Zacharias Kunuk, OC, filmmaker, carver, sculptor, visual artist (born 27 November 1957 in Kapuivik, Nunavut). An internationally acclaimed media maker, Zacharias Kunuk has played a crucial role in the redefinition of ethnographic filmmaking in Canada and has been at the forefront of the Inuit’s innovative use of broadcast technology. He is perhaps best known for his debut feature film, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), which won six Genie Awards (including Best Screenplay, Best Direction and Best Motion Picture) and was ranked the No. 1 Canadian film of all time in a 2015 poll conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival.
Kevin Sullivan, producer, writer, director (born at Toronto 28 May 1955). Kevin Sullivan is best known for producing, writing and directing the 1985 CBC TV adaptation of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, the highest-rated television drama in Canadian history. The miniseries won nine Gemini Awards, an Emmy Award and a Peabody Award. Sullivan produced three sequels, as well as the highly successful CBC TV series Road to Avonlea (1990–96), which won a Gemini and an Emmy Award, and Wind at My Back (1996–2001).
Dorothy Anne Wheeler, filmmaker, producer, director, writer (b at Edmonton 23 Sept 1946). Anne Wheeler received a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the University of Alberta in 1967 and had some experience as an actor before making her first film in 1971. She made documentaries for the National Film Board as a freelancer in the late 1970s and joined the board's Prairie region as a staff member from 1978 to 1981. From this period dates the highly acclaimed A War Story (1981), a documentary-docudrama based on Wheeler's father's diaries as a Japanese prisoner of war.
Robert Lantos, CM, film and television producer and executive (born 3 April 1949 in Budapest, Hungary). A key figure in the development of contemporary Canadian cinema, Robert Lantos is one of Canada’s most powerful producers of film and television. In the 1970s, he founded the distribution company Vivafilm and the production company RSL Productions. In the 1980s and 1990s, he was chair and CEO of Alliance Communications Corporation, Canada’s largest film and television production and distribution company, before leaving to produce films through his own Serendipity Point Films. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and the Canadian Film and Television Hall of Fame and has received numerous awards and honours, including five Genie Awards, four Gemini Awards, two Golden Reel Awards, the Air Canada Award and the Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Jean-Marc Vallée, director, screenwriter, editor, producer (born 9 March 1963 in Montréal, QC). One of Canada’s most honoured filmmakers, Québécois filmmaker Jean-Marc Vallée is a skillful craftsman with a knack for slick sentimentality and dramatic intensity. He is renowned for his ability to draw authentic, heartfelt performances from actors, and is best known for films about lost or damaged souls trying to find or heal themselves, such as the multiple-Genie Award-winning coming-of-age saga C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005) — widely considered one of the best Canadian films ever made — and the Hollywood dramas Dallas Buyers Club (2013), Wild (2014) and Demolition (2015). Vallée has won multiple Genie Awards and Prix Iris, two Emmy Awards, a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award and numerous international accolades.
Phil Comeau, CM, ONB, film director, screenwriter and producer (born 1956 in Saulnierville, Nova Scotia). This Acadian director’s films have received over 55 awards in Canada and abroad. They address subjects such as youth, human relationships, art, history and Acadian identity. His film Le secret de Jérôme (1994) garnered some 15 awards and is regarded as the first independent Acadian feature film produced in Canada. Comeau’s 2016 documentary feature Zachary Richard, toujours batailleur/Zachary Richard, Cajun Heart received the La Vague Léonard-Forest Award and the Audience Choice Award at the FICFA international francophone film festival in Moncton, New Brunswick and the Director’s Choice Award - Documentary Feature at the Cinema on the Bayou Film Festival in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Louis B. Mayer, born Eliezer Mayer, studio executive (born at Minsk, Russia ca 1885; died at Los Angeles, Ca 29 Oct 1957). Louis B. Mayer's working-class family immigrated to New York when he was a small child, and in 1890 moved to Saint John, NB, where his father became a junk dealer.
Donald McKellar, CM, actor, screenwriter, director (born 17 August 1963 in Toronto, ON). One of Canada’s most acclaimed and prolific stars, the multi-talented Don McKellar has enjoyed success as an actor, writer and director in film, television and theatre, often assuming multiple roles in a production. Equal parts laconic and loopy, he is best known for playing quirky, unconventional leading men and collaborating on unique, visionary independent films. He was a key player in the Toronto New Wave, collaborating with Bruce McDonald and Atom Egoyan on such films as Roadkill (1989), Highway 61 (1991), The Adjuster (1991) and Exotica (1994). He received the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival for his directorial debut, Last Night (1998), and won a Tony Award for co-writing the hit musical The Drowsy Chaperone. He is a Member of the Order of Canada and has won multiple Genie and Canadian Screen Awards.
Robert Stewart, director, writer, photographer, conservationist (born 28 December 1979 in Toronto, ON; died 31 January 2017 near Islamorada, Florida). Rob Stewart was an ecologically-minded non-fiction filmmaker, conservationist and activist who was fascinated since childhood by underwater life and photography. His environmental documentaries Sharkwater (2006) and Revolution (2012) set box office records in Canada and won numerous awards worldwide. Stewart was reported missing on 31 January 2017 while diving in the Florida Keys and was found dead after a three day search. The Canadian Screen Award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series was renamed in his honour.
Nell (née Helen Barham) Shipman, screenwriter, actor, director, producer, author (born in Victoria, British Columbia on 25 Oct 1892; died in Cabazon, California on 23 Jan 1970). Nell Shipman's first starring role in a major film was in the silent movie God's Country and the Woman (1916), which was an overnight success. Starring roles in 10 other films, mostly for Vitagraph, were followed by a seven-year contract offer from Samuel Goldwyn in 1917.
Léa Pool, CM, filmmaker, director, documentarian, screenwriter, producer (born 8 September 1950 in Soglio, Switzerland). Through her introspective films, Pool offers an approach to female characters that is stripped of all stereotypes. Exploring themes of love, exile and uprootedness, she attempts to draw viewers into a reflection on their own condition, through their own individuality. Often compared with the films of Marguerite Duras, Pool’s films focus on intimate emotions and attract a multigenerational audience. The recipient of many awards in Canada and abroad, Léa Pool is the first female director to win Best Film at the Gala du cinéma québécois.
Victor Sarin, cinematographer, director, producer, writer (born at Srinagar, India 1941). Vic Sarin was born in Kashmir and spent his teenage years in Australia where his father was a diplomat. After a short stint as a news cameraman in Australia, he came to Canada in 1963. He landed a job with the CBC and shot a number of its prestigious dramas during the 1980s.
Loretta Todd, documentary filmmaker, installation artist, essayist (b at Edmonton circa 1963). A central figure in what might be considered the second wave of aboriginal directors, Todd brings insight, discipline, resistance to sentimentality and a sense of adventurousness to her non-fiction films.