Behind the Scenes Moments at the Canadian Screen Awards
Behind the Scenes Moments at the Canadian Screen Awards
MP Olivia Chow (L) poses with her stepson Mike Layton and actress Sook-Yin Lee. Lee was honoured with Best Actress in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series for playing Chow in

MP Olivia Chow (L) poses with her stepson Mike Layton and actress Sook-Yin Lee. Lee was honoured with Best Actress in a Dramatic Program or Mini-Series for playing Chow in "Jack," a biopic about late NDP leader Jack Layton, Chow’s husband. In the press room, Lee spoke of the challenges and rewards of playing a real-life person who was there to guide her on set. She admitted this was intimidating, but noted that Chow was also very generous. "She's an artist herself, and gave me a lot of room to interpret." The actress said she set out to exteriorize Chow's inner world, but ended up putting so much into the role that she had to stop and question who she was."It becomes very clear that personality is a construct." Lee also noted it was both a challenge and a gift to portray the loss of a beloved person, an inevitable yet difficult part of life. "It was very visceral to be able to walk through that and do it in a safe place—not just in crazy chaotic life, but in a fictional scenario. It was really good therapy," she said. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

"Lost Girls" actress Zoie Palmer was surprised on the red carpet with the Fan Choice Award for "Favourite Canadian Star." In the press room later, Palmer expressed appreciation for the dedication of the show's fans. "If our fans put their minds to it, they could actually bring about world peace," she joked. Palmer was also enthused by the design of the Canadian Screen Awards statue. "It looks like it's giving me a hug. If ever I'm having a bit of a bad day, I'm going to just hug it." (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Best director winner Denis Villeneuve was pleasantly surprised to receive an award even before his film

Best director winner Denis Villeneuve was pleasantly surprised to receive an award even before his film "Enemy" was released. The thriller, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mélanie Laurent, and Isabella Rossellini, will open in Canadian theatres on March 14. "I was not nervous because I didn't feel I was in competition, I was with friends," Villeneuve said, referring to his fellow director nominees. The film was one of the night's big winners, with five awards. "The thing I admire most about filmmakers is when they are able to have their own planet, when they are able to build their own world," said Villeneuve, paying particular respect to David Cronenberg. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Actor Viggo Mortensen teases director David Cronenberg with his Montreal Canadiens flag and a hockey card, as actress Maria Bello looks on. Mortensen, a devoted Canadiens fan, has been known to carry the flag along with him to award shows and other events. The actor presented Cronenberg, a friend and longtime collaborator, with a Lifetime Achievement Award earlier that evening. Cronenberg, who is known for his horror films, said he gets inspiration from observing the “endlessly fascinating” human consciousness and joked that even standing in the press room gave him “all kinds of ideas for horror films.” (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

Actor Viggo Mortensen teases director David Cronenberg with his Montreal Canadiens flag and a hockey card, as actress Maria Bello looks on. Mortensen, a devoted Canadiens fan, has been known to carry the flag along with him to award shows and other events. The actor presented Cronenberg, a friend and longtime collaborator, with a Lifetime Achievement Award earlier that evening. Cronenberg, who is known for his horror films, said he gets inspiration from observing the “endlessly fascinating” human consciousness and joked that even standing in the press room gave him “all kinds of ideas for horror films.” (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

The cast and crew of

The cast and crew of "Dragon's Den," which won for Best Reality TV series. Executive producer Tracie Tighe (2nd from right) attributed the win to the show's practical and entertainment value, as well as years of hard work. Host Dianne Buckner (C) summed up its appeal: "Just the chance to watch how these kinds of people think ... none of them came from big money.” Businessman Jim Treliving (L), one of the Dragons, said it’s common for people to pitch their ideas to him outside of the show. "You're in the lobby, you're in the airport, it doesn't matter where you are, it's happening all the time," he said, adding that he was happy the show gives young people the chance to be entrepreneurs. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

The cast and crew of

The cast and crew of "Gabrielle," which won "Best Picture" award. (L-R) Producer Kim McGraw, Best Actress winner Gabrielle Marion-Rivard, director Louise Archambault, and producer Luc Déry. The inspirational film tells the story of a young woman with great joie de vivre who falls in love with a fellow choir member. They both have intellectual disabilities, and this leads people to question their relationship, forcing the young couple to proclaim their love while overcoming these prejudices. "It was an amazing human adventure, and it still continues now that the film travels everywhere. What people tell us a lot is that it's about openness, open to differences. It's about love, pure love. Even with different cultures, deep down we all want love—to be loved and love, and I think it's about that," said director Louise Archambault. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

The cast and crew of

The cast and crew of "Call Me Fitz" won three Canadian Screen Awards for Best TV Comedy, Best TV Comedy Actor for Jason Priestley, and Best TV Comedy Actress for Tracy Dawson. Priestley (C) said he realized from the beginning the show was going to be successful and fought hard to gain the part of Fitz, a car salesman with a "beautifully flawed character." Priestley was known for his good guy image in "Beverly Hills 90210." Dawson (3rd from left) was enthused about her win, but was eager to emphasize the practical—she's available for acting jobs. She said that for the 10 months following her 2011 Gemini win for the role, she couldn't get a Canadian audition, which shocked her. “I’m totally available,” she said. (Evan Ning/Epoch Times)

TORONTO—The Canadian Screen Awards may not be as glamorous as the Oscars (although they do have a red carpet, a comedian host, and a fancy theatre) and the films they honour are not usually blockbusters. Yet the two awards, at their core, are not that different. They both honour the art of filmmaking and everything associated with it. 

The stars the Screen Awards honour, although not always household names, are artists focused on their craft, producers looking for the big idea, and directors seeking to create a world that is their own.

In other words, anyone who loves film and television can find much in the Canadian Screen Awards. The awards offer a chance to discover films we might otherwise have never heard of and, like the Emmys, give us a chance to see TV stars all decked up in party mode. And if we get lucky, we might get a peak behind the scenes, or a special insight into a story or character meaningful to us.

And while the Canadian Screen Awards are only in their infancy—last year marked the first that the Genies and Geminis, which honoured film and television respectively, merged into a single award show—their hosting organization, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, has been celebrating Canadian film for 65 years and Canadian television for 45.

Take a look at the photo gallery for some behind-the-scenes moments from the Canadian Screen Awards that took place in the press room or on the red carpet, providing an insight into the realm of Canadian film and television, and the people who inhabit it. 

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