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To Kill a Tiger, We’re All Gonna Die and BLK emerge as top winners at CSAs’ opening night

Documentaries To Kill a Tiger, We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel) and BLK: An Origin Story emerged with three, four and five awards respectively at the Canadian Screen Awards on Tuesday. That made them lead winners at the ceremony’s first night, which honours news, documentary and factual programming — while a perhaps surprising omission saw Lisa Laflamme passed over.

Those awards, along with more than 30 others, were the first given out this year at the annual event recognizing Canadian film, television and digital media. The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television hosts the week-long event. Two awards categories will be presented each day until Friday, when honours for comedy and drama will take centre stage.

Though it did not take home the most wins, Nisha Pahuja’s To Kill a Tiger (already a winner at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival and named among Canada’s Top Ten by the National Film Board of Canada) was awarded the Ted Rogers best feature length documentary. It also won best original music, and best editing in a feature-length documentary.

Crave’s original six-part series We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel), which saw its world premiere at Hot Docs last year, won best direction and editing for a factual series, as well as best factual series and the Barbara Sears award for editorial research.

The series itself examines different ways life on earth could end in a humorous, but science-based, way — touching on possibilities from planet-ending asteroids to alien invasions. 

A man in a blue button-up shirt stands in front of a wall covered in pinned-up images. The words "doomsday," "alien invasion," "pandemic" and "climate" are pinned. Red thread connects different images pinned up on the board.
Jay Baruchel appears in this promotional image from his Crave original, We’re All Gonna Die (Even Jay Baruchel). (Bell Media)

And the documentary miniseries BLK: An Origin Story, created by husband-wife duo Sudz Sutherland and Jennifer Holness, won for three of its four episodes. For the series, which focused on Black history outside of the often-covered (but comparatively short) period of the Underground Railroad, they won best picture editing, music and writing for a documentary; best direction for a documentary series and best photography for a documentary or factual program. 

Though the rest of the day’s winners saw no more than two awards, they did so in competitive categories. Sex with Sue (a Corus Entertainment documentary spearheaded by Sue Johanson’s daughter Jane) was awarded best documentary program. 

That film followed Johanson’s surprising, stratospheric rise from Winnipeg nurse to one of the most iconic sex educators in recent memory, as well as social media experts who have followed her lead.

Meanwhile CBC’s The Pretendians won the Donald Brittain award for best social/political documentary program, and the broadcaster’s Patty vs. Patty won best short documentary.

The former examines a seeming wave of high-profile Canadians who were accused of faking Indigenous heritage (or of being “pretendians”) and why anyone would attempt to do so. The latter tells the story of Jamaican Canadians’ 1985  battle with the federal government over the definition of a true beef patty. 

Reporter, anchor, news coverage awards

For news, APTN: Investigates took home best news or information program for its multi-part In Plain Sight, which examined the exploitation of Indigenous women in Kenora, Ont. Among other wins, CBC News won best live news special for its coverage of the Ottawa occupation and Freedom Convoy protest, The Fifth Estate won best news or information series and The National‘s Juanita Taylor won best national reporter. 

Global News took home honours for best national newscast and best local newscast (for Global News Hour at 6). 

Global’s Dawna Friesen won best national news anchor, an honour she also received in 2019 alongside a trophy for Canada’s best news anchor in 2011. Also up for that category was Lisa Laflamme, who — after finding herself in the centre of a media firestorm when CTV News cancelled her contract late last year — played a role in her own nomination.

After the Toronto Star reported earlier this year that she nominated herself for the award after CTV News retroactively scrubbed her name from submissions, Laflamme had a bit of a clarification. 

Laflamme told The National‘s Adrienne Arsenualt that she submitted her work for consideration to the judges, who themselves then nominated her. Laflamme has previously won in that category five times, including in 2021 and 2022. Earlier this year, organizers announced Laflamme would be awarded with the Gordon Sinclair award for broadcast journalism, which she formally received at the CSAs on Tuesday to a standing ovation.

Earlier Tuesday, organizers announced winners for sports programming. CBC won the CSA for best sports program or series for its coverage of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, and Andi Petrillo won best sports host. TSN, meanwhile, won best live sports event for its broadcast of the IIHF World Junior Gold Medal Game, while Gord Miller was named best sports play-by-play announcer.

TSN was also awarded best sports feature segment for Left Behind, which tells the story of the family of former Maple Leaf Ian White, who became addicted to painkillers, while TSN’s broadcast of the Toronto Raptors season opening received the CSA for best sports opening.

The Canadian Screen Awards will continue each night this week until Friday. Wednesday’s awards will feature honours for children’s entertainment and animation, as well as lifestyle and reality awards later in the day. Thursday will see winners for digital and immersive media, as well as the cinematic arts.

Other notable winners announced Tuesday include:

  • Best local reporter: Caroline Barghout (CBC Winnipeg News at 6)
  • Best news or information segment: W5: The Humboldt Driver (CTV)
  • Barbara Sears award for best visual research: Black Liberators WWII (History with Corus Entertainment)
  • Best writing, factual: Still Standing (CBC) 
  • Best direction, documentary program: Buffy Sainte-Marie, Carry It On (Crave)
  • Best photography, news or information: Reporter’s Notebook: Paul Workman in Afghanistan (CTV)
  • Best cinematography in a feature length documentary: Nicholas de Pencier (The Colour of Ink)
  • Lifetime achievement award: Pierre Bruneau
  • Best history documentary program or series: Underground Railroad: The Secret History (Discovery Channel with Bell Media)
  • Rob Stewart award for best science or nature documentary program or series: Ice and Fire: Tracking Canada’s Climate Crisis (CBC)
  • Best biography or arts documentary program or series: Comedy Punks: Kids In The Hall (Makeful with Blue Ant Media)
  • Best news anchor, local: Anita Bathe (CBC Vancouver News at 6)
  • Best host or interviewer, news or information: Avery Haines (W5)
  • Best sports analyst: Hockey Night in Canada (Sportsnet with Rogers Sports & Media)
  • Best direction, live sports event: 2022 Stanley Cup Final Game 6 (Sportsnet with Rogers Sports & Media)

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