Gemini Award organizers tap special honourees

Veteran actor Cedric Smith, longtime broacaster Lloyd Robertson and the NFB are among those to receive special Gemini Awards this fall.
CTV chief anchor Lloyd Robertson will host his final show on Sept. 1. (John Smock/Associated Press)

Veteran actor Cedric Smith, longtime broacaster Lloyd Robertson and the National Film Board are among those to receive special Gemini Awards this fall.

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television, which organizes the annual celebration of television programming, announced the recipients of 10 distinguished honours on Wednesday.

TV audiences might recall Smith — the latest winner of the Earle Grey Award for an actor's body of work — for his Gemini-winning role as Alec King on the classic series Road to Avonlea. However, the British-born actor's credits span a wide range of programs, miniseries and TV movies over three decades.

Celebrated news anchor Robertson is the latest winner of the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism, which acknowledges an exceptional body of work or significant contribution to Canadian TV journalism. After five decades in broadcasting, the longtime CTV and CBC figure will step down as chief anchor of CTV News  on Sept. 1.

The National Film Board's pioneering interactive digital productions — including Highrise/Out My Window, Waterlife and Welcome to Pine Point — have garnered increasing fame of late, including recognition from the Webby Awards and the Digital Emmy Awards. The academy will join in this fall by presenting the NFB's Digital Distribution Initiative with its outstanding technical achievement in digital media award.

Other special prize-winners announced Wednesday include:

  • Academy achievement award (for an individual's outstanding contribution or service to the industry): Christina Jennings, producer and chair of Shaftesbury Films
  • Academy board of director's tribute for outstanding and enduring contributions to Canadian television: Paul Bronfman, chair of Pinewood Studios chair and production services mogul.
  • Canada award: The Storytelling Class (Sedna Productions), a documentary about Winnipeg's diverse Gordon Bell High School
  • Gemini humanitarian award: producer Mark Terry, the documentarian behind The Antarctica Challenge: A Global Warning and The Polar Explorer
  • Gemini special award for exceptional service to the Canadian television industry: The Actors' Fund of Canada, which provides emergency financial aid to more than 10,000 workers in the film, television and entertainment sectors.
  • Margaret Collier award (for a writer's body of work): writer and producer Bob Carney (E.N.G, Due South, Flashpoint, 11 Cameras)
  • Outstanding technical achievement award: David F.E. Corley, creator of the Corley colour pattern test and president of DSC Labs.

"This year's Academy Special Awards celebrate a widely diverse range of Gemini winners — from inventors and entrepreneurs to filmmakers and actors.  They are exceptional representatives of the multitude of talented people who work in the Canadian television and digital media industries," interim academy CEO Helga Stephenson said in a statement.

The 26th annual Gemini Awards will be presented over three nights, with industry honours distributed on Aug. 30 and 31. The televised gala, broadcast by CBC-TV, will follow on Sept. 7.