Leo Awards roar in with a big movie year
AsWalter Daroshin puts it, part of his function as the president of the Leo Awards seems to be fighting what he calls “the melancholic impulse” of the B.C. film industry.
“This industry is either pounding its chest—‘Billion-dollar industry! Twenty thousand people employed! Third-largest production centre in North America!’ —or they’re going, ‘Oh, my God, everybody’s going to Toronto,’ ” Daroshin says. “I’m serious; it’s, like, one or the other. So what we’ve been trying to do for our 14 years is say, ‘Let’s deal with that stuff for 363 days of the year and for those two other days, let’s just focus on the craft itself.’ ”
Those wise words aside, 2011 was hardly a light year for film and television in this province. With 15 movies entered in the category of feature-length drama program (compared to last year’s 12), and another 14 in various craft categories, Daroshin points out that his jurors had 60 hours of viewing in the film category alone.
“Sometimes people think, ‘Oh, Carl Bessai didn’t make a film this year; it was a slow year,’ ” Daroshin says. “Well, never mind that Carl did make a film, but it wasn’t a slow year.”
Since he brought it up, Bessai’s film Sisters & Brothers leads the Leo 2012 pack with 12 nominations for feature-length drama. The other titles in the best-film category—Daydream Nation, Doppelgänger Paul, The Odds, and Marilyn—all scored multiple nominations, as did Sunflower Hour, Donovan’s Echo, and Hamlet.
All will be revealed this Friday and Saturday (May 25 and 26) at the celebration and gala awards ceremonies at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Despite the intense pressure of mounting the show, the gains for Daroshin and his war on the melancholic impulse are clear. “We’re giving people accolades and celebrating their work,” he says. “It’s really a good thing, and it feels good.”