A Tribe Called Red, Grimes, Wintersleep videos make Prism Prize short list

Videos for A Tribe Called Red, Grimes and Wintersleep have made the short list for the Prism Prize, an award which honours the most artistic Canadian music videos.

Award honours the best in Canadian music videos

A scene from the Prism Prize-nominated video for Wintersleep's Amerika. The music video was directed by Toronto filmmaker Scott Cudmore, who said he really 'stretched the budget' while shooting it. (Peter Hadfield)

Videos for A Tribe Called Red, Grimes and Wintersleep have made the short list for the Prism Prize, an award which honours the most artistic Canadian music videos.

The top 10 were announced Tuesday morning, whittled down from the long list of 20 nominees put out in February.

The winner gets $15,000 in cash and will be announced at a ceremony in Toronto on May 14.

The prize, first handed out in 2012, has previously gone to music videos from Arcade Fire and Timber Timbre.

Here's the full list, picked by a jury of more than 120 people who work in film, music and media arts:

  • Andy ShaufThe Magician (directed by Winston Hacking).
  • A Tribe Called Red featuring Black BearStadium Pow Wow (directed by Kevan Funk).
  • Harrison featuring Clairmont the SecondIt's Okay, I Promise (directed by Scott Cudmore).
  • BadBadNotGood featuring KaytranadaLavender (directed by Fantavious Fritz).
  • GrimesKill V. Maim (directed by Claire Boucher and Mac Boucher).
  • July TalkPicturing Love (directed by Jared Raab).
  • KaytranadaLite Spots (directed by Martin C. Pariseau).
  • PUPSleep in the Heat (directed by Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux).
  • PUPDVP (directed by Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux).
  • WintersleepAmerika (directed by Scott Cudmore).

Some of the nominated videos have garnered a lot of pre-Prism Prize buzz. PUP's Sleep in the Heat was noted for starring Stranger Things star Finn Wolfhard, while a Snoop Dogg remix of BadBadNotGood's nominated video Lavender recently caused all sorts of controversy for its mock shooting of Donald Trump.

Grimes' video may have the upper hand. Kill V. Maim was named video of the year at the Junos this past weekend. Kaytranada's Lite Spots and a different A Tribe Called Red video (R.E.D.) had also been nominated in the same category.


'This is a legitimate form of cinema'

Toronto filmmaker Scott Cudmore directed two videos in the top 10: Wintersleep's Amerika and Harrison's It's Okay, I Promise. Both acts gave him total freedom to make the video he wanted, Cudmore said, adding that the ideas and images came to him after listening to the songs.

"I really value what the Prism Prize is doing to bring attention to music videos … and sort of raise people's awareness that this is a legitimate form of cinema," he told CBC News on Tuesday, post-announcement.

"In the sort of hierarchy of filmmaking that does exist, music videos are sort of at the bottom of that totem pole."


Another video he directed — for Toronto punk band Dilly Dally — had been longlisted but didn't make the final cut.

The Canadian music video-creator community is small, but "it is a community," Cudmore said, bringing up fellow contender Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux, who directed the pair of PUP videos nominated. 

According to Cudmore, they all talk and are inspired by each other's work.

"Nobody makes really a lot of money on them, so they are really passion projects."

In addition to the grand prize, three other awards will be presented at the ceremony in May: the audience award, the special achievement award and the Lipsett award for unique music video art.