Rebelle, the Oscar-nominated Quebec film about African child soldiers, nearly swept the film categories at the new Canadian Screen Awards Sunday. In a glitzy ceremony hosted by comic Martin Short in front of a live audience at Toronto's Sony Centre and broadcast nationally on the CBC, Rebelle took home 10 of 22 awards.
Written and directed by Montreal's Kim Nguyen (and known in English as War Witch), it won best film, best direction, best art direction, best cinematography, best screenplay, best editing and two sound prizes. Its non-professional Congolese star Rachel Mwanza, a former street child, won best actress. Her co-star Serge Kanyinda got the nod for best supporting actor.
Rebelle lost the best foreign film award at the recent Oscars to Michael Haneke's Amour.
Other movies recognized in the new awards, which merge previous TV and film prizes, include Deepa Mehta's Midnight's Children, which won best adapted screenplay for Salman Rushdie, who wrote the script from his own novel. Seema Biswas won best supporting actress for her work in the film, which follows two characters born at the moment of India's independence.
James Cromwell won best actor for playing a New Brunswick man trying to build a new house for his ailing wife in Michael McGowan's Still, and Laurence Anyways, Xavier Dolan's star-crossed romance between a woman and a man who wants to become a woman, won the makeup and costume prizes. Howard Shore's compositions for David Cronenberg's sci-fi film Cosmopolis won both music categories, song and score. Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell won best documentary.
While the film prizes repeated the Quebec-centric pattern of the former Genie awards, where Quebec titles have won best picture in seven of the last 10 years, the TV prizes were more evenly distributed across the English-language networks. Organized by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the new screen awards have combined the former Gemini awards for TV and digital media with the Genies for film. They leave Quebec's TV awards as a separate program, judging the two TV markets to be completely separate.
CTV's popular police show, the now retired Flashpoint, won best drama and best actor for Enrico Colantoni. Less than Kind, the black comedy about a Jewish family in Winnipeg that airs on HBO Canada, won best comedy and best comic actress for Wendel Meldrum. The Borgias, the Bravo! series about backstabbing Renaissance nobles, was named best international drama and CBC's Dragons' Den won best reality series.
Meg Tilly won best dramatic actress for Global's wartime drama Bomb Girls, and Gerry Dee won best comic actor for the CBC comedy Mr. Dee. CBC's Peter Mansbridge was named best news anchor, while colleague George Stroumboulopoulos won best variety host, and CTV's Brian Williams was named best sports host.