2015 – Gil Cardinal, 1950-2015
Gil Cardinal was known for exploring raw subject matter such as substance abuse, the foster care system and the struggles of his own cultural identity and Métis ancestry. Cardinal has a long list of documentaries and has directed episodes of hit TV series such as North of 60 and The Rez, as well as the Gemini nominated mini-series Big Bear. He penned the pilot for Blackstone, which is now an award-winning series broadcast around the world, starring Michelle Thrush and produced by Prairie Dog Film + Television. Gil also called David Billington a friend. It is our honour to celebrate the many contributions Gil Cardinal has made to our industry.
After graduating from the radio and TV arts program of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in 1971, Gil worked as a studio cameraman at the Alberta Education Communications Corp (Access), where he shot his first film, a documentary about the pianist Marek Jablonski. In 1975 he was promoted to director and associate producer of Come Alive, an hour-long magazine-format show. Another project he directed for Access was Shadow Puppets: Indian Myths and Legends, a series of programs based on Cree and Blackfoot legends.
Gil Cardinal became a senior producer before leaving Access in 1980 to work for the National Film Board (NFB) as a freelance director, researcher, writer and editor. His first film for the Board was Children of Alcohol (1983), a documentary about a group of teenagers and pre-teens focusing on the effects of parental alcoholism. He also shot a series of short documentaries and dramas, notably Hotwalker (1985), co-written by David Billington about racetrack grooms and trainers, before embarking on the very personal Foster Child (1987), a cinéma-vérité documentary about his search for his family roots. His simple, straightforward approach led him to discover the identity of his Métis mother, who ended her tragic life in a series of boarding houses on Edmonton’s skid row. The film was a success on the festival circuit and broadcast on CBC’s “Man Alive” series. Gil Cardinal was awarded a Gemini Award for Best Direction for a Documentary Program in 1988, and Foster Child remains one of the most internationally acclaimed films produced by the NFB.
In 1987 Cardinal made Keyanaw Tatuskhatamak, about the struggle for Native self-government among the remote people of Northern Alberta, and in 1988 he directed Bordertown Café, a half-hour drama for the CBC. His other NFB credits include The Spirit Within (1990), on native cultural/spiritual programs in prisons, and David with F.A.S. (1997), an exploration of fetal alcohol syndrome. In 1997, Cardinal was recognized with a National Aboriginal Achievement Award for Film and Television.
In 1998 he directed the big-budget CBC miniseries Big Bear starring Gordon Tootoosis and Tantoo Cardinal (for which Gil Cardinal was nominated for a second Gemini), and in 2006 the CBC drama Indian Summer: The Oka Crisis, about the 1990 standoff between the federal government and the Mohawks of the Kanesatake Reserve. Cardinal has also directed numerous episodes of North of 60, The Rez, and the feature-length documentary Totem: The Return of the G’psgolox Pole, which screened at the 2003 Toronto International Film Festival.
In 2009, Gil Cardinal wrote the pilot for the TV series Blackstone after gathering extensive research on the issues facing many Aboriginal communities. Now an award-winning series broadcast on CBC, Hulu and APTN, Gil has continued to contribute to the show as a writer and consultant.
2014 – Dale Phillips
Dale Phillips has been a trailblazer in the Alberta Film and Television Industry for over forty years, and has a particularly rich history with AMPIA, serving a founding member, Board Member and later as President from 1998 – 1999. The Edmonton-based Producer has won many awards, including Best Public Relations Film at the Canadian Film and Television Association Film Awards, Best Documentary Over 30 Minutes at the Yorkton Short Film Festival, as well as many Alberta Motion Picture Industry Awards (the ‘Rosies’) for Best Educational Film, Best Documentary, Best Motivational Film, Best Drama Under 30 Minutes, Best Short Film and Best of Festival.
Dale was presented with an Alberta Achievement Award by Premier Peter Lougheed in 1976 for garnering national and international film festival awards for the film Following the Plough/Chant du Tracteur. In 1978, he was commissioned by the National Film Board (NFB) Montreal to manage the production of Going the Distance, the official film of the Commonwealth Games held in Edmonton, which was nominated for an Academy Award.
Phillips then started working for the NFB full-time, where he produced such notable Alberta productions as Life After Hockey (1989) and Road to Saddle River (1994). In 1995, Dale formed his own film company, Black Spring Pictures Inc. and produced many more productions including Born Hutterite (1996) and Shadows of War (2000), which won a Media Human Rights Award. In 1996, following the shuttering of the Alberta Motion Picture Development Corporation (AMPDC) by the Klein Government, it was Dale’s close relationships with then Minister of Culture Shirley McClellan and former MLA Carol Haley that led to the creation of the Alberta Media Fund (AMF), which remains the principal incentive program for all screen-based media in Alberta to this day. Dale’s leadership, vision and dedication in fostering a sound relationship with Government and helping establish industry support organizations such as AMPIA and the Alberta Cultural Industries Association has created a rich legacy that all in our industry have benefited from.
2013 – Murray Ord
Murray, a Bachelor of Fine Arts Graduate from the University of Calgary, began his career as an Actor in Theatre, touring throughout Western & Eastern Canada. He parlayed that into an opportunity to move into Film & Television, where his career spans over thirty-nine years in every aspect of the Industry, beginning as an Actor and then segueing into production, development & financing.
From 1996 – 2001, Murray was the President of The Alberta Film Commission. During his productive tenure he was responsible for bringing numerous film and television projects to Alberta including SHANGHAI NOON starring Jackie Chan, MYSTERY ALASKA starring Russell Crowe, THE EDGE starring Sir Anthony Hopkins & Alec Baldwin and numerous others.
He is a partner in the successful Calgary based film & television production company, Alberta Film Entertainment Inc., with co-producing credits on over 26 film and television projects which the company brought to Alberta, including BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN with Focus Features and THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD for Warner Bros. On the ‘Live Entertainment’ side of things, Murray is very excited to be heading into his fourth Season as the Creative Producer/Director of one of the hottest and most dynamic singing ensembles in the country, Calgary’s own REVV 52. And from a ‘learning perspective’, he very much enjoys teaching acting, auditioning and public speaking workshops for Theatre, Film and Television.
Murray is a member of the Director’s Guild Of Canada, The Association of Canadian Television & Radio Artists, The Alberta Media Production Industry Association, The Board of Directors of The Calgary International Film Festival and is an Executive Member of Save Our Fine Arts, an organization made up of committed parents, students, teachers, artists and people who are passionate about ‘Arts In Education’, which promotes and encourages Fine Arts being taught as an essential core subject in our Public and Post Secondary Education Systems.
2012 – Tom Radford
Tom Radford’s career spans over forty years in the Canadian television and film industries as a Writer, Director, and Producer. He is a two time Gemini winner and born to a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper family that came to Alberta in 1905. Radford’s “Codebreakers”, named best Science and Adventure Documentary at the 2011 Gemini Awards, marked the tenth time his films have won national or international honours. In 2010 “Inuit Odyssey” won Best Popular Science program at the World Television Awards. Radford has won the Best Director prize at the Alberta Film & Television Awards on eight separate occasions, most recently in 2011 for “Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands”, his and Niobe Thompson’s two hour investigation into the environmental impact of the Athabasca oil sands. His films have won recognition in festivals from San Francisco to Toronto, Columbus to Yorkton, San Antonio to Florence, Italy, leading to the Alberta Award of Excellence presented by Peter Lougheed.
As an Executive Producer, Radford founded the Northwest Studio of the National Film Board of Canada in Edmonton. He has sat on the Board of the Banff Television Festival, was a founder of the National Screen Institute, and is a member of the Advisory Council to the Historical Foundation. A founding partner in Film Frontiers, Filmwest Associates, Great North Productions, and Clearwater Media, Tom has been deeply involved in the building of the media production industry in the West.
Tom lives in Edmonton with his wife Eva. His daughter Emma is a production coordinator with Clearwater Documentary. His son Teo is a researcher and policy analyst with External Affairs.
2011 – Shaun Johnston
Shaun Johnston grew up in Ponoka, Alberta, in “Big Sky Country” he agrees. “Having grown up on the prairies has a great influence on my work as an actor.” Shaun explains, “I like to believe my approach is open and natural. I guess I’m a product of my environment.” After a few hard working years on the farm and in the oil patch, Shaun decided to return to college and begin his paper chase for a law degree. It was then that a drama elective inspired him to change direction. “Like Yogi Berra put it, if you come to a fork in the road…take it.”Ending up with an impressive list of film and television credits, Shaun built his career in Alberta. Classically trained at the UofA, he began in theatre. More than once, his work on the stage inspired someone to cast him in film. Shaun was awarded his first AMPIA Award for his portrayal of the troubled ‘Wes’ in William Hornecker’s “Two Brothers a Girl and a Gun”. But his portrayal of the lowly ‘Rich Dearden’ on the TV series Destiny Ridge made him a familiar face to television audiences. His award winning work as ‘Jake Trumper’ on the classic series “Jake and the Kid” helped Shaun realize that, regardless of your profession, home is where the heart is. Shaun has also guest starred on “X-Files; Outer Limits”, “DaVinci’s Inquest”, “Blue Murder”, “Dead Man’s Gun”, “North of 60”, “The Dead Zone”, “Smallville”, and played Sonja Smits wealthy American banker boyfriend for the last season of “Traders”.
His portrayals cover a great range of characters, heroes and villains alike. “I don’t really prefer one over the other”, he says. “But in recent years, I’ve been cast as the more stoic and heroic types. What can I say to that? Everyone wants to feel like a hero once in awhile.” Shaun has also enjoyed playing lead roles in films such as “Heart of the Sun”, “Agent of Influence” (opposite Christopher Plummer), “Tribe of Joseph”, “Super Volcano” and “Dinosaur Hunter” (again opposite Plummer). Shaun once said to the famous Mr. Plummer, “Man, you can act. You’re no Gavin McLeod, but you’re good.” Apparently, they’re still friends today.
Shaun states, “All roles are extremely demanding. It’s the nature of the actor’s commitment. But if you want to increase that challenge, play a real life or historical character. Then you feel the eyes of the world on you.”
2010 – Doug MacLeod
AMPIA is very proud to honour Doug MacLeod with the 2010 Billington Award for all that he’s done for the industry so far in his illustrious career. Doug has made this province a better place through his work bringing film and television productions to Alberta, showcasing this province’s production community and its locations to the world. In addition to his producing work, Doug created a better environment for film and television with his past work serving on the Boards of AMPIA and of the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, as well as serving as Co-Chair of the Alberta Film and Television Advisory Board.
Doug has been recognized nationally with awards such as the PS Industry Builders Award at the CFTPA’s 2009 conference, and AMPIA is proud to celebrate Doug in his home province. Tonight’s awards ceremony will have a special presentation celebrating the achievements and dedication of this very special person who has given his time and talents to create a better climate for Alberta’s cultural industry.
Doug MacLeod is a Canmore, Alberta based independent producer who has been involved in the Canadian film and television industry for over 35 years, executive producing and producing feature films, television movies and prime time dramatic series for domestic and international markets. Doug is a graduate of the Television, Stage and Radio Arts Program at SAIT, and has a Communication Studies degree from Concordia University in Montreal.
Prior to producing his own projects, Doug worked in a variety of senior production capacities on films as diverse as Superman III, the Official Film of the 1988 Winter Olympics and Heaven and Earth, the $45 million dollar epic Japanese samurai film directed by Haruli Kadokawa.
In 1995, Doug produced The Song Spinner, an independent feature film directed by Randy Bradshaw and starring Tony Award winning actress Patti Lupone. The Song Spinner was honored with a Cable Ace award and three Daytime Emmy nominations, and has received numerous awards at various international film festivals.
As a principal in Alberta Filmworks Inc., Doug and producer partner Tom Cox produced 90 episodes of the Gemini Award winning television series North of 60, as well as five highly rated television movies based on the North of 60 characters and concept, including In The Blue Ground, Trial by Fire and Dreamstorm. In 1999, Doug produced the Gemini Award winning television movie The Sheldon Kennedy Story as a co-production with Pierre Sarrazin and Suzette Couture for CTV.
In the last decade, Doug has executive produced numerous MOWs including After The Harvest, based upon Martha Ostenso’s novel Wild Geese, starring Sam Shepard; Agent of Influence, starring Christopher Plummer; and two additional North of 60 movies, Another Country and Distant Drumming, as well as Burn: The Robert Wraight Story, and 24 episodes of the one-hour prime time series Tom Stone.
One of Doug’s favourite projects involved skiing for a living, while producing Crazy Canucks, a CTV television movie developed and directed by Randy Bradshaw, and filmed entirely on location in the Tirol area of Austria.
Doug has also served on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Film & Television Production Association, is a former co-chair of the Government of Alberta’s Film and Television Advisory Committee and is a Past President of the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association. Doug is currently working with his long time colleague Randy Bradshaw on a small slate of independent features, when not hiding out at the ski hill in Golden, B.C.
2009 – No Award Given
2008 – Lance Mueller, 1951-2010
There’s nothing like working with the RCMP to help develop the thick skin and perspective needed for accurate reporting of sensitive stories. Lance Mueller begin his career reporting on every kind of disaster from airline crashes to mudslides, as well as the work of the Mounties. His work as a journalist for CTV eventually led him around the world.
Always favouring film over video, Lance made the move from film to television and begun with CTV in Lethbridge in 1971, what became a career of over 35 years. He held positions such as Cinematographer, Director of Photography, Operations Supervisor, Director of Operations, Production Manager, Manager of Mobile Operations and Executive Producer all for CTV affiliate television station. Lance honed his managerial talents within the corporate structures of MacLean Hunter and Rogers and served on the Executive Management Committee of CFCN Communications Ltd for several years. He continued to enjoy a much diversified career currently acting as the President and Chief Operating Officer of the White Iron Group of companies. With White Iron Partner Jean Merriman, Lance has been instrumental in moving White Iron from a small regional production company to being a significant player on the international stage in just a few short years.
Being very active in the television production and film industry, he is an eleven-year member and a past director of the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association and served as a Director and Vice-president (Southern Alberta) of the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association for several years, as well as sitting on the AMPIA board of directors from 1994 to 2000.
Lance is committed to a strong sense of community and has volunteered his time to consult and advise on many committees working on social issues in today’s society.
2008 – Jean Merriman
With over thirty years in the film and television industry, Jean’s innovative, imaginative and resourceful approach to program and people management has resulted in the creation of many hours of award winning television. Her diverse background as a graphic artist, senior writer, creative director, producer and director is key to her success today.
Jean has been honoured as the recipient of the 2001 “Women of Distinction” Award in the category of Professions and Entrepreneurs, and with partner Lance Mueller received the Ad Rodeo Achievement Award for White Iron’s commitment to building the industry.
Jean has served in many committee roles and as an executive member of the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association from 2001 until 2007. She’s also active as a guest lecturer and an industry mentor to many committees and individuals within the entertainment and television and film industry over her career.
Very involved in the Calgary community, Jean has served on The Calgary Centre for Performing Arts Board, The Glenbow Museum Board, The Banff Television Foundation, Women in Film and Television, Mount Royal College Communications Advisory Board, the Sir Winston Churchill Society and the Calgary Museum of the Regiments.
Jean dedicates many hours of volunteers time and commitment to social issues impacting our community as AIDS, Cancer Societies, the Homeless issues and numerous children’s causes. Jean believes that is it vital that we all contribute back to the wellness of our community.
2007 – Lorne MacPherson, 1936-2013
Lorne MacPherson has been involved in the film and television industry over 25 years. He helped launch the very first provincial incentive program, the Alberta Motion Picture Development Corporation (AMPDC) of which he was the first executive director, creating and important kick-start for the Alberta industry.
2006 – Jane Bisbee
Jane Bisbee has worked in Canada’s cultural industries for many years. She currently holds the positions of Interim Executive Director of the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association, Managing Director of the Canwest Alberta Fund and Fund Manager and Executive Secretary for the Alberta Cultural Industries Association.
A journalist by trade, with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Carleton University, she has experience in the Canadian book and magazine publishing industry, newspaper and radio reporting, and documentary film.
Before coming to Alberta, Jane was Associate Director of the Association of Canadian Publishers, the Director of the Literary Press Group, Executive Director of the Prairie Publishers Group and Assistant Editor of the award-winning Winnipeg Magazine.
During time with the Province of Alberta, she was responsible for policy and programs supporting writers, book publishers, sound recording companies, magazine publishers, the Canada/Alberta Agreement on the Cultural Industries, and the Cultural Industries Loan Guarantee program. She operated the Film Development Office in the cultural department of the Alberta government, including creation and delivery of the original Alberta Film Development Program. In 2006, she was named recipient of the David Billington Award for contributions to the Alberta film industry.
Jane now works as a freelance intellectual property developer, including policy and research work for clients such as the National Film Board of Canada, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and Allarco Entertainment. She is currently Vice President of the Edmonton International Film Festival. When she has spare time, she is a bookbinder and paper maker, a spinner and weaver, and an historic re-enactor.
2005 – Douglas Munro
Doug Munro has over 27 years experience as a Director of Photography/Cameraman for film and video productions including international commercials, network broadcasts, dramas and corporate programs. His creativity, commitment and professionalism have built him a solid reputation as a DOP/Cameraman and as a result his skills and expertise are in constant demand nationally and internationally. In 1994 Doug received an Emmy Award for his work on Team Remote with CBS during the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway.
Some other craft awards include Best Cinematography at the Toronto Hot Docs Festival for the Genie award-winner documentary “In the Gutter and Other Good Places,” and awards at the Charleston, Houston and Chicago International Film Festivals. He has won numerous Alberta Film & Television Awards including Best Cinematography nominations for Best Docudrama from the annual Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards for CMT Canada’s “Ghosts of Christmas Past” and the documentary “On the Edge of Destruction: the Frank Slide Story.” His work on both these programs also garnered Cinematography nominations for Best Docudrama from the annual Canadian Society of Cinematographers Awards, with Doug winning for “On the Edge of Destruction: the Frank Slide Story.” In addition Doug was nominated for a Gemini award for best cinematography for his work on the documentary program “The Long River: The life of Joseph Tyrell” for History Television.
A true Albertan, Doug Munro was born in Edmonton in 1957, grew up in Grande Prairie, and now resides in Millarville. Doug became hooked on films after watching Steven Spielberg’s 1975 thriller “Jaws.” He said he was astounded how a film could have the power to make people laugh one minute and be terrified the next. To this day he won’t swim in the ocean! With his passion set for filming he graduated from York University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Film/Video Production. While there he won the student award for best Cinematography from the Canadian Society of Cinematographers.
Doug’s first commercial film was a 1979 16mm documentary, “Hot Air Ballooning,” which aired on CBC and was shown on Air Canada.
In 1981, Doug shot tourism documentaries at Ontario resorts. He then began shooting corporate videos, sports features, news reports, and commercials. A year later he moved back to Alberta where the film industry was struggling back in the early eighties. So while Doug worked part time for 20/20 Productions he took a job with the city of Calgary, provided lots of experience and a chance to establish himself and his skills, but it was at the Summer Olympic Games in Seoul, Korea where professionally he had “the chance of a lifetimes.” Working for CBC’s “The Journal,” Doug was part of the crew covering sprinter Ben Johnson’s stripped track and field gold medal story to Canadians.
More importantly, it was at Seoul where Doug worked with Carolyn McMaster, who subsequently introduced him to her sister Margot, where she arrived to pick Carolyn up at the airport. The rest, as they say, is history. In 1989 Doug and Margot joined forces and within a few years have bought a small studio. Prior to this, in 1988 Doug bought the first Betacam camera in the Calgary, well before any of the television stations who were still using non chip tube cameras.
Doug and Margot had the first production company in Calgary to edit on an AVID non linear system. With the evolution of cameras, they have been consistently at the forefront of upgrading Betacam’s while also shooting commercials, documentaries, TV specials and corporate videos in 16mm and 35mm. In 1997 the couple bought a ranch in Millarville where they live today.
In 1998 Doug and Margot bought their first High Definition camera, making Doug the first owner/operator of HD in Canada. They subsequently founded HDTV Productions Inc., one of the first companies in Western Canada specialize in the HD format. In 2000 they bought their second HD camera and opened an office in Las Vegas, enabling them to become more accessible to American clients. In 2002 Doug acquired a High-definition FCP edit suite. He now has complete HD suites.
Douglas Munro, CSC is a true pioneer in the Alberta Film industry, taking a chance on a relatively untried technology years ahead of competitors. He was the first to use High Definition cameras to shoot documentaries in Alberta. His skills as a cinematographer, coupled with his keen business sense have made him hand his company and invaluable asset to the Alberta Film & Television community.
2004 – Tom Jackson
Appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 for his music and humanitarian work, Tom is well known to Canadians as an accomplished musician and actor dedicated to helping the less fortunate. At the 2007 Junos, the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) bestowed Tom with the Humanitarian Award in recognition for his positive contributions to the social landscape of Canada. That same year, the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television also presented Tom with their prestigious Humanitarian Award at the annual Gemini events. Tom received the Queen’s Jubilee medal in 2002 and Centennial Medals from Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2005. Time Magazine named him one of Canada’s best activists and Honorary Degrees have been conferred upon him from the University of Alberta, Laurentian, Winnipeg, Victoria, Trent, Lakehead, Calgary and Lethbridge. Tom begins a 3-year appointment as Chancellor of Trent University in September 2009.
Born on the One Arrow reserve in Saskatchewan and raised in Winnipeg, Tom left school at the age of 15 and spent seven years living on the back streets of Winnipeg. This experience built the foundation of his character – tenacity, leadership, determination to succeed and an altruistic capacity to care for others.
As a singer and songwriter, Tom has recorded 14 albums, two of which have received Juno nominations. His rich bass baritone is recognizable to music fans and concertgoers across the country. Tom is also an award-winning actor. Fans of the CBC hit television series “North of 60” will know him as Chief Peter Kenidi, a role he portrayed for six seasons. From “Shining Time Station” to “Star Trek” to “Law & Order”, Tom is no stranger to film and notes his favourites – three “North of 60” movies, “The Diviners”, “Grizzly Falls”, “Meeshee The Water Giant” and “Skinwalkers”. Tom’s distinctive voice can also be heard narrating television projects such as “Life & Times”, “The Snow Eater” and “Great Canadian Rivers”.
When Tom was working on North of 60, fellow cast member Mervin Good Eagle committed suicide. His tragic and untimely death exposed Tom to the devastating effects of suicide in Aboriginal communities. His response was to create and initiate the Dreamcatcher Tour. After a dozen years, 170 urban and reserve locations across Canada have benefited from Tom’s workshops, music, and overall messages of empowerment.
One of Tom’s prime motivators is his drive to end hunger. He has applied his musical and entrepreneurial gifts to his “Huron Carole” Benefit Concert Series (retired after 17 years) and his more recent “Singing for Supper” and “Swinging for Supper” Tours. Singing for Supper carries on his annual Christmas tradition, with over 20 concerts performed in churches and community halls from coast to coast. “Swinging for Supper” matches Tom’s love of golf and live music – events raising money and awareness for food banks and agencies meeting the needs of at-risk youth. Tom’s passion for travel across Canada forged his commitment to tour with Canadian Pacific Railway’s fundraiser “The Holiday Train” from 1999 to 2003. From that experience he produced 2 compilation CDs, which, along with “The Huron Carole”, “Singing for Supper” and “Swinging for Supper”, have helped raise over $5M dollars for food banks and family agencies across the country.
Tom has a unique way of uniting people to create change and this instinct prevails despite all odds. “The Vigil”, a post-9/11 concert fundraiser held September 12, 2001, engaged Canadian Country Music industry professionals, raising money for the Red Cross and marking the first of many similar events around the globe. Tom spearheaded and hosted the CBC Newsworld coverage of Say Hay, an Alberta event that rose $1.8M for drought-stricken prairie farmers. In 2003, Tom collaborated with Calgary-based industries to create Beef Relief in aid of cattle ranchers devastated by border closures. Combined cash and beef contributions for the Calgary Inter-Faith Food Bank topped the $600,000 mark. And in May 2009, Tom enlisted the help of many musical friends to stage “Rise Again”, a nationally broadcast concert to aid victims of recent flooding in Manitoba. Moved by increasing issues surrounding global food insecurity and homelessness, Tom’s next foray in elevating the quality of life for Canadians is the manufacture of affordable housing.
2003 – Fred Keating
Fred Keating received the 16th annual David Billington Award in 2003. He also hosted 10 of the first twenty presentations of the award from 1988 – 2008. Fred is generally credited with bringing a “roast” format to the award presentation so that the speakers share their affection and respect for the annual honouree in a manner close to David Billington’s own approach to praising colleagues he admired.
Over the a 30 year period, Fred also wrote, produced and hosted the Alberta Film and Television Awards and it was his initial several performances in the late 70’s hosting the show that attracted the CBC to broadcast the event on an annual basis. Fred hosted the show (with various special guests and co-hosts) for 18 years and has been an annual presenter in various categories at each year’s event ever since. He served on the AMPIA Board in various positions for many years.
Fred received an AMPIA Special Jury Award (1996) for documentary production work, the Alberta Centennial Medal from the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts (2005), and a Special Banff Rockie Award from the Banff World Television Festival for his contributions to the Festival over 25 years.
Fred has served the Banff World Television Festival in various capacities from driver to awards host, producer of feature videos, writer, Mentor/Coach to each year’s CTV Fellowship Award recipients and, most recently, as “The Voice of the Festival”.
Fred was a Special Lecturer in the University of Alberta’s Drama Department (1976 – 1978), served the Ministry of Culture and Community Spirit as Senior Consultant to the Minister in Performing Arts Education (1978 – 1984) and worked on a free-lance basis as Host/Writer/Producer for most of Alberta’s independent production companies and broadcasters until incorporating Lindisfarne Productions in 1984.
As an actor, he portrayed the eccentric town barber, Repeat Golightly, in the Canadian TV series, Jake and the Kid, and, for six seasons, played the not-very-nice City Councilman Jack Pierce on Canada’s top ranked drama series, CBC’s DaVinci’s Inquest. Fred’s numerous guest-starring and principal roles in film and television are listed on www.imdb.com under Fred Keating (II). Excerpts of his work can be seen at www.fredkeating.ca
Fred’s television work hosting broadcast specials and live events has made him a favourite “Roastmaster” at corporate affairs and charitable events. He has written and directed hundreds of corporate and government video productions. His production company, Lindisfarne Productions Inc., has offices in Edmonton and Maple Ridge, BC. (www.showtellmove.com)
Fred is the co-founder of Critical Mass (a BC-based filmmakers’ group) and NeWest Heritage Media Ltd., an Alberta-based non-profit corporation creating media for other non-profit groups.
Fred is a member of the Association of Canadian Cinema Television and Radio Artists, the Writers Guild of Canada, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, the Union of BC Performers and has served on juries for most major film festivals and awards presentations. He still teaches stage combat and choreography. Just for fun.
2002 – Nick Zubko, 1922-2000
Nick came to Canada from Pinsk as a young boy with his mother Olga and brother Mike, settling on a farm near Wandering River, Alberta, which had been homesteaded by his father Joseph Zubko. Overcoming great difficulties, and with a natural mechanical genius for invention, Nick became a pioneer of the Alberta motion picture industry. He worked for 14 years in the Department of Extension at the U of A, which was at that time the audio-visual outpost of the university, specializing in taking the message of the university to the world outside the university by audio visual means.
In the early fifties, he started Cine Audio Ltd. which became the first 16mm film lab in Alberta, and a production and post-production center that aided the pioneering efforts of Alberta filmmakers. Nick was always there to solve technical problems, to lend equipment or to give advice and encouragement. He had the ability of adapting cameras or other equipment to do almost anything they were needed to do.
In his own right as a young man, he made a film titled “The Fisheries of the Great Slave,” which became an award-winning film, processed and edited from his home. He shot stock footage for Walt Disney Studios in their formative years. He traveled to the Nahanni Valley for footage of that legend-ridden area. He shot footage for the Glenbow Foundation, and of subjects as varied as the creation of the Banff School of Fine Arts, and the Sun Dance at the Gleichen Reserve. He worked with Dr. John Callaghan, who originated the heart-lung machine, filming open heart surgery, so that revolutionary methods could be demonstrated by the technology of motion pictures to surgeons all over the world.
Nick started the first 16mm film lab, building its initial film processor from discarded surplus from the Italian government. He was an early advocate for the creative and benevolent uses of technology that has mushroomed far beyond what he dreamt, into such things as the Internet, since he made his first film.
He was the founding president of the Alberta Motion Pictures Industries Association, which has since grown into a major force in the local filmmaking world. In 2002, he was posthumously awarded the David Billington Award by AMPIA.
2001 – John Scott
Whoever said, “If wishes were horses, dreamers would ride,” must have been thinking of John Scott. From supplying horses and performing stunt work in “Little Big Man” with Dustin Hoffman, to his work on “Unforgiven” and “Shanghai Noon”, John’s name has been synonymous with horses, Alberta, film production and passion. Few riders have had the desire and perseverance to make their dreams succeed. His resume reads like a comprehensive list of every major production in western Canada and then some. Yet, John’s contributions to the industry far exceed his formidable achievements on set.
In his work off the set, John has demonstrated a boundless enthusiasm for the industry, One of Alberta’s greatest unofficial ambassadors; he has worked tirelessly to promote Alberta as a prime location for film production. Most recently John participated in the AMPIA/ Alberta Government film and television initiative in Los Angeles. There, his personal friendship and relationship with key industry personal was invaluable in positioning Alberta as an ideal place to produce quality film and television projects. As well, John has played a major role in persuading many foreign filmmakers to shoot their productions in Alberta.
John’s contributions to the infrastructure of the film and television industry are equally notable. A founding member of Stunts Canada, he is also a member of ACTRA, the Teamsters, the Director’s Guild of Canada, IATSE, and AMPIA’s Industry Strategy Committee. Significantly contributing to the training and mentoring of countless individuals in the industry, including many of Canada’s top stunt performers. John also provides authentic “western running gear and equipment” (he hasthe largest collection in North America) and is a major international stock contractor of animals to the film and television industry. In addition, he is the host of “World of Horses with John Scott” (seen in over 40 countries.) John’s charm, enthusiasm, integrity and unwavering demand for the highest quality production standards are a credit to the Alberta industry. Through his on-going commitment in realizing the dream of an Alberta Motion Picture industry John Scott embodies the characteristics of the David Billington Award.
2000 – Andy Thomson
Soon after graduation from Acadia University in 1967 with a BA in English Literature, Andy Thomson became hooked on the film industry—and it has been his ongoing passion ever since. He learned the craft of filmmaking with the National Film Board of Canada, where he worked his way from director to executive producer over the course of nearly 100 films—both drama and documentary—earning Academy Award nominations for Blackwood and The Painting Door. As executive producer for the Bell Canada Playhouse, as series of 26 half-hour dramas based on Canadian short stories, he began what would become an ongoing and ultimately rewarding relationship with Atlantis Films.
In 1986 Andy was instrumental in forming the National Screen Institute of Canada, a major source of support for emerging filmmakers. A year later he helped establish Great North Communications to producer a feature documentary on the Canada-China Dinosaur Project, a mammoth undertaking that spanned four years and eventually saw Andy emerge as the sole driving force behind the company. From its first low-budget production of Life after Hockey gas grown to be the largest regional producer of factual programming in Canada, due in no small measure to the tenacious and tireless efforts of its leader. Forging ahead, Andy was inspired early on to expand into the distribution business. By 2000, Great North International’s catalogue included almost 700 hours of programming, representing independent producers form around the world.
Always a firm believer in the viability—and importance—of regional production, Andy’s vision and optimism helped attract loyal employees and important co-production partners and investors, which have ensured the company’s growth and stability. Great North has produced for all of Canada’s major television networks, lus European broadcasters and speciality channels across North America, employing hundreds of craftspeople and a staff that has grown from four to 40. The economic impact of producing almost 300 hours of television based in Edmonton has been of significant and tangible benefit to the province.
Andy has been a dedicated member of AMPIA, serving on the Board of Directors for five years and as President for two. He has assisted AMPIA in its efforts to lobby government for support of the industry, and has been a continuing sponsor of the annual AMPIA Film and Television Awards. In the wider community he has served on the Boards of the CFTPA, the CTF and the Citadel Theatre in Edmonton and through Great North has been a committed sponsor of the Banff TV Festival.
1999 – Anne Wheeler
Film making did not come early to Anne Wheeler. It only began after a math degree, a job as a computer programmer, working as a musician/actress, completing a degree in Education, teaching high school, and travelling the globe for a couple of years.
In 1971 she and eight others, who were determined to tell prairie stories from a prairie perspective, formed Filmwest Associates. It was here that she learned how to shoot, edit, write, direct and produce. The group rotated these roles continually, in order to learn as there wasn’t a film school in the region at that time.
After 5 years, Anne left Filmwest to become a freelancer, working mostly for the NFB making documentaries. When the “board” established an office in Alberta she was hired to help establish a program with local film-makers. In 1981, Anne left the NFB to focus on being a writer-director-producer of dramatic film. She is now regarded as one of the most influential directors in Western Canada with credits for such feature films as “Loyalties”, “Cowboys Don’t Cry”, “Bye Bye Blues”, “Angel Square”, and her most recent feature “Better than Chocolate”. Anne has also directed/produced television features such as “The Diviners”, “Other Women’s Children”, “The War Between Us”, “Mother Tucker-The Diana Kilmury Story”, and the first three episodes of “DaVinci’s Inquest”.
A longtime member of AMPIA, Anne has contributed to the industry over the past 22 years. Among her many contributions, Anne has served as a Board Member on both the Alberta Motion Picture Development Corporation and the National Screen Institute. She is also a member of the Directors Guild, the Western Guild (ACTRA), the Canadian Academy of Cinema, and Women in Film and Television. In addition to numerous awards for her film and television productions, Anne has earned 6 honorary Doctorates and the Order of Canada.
A pioneer in her field, she brought a new vision to Alberta film, inspiring others to tell stories about Western Canada and encouraging them to pursue their careers in the province. She has more than earned the honour of being chosen this year’s Billington Awards recipients.
1998 – Bruce Nelson
1997 – Arvi Liimatainen, 2949-2018
Arvi has over three decades of experience in film and television that he pours into his role as producer with the Haddock Entertainment team. During his time on Da Vinci’s Inquest, Arvi has been part of the team that has been recognized with several Gemini awards and three nominations for the prestigious Banff Rockie Award for best continuing series.
Along with his work on “Da Vinci’s Inquest” and “Da Vinci’s City Hall”, are credits for the CTV movie “The Life”, and more recently, the 2 hour pilot movie and Seasons I and II of “Intelligence”. Arvi’s other producing credits include Anne Wheeler’s “Marine Life”, “Angel Square”, “Bye Bye Blues” and “Cowboy’s Don’t Cry” as well as the documentary feature “Mockstars”. Other productions include “Medicine River”, “Legend of the Ruby Silver” and “Jake and the Kid” (Season II). Arvi’s directing credits include “Mentors”, “Strange and Rich”, “Moccasin Flats” and episodes of “Jake and the Kid”. He was production supervisor on the Emmy-nominated mini-series “Children of the Dust” and the creative producer on two UPN science-fiction movies “Escape from Mars” and “Life in a Day”.
Arvi’s talents are recognized industry wide, as seen in his roles with the Banff Television Festival as former Chairman and a Honourary Lifetime Director.
1996 – Jan Miller
1995 – Carrie Hunter
1994 – William Marsden, 1928-2006
Bill Marsden, a native Albertan, has been called the “founding father of the Alberta film industry” by Playback Magazine. Originally a still photographer, Marsden went on to learn all aspects of the movies industry. He has made films throughout North America and Europe and more than one hundred production credit to his name. Although he specialized in documentaries and industrial films, he was also behinds the camera on Alberta’s earliest feature films—”Wings of Chance” and “Naked Flame”.
In 1981, Marsden joined the Alberta government as director of film industry development (later re-classified as Film Commissioner). During his tenure, he helped develop the industry infrastructure and attracted film business opportunities worth millions of dollars from all over the world, including Japanese epic “Heaven and Earth” and the Clint Eastwood box-office hit “Unforgiven”. Eastwood even gave Marsden a special thank you in the “Unforgiven” credits. The recipient of numerous awards of excellence, both national and international, Marsden was honourable with a Governor General’s Commemorative medal in 1992. He retired in 1993, but remains devoted to the motion picture industry.
1993 – Les Kimber
1992 – Dr. Charles A. Allard, 1919-1991
Dr. Charles A. Allard was a well known Edmonton surgeon and successful businessman. A native of Edmonton, Allard graduated from the University of Alberta in 1943. After postgraduate studies he returned to Edmonton to start his medical practice in 1948. He was surgeon and then chief surgeon at the General Hospital in Edmonton between 1955 and 1969. In addition to his medical responsibilities, Allard founded Allarcom Developments, one of Canada’s largest real estate companies, sold to Carma Developers of Calgary in 1980, and was involved in finance, life assurance and media. He established Allarcom Broadcasting, which owned Edmonton’s ITV station and western Canada’s Super-Channel.
1991 – Albert Karvonen
Albert Karvonen began his life-long love affair with nature while growing up on his family’s homestead in north-eastern Alberta. Surrounded by the ever-changing landscape of the boreal forest, he gained a profound respect for the earth’s marvels and a strong work ethic. While he enjoyed a successful career as a teacher and then principal in Edmonton’s public schools, even earning a Master’s degree in education, he could not dismiss the call of the wild.
After 23 years of teaching and five children to support, Albert risked it all and began producing independent wildlife films full-time. During the transition from teacher to filmmaker, he toured North America with the prestigious National Audubon Society for five years, lecturing on wildlife photography.
Albert’s passion for the natural world and creative vision has led him to produce over 110 film, television, and multimedia titles. Relying largely on private financing, Albert’s films have achieved commercial success enjoyed by few independent filmmakers. Albert’s substantial contributions to filmmaking in Western Canada saw him honoured with the coveted David Billington Award in 1991. Sponsored by the Alberta Motion Pictures Industries Association, the award is a benchmark in a career devoted to the production of outstanding wildlife films. In 1997, the City of Edmonton recognized his tireless dedication and remarkable talents with the prestigious Salute to Excellence Award for Lifetime Contribution to the Arts. Albert’s most recent acknowledgement was the Alberta Centennial Medal, awarded to him in November of 2005, for his contributions to education in Alberta.
Although he is intimately involved with all aspects of his productions, from inception to completion, financing and distribution, Albert still prefers to be on location filming wildlife.
1990 – Fil Fraser, 1932-2017
Fil Fraser was awarded the Order of Canada in 1991 for his contributions to Canadian broadcasting, filmmaking and journalism.
Fil Fraser is a distinguished Canadian writer, broadcaster, film and television producer, and a member of the Order of Canada. Past president and CEO of Vision TV, he is the founding chair of the Banff Television Foundation, a charter member of the Canadian Association of Black Journalists and a governor of the Canadian Journalism Foundation.
Fraser’s film credits include the dramas “Why Shoot the Teacher?”, “Marie Anne” and “The Hounds of Notre Dame”. He has also played a leading role in public policy development—as a member of the Spicer Commission, the Federal Task Force on Broadcasting Policy, the Canadian Multiculturalism Council and the Alberta Task Force on Film. Fraser served three years as Chief Commissioner of the Alberta Human Rights Commission. His views on contemporary human rights issues have been featured in columns in most of Canada’s major daily newspapers. Fraser is an adjunct professor of Communication Studies at Athabasca University.
1989 – Thomas Peacocke
Born in Lethbridge, Thomas Peacocke grew up and went to school in the southern Alberta village of Barons. A graduate of the University of Alberta and Carnegie Institute of Technology and Art in Pittsburgh, he served for 36 years at the University of Alberta principally as a teacher of acting and directing, and was chairman of the department for five years as well as Head of Acting at the Banff School of Fine Arts for eight.
Tom has enjoyed a fulfilling lifetime career as a director and actor, receiving a Genie Award for his performance in The Hounds of Notre Dame, the Dave Billington Award for his contributions to the film industry, a Sterling Award for his service to Edmonton Theatre and in 1996 he was inducted into the Edmonton Cultural Hall of Fame and was made a member of the Order of Canada. Throughout his career Tom has been active as a consultant, advisor, committee and board member of numerous foundations, associations and educational institutions. He is currently Vice-President (Prairie Region) of the National Theatre School of Canada.