AWARD NEWS: VFS Alumni Chomp into the 2023 Leo Awards

By VFS, on July 13, 2023

This past weekend, the best of feature-length films, TV movies, short films, and TV shows created in British Columbia were honoured at the 2023 Leo Awards. Unsurprisingly, VFS alumni played a huge role in many of these projects. Of the 188 nominated films and television shows, over 55% had VFS alumni working on them!

Altogether, there were a total of 534 alumni credits on this year’s films and shows, with 271 of those on projects that took home an award. Many VFS alumni were directly nominated for an award, representing the incredible range and talent of our community. These included categories for everything from acting, sound, cinematography, visual effects, and more!

Let’s take a closer look at some of the alumni honoured at the 2023 edition of the Leo Awards

Bones of Crows has been receiving attention and accolades for its important unearthing of the history of residential schools in Canada, and the Leo Awards were no exception. The film took home the lion’s share (pun intended) of the Best Motion Picture awards after being nominated in 10 of 11 categories, winning 7. Grace Dove (who we recently featured on the blog!) won the award for Best Lead Performance Female and Vince Arvidson won for Best Cinematography.

Bones of Crows nearly swept the awards for feature films, including wins for alumni Grace Dove and Vince Arvidson.

The Sound Design Program was well-represented at the awards. Huberto Corte Gonzalez was nominated twice for the Best Sound for a Feature Length Documentary, for The Grizzlie Truth and Unarchived. David Green was nominated for his work on Sonic Prime (Best Sound for an Animated Series), and Craig George for Devil in Ohio (Best Sound for a Dramatic Series). Although not directed named in the nomination, several alumni were part of the winning sound department of Snowpiercer (Dramatic Series.)

The busiest category for VFS sound design alumni, however, was the award for Best Sound for Short Drama. Three of the four nominated sound teams included VFS talent: Troy Reimer, Alex Macia, Abby Austria, and Harrison Casavant for “Bucketheads: Chapter 2”; Alex Shamku for “Spark”; and Evan Matthiesen for “Boxed”—which he won (alongside Matt Turner)! Meanwhile, fellow Sound Design graduate Jordan Andrew won the award for Best Musical Score in a Short Drama for his work on “Consumer.”

Posters for “Boxed,” “Bucketheads: Chapter 2,” and “Consumer,” each of which had a VFS grad nominated for their work in sound.

Producers Justin Bourne and Erin Haskett were nominated for their respective work on When Time Got Louder (Best Motion Picture) and Family Law (Best Dramatic Series), while directors Peter Benson (Color My World With Love, Television Movie), Gary Hawes (two episodes of The Good Doctor, Dramatic Series), and Lori Lozinski (“A Motorcycle Saved My Life,” Short Documentary) were also nominated. Writer Derek Macdonald, meanwhile, was nominated for his screenplay for “Undeveloped,” as was friend of the blog Gabriel Souza Nunes for his work in production design on “Bawang Merah Bawang Putih (Shallots & Garlic).”

Several editors were also honoured, with Arlein Wharf-Garcia twice being nominated for her work on Deadman’s Curse for Picture Editing for an Info, Lifestyle or Reality Series, William McKnight (“Boxed”) and Samantha Letendre (“Cafe Racer”) for Short Drama Picture Editing, and Meagan Oravec (Run Jump Play) for Youth or Children's Series Picture editing. On the Visual Effects side of things, Paul Copeland was nominated for his work on Dramatic Series Warrior Nun, while Daniel Langhjelm and Gareth Lewin were nominated for “Bucketheads: Chapter 2.”

One editor, Moheb Jindran, wasn’t nominated for his work on Crawlspace (a Motion Picture nominee), but his work in front of the camera as one of the titular characters of “Imran and Alykhan” for the Best Male Performance in a Dramatic Short. Talk about multi-talented!

Moheb’s acting nomination was joined by recognition for fellow actors Niall Matter (Rip In Time, Lead Male Performance in a TV Movie), Sara Canning (“In The Shadow Of God,” Best Female Performance in a Short Drama), Matthew Kevin Anderson (SkyMed, Best Male Supporting Performance in a Dramatic Series), and Jason Simpson (The Dragon Prince, Best Voice Performance in an Animation Series).

Phew! That’s a lot nominations. The performance of our graduates at the Leo Awards is just another sign of VFS’s success in helping promising creatives reach their potential.

With this many nominations, it’s always possible that we missed one or two! If you know a VFS alum who received an award or nomination that we don’t know about, be sure to let us know over on our Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn pages!

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