Father-son film nets Kevin Tierney $10K producer prize

Kevin Tierney's latest film The Trotsky — which he called the happiest of his life — has nabbed the veteran Canadian producer a $10,000 prize at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Veteran filmmaker Kevin Tierney received the 2009 CFTPA producer's award on Thursday. ((Jessica Wong/CBC))
Kevin Tierney's latest film The Trotsky — which he called the happiest of his life — has nabbed the veteran Canadian producer a $10,000 prize at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The 59-year-old Montrealer received the fourth annual Producers Award from the Canadian Film and Television Production Association on Thursday, during a casual, late-afternoon ceremony on the first day of the Toronto festival.

Tierney is at TIFF this year with The Trotsky, the Montreal-set, English-language comedy that premieres Friday and is directed by his son, rising director Jacob Tierney.

Though he acknowledged his fellow finalists and his colleagues at the CFTPA in his acceptance speech, Tierney expressed his greatest thanks for the family ties of his latest project.

"The real honour is, of course, that I got to make the happiest movie of my life with my son Jacob. I share this honour with him," Tierney said as he accepted the award.

"But I'm not sharing the money with him," he quipped immediately afterward.

Dubbed a celebration of the "unsung heroes" who aren't usually in a movie project's limelight, the prize recognizes the body of work of an Canadian independent film producer whose latest has been accepted into TIFF.

Encourages focus on next generation

Producer Kevin Tierney, left, and his director son Jacob are at TIFF with their Montreal comedy The Trotsky. ((Jessica Wong/CBC))
Pleased with his win, Tierney — whose credits over the years include Bon Cop/Bad Cop, One Dead Indian, Choice: The Henry Morgantaler Story and The Life of P.T. Barnam — nevertheless repeatedly called attention to others, like his son and other younger filmmaking colleagues.

"It's much more important for [The Trotsky] to get recognition than for me. I've had a lot of recognition in my life. I'm very lucky," he said, adding that the dynamic was fairly natural and easy "because Jacob knew what he was doing" and the two had worked together on the script for several years.

"For a producer, to work with a director who knows what he's doing, life is pretty simple."

Tierney's modesty also extended to winning the still-young CFTPA award, which was established during his tenure on the association board four years ago.

"I don't think I'm the ideal candidate for this award …I know young producers for whom $10,000 would be a huge boost to their development slate," he said. 

"While I'm thrilled to have won it, I think that maybe we should be supporting — as we say in French — la relève, the next generation."

Tierney's fellow finalists for this year's prize included veterans Peter Raymont, Robin Cass, David Hamilton and Jennifer Jonas. He joins past winners Rob Merilees, Niv Fichman and Luc Déry.