The seventeenth annual Leo Awards, celebrating the best of B.C.-made television and film, had some big homegrown moments. Vancouver whydunit television series Motive and Vancouver band We Are The City’s Norwegian film Violent won the major awards. Inside the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, host Christopher Heyerdahl kept the affair elegant and classy. Kalyn Miles kept it funny and raunchy with her mock interviews of nominees. Partway through, the gala crowd rose to its feet in a standing ovation for the much-loved Danny Virtue but no one brought down the house like one-woman-show Beverley Elliott singing her version of the Gloria Gaynor song “I Will Survive” as “We Will Survive” — an ode to the B.C. Film industry. Did it ever with its biggest production year yet. . . .
Best Dramatic Series.
Vancouver whydunit Motive won the Leo for Best Dramatic Series, for a total of five Leos over the three nights. Executive producer James Thorpe accepted the award with grateful and hilarious profanity. That’s showrunner Dennis Heaton on the left. The CTV drama is unusual for two reasons: Vancouver plays itself not somewhere else and Motive is a whydunit not a whodunit. At the top of each episode, we learn who the Killer and the Victim are and then follow along with the detectives Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman), Oscar Vega (Louis Ferreira) and Brian Lucas (Brendan Penny) as they solve the murder and uncover the reasons behind it. Louis Ferreira, who did not attend the Leos, won one for his lead performance. Motive is renewed for a fourth season which should start filming here this Fall.
Nominees Narcos’s Juan Riedinger and Motive’s Kristin Lehman.
Best Motion Picture:
Although Violent was shot in Norway, it was made in east Vancouver by five young filmmakers. Two of the five were on hand to accept the eight trophies over three nights. Best student film winners Lifers jokingly expressed relief that Violent was not in their category.
I’m realizing how quickly I can die. How quickly this could all be over. And it’s in this realization where everything becomes clear. It feels like happiness. It feels like remembering faces and words. It feels like water. It feels like electricity. It sounds like a humming fridge.
Violent is not about violence, Vancouver director and We Are The City drummer Andrew Huculink told a Vancouver International Film Festival audience. Rather, Violent signifies a big, abrupt change like what happens to lead character Dagny (Norwegian actress Dagny Backer Johnsen), alluded to throughout the narrative. We Are The City originally went to Bergen, Norway to shoot a music video for their new album Violent of the same name, but somehow ended up making this haunting, elegiac film which won Best Canadian Film and Best BC Film at VIFF.
Best Short Film:
Luk’Luk’I: Mother won the Leo for Best Short Film, one of its four Leos over the course of three nights.
Outstanding Achievement Award to Danny Virtue — Producer, Director, Stunt Coordinator, Animal Coordinator and mentor to many in the B.C. Film community.
With a taped thanks from director David Lynch.
Beverley Elliott sings her version of I Will Survive — We Will Survive.
Anyone who’s been to the Leo Awards in recent years knows that Beverley Elliott — Once Upon a Time’s Granny — puts on one hell-of-a-show. This year was no exception. Wish I’d had a lighter but I do have some of her performance on video — to come.
Sara Canning won the Leo for Best Lead Performance in the Toronto-shot medical sudser Remedy. She told me she wanted more time with her character, but unfortunately the series has not been renewed. She’s back home in Vancouver and happy to be here.
Matthew MacCaull won the Leo for his lead performance in Jason Bourque’s Black Fly as the most likeable serial killer ever? He was unable to attend because he’s filming in Victoria (without his Black Fly mullett) in Allan Harmon’s mystery thriller Stranger in the House.
Shauna Johannesen, star and writer of Crazy 8s-winning short film Bed Bugs: The Musical, took home Leos for her performance and screen writing. Her husband James Danderfer won the Leo for his musical score, with Shauna writing the lyrics.
Night Two Hosts Aubrey Arnason and Kalyn Miles after being told not to be funny.
Luckily it didn’t last.
For a complete list of winners click here — Leo Awards.