TORONTO — The makers of “Scarborough” say the suburban drama’s outstanding showing at the Canadian Screen Awards is a testament to the community in Toronto’s east end that made it possible.
The book-to-screen adaptation picked up three big-name awards on Sunday’s TV night, including Best Picture, making it the best film winner with a total of eight trophies during the celebration. a week of cinema, television and digital media.
Shasha Nakhai and Rich Williamson, who bagged the Best Director award, said they were delighted to see their feature debut so acclaimed by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, even though the film was made with an audience different in mind.
“Above all, it was really important to us that the film connect with the people we made it for, and all of the above was a bonus,” Nakhai said during a virtual press conference on Sunday.
“For all the work everyone has put into the film to be seen by the Canadian film industry, that means a lot.”
Williamson said the success of “Scarborough” is a credit to the community it captures, many of whom volunteered their time, talent and trust to support the low-budget production.
The film featured a mix of seasoned and rookie actors to tell the story of a trio of children and their caregivers who find a connection in their collective struggle against the forces of poverty, prejudice, abuse and drug addiction.
Among the film’s young stars was Liam Diaz, who won best lead actor on Sunday for his performance as Bing, a Filipino boy struggling with trauma.
The 13-year-old said he heard his parents shout from below when his name was called during the broadcast, which he hopes his friends listened to despite it being a night out school.
“Going into the movie, I was really shy,” Diaz told reporters. “Making films helped me get out of my comfort zone.”
Leading the television winners was CTV’s “Transplant,” which cleaned up the drama categories.
The medical show won best drama series and acting honors for leads Hamza Haq and Laurence Leboeuf, for a total of eight awards.
“Sort Of,” CBC’s smooth millennial comedy-drama, won Best Comedy Series, taking home a total of three trophies for its inaugural season.
Co-creator Bilal Baig said the show is a “love letter” to the communities it represents, including queer and transgender people, portraying characters in ways not often seen in the screen.
“This show means a lot to a lot of people,” Baig told reporters. “I feel like there’s a lot of wins in the community right now because there’s so much that resonates with us.”
Other big winners from Sunday’s awards broadcast, which aired on CBC and its streamer, Gem, were CBC’s “Kim’s Convenience,” which saw stars Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Jean Yoon named best lead actor and actress respectively in a comedy series.
The Best Documentary Feature Award went to “Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy” by Kainai First Nation filmmaker Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers.
Tailfeathers was also recognized for her acting skills as Best Lead Actress in “Night Raiders,” adding a sixth award to the collection of the Indigenous thriller.
A visibly moved Tailfeathers thanked Cree-Métis director Danis Goulet and the rest of the film’s crew, dedicating the award to his family.
“I would like to dedicate it to my grandparents, who both survived residential school and lived their lives with love, strength and dignity,” Tailfeathers said.
“And to my father who survived the Sami boarding school system and my mother who showed me what it was like to live and lead with love.”
The futuristic film was among the best picture finalists alongside ‘Drunken Birds’, ‘Night of the Kings’ and ‘Wildhood’.
Sunday’s festivities capped a banner race for ‘Scarborough’, who had five honors under his belt heading into the ceremony.
Nakhai and Williamson, who have a background in documentaries, picked up the award for best first feature on Friday, along with a cash prize of $25,000.
Author Catherine Hernandez chose the best-fit script for her screenplay based on her 2017 debut novel.
Cherish Violet Blood was named Best Supporting Actress and the production won for Cast and Sound Editing.
The hour-long, pre-recorded awards show opened with comedic styles from the TallBoyz and featured guest appearances from stars including Catherine O’Hara, Simu Liu and Tatiana Maslany.
CSA named the bulk of the winners in a series of virtual events that spanned 145 categories spanning film, scripted programming, documentary, broadcast news, reality TV, live sports and children’s animation. .
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on April 10, 2022.