David Suzuki, Alex Trebek, Dan Levy And Tina Keeper Announced Among Canadian Academy’s 2020 Special Award Honourees

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television announced today the full list of 2020 Special Award recipients, each of whom will be honoured at the gala award ceremonies during Canadian Screen Week, March 23 – 29, 2020. These prestigious Canadian honourees span all aspects of television, film, and digital media, and represent the best and brightest of our homegrown talent.

The 2020 Special Award Recipients

For an exceptional lifetime of work that has had a profound impact on the media industry, the Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to David Suzuki.

Dr. Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. He is Companion to the Order of Canada and a recipient of UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize for science, the United Nations Environment Program medal, the 2012 Inamori Ethics Prize, the 2009 Right Livelihood Award, and UNEP’s Global 500. Dr. Suzuki is Professor Emeritus at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and holds 29 honorary degrees from universities around the world. He is familiar to television audiences as host of the CBC science and natural history television series The Nature of Things, and to radio audiences as the original host of CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks, as well as the acclaimed series It’s a Matter of Survival and From Naked Ape to Superspecies. In 1990, he co-founded with Dr. Tara Cullis the David Suzuki Foundation to “collaborate with Canadians from all walks of life including government and business, to conserve our environment and find solutions that will create a sustainable Canada through science-based research, education and policy work.” His written work includes more than 55 books, 19 of them for children. Dr. Suzuki lives with his wife and family in Vancouver, B.C.

For his exceptional ongoing contribution to the media industry, the Academy Icon Award is presented to Alex Trebek.

Mr. Trebek has been the host of JEOPARDY! since the syndicated debut of America’s Favorite Quiz Show in 1984. He has won six Daytime Emmy awards for Outstanding Game Show host and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He has also been honoured with a Guinness World Records record for Most Game Show Episodes Hosted by the Same Presenter. He has hosted more than 8,000 episodes of JEOPARDY! (and counting). Born in Sudbury, Ontario, Mr. Trebek now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Jean. They have two adult children, Matthew and Emily.

Presented to a Canadian whose work is making waves globally, the Radius Award is presented to Dan Levy.

Mr. Levy is an Emmy nominated showrunner, and a writer, director, producer and actor, best known for his work on Schitt’s Creek, which he co-created with his father, Eugene Levy. In 2019, the show earned four Emmy nominations, including Best Comedy Series. In addition to showrunning, writing, and directing, Mr. Levy also stars alongside Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara, Annie Murphy, and Chris Elliott. Now heading into its sixth season on CBC in Canada and on Pop TV in the U.S., the first five seasons of Schitt’s Creek are currently streaming on Netflix.

For her exceptional body of work in Canadian television, the Earle Grey Award is presented to Tina Keeper.

Ms. Keeper, Norway House Cree Nation, is best known for her work on the hit television series North of 60. In 2010, she partnered with Buffalo Gal Pictures to create Kistikan Pictures Inc. to collaborate in the development and production of Indigenous film and television. Most recently, Ms. Keeper acted in the illustrious film Falls Around Her by Anishinaabe director Darlene Naponse, and in 2018, she acted in and co-produced the feature film Through Black Spruce with Serendipity Point Films. In 2017, she co-produced the 360 3D VR short film Sky Stories with Tangent Animation. In 2015, she produced the feature film Road of Iniquity by Maliseet director Mark Ennis. In 2014, she co-produced Going Home Star, a full-length ballet co-produced by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. From 2010 to 2013, she produced Cashing In, a dramatic series for APTN. Finally, also in 2013, she produced a short documentary for MTSOnDemand called The REDress REdress Project.

For his exceptional body of work in television or film, the Margaret Collier Award is presented to David Shore.

Originally from Canada and a former lawyer, Mr. Shore has been writing and producing television for more than 20 years. He currently serves as executive producer and showrunner on the ABC hit drama The Good Doctor. Prior to that, he created the groundbreaking medical drama House, which ran on Fox for eight seasons. His work on House earned him several Emmy nominations for producing, and he won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series, as well as the Humanitas Prize and the Writers Guild of America Award. Mr. Shore’s additional producer credits include Sneaky Pete, Battle Creek, Hack, Family Law, Beggars and Choosers, Law & Order, and Traders. He was nominated for two Emmy Awards as a producer on Law & Order and was part of the writing team for the Emmy Award-winning first season of The Practice. Most recently, Mr. Shore received a second Humanitas Prize for an episode of The Good Doctor.

For their extraordinary impact on the growth of the Canadian media industry, the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute is presented to:

  • Robin Mirsky
    Ms. Mirsky is a veteran film and television industry executive who has been involved in the financing, strategy, and development of thousands of award-winning productions that have had global distribution. She is also extraordinarily active as a chair and director of many influential entertainment organizations. Since 1989, she has been the Executive Director of the Rogers Group of Funds established by Rogers to assist in the production of high-quality Canadian programming. The Rogers Group of Funds has provided almost $600 million in funding for more than 2000 television and film projects. Ms. Mirsky’s dedication and commitment to the industry includes directorships on the Boards of the Canadian Film Centre and the Banff World Media Festival, and she also serves as Co-Chair of the Hot Docs Documentary Festival Board of Directors, and previously as Vice-Chairman of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
  • Michael Donovan

Mr. Donovan is a producer, writer, and content executive hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Following an unconventional start in law, Mr. Donovan pursued his passion for creativity and co-founded Salter Street Productions, producing the iconic Canadian series This Hour Has 22 Minutes and Academy Award-winning documentary Bowling for Columbine, for which he received an Oscar in 2003. Mr. Donovan also wrote and produced the highly acclaimed 2007 film Shake Hands With the Devil, which was nominated for numerous awards including Genies for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Motion Picture. Known for his industry foresight and relentless belief in the demand for quality entertainment, Mr. Donovan founded DHX Media in 2006 and held the CEO position for several years. Through his hard work and dedication, DHX Media has grown to be one of the world’s leading providers of entertainment content for children and families.

For his exceptional body of work in television journalism, the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism is presented to Anton Koschany.

Mr. Koschany is a multiple award-winning journalist with more than 45 years of experience in news and long-form reporting, producing, and management. He has been with W5 since 1993, first as producer then later as senior producer, and currently as head of CTV News’ renowned program. During his years there, W5 has presented a mix of investigative reports, features, profiles, and visceral documentaries that reach the widest audiences. Mr. Koschany is one of the country’s most experienced electronic journalists and is actively involved with CTV’s political journalism. He has covered every provincial, municipal and federal election since the late 1990s as the executive producer of CTV Elections. Originally from Vancouver, Mr. Koschany created the first TV labour beat in Canada, covered BC politics, worked with legendary broadcaster Jack Webster, and spent a dozen years as a documentary producer at the CBC’s The Fifth Estate.

In recognition of an extraordinary humanitarian contribution or act of compassion by a professional working in the Canadian media industry in the prior year, the Humanitarian Award is presented to Nathalie Younglai.

Ms. Younglai has gone from being a professional harpist to reality TV director to writer for children’s TV and now for primetime drama. She founded BIPOC TV & Film, a grassroots organization advocating for the meaningful representation of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in front and behind the camera. She is a recipient of ACTRA Diversity’s Sandi Ross Award, Ben Watkin’s Breakthrough Award, and ReelWorld’s Trailblazer Award. She was a nominee for a Colleges Ontario Premier’s Award, and a nominee for both a Canadian Screen Award and a Daytime Emmy for her writing on Dino Dana. Ms. Younglai is currently writer and co-producer on CBC’s hit drama Coroner.

For their innovation and leadership in Canada’s media industry, the Industry Leadership Award is presented to Crave.

Five years after it first launched, Crave stands out as a world-class service with a distinctly Canadian voice. Crave is an ongoing supporter of Canada’s television and film industries and provides a platform for homegrown projects and talent, including the recent Crave original documentaries Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and The Band, Sharkwater: Extinction, and Anthropocene: The Human Epoch. Its library of original productions includes smash-hit original comedy Letterkenny; true-crime send-up New Eden; the much-anticipated Canada’s Drag Race; darkly comedic doc series We’re All Gonna Die; and dozens of Crave-supported Canadian films including The Grizzlies, The Song of Names and Code 8. Additionally, Crave has partnered with vital Canadian film and TV institutions such as TIFF, Hot Docs, and Inside Out to create specially-curated collections spotlighting titles outside of their festival windows. With more Emmy Award-winning programming than any other service in Canada, and as the home of HBO, SHOWTIME, Starz, and HBO MAX originals, Crave has planted its flag firmly among the world of streaming juggernauts, with a promise of continuing to deliver Canadians the most premium content in the world.

For their successful application of a groundbreaking innovation in the Canadian media industry, the Outstanding Media Innovation Award is presented to Secret Location for Vusr.

Secret Location is an award-winning content creator and distributor for premium immersive experiences. The company has been developing advanced technological platforms and innovating on new narrative forms for over a decade, and has received over 250 awards and nominations, including the first Primetime Emmy Award for a VR project. In 2016, Secret Location launched Vusr, a suite of products to distribute, manage, and monetize VR content; for which the studio won The Advanced Imaging Society’s Lumiere Technology Award for its blockchain-based rights management solution: Vusr Spark. Founded in 2008 and acquired by global independent studio Entertainment One (eOne) in 2016, Secret Location is reshaping the entertainment industry by combining cutting edge technology with traditional storytelling.