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Calgary production companies lead nominations for annual Alberta Film and Television Awards

The Rosie Awards are back for their 48th year for 2022, representing the best in Alberta’s television and film industry.

Calgary-based production companies are heavily represented this year, representing 160 of the 271 finalists for 55 awards in class and craft categories.

Local production companies SEVEN24 Films and Joe Media Group were finalist standouts, with 15 and 14, respectively.

“It’s reflective of the the volume of production that’s happening in Calgary,” said Bill Evans, Executive Director of the Alberta Media Production Industries Association (AMPIA).

“Calgary’s booming with the big series, big American series, like The Last of Us and Joe Pickett.”

He said that although those shows aren’t eligible for Rosie awards—being primarily driven by productions outside of the province—the individual craftspeople who did work on them were eligible and this was reflected in the number of submissions.

Recognizing these craftspeople, said Evans, was hugely important for the industry.

“There would be no productions to celebrate if it wasn’t for the people that made made them,” he said.

“We recognize the creators behind it, the writers and directors of course, the actors, but there’s also the crew people, set designers, production designers, art directors, grips, electric, the sound people, the cinematographers, all the way down to the editors, post production, visual effects, animation—all of that.”

For a full list of the finalists, see AMPIA’s website at ampia.org. Tickets can be purchased for the awards at rosieawards.eventive.org.

First time since pandemic began awards will be held in person

The awards will be hosted this year by stand-up comedian and actor Ryan Belleville. He was an eight-time performer at the Just for Laughs Festival, and won both the Canadian Comedy Award and the Phil Hartman Award.

Evans said that this will be the first time in three years that the awards will be held in person.

“We’re really excited about that. One of the main things about the Rosie awards is the networking that happens,” he said.

“People often in the film world, they’re often busy in their own projects, and don’t really get to interact with each other very often.”

The awards show will be split into two parts this year, due to the increased number of awards being given out.

The afternoon portion will be held at Eau Claire Cinema as part of the Calgary International Film Festival’s industry week, and will have categories such as Best Scripted Feature, Made-for-TV Movie, or Made for Ott or Specialty Cable Networks, Best Host, Best Costume Designer, and Best Screenwriter.

The evening awards gala will be held at the Calgary Petroleum Club. Awards presented in the evening include Best Performance by an Alberta Male Actor, Best Performance by an Alberta Female Actor, Best Cinematographer, Best Director, and Best Scripted Series or Mini-Series.

“We’re doing a little bit of a change up this year… we have over 50 Different award categories, and that would make for a really long night, if we did it all, all in one show,” said Evans.

“This is something we’ve never tried before, and we’re really excited to see how it works.”

Growth of industry during pandemic due government working with industry on tax credits, Covid-19 response

Evans said the growth of the film industry in the province nearly doubled during the pandemic, going to $260 million in volume in 2021 from half that in 2019.

He said that increased volume was reflected this year in the number, and quality, of the submissions to the awards. The awards committee received 485 entries this year, with 159 in class categories and 326 in craft categories.

He said that the expanded productions in Alberta covered the gambit of what audiences were looking for.

“We have everything from big, high budget television series, like Heartland, Jann, and Joe Pickett, to smaller documentaries that are produced through the National Film Board and are winning awards internationally and screening all over the world,” Evans said.

Part of the success, he said, has come through the introduction of Alberta’s Film and Television Tax Credit.

Speaking at the time, then Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism, Tanya Fir said the “credit, combined with our low tax environment and breathtaking landscapes, makes Alberta an attractive destination for big-budget television and film projects that inject millions into our economy and create jobs for Albertans.”

The Alberta Government lifted the tax credit cap from $10 million in 2020, addressing the concerns of industry shared the year earlier with the transition from a grant based system to a credit based one.

Evans said another major aspect to success of the industry was the Alberta government successfully implementing Covid-19 safety protocols that allowed productions to resume.

“Alberta was one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to successfully implement safety protocols that allowed production to resume in fairly short order in the initial stages of the pandemic,” he said.

“For instance, our friends at SEVEN24, who produced both Heartland and Jann, were able to resume production in July of 2020.”