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LEO AWARDS: Brent Butt & Nancy Robertson Host Leo Awards on June 8th

Published May 29, 2013 on Vancouver is Awesome

Hometown comedy couple Brent Butt and Nancy Robertson are set to co-host the 15th anniversary of the Leo Awards, celebrating the best of B.C.-made film and television, at the Westin Bayshore Hotel on Saturday, June 8th. Expect more than the usual hijinks with professional comedians as hosts and and a crowd of outstanding homegrown nominees led by Vancouver born-and-bred Jessie James Miller’s feature film Becoming Redwood with 14 nominations, Vancouver-cop-from-the-future series Continuum with 16 nominations and filmed-in-Vancouver-and-Yellowknife aerial adventure series Arctic Air with 14 nominations.. For tickets, click here.

The 1970s era coming-of-age film Becoming Redwood‘s 14 nominations include well-deserved director and writing nods for Jesse James Miller and performance nods for Ryan Grantham as the young golf-obsessed long-haired title character Redwood; Jennifer Copping (Miller’s wife) as Redwood’s mother; Chad Willett (producer) as Redwood’s draft-dodging, pot-dealing father; Derek Hamilton as Redwood’s red-neck stepfather Arnold and Scott Hylands as Arnold’s basement-dwelling elderly father Earl. Miller shot the Vancouver International Film Festival’s most popular Canadian feature in rural Langley for 24 days in the late spring of 2011. By contrast, Random Acts of Romance, the only other motion picture nominee I’ve seen on screen, filmed in several downtown and East Van locations like the Waldorf Hotel, as befits a movie whose tagline is “Sex, Abduction, Stalking and You Thought Romance Was Dead” about interconnected Vancouverites. Director Katrin Bowen is nominated for the twisted romcom, as is Sonja Bennett for her performance as a wacky stalker.

Becoming Redwood production still – courtesy of Jesse James Miller

In the television category, Continuum dominates with 16 nominations for its first hit season, including nods for creator and UBC grad Simon Barry for his season finale script End Times about time traveller Kiera Cameron’s failure to stop “terrorist” group Liber8 from blowing up a downtown tower, a definitive moment in her corporations-rule-the-world future. Continuum digitally-imploded an Arthur Erickson-designed tower on West Georgia on screen and then filmed the aftermath on a blast-and-rubble set at CBC Vancouver.

So many of the Continuum nominees are from this finale, including Richard Harmon (Liber8 apprentice) and Lexa Doig (Liber8 terrorist) for their performances, Ian Tracey for his guest performance, Patrick Williams for his direction, Michael Wale for cinematography, Allan Lee for picture editing and Chris August for production design. Other performance nominees are Brian Markinson and Jennifer Spence with William Waring up for direction, Alison Grace for picture editing and Kimani Ray Smith for stunt coordination. Leads Rachel Nichols (an American but honourary Vancouverite because of her Canucks season tickets), Victor Webster and Erik Knudsen were not nominated, but likely are not considered BC actors.

Over at Arctic Air, bona fide BC actors Kevin McNulty and Pascale Hutton are nominated for their lead father-and-daughter performances on the second season of  the CBC show. Other AA performance nominations go to John Reardon and Emilie Ullerup, as well as guest performances nominations to Aleks “the Griz” Paunovic, Chelah Horsdal, Michelle Thrush and Lexa Doig (also nominated for her supporting Liber8 performance on Continuum). Yes, Vancouver film and TV is like one big repertory company sometimes. Creator Ian Weir and Sarah Dodd picked up screenwriting nominations and Franco Pante garnered two nominations for picture editing. All this ensures that Arctic Air will have a big showing at the Leos for the second year in a row, absent lead Adam Beach who is not considered a B.C. actor.

Joining Continuum and Arctic Air in the Best Dramatic Series competition is American show Arrow, one of its 8 nominations. Vancouver plays fictional Starling City , often with Harbour Centre in the backdrop, and the CW show is widely considered to have the best stunts on TV. So it’s fitting that stunt coordinator J.J. Makaro got two stunt nominations, one for the pilot and the other for Vertigo.  He’s not the only B.C. talent helping to make this vigilante series a hit.  The remaining nominations: Glen Winter for cinematography in the pilot and Gordon Verheul for cinematography in the  Lone Gunman, Richard Hudolin for production design of the pilot and a team VFX nomination for Burn.

Vancouver’s own dinosaurs-run-amok drama Primeval: New World racked up 6 nominations, including  a lead performance nod for famous Vancouver Film School grad Niall Matter (below), supporting performance nod for Miranda Frigon and a VFX nod for whiz Mark Savela and team for the finale, mostly filmed at the Britannia Mines on the Sea to Sky Highway. Add screewnriting nominations for Jon Cooksey and Judith and Garfield Reeves Stevens; and a picture editing nomination for Gordon Rempel on the visually-stunning finale and that makes six.

As for BC talent in other filmed-in-Vancouver American shows,  Fringe‘s final season Big Bad Michael Kopsa got a nod for his supporting performance and David Geddes a cinematography nomination for Welcome to Westfield, filmed mainly in Cloverdale; David Moxness a cinematography nomination  for Letters of Transit  — the gateway into Observer-ruled 2036 — shot mainly in the Olympic Village and BC Place as well as a directing nomination for Everything in its Right Place.

Several BC talent nominees help make filmed-in-Toronto shows Bomb Girls, Saving Hope, Lost Girl, Alphas, Nikita and Beauty and the Beast.

In the Youth series category, the crackup-from-laughing  trio of Brendan Meyer, Gig Morton (below) and Milo Shandel are all up for their performances on hit teen sitcom Mr. Young.  Their competition: Juan Riedinger (with multiple performance nominations) and Enid-Raye Adams from R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour for more serious fare. As with all award shows, bringing the funny usually is  trumped by drama, but maybe a Mr. Young actor will be the exception to the rule.

The last big comedy to rack up Leos was Hiccups from co-hosts Brent Butt and Nancy Robertson (with her Leo below). Maybe it’s time for them to pitch a new one at the Gala Ceremony.  That’s a candidate for crowd-funding if I ever heard one.

Click here for a complete list of nominees. The Celebration Awards Ceremony is on Friday, June 7th and the Gala Awards Ceremony on Saturday, June 8th.


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