Canada's Genie, Gemini Awards to merge

Canada's film, TV and digital media industries will be celebrated at one consolidated gala event, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced this morning.

Single televised gala will honour film, television and digital media programming

Actor Peter Keleghan, left, holds a Gemini Award at the 2011 ceremony, while director Philippe Falardeau, right, reacts to his multiple Genie wins in March. The two Canadian awards shows will be consolidated into one televised broadcast. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Canada's film, TV and digital media industries will be celebrated at one consolidated gala event, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television announced this morning.

"Following extensive industry consultation and outreach, the academy board has chosen to consolidate the Genie and Gemini awards into one major powerhouse show for the Canadian public," academy chair Martin Katz said in a statement.

No decision has yet been made regarding a new name or trophy for the event.

An awards gala that combines multiple industries isn't a new concept. The Golden Globe Awards, started nearly seven decades ago and hosted annually by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, recognizes excellence in both film and television.

Martin Katz, chair of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, says the consolidated awards show decision was made "following extensive industry consultation and outreach." (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Established in 1979, the Canadian academy is the non-profit industry group that administers the Genies, Canada's annual film award honouring both French- and English-language productions.

The academy also hosts the Gemini Awards and Prix Gémeaux — which honour English- and French-language TV and digital programming, respectively. Each year, it typically stages several untelevised industry celebrations in advance of one lavish awards broadcast.

"The academy's new awards will be a true showcase of our country's finest talent in all screen industries in this two-hour star-studded red carpet gala," said academy CEO Helga Stephenson.

The first edition of the amalgamated awards show is slated to air on CBC on March 3, 2013, and will encompass English and French films, as well as English-language TV and digital media.

Because of the change, the programming currently eligible for the 2012 Gemini Awards will be part of the new awards show in March. The 2012 Gemeaux Awards will proceed as planned this Sept. 16 on Radio-Canada.

This latest change comes after the academy recently unveiled some tweaks to its rules.

Among the rule changes announced in February, the academy said that big-budget co-productions funded by more than one country — such as The Tudors, The Pillars of the Earth, The Kennedys and The Borgias — would be considered in a new category titled best international drama.

Previously, these international co-productions were considered in the same category as more modestly budgeted dramas like Flashpoint and Republic of Doyle, often outshining the strictly homegrown productions.