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Jared Keeso is the creator and star of Letterkenny Problems, a Web comedy that was nominated for best digital fiction series.
Jared Keeso is the creator and star of Letterkenny Problems, a Web comedy that was nominated for best digital fiction series.

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‘I care about winning’: A first-person window on Canada’s screen awards Add to ...

Last weekend it was Matthew, Cate and Jared; this weekend it may be David, Tatiana and Jay.

No, none of the Canadian artists nominated for the Canadian Screen Awards are household names but Canada’s Oscars and Emmys are all rolled into one and back for a second year in their feisty campaign to build a Canadian star system and draw eyeballs to Canadian film and television.

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It is always an uphill battle competing against Hollywood’s celebrity machine, but the idea in 2013 was that a merger of the Genies and Geminis would create a more glamorous event by drawing on the artistic credentials of Canadian film on the one hand and the relative familiarity of Canadian TV on the other. The telecast hosted by comic Martin Short capped a week-long off-camera industry event and drew very healthy numbers – on average 789,000 Canadians tuned in. This year, Short takes the stage again to supervise the delivery of about 30 prizes from a shopping basket of 123 awarded to film, television and digital media.

The telecast begins at 8 p.m. Sunday on the CBC; in anticipation, The Globe spoke to three nominees about the awards.

THE COMIC

Jared Keeso is the creator and star of Letterkenny Problems,

a Web comedy that was nominated for best digital fiction series. The digital categories were announced earlier in the week and Letterkenny lost out to Space Janitors, but that is not going to stop a hockey player from Listowel, Ont.

Describe your project

in a sentence or two

Letterkenny Problems is about two good old boys from Letterkenny, Ont., telling you their problems. Some salty language in there, should be said. I was born

and raised in Listowel, Ont. and it’s a very embellished look

at life in our small town. Everyone knows someone from

Letterkenny; that’s why we

are at six million views

online.

What does the nomination

mean to you?

I care about winning; it’s the hockey player in me. This is my second CSA nomination, but I have yet to get one of those pretty little statues. I promise you next year I am going to get one

Canadian programs can have

a hard time getting love from Canadians. How are we doing?

The whole Canadiana angle is really taking off. Trailer Park Boys took a hiatus and they are coming back for their eight and ninth seasons on Netflix. It is something that will never end, Canadians’ willingness to laugh at themselves. We have this great sense of humour and all these great regional dialects.

THE THESPIAN

Hélène Joy has been nominated as best actress in a TV role for her work as Dr. Julia Ogden, pathologist, psychiatrist and chief love interest on Murdoch Mysteries.

Describe your character

in a sentence or two.

It’s a changeable role. Julia is a Victorian, genteel lady but ahead of her time, an intellectual, a scientist, a feminist.

What does the nomination

mean to you?

It’s always a lovely compliment [but] I must admit awards don’t mean a lot to me: there is so much work that goes uncongratulated. And what is hard work for an actor is often not recognized, roles you find the easiest are the ones everyone loves.

Canadian programs can have

a hard time getting love from Canadians. How are we doing?

It’s a problem unique to Canada. We don’t have a star system and we don’t know how to attract attention to our own actors and directors. I come from Australia and we watch our own, we have our own award shows that are huge. It just comes down to money; we don’t have the kind of money to compete with the amount American shows are advertised. On the positive side, it has changed drastically in the last 10 years with the success of shows like Flashpoint and Orphan Black. I compare being on Murdoch to being on a CBC show a decade ago: we had that one poster on that one bus. You see that bus you see the poster.

THE CINEASTE

Roger Frappier is co-producer of The Grand Seduction, nominated for best film. It’s an English-language adaptation of the 2003 Quebec hit La Grande Séduction (Seducing Doctor Lewis.)

Describe your project

in a sentence or two

It’s a comedy about people who want to change their situation and hope for a better future; it’s a comedy with great artists, Brendan Gleeson, Gordon Pinsent, Taylor Kitsch, and a director I have admired all my life, Don McKellar.

What does the nomination

mean to you?

For The Grand Seduction, because it’s an English movie, it means a lot. For a French film, it doesn’t mean as much. Even if you win a lot of Canadian Screen Awards, or before that a lot of Genies, Quebec films are not distributed in English Canada. It’s the same thing for the English movie in Quebec; some of them are released but there is not enough relationship between the two communities. This is a real contradiction about our two cultural sides.

Canadian programs can have

a hard time getting love from Canadians. How are we doing?

You need to have more programs in schools teaching our own culture.The impact of American cinema is so strong that if you don’t have, from a young age, the attention for your own culture, you are not going to have it later. You have achieved it in English Canada with literature and music. Canada has to say we want a [film] industry.

 

 

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