenty-something musician who is struggling in a lot of areas. She’s struggling because her life as a musician cannot afford her rent or food. She’s struggling because no matter what job she takes to help pay for necessities, she is continually viewed as something to look at, something to fantasize about, or to serve needs. Kelly understands Darren well, as do I—we all do, because we’ve been there.
“This character was risen from the ashes of all of our early twenties,” says writer and star Kelly McCormack. “When you ask a woman about their early twenties it’s often followed with a shudder and a laugh. And that is the space I wanted to occupy.” Read our full interview with McCormack here.
What Sugar Daddy took home at the Canadian Screen Awards…
2021 Achievement in Editing (Christine Armstrong); 2021 Achievement in Music – Original Song (Marie-Helene L. Delorme); 2021 Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role (Colm Feore)
Available to rent and buy on iTunes.
My Salinger Year
Margaret Qualley and Sigourney Weaver star in My Salinger Year, based on Joanna Rakoff’s coming-of-age memoir about literary New York in the 1990s, a pre-digital world on the cusp of vanishing. Written and directed by Quebec’s Philippe Falardeau (2012 Oscar nominee Monsieur Lazhar), the film is a Canada-Ireland co-production that played as opening gala at Berlin 2020.
Fall 1995. After skipping Berkeley graduate school to pursue her dream of becoming a writer, Joanna (Qualley) lands a job as assistant to Margaret (Weaver), J.D. Salinger’s agent who still clings to typewriters, Dictaphones and three-martini lunches. Fluctuating between poverty and glamour, Joanna spends her days in a plush Manhattan office – and her nights in a sink-less Brooklyn apartment with her socialist boyfriend (Douglas Booth).
Ever since we first read about this, we were curious; curious to go back in time to the mid-nineties, and also to see if Joanna’s experience trying to break into the publishing world resonated with ours. We still haven’t watched it, but it’s on our list!!!! Maybe we’ll get to it this weekend.
Nominated in several categories, My Salinger Year took home wins in the wardrobe department, so if you love fashion and style in film, definitely check it out.
2021 Achievement in Hair (Michelle Cote); 2021 Achievement in Costume Design (Patricia McNeil, Ann Roth)
Watch now on Amazon Prime.
The above picks are just a sampling of the films and series that were honoured at this year’s Canadian Screen Awards. We encourage you to go exploring and find something that will rock you, inspire you, and get you thinking about our industry differently.