John Fray, Grace Glowicki, Mandy May Cheetham receive Brian Linehan Actors Award

John Fray, Grace Glowicki, Mandy May Cheetham

(From left) John Fray (Becoming Wigglesworth), Grace Glowicki (Her Friend Adam) and Mandy May Cheetham (Companionship) are the latest winners of the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

John Fray

John Fray

Jury comments for John Fray’s performance in Becoming Wigglesworth:

Michelle Nolden-Szarka, award-winning film and TV actress: “John Fray’s character in Becoming Wigglesworth made me both cringe and laugh out loud. Deftly layered, perfectly timed, truthful and entertaining, it is most deserving of a best actor award.”

Barbara Hager, TV documentary producer and writer: “John Fray throws himself into the role of an unfulfilled man as if it was a feature film, not a short. When he finally gets the strength to reveal his inner dream to his girlfriend and parents, his honest performance has the power to make his family – and the film audience – touched and confused at the same time.”

Graham Folkema, producer and winner of the most recent A&E Short Filmmakers Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival: “John Fray leaves our world to enter his own in a Chaplinesque performance that rises [to] the occasion, compelling us to love him as he risks it all.”

John Fray said, “A huge thanks to the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation and the jury! I’m honoured to be receiving this award and so very grateful to have been a part of this film. I had a blast … becoming Wigglesworth.”

Grace Glowicki

Grace Glowicki

Jury comments for Grace Glowicki’s performance in Her Friend Adam:

Kristine Estorninos, Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival programmer: “Grace Glowicki commands the screen with her well-delivered, confident performance.”

Anneli Ekborn, filmmaker: “Hats off to Grace for pulling off a complicated, confused, yet silently enlightened character all at once. She manages to keep us intensely engaged in every beat of her arc with her natural approach and her balance of thoughtfulness and explosive emotions.”

Daniel Boos, filmmaker and winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: “Grace delivers a vigorous, nuanced and never melodramatic performance as an out-of-love partner who must shed her destructive boyfriend and begin her life anew. She is clearly a talent to watch.”

Grace Glowicki said, “Thank you so much for this amazing honour. I feel incredibly supported by both NSI and The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation. I feel very encouraged to keep making films, so thank you for that too! I hope this role encourages writers and directors to portray more complex female characters in their films – women are interesting!”

Mandy May Cheetham

Mandy May Cheetham

Jury comments for Mandy May Cheetham’s performance in Companionship:

Jessica Gyll, Hot Docs film programmer: “Mandy May Cheetham taps into a range of emotions in her performance in Companionship, really helping to ground the energetic futuristic feel of the film and allowing the viewer to connect on a human level.”

Mélanie Lê Phan, CBC Unscripted development manager “Mandy May’s performance lends itself perfectly to this impressive short on the precariousness of connection. She flows between the peaks and valleys of her character’s state of mind, and renders a sometimes difficult and self-centered character into a performance we can all relate to intimately.”

Zachary Russell, filmmaker and winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film: “Mandy May’s character goes through a remarkable range of experiences in just a few short minutes. Throughout, she never struck a false note, and brought a deep humanity and honesty to every scene. An absolute delight to watch.”

Mandy May Cheetham said, “I’m very grateful to be receiving this prestigious award from NSI and the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation for my work on Companionship. Awards like this are so important for artists such as myself to encourage us to keep taking risks and digging deeper with our work.

“It’s wonderful to know my work is being recognized alongside other incredible artists awarded through the 30+ year history of NSI.”

Visit the NSI Online Short Film Festival for more great Canadian short films.

Kayla Lorette receives the Brian Linehan Actors Award

Kayla Lorette and Julian Richings

Kayla Lorette (above left) is the latest winner of the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival for her work in She Stoops To Conquer.

The jury

Lisa Haller is the senior programming associate at the Toronto International Film Festival where she considers Canadian and international short films for TIFF and selects student short films for Canada’s Top Ten Film Festival.

Jason Beaudry is the director of programming for the Atlantic Film Festival, the East Coast’s gateway to epic and unforgettable stories for the past 37 years.

Kristina Mileska is a Toronto-based filmmaker and a past winner of the Corus Fearless Female Directors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

On her performance

Lisa Haller: “Kayla Lorette is exceptional as a struggling talent-show performer. As she physically transforms for her on-stage performance and dives head-first into the role, you are immediately drawn to her bizarre and beautifully complicated character.”

Jason Beaudry: “There are as many delicate layers to Kayla performance in She Stoops to Conquer as there are to the ‘borrowed skin’ that she wears throughout. You can’t take your eyes off of her from start to finish.”

Kristina Mileska: “Kayla shines through the makeup and delivers an incredibly memorable performance.”

Kayla said, “I am delighted to receive The Brian Linehan Actors Award. I’m incredibly proud of this short film and look forward to creating more with my dear co-writer and director Zack Russell.”

She Stoops to Conquer also won the A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

Yinuo Wang, Johntae Lipscomb receive Brian Linehan Actors Award

Yinuo Wang and Johntae Lipscomb

Above left: Yinuo Wang / right: Johntae Lipscomb

Yinuo Wang (90 Days) and Johntae Lipscomb (Bosco’s Guitar) are the latest winners of the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

For Yinuo Wang’s performance:

Jenna Neepin, documentary filmmaker said: “This is the first time I’ve seen Yinuo Wang and I hope she does more. Her performance was subtle and yet totally striking, not unlike the film’s scarlet lamps.”

Amy Harrison, arts industry professional said: “Yinuo Wang delivers a subtle but affecting performance as Li Jan, a woman indirectly forced into prostitution in Hong Kong. This complex character could have been over-dramatized, but Wang shows restraint in expressing both vulnerability and strength.”

Kheaven Lewandowski, recent winner of A&E Short Filmmakers Award said: “Yinuo Wang’s performance in 90 Days was excellent. Even though her character was quiet, she spoke volumes with her subtle body language and curious eyes. [A] very moving performance.”

Yinuo Wang said, “Winning the Brian Linehan Actors Award is a great honour for me as a non-actor and motivation to keep pouring my heart and soul into all [my] work, for no film is too small – they are machines of empathy.”

For Johntae Lipscomb’s performance:

Karen Swerdfeger, industry executive said: “With a large part of the film resting solely on his performance, Johntae Lispcomb did an exceptional job pulling the audience in so it could respond with empathy. You could do nothing but pause until you knew Bosco was going to be OK.”

John Kozak, filmmaker and professor said: “Young actor Johntae Lipscomb gives a subtle and nuanced performance as a boy whose anger, fear and mistrust resists unexpected kindness.”

Sharon Switzer, artist and curator said: “Johntae Lipscomb managed to convey a world of complex emotions despite hardly saying a word as the young star of Bosco’s Guitar.”

Johntae Lipscomb said, “This is amazing!! I’m very honored to have won the Brian Linehan Actors Award. This is great news.”

Visit the NSI Online Short Film Festival for more great Canadian short films.

The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation proudly supports 2016 TIFF Rising Stars

TIFF Rising Stars immerses four chosen actors in a series of public events and private industry meetings during the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

They undertake intensive professional development with international casting directors, filmmakers, producers and development executives. Moreover, the stars will be front row and centre at some of the biggest red-carpet events at TIFF.

Rising Stars 2016

Jared Abrahamson


Jared Abrahamson was born and raised in Flin Flon, Manitoba and currently resides in Vancouver, British Columbia. After a stint working in the mines and competing as a pro-mixed martial arts fighter, he attended Vancouver Film School. Abrahamson had a lead role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame film Finding a Family (11) and parts in the ABC pilot The Manzanis, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (12) and Awkward. Recently, Abrahamson filmed roles in Keep Watching (16); Hello Destroyer (TIFF 16); Gun (16); Veracruz (16); Never Steady, Never Still (16); Hollow in the Land (16); and a recurring character on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead.

Grace Glowicki


Grace Glowicki is an actor, director and writer based in Toronto. She has appeared in films at many major US film festivals this year. At the Sundance Film Festival her performance in Ben Petrie’s Her Friend Adam (16) won her a Special Jury Prize for Outstanding Performance. The film has since played SXSW Film Festival, NYC’s Rooftop Films and the Sundance Short Film Tour. She also starred in Jason Jeffrey’s A Teachable Moment (16) which played the Tribeca Film Festival. Upcoming acting projects include the narrative feature Cardinal (17) directed by Grayson Moore and Aidan Shipley; Jordan Canning’s Suck it Up (17), which she co-executive produced; and Tito, her feature-length directorial debut.

Mylène MacKay


Mylène Mackay is an actor and comedian born in Saint-Didace. Currently based in Montreal, she graduated from L’École nationale de théâtre du Canada in 2011. Mackay appeared on television and stage before her first major film role in André Turpin’s Endorphine(15). Upcoming roles include André Forcier’s Embrasse moi comme tu m’aimes (16) and the title role in Anne Émond’s Nelly (16) based on the life and work of author Nelly Arcan. Mackay is also involved in several voice dubbing projects.

Sophie Nélisse


Sophie Nélisse was born in Windsor and raised in Montreal. She starred in Brian Percival’s The Book Thief (13) and Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazhar (11) which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film and earned her a Genie Award for her performance. Nélisse’s latest film credits include Stephen Herek’s The Great Gilly Hopkins (15); Nathan Morlando’s Mean Dreams (16) which premiered at Cannes; Radu Mihaileanu’s The History of Love (16); Dominic James’s Wait Till Helen Comes (16), set to be released this October; and Academy Award nominee Yan England’s directorial debut, 1:54 (16).

Presenting Partner: The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, Supported by: Telefilm Canada, Supported by: CSA, Sponsored by: L’Oréal Paris, Industry Sponsors: Birks, Hudson’s Bay

Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation-supported artists behind the camera shine at Toronto and Atlantic film festivals


Above: Werewolf 

The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation has supported the National Screen Institute’s film programs and students for 11 years.

Fall 2016 is a great example of how that investment has resulted in some impressive showcases for alumni of NSI courses sponsored by the Foundation.

Toronto International Film Festival | Sept. 9 to 19

World premiere features

  • Werewolf from director/producer Ashley McKenzie and producer Nelson MacDonald (both NSI Drama Prize).

When Ashley and Nelson made their NSI Drama Prize short When You Sleep with Martha Cooley, their team was sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation.

Ashley will be also be on the panel Short Cuts Dialogue Case Studies Transitioning to Features on Wednesday, September 14 from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the Glen Gould Studio.

  • Weirdos from producer Marc Almon (NSI Drama Prize)
  • The Headhunter’s Calling from producer Daniel Bekerman (NSI Features First)

North American premiere

  • Two Lovers and a Bear from supervising producer Daniel Bekerman (NSI Features First)

World premiere shorts

  • 3-Way (Not Calling) from director Molly McGlynn (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Mariner from executive producer Jordana Aarons (NSI Features First)

OMDC Producers Lab

  • Glen Wood (NSI Features First)

When Glen was in NSI Features First with Chris Trebilcock developing their feature The Dark Stranger, their team was sponsored by the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation.

Atlantic Film Festival | Sept. 15 to 22


  • Weirdos from producer Marc Almon (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Werewolf from director/producer Ashley McKenzie and producer Nelson MacDonald (both NSI Drama Prize)
  • Two Lovers and a Bear from supervising producer Daniel Bekerman (NSI Features First)


  • Ingrid and the Black Hole from writer/director Leah Johnston (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Gnomedizzle from producer André Pettigrew (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Occupied from director Iain MacLeod (NSI Totally Television, NSI Features First)
  • Bill’s Landscape and Exorcism Services from director Angus Swantee (NSI Drama Prize)
  • Age of Reason from writer/director Lisa Rose Snow and producer Lora Campbell (both NSI Drama Prize)
  • The Big Crunch from writer/director/producer Dusty Mancinelli and producer Harry Cherniak (NSI Features First)