Toronto’s Jessie Reyez has taken home the 2020 Prism Prize.
The award names the best Canadian music video of the year determined by a jury of 120 people working in media, music and film. Director Peter Huang took home the $20,000 (raised from $15,000) prize for his video for Reyez’s "Far Away", a powerful video about a long-distance relationship in which one partner is deported by ICE.
Instead of its usual gala and screening at TIFF Bell Lightbox, this year’s Prism Prize was announced in a virtual presentation. The video presentation was narrated by local rapper Haviah Mighty, who won the 2019 Polaris Prize for best Canadian album of the year.
Just over a half hour, the virtual ceremony was breezy while showing off snippets of all 20 longlisted videos. (After the in-person ceremony was cancelled, the Prism Prize decided not to reduce the list of 20 to 10 as they usually would.) It was well-produced, with little of the awkwardness that has become a hallmark of live-streamed ceremonies in the COVID era (it helps that it was pre-recorded).
Daniel Caesar’s video for the Koffee-featuring "Cyanide" remix won the fan-voted Audience Award. The video, filmed in Jamaica, was shot by the Toronto R&B artist’s go-to hometown collaborators, Keavan Yazdani and Sean Brown.
Prism Prize also gave special awards to musician Daniela Andrade, filmmaking production house Tranquilo, and pop videographer Bardia Zeinali.
Creative director and choreographer LaurieAnn Gibson won the inaugural Willie Dunn Award, honouring “a Canadian trailblazer who has demonstrated excellence within the music video community,” which let her award $5,000 to an emerging Canadian filmmaker. She chose Noor Khan, an emerging Scarborough-based director and producer.