Over the past several years, AMPIA has recognized Alberta individuals or companies who have made significant contributions in support of the province’s film and television industries. The ‘Friend of the Industry Award’ is presented annually as part of the Alberta Film & Television Awards.
Friend of the Industry Award Recipients
(Note: All bios are from the original Awards Programs)
1998 – Charles R. Allard
Charles Allard has been involved in the broadcasting and entertainment business for more than 30 years. Former President of Allarcom Pay TV Ltd., he has served on the boards of many of Canada’s most prestigious broadcasting companies including Allarcom Independent Pay Television, Canadian Satellite Communications Inc., Express Vu, Family Channel, Teletoon, and the Home Theatre Pay Per View service and Western International Communications (WIC).
Today he is the controlling shareholder of Touch Canada Broadcasting Inc., which operates CJSI-FM Calgary and CJRY-FM Edmonton and is the general partner in the licensed AM programming undertaking CJCA-AM Edmonton.
His father Dr. Charles A. Allard, was a well respected surgeon, entrepreneur and Canadian broadcast pioneer. He was granted an AM license by the Board of Broadcast Governors and founded CHQT 880 which began broadcasting on August 19, 1965. He co-founded the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Team, the Edmonton Free Press and founded a variety of other businesses. Dr. Allard was issued a license in 1973 to operate CITV Television, Edmonton’s first independent television service.
Members of the Allard family, including Charles R. Allard, were actively involved in the growth and management of the broadcasting company. In 1981 Dr. Allard applied for, and in early 1982 was granted two pay television licenses. The pay television services, Ontario Independent Pay Television (OIPT) and Allarcom Independent Pay Television.
From its western Canadian roots, the company branched out and commissioned and produced programming for national and international exhibition. For example, in the 1980’s CITV produced or contributed to the production of more than 94 original Canadian dramas. Such internationally known television programs such as the ‘SCTV’ comedy series were produced by Allarcom in Edmonton. In 1987, Allarcom in conjunction with First Choice was granted a license for a national, English-language national general interest pay television channel.
Charles R. Allard is also active in the community, sitting as a Director of the Kid’s Kottage in Edmonton and Young Life Canada. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Alberta Diabetes Institute. He resides in Edmonton with his wife and has four children.
1999 – Alan Brooks
Alan Brooks was Director of News and Public Affairs for CFRN-TV as well as Executive Manager of the CFRN-TV Fund for Western Canada’s independent producers. CFRN-TV is and affiliate of the CTV Network and is owned and operated by CTV Inc. Born and raised in Toronto, Mr. Brooks now makes his home in Edmonton Beach, a few miles west of Stony Plain, Alberta.
Mr. Brooks began his broadcasting career as the ‘morning man’ on CKKC-Radio in Nelson, BC in 1970 and went on to become a general announcer for Mid-Canada-Television in Timmins, Ontario and subsequently became Program Manager in 1975. In 1979, Brooks became Manager of Syndication Sales for Direction Video Inc. in Toronto, successfully marketing a variety of Canadian and foreign programming to all markets across Canada. In 1988, Mr. Brooks returned to broadcasting as News and Program Manager for CKCO-TV in Kitchener, Ontario and eventually transferred to CFRN-TV in Edmonton in June of 1994 to become Program Manager and Executive Manager of the CFRN-TV Fund which launched in September of 1995.
A few of Alan’s career highlights have included quizmaster/host of CBC’s ‘Reach For the Top’, creator and Executive Producer of the ‘Missing Children’ series of specials and Visionary Chairperson for Can Pro’s National Committee. Mr. Brooks is truly dedicated to the development and production of high quality Canadian television programming and is passionate about the nurturing of Canadian screenwriters and producers, especially in Western Canada.
The CFRN-TV Fund contributes $1 million dollars per year to the independent production industry in Western Canada with development grants, educational incentives, license fees and equity investments for dramas, documentaries, children’s programming and musical-variety specials.
2000 – Nic Wry
Involved in the industry for more than 25 years, Nic Wry’s experience includes technical operations, production, business affairs, industry & regulatory affairs, policy development and implementation. He is an Emmy nominated producer of the ‘SCTV’ comedy series.
Nic obtained his formal education at Ryerson Polytechnic University-Faculty of Radio and Television Arts. Upon graduating in 1972, he began his career in broadcasting at CityTV, first as master control operator and moving up to technical producer during the stations’ first two years.
In 1974 he headed west and became part of the team that signed on ITV in Edmonton. He would work his way up the ITV ladder to Producer, and helped create the stations’ original distinctive on-air look. He was Production Manager for the Tommy Banks Show, and produced many of the ITV Concert specials with the Edmonton Symphony.
Mr. Wry went on to be manager and then Vice-President of Business Affairs for Allarcom. With the merger of WIC and Allarcom, Nic widened his scope to include WIC’s Broadcast holdings and became more involved in the industry affairs and policy side of the company as it related to Canadian production exhibition and distribution. Serving as a director of the CTF during its formative years, Nic’s particular emphasis was sensitizing it to regional issues.
Nic is currently Chair of the CAB Canadian Production Committee, was a director of the Banff Television Festival for 7 years, and an AMPIA Board member for several years. Currently, he is VP of Creative, Business & Industry Affairs for WIC Premium Television (Superchannel), where he works to bring a variety of Canadian projects to production. Mr. Wry also develops and implements policy aimed at improving the quality and quantity of Canadian programming and its promotion. Nic resides in Edmonton with his wife Judy and two children, Tyler and Kristine.
2001 – Dr. Horst Schmid
In 1974, as Minister of the Department of Culture Youth and Recreation, he invited group and individuals with a vision for the future of the Arts in Alberta to the ‘Arts and You’ Conference. Included in the event was a memorable Film Festival which planted the seed out of which grew AMPIA’s Annual Film & Television Awards. The Festival’s first jury was chaired by the internationally know Canadian director, Ted Kotcheff (The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz). The Best of the Festival was awarded to Filmwest Associates for Tom Radford’s film ‘Ernest Brown-Pioneer Photographer’. The event was totally funded by Dr. Schmid’s department with strong support of then Premier Peter Lougheed.
In 1977 Dr. Schmid created the Alberta Task Force on Film whose report led to the creation of the Alberta Motion Picture Development Corporation – the first provincial incentive program in Canada. Horst Schmid understood the inherent relationship of culture and industry and the potential it had for this province. This one action, in itself, played a significant role in the development of Alberta’s Film Industry. Two years later, again with strong support of the Alberta Government through Dr. Schmid, the Banff International Film Festival was launched.
In every case, it was only through Dr. Schmid’s personal conviction and incessant drive that funds were made available with an absolute minimum of red tape. Without his efforts it is highly unlikely that any of these groundbreaking events would have taken place. He was so much more than just a Government Minister providing funds – he had a deep conviction Alberta could play an important role in the Canadian film & television industry and its development. We owe him a great debt of gratitude!
2002 – Carol Haley
In July of 1998, Carol Haley, MLA for Airdrie-Rocky View and Chair of the Standing Policy Committee on Jobs and the Economy, was appointed Chair of the Alberta Film Development Review Committee. It’s mandate – to examine possible avenues for government action to maintain and develop the film industry in Alberta. From the outset, Carol’s methods of getting the job done prevailed, get face to face with the industry players, identify the industry’s specific business challenges and infrastructure needs and prioritize outcomes from there.
Carol pulled together the first ever round table meeting of industry and government representatives. Along with Pat Nelson, Haley toured production facilities and met with various producers in Los Angeles to gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by the Alberta-based industry service sector. With visits to Alberta producers and productions on location and in studio, she quickly became knowledgeable about the province’s production capabilities and potentials.
On time and on budget, the influential report of the Alberta Film Development Review Committee was submitted on September 22nd, 1998. In October, the government of Alberta announced the Alberta Film Development Program.
Flash forward to late spring of 2001, and the return of Carol Haley to chair the second committee review of the Alberta Film Industry. Round table consultations were held and this second review became much more studied. The performance of the Alberta Film Development Program would become a very persuasive addendum to the new report.
Thanks to the interest and persistence of Carol Haley, the domestic film and television production community in Alberta was back on its feet and an integral bridge of trust had been built between industry and government. It is with no small measure of affection that Carol’s expeditious handling of the film industry issue became known as “Haley’s Comet”. Thanks to Carol Haley and her ongoing efforts to ensure that our industry has a home in Alberta!
2003 – Gerri Cook
Gerri is a storyteller at heart. She has been known to liken a good story to a good tarot card reading. You start with the present situation and then explain how you got there. She especially likes surprise endings – the past few months is evidence of that!
Gerri Cook is a builder who loves to get in on the ground floor of something and will spend the time required to make it worthwhile. She has put in endless hours on committees and boards such as AMPIA and WIFT-A, as well as with people just starting out in the industry. Over the past thirty years she has worked as a weather ‘girl’, project developer for the Shaw Children’s Programming Initiative, Western Canada Script Development Officer for Superchannel, script writer, investment fund builder and administrator for the CFCN Alberta Production Fund, media consultant and producer.
Gerri also loves shiny objects, talking and a great cause – did we mention talking? She loves a good fight and does the background research to back up her position on what she believes to be the ‘right’ side. Gerri Cook is also a den mother to all she meets. She never tires of trying to help – whether through listening, passing on work related knowledge, or just being there when you need her, whatever the reason. Gerri has an incredible affinity for children, partly because she has the inquiring spirit and colorful mind of a child. She is always willing to explore new ideas and new people.
To Gerri, how one does things are as important as the things one does. With her open mind, open hear and high level of tolerance, she embodies the spirit of generosity and patience. For many years Gerri has worked diligently to help make and enormous difference for all of us in the Alberta film and television industry. When it came time to lobby for new funds, Gerri was there. She was also there when voices from Alberta demanded to be heard on the national level. Gerri Cook has been and ardent advocate for our industry!
Note: Gerri Cook passed away in 2005
2004 – Colin Robertson
Colin Robertson is the Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles, responsible for Canadian interests in California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii, and Consulates in Phoenix, San Jose, San Francisco and San Diego.
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Robertson went on to receive degrees at both the University of Manitoba and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1977 as a Foreign Service officer. In Ottawa he held numerous positions for the government and from 1985 to 1987 he was a member of the team that negotiated the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. In 1993 he was Coordinator, NAFTA Implementing Legislation, and the first Canadian NAFTA Communications Coordinator (1998-2000).
From 1987-1992, Robertson served as Counsellor and Consul General in Hong Kong with accreditation as Consul to the People’s Republic of China as well as to Macao. He led negotiations on the Canada-Hong Kong Film and Television Co-Production Agreement and established the annual Canada-Hong Kong Film Festival.
As Director General of Public Affairs at the Department of Citizenship and Immigration (1994-96) he worked on the launch of the new Immigration policy. In 1998, Robertson was appointed Senior Advisor for Trade Communications and he was Director General of Communications from 1998-2000 for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.
Robertson is also very active in community affairs. He is a Board member of the Los Angeles chapter of the Red Cross Association, and honorary director of the Canada-Arizona Business Council. Colin is married to Vancouver-born Maureen Boyd, and they have three children, Allison, Sean and Conor. Both he and his wife completed the 2001 and 2002 LA Triathlon, raising over $34,000 US in support of cancer research. Their joint efforts have raised over $130,000 US for charitable causes in Los Angeles.
2005 – Mark Norris
Mark Norris is a native Edmontonian, born in 1962 and educated in the Edmonton school system. A graduate of Archbishop MacDonald H.S. in Edmonton, Mark earned a Bachelors degree in Political Science from St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia before beginning his business and professional career in Edmonton.
In 1990, Mark established his own advertising and sign manufacturing company in Edmonton. He has a long history of dedicated community volunteer work, having served as past Chair of ABC Headstart, and early intervention life skills and literacy program for prekindergarten students and their families. Mark has also been and continues to be a strong supporter of Junior Achievement in the province.
Over the years, Mark has been President and Board Member of the Downtown Edmonton Rotary Club and served in the community as Chair of the Edmonton Christmas Bureau. Mark was also a Board member of Grant MacEwan College and the Edmonton Boy Scouts, giving tirelessly of his time with fundraising efforts for many Edmonton charities.
Norris entered provincial politics in 2001 when he was elected MLA for the riding of Edmonton-McClung and served as the Minister of Economic Development in Cabinet. Mark Norris currently serves as President of GLG Consulting Ltd. GLG Consulting is an Alberta based policy think-tank which focuses on economic development policy and quality of life issues for Albertans.
Mark is married to Veronica and they have two wonderful young children, daughter Claudia and son Jack. The Friend of the Industry award is presented to Mark Norris, in honour of his significant contributions to facilitate and support film and television production by Alberta based independent producers.” – taken from the 2005 Rosie Awards Program.
2006 – Graydon McCrea
Graydon McCrea has worked in the Canadian film and television industry for more than thirty years as an executive producer, producer, and director. During his twenty year career (1986-2006) as an executive producer with the National Film Board of Canada he produced or executive produced more than 140 productions, many of which have been honoured at national and international festivals.
Born in Manitoba, Graydon studied Political Science and Film at the Universities of Winnipeg and Manitoba. His career began in 1973 as a film editor in the production unit of the University of Manitoba. In 1976, he joined the NFB , where he worked in distribution and marketing for 10 years.
In 1983, he took a leave of absence to produce, direct and co-edit the award-winning documentary ‘Summer of the Loucheux’- a documentary about the Louchoux Indians of north-western Canada and Alaska which went on to win numerous awards both at home and abroad. In 1986, Graydon became the executive producer of the NFB’s Alberta regional studio, where productions included documentary, animation and dramatic films. In 1991, he established Studio One, the first Aboriginal Peoples inititiative at the NFB, a special program to provide television training and production resources to the Aboriginal people of Canada.
Known for his fondness of good movies and as a connoisseur of fabulous food and wines, Graydon is also an avid traveler, having visited Africa, the Middle East, eastern and western Europe, South America and the Carribean. In November of 2000 he served on the jury of the prestigious Shanghai Film Festival. Even though McCrea is retiring from the NFB, he’ll continue making movies in the private sector, and leaves with a fondness for the Board and all the wonderful and dedicated colleagues he’s worked with through the years.
2007 – Ralph Klein
The Board of Directors of AMPIA is pleased to be presenting this annual Award to Alberta’s former Premier. At one point in his colourful career, Mr. Klein was a no nonsense television reporter who was also extremely interested in motion pictures and television.
As most of our industry may recall, in an effort to balance the budget, funding incentives for Alberta’s film and television industry disappeared in the 90’s as part of the government’s policy not to be involved in the business of being in business. A few years later, however, a new strategy, based upon Alberta’s expenditures, was created and became the Alberta Film Development Program (AFDP).
This new system of funding by Grants allowed the province’s independent producers to survive and take advantage of Federal Government incentives. Although, at the time, some members of government resisted, the AFDP was “green-lit” and enthusiastically supported by then Premier Klein.
In addition, thanks in large part to Mr. Klein, the Alberta Film Development Program has steadily grown each year and now contributes $14.5 million dollars annually to assist Alberta producers and co-productions. “The Friend of the Industry award is presented to Ralph Klein to honour his contributions in the support of film and television production in our province.
2008 – Jill Bonenfant
The Board of Directors of AMPIA is pleased to honour Jill Bonenfant, Director of Programming for ACCESS Media Group/CTV as our Friend of the Industry for 2008. Bonenfant started her career as a teacher, until she was “bitten by the TV bug”.
Jill first joined ACCESS, The Education Station, as an educational researcher and during her early tenure she held a variety of positions, eventually taking on the program acquisition responsibilities. Since the privatization of ACCESS and as the company continued to grow, Jill assumed expanded responsibilities. In her current position as Director of Programming at ACCESS, she oversees the programming of three national stations- BookTelevision, Canadian Learning Television (CLT), and CourtTV Canada.
Bonenfant’s responsibilities also include the commissioning and pre-licensing of independent productions. Over the past 10 years this has grown from the initial curriculum projects made by Alberta producers to a wide range of documentary and lifestyle series.
In the last 5 years Jill has commissioned and pre-licensed 15 to 20 projects a year. Her emphasis has always been on supporting Alberta productions. For this, and her many other contributions to film and television, we honour her as our 2008 Friend of the Industry.
2011 – Agnes Augustin
Since 2004, Agnes Augustin has proudly overseen the Shaw Rocket Fund with its ongoing commitment to be a champion of Canadian children’s and youth programming through the Fund’s investments, and with the launch the much celebrated Shaw Rocket Prize.Her dedication to increase the profile of the Canadian children’s and youth programming sector, both domestically and internationally, can be seen through various Fund initiatives. In her role at the Shaw Rocket Fund, she remains committed to supporting the independent Canadian production community in the creation of high quality programming for Canadian children and their families on all platforms.
With twenty four years of experience in the Canadian film and television industry, Agnes has held a variety of financial and administrative positions for public and private companies. She was a Financial Analyst with Telefilm Canada’s Vancouver office, a Production Accountant as well as a Manager and Vice President of Business Affairs for production and distribution companies. For many years Agnes provided financial consulting services to many organizations in Western Canada including the former Coopers and Lybrand and the Economic Development Association of BC. Agnes also held the position of Head of Production for Country Music Television, a Corus Entertainment Company, in Calgary and was an independent producer prior to assuming her role at the Shaw Rocket Fund.
2012 – Paul Bronfman and Paul Roscorla
A graduate of the University of Toronto, Paul Bronfman launched his entertainment career in the mid-1970s, working in the music industry with Supertramp and April Wine. By the late 1970s, he had transitioned to the film and television industry and went on to hold a number of executive positions at Astral Bellevue Pathe (now Astral Media Inc.) over the next ten years. Bronfman founded Comweb Corp. in 1988 and over the years has built a group of horizontally integrated entertainment firms dedicated to providing expert production services, studio facilities, and equipment to the Canadian and international film and television industry. Mr. Bronfman is the Chairman/CEO of Comweb Corp. and William F. White International Inc. He is also the Chairman of Pinewood Toronto Studios Inc.
In late 1989, Comweb acquired a controlling interest in William F. White International Inc. (WFW), one of the world’s premier providers of state-of-the-art lighting, grip, camera support and related specialty film and television production equipment. WFW owns and operates CinequipWhite Inc., one of Canada’s largest sales and service companies to the broadcast, video, film, and theatrical industries. Comweb Corp. is the majority shareholder of WFW and is the second largest voting shareholder of Astral Media Inc. Comweb is also an active partner in Pinewood Toronto Studios.
Paul Bronfman’s dedication to fostering and developing new industry talent is well-known. His company sponsors numerous college and university film programs, industry initiatives and organizations including the Banff World Media Festival, TIFF, Vancouver International Film Festival, Atlantic Film Festival and Hot Docs. Bronfman serves or has served on numerous industry boards and committees including The Board of Directors of the Banff World Media Festival, Canadian Film Centre and FilmOntario. In 2010, Bronfman was elected to serve on the Board of Directors for the OMDC. In 2008, Mr. Bronfman and his wife Judy were awarded the prestigious Human Relations Award by the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. In 2011, Mr. Bronfman was inducted into Playback’s Film & Television Hall of Fame, honouring his 30-plus years of exemplary service. He later received an Honourable Life Member Award from the DGC along with the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute for Outstanding and Enduring Contributions to Canadian Television at this year’s Gemini Awards.
Paul Roscorla is an industry veteran with over 35 years of extensive production service management and sales experience. He joined the Whites team in 1978 and most recently held the title of Director, Sales & Marketing-Western Region for the past six years after which he was appointed William F. White International Executive VP/COO, overseeing all operations from coast to coast. In 2010, Paul was also appointed to the company’s Board of Directors. Mr. Roscorla studied business administration at Ryerson University and has been a key executive at WFW for over 30 years. He has also held several management positions across Canada with other well-known production service entities and is a current member of IATSE Local 873 in Toronto, IATSE Local 212 in Calgary and The Directors Guild of Canada.
2013 – CSIF and FAVA
Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF)
As part of an ecosystem that works to create Alberta art and culture, the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) is proud to share the 2013 AMPIA Friend of the Industry award with our valued sister media arts centre the Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta (FAVA).
Established in 1978 by 12 local filmmakers and artists, the Calgary Society of Independent Filmmakers (CSIF) is celebrating its 35th Anniversary in October 2013. Today’s CSIF is an artist-driven organization that assists film and digital film creation while also building community through screenings, networking, artist talks and workshops. With a membership of over 200 artists and boasting the production of over 60 new film projects annually, we support artists and audiences alike in the development of film production and appreciation. CSIF’s members have had work in local and international film festivals, on television and now are forging new pathways in the digital realm.
The CSIF is an integral part of the Alberta cultural community, and works to provide opportunities by collaborating with the greater community at large. Our diverse membership come from all walks of life, and connect in their ability to learn, create and bring back their knowledge through professional development activities. Our members work across the spectrum of arts and industry in this province as cast, crew, writers, directors, producers, instructors, mentors, and students so in accepting this honour, we acknowledge the great relationship we share with each other in bringing arts and culture to the world.
Thank you to AMPIA for this great honour, we look forward to continuing our collaborative activity with the media production industry of Alberta now and in many years to come.
Film and Video Arts Society-Alberta (FAVA)
Here’s the Scoop on FAVA. The Film and Video Arts Society-Alberta is an artist-run centre that facilitates and supports the production and exhibition of independent film, video and new media art in Northern Alberta. We have been serving the “Media-Arts” community for over 31 years. Our cadre of 380 plus members is busy creating, producing, and exhibiting artistic works that illustrate and illuminate our province’s stories and ideas. They’re doing it right now… as we speak.
Tell you what! In 2012, over four thousand individuals accessed FAVA programs and services. We supported 426 individual artist projects with discounted or donated production gear and facilities allocations and we granted almost $400,000.00 in production services and rentals.
And that’s not all! We also deliver a wide variety of workshops, programs, screenings and exhibitions related to the Film and Video arts industry. Last year we delivered 86 days of classes, including our very popular “Video Kitchen” and “Main Course” production modules.
This year at FAVAFest 2013 we screened 44 pieces of independent member work, handed out $20,000.00 in awards and then talked film and video till our eyes crossed and the beer ran out. You should have been there.
The FAVA website logs an average of 5,300 hits a day. That’s almost 2 million hits a year from individuals looking for information about film and video arts production in Alberta. That’s a lot of people.
We also partner with other sister non-profit and service organizations to better serve the wider community through the media-arts.
In the glorious future, watch for FAVA’s foray into online distribution, “FAVA-TV” (Northern Alberta’s Online Arts Television). Hope we’ll see ya down at the old FAVA ranch.
Your Fellow Cultural Industries Worker