The Canadian Film Centre is pleased to present CFC alumnus, award-winning writer/director/actor Don McKellar (Highway 61, Sensitive Skin, The Grand Seduction) with the 2023 CFC Award for Creative Excellence in recognition of his internationally acclaimed and outstanding body of work in film, television and theatre. McKellar has had a varied career as a writer, director, actor and producer; he began his career in theatre, and then moved into Canadian cinema and television, quickly becoming a ubiquitous force in the industry. The award will be presented to McKellar by a fellow CFC alumna, award-winning writer/producer Semi Chellas (Mad Men), who was the inaugural recipient of the CFC Award for Creative Excellence in 2023, and renowned filmmaker and CFC founder Norman Jewison at a reception in Beverly Hills on March 23, 2023, co-hosted by Cast & Crew Entertainment Services and Shaw Media.
“We are delighted to celebrate Don and his remarkable contributions to the entertainment industry worldwide by presenting him with the 2023 CFC Award for Creative Excellence,” said Slawko Klymkiw, CEO, CFC. “Don is a real creative force in the industry; a quadruple threat working in film, television and theatre as an actor, writer, producer and director. He truly represents the world-class storytellers who come out of the CFC, and we are proud to call him a CFC alumnus.”
McKellar is one of Canada’s most prolific content creators and storytellers, working in film, TV and theatre. He began his career in theatre at a young age, and moved into film, writing the screenplay for Bruce McDonald’s iconic feature Roadkill. Since then, some of his select credits include Highway 61 (writer, actor), Dance Me Outside (co-writer), the Genie Award-winning Thirty Two Short Films About Glenn Gould (co-writer, actor) and The Red Violin (co-writer, actor). McKellar received a Genie Award as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Atom Egoyan’s Exotica and the Prix de la Jeunesse at Cannes for his directorial debut, Last Night, which he also wrote and starred in. He also co-wrote, directed and played the lead in his second film, Childstar.
His stage writing credits include the five plays he co-created with the Augusta Company and the book for the musical The Drowsy Chaperone, for which he won a Tony Award. He also wrote and starred in the CBC television series Twitch City. McKellar’s additional film and television appearances include David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ, Atom Egoyan’s Where the Truth Lies and the series Slings and Arrows for the Sundance Channel. He wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Jose Saramago’s Nobel Prize-winning novel Blindness, directed by Fernando Mereilles, and also starred alongside Julianne Moore, Gael Garcia Bernal and Mark Ruffalo. McKellar’s more recent work includes the feature The Grand Seduction, for which he won a Directors Guild of Canada Award for Best Direction in 2023. He also directed and executive produced the Canadian Screen Award-nominated series Michael: Tuesdays & Thursdays for CBC and Sensitive Skin for TMN.
The CFC hosts an annual event in L.A. to celebrate exceptional talent in the screen-based entertainment industry, its international partners, and cross-border opportunities. The event will conclude a week of activity in L.A., including the L.A. module of the 2023 Telefilm Canada Feature Comedy Exchange, in collaboration with Just For Laughs, where producers and their creative teams meet with a lineup of leading comedy and industry professionals to expand the creative and marketplace opportunities for their feature comedy scripts. Additionally, thanks to TheSlaight Family Foundation and the Shaw Media Opportunity Fund, the composer and songwriter residents of the 2023/16 Slaight Music Residency will spend the week in L.A. meeting with international mentors, creative advisors and industry professionals in the music, film and TV industries. These high-level CFC marketplace initiatives further strengthen Canada’s place in the global entertainment marketplace. CFC is committed to creating opportunities, unique collaborations and connections for Canada’s talent that extend beyond Canada’s borders.