30 Leo Award nominations this year, 26 from writing faculty and alumni

Fine Arts

- John Threlfall

Need proof of the impact of the Department of Writing‘s film production courses? Just look to last month’s 2015 Leo Award nominations, where films by writing faculty and alumni received a combined 26 nominations for five productions—an impressive number for a university that doesn’t technically even have a film production program.

UVic’s writing department is no stranger to Leo nominations or awards. A project of the Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Foundation of BC, the Leo Awards are an annual celebration of excellence in the province’s film and television scene.

“Film is just a development of the writing department’s already well-known streams: fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and drama,” says professor Maureen Bradley. “I don’t know anywhere else in the country where this is happening. There are good student films being made, but they’re not being driven by faculty [led-courses].”

Bradley has spent the past six years building up the department’s technical equipment and supporting talent so students can create professional-looking 10-minute short films. “Drama and film are really an applied form of learning,” she explains. “A screenplay and a play are not final products, and they’re always open to interpretation. Students need to see how hard it is to make a film, how to adjust the writing as the film is made, how to write with a budget in mind.”

With no other Vancouver Island college or university offering film production classes, Bradley feels UVic’s writing department is uniquely situated to help fill a gap both locally and nationally. “I think we have the best [student] screenwriters in Canada here, and I have a lot of experience in the other centres,” she says. “This is a unique situation where the production comes through the writing first. I’ve seen beautiful films at student screenings across Canada, but the story is usually lacking—so it’s really exciting to see story and surface come together here. Why make a film if there’s no heart to it?”

The awards will be presented over three evenings between June 6 and 14 in Vancouver.


This year's Leo nominees include:

  • Writing alumnus Jason Bourque‘s feature film Blackfly is nominated for 10 awards, including best motion picture, direction and screenwriting.
  • Writing prof Maureen Bradley‘s feature film Two 4 One (produced by Fine Arts Digital Media Technician Daniel Hogg) is nominated for six awards— including costumes, which were created by theatre alumni Kat Jeffery.
  • Writing alumni Kate Bateman and Matt Hamilton‘s web series The Actress Diaries received four nominations.
  • Recent MFA grad Connor Gaston‘s film Godhead received two nominations.
  • The short film Gord’s Brother—created by the busy writing alumni team of Daniel Hogg, Jeremy Lutter and Ben Rollo—received four nominations.
  • Linguistics MA grad Art Napoleon’s Moosemeat & Marmalade series received one nomination.
  • Reaching Blue, a CBC documentary on the Salish Sea co-produced by Ocean Networks Canada and ONC Video Specialist Andy Robertson—featuring ONC director Kate Moran, geography professor Chris Darimont and writing alum Kevin Philip Paul—received three nominations.

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Keywords: award, teaching

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