Sunday, April 05, 2009

Arts and Politics at the Genies

You can't level the same critisizm at the Genie's that you can at the Juno's. There is no 'mainstream' Canadian film industry (actually there is no more mainstream period but the Juno folks are still in denial about that.)

Still there were a few things to make you worry. Contrary to the opinions of most critics Paul Gross' Passchendaele took best picture. In all Gross' film took six awards and the star of the evening, Mr. Gross, failed to show. All fairly Juno like behavior. But, as I said, there is no mainstream Canadian film industry. Beyond Passchendale (which also took awards for Best Art Direction, Costume Design, Best Sound and Best Sound Editing, and the Golden Reel Award) awards also went to Inuit Actor Natar Ungalaaq who won best actor in a lead role for the Necessities of Life, Kristen Booth took the Award for Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Young People Fucking, Ellen Burstyn took Best Actress for the Stone Angel, and Callum Keith Rennie took the supporting actor award for Normal. A full list of awards and winners is available here.

The big story of the night though, and the one that distinguishes the Genie's the most from the Juno's was the industry's willingness to stand up for themselves, their industry and ultimately their country. From the Globe and Mail:
"“Oh glorious leader, please save the CBC,” said Wendy Crewson, a well-known Canadian actor, as she took the stage to present the award for best actress. She mischievously announced the after-party was at 24 Sussex Dr., where she would be standing on a burned-out car with a megaphone...
“Clearly a strong message was sent over the last few months to the Conservatives … that their mockery of the Canadian arts wasn't necessarily serving them well with voters,” said Ms. Polley. “I think they've certainly changed the way they are talking about the arts, but their actions in terms of the CBC are not encouraging.”
More on this is available at the Globe and Mail.
Currently no area of arts and culture in Canada enjoys the support that our music industry does (and by that I don't mean the Juno awards). Canadian independent music and small labels, while still far from where they need to be financially enjoy a large, growing and fantastically loyal audience. We can hope that this spirit and enthusiasm can rub off on other areas of the arts in Canada. There are even signs that Canadian film and television may be next in line but a truly healthy industry is going to require a government that appreciates the arts and, in fact, a government that likes Canada.
Until we get there though I'd encourage everyone reading this to join the First Weekend Club and keep up on the films that are being made and shown in Canada.

1 comment:

Dwight Williams said...

Hope endures.

That and desperate ingenuity at making do with what we have. Amazing how the trained seals went straight to work at shouting down Crewson and company at the Globe and Mail article's comments with the Standard Issue Mythologies.