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)

Hiraku Ando, Hayley Carmichael receive Brian Linehan Actors Award


Hiraku Ando (River) and Hayley Carmichael (Phone Box) are the latest winners of the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

For Hiraku Andos performance:

Christian Kelley, programmer for the Kingston Canadian Film Festival and Calgary Underground Film Festival: “Hiraku’s performance in River was pitch-perfect. Despite his character’s tragic trajectory, Hiraku plays it with no small dose of courage and agency.”

Liz Janzen, screenwriter and short film champion: “Hiraku Ando’s nuanced performance is so utterly convincing that I felt at times I was watching a documentary.”

Justin Oakey, award-winning filmmaker: “River is a beautiful film, and this beautiful film revolves around a moving performance by Hiraku Ando. Subtle and very compelling.”

Hiraku Ando said, “I am very honoured to receive the Brian Linehan Actors Award and I hereby thank Kheaven, Jason, Darryl, Kyle, Reve and Andrew. To [my] fellow actors: ‘… [we’re] ready for much more living – Elizabeth Taylor.

All the crew who’ve been involved in the production will be pleased to know about this fantastic news. I believe this will encourage fellow actors, especially Asian-originated ones, to come forward and make a path of their own for their life, since life is all about being proactive – overcoming fear and taking risks.”

For Hayley Carmichael’s performance:

Kirk Haviland, film critic: “Hayley Carmichael delivers an inspired performance that is not only the concrete holding Phone Box together, but elevates the entire film with her mastery.”

Inga Diev, general manager, Ouat Media: “A portrayal of vulnerability that is equally powerful and subtle; Hayley’s performance drew me in instantaneously.”

Andrew Moir, filmmaker: “Both heartbreaking and inspiring, Hayley Carmichael brings an unforgettable dignity and grace to Phone Box. Her performance is a humble reminder that everyone we encounter shares a deep need for love, including those of us our society tends to overlook.”

Hayley Carmichael said, “Thank you so much for this award. I am delighted not only to receive the award itself which is unexpected, but also because it reminds me of the journey a film makes.

I work mostly in theatre where the story is experienced by actors and audience at the same time and then it’s over. It’s a different pleasure to be going about my day in London springtime and suddenly in comes this message from Canada, and this award … it is as surprising and delightful as making the film itself. Thank you Alan [Powell, director of Phone Box] and thank you NSI.”

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

Kwak Ji-Min receives Brian Linehan Actors Award for and the sun


Kwak Ji-Min (pictured) has won the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award for her work in 북쪽 바람 (and the sun) in the latest round of awards in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

The jury had this to say about her work:

Hot Docs/Toronto After Dark Film Festival programmer Shannon Hanmer: “Ji-Min’s charismatic and subtle performance makes her stand out as a solid and memorable actor.”

Film promotion and exhibition expert Joy Loewen: “Kwak Ji-Min’s quiet yet bold intensity in a supporting role leaves an indelible and pleasing impression.”

Recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award Aidan Shipley: “Ji-Min delivered a beautiful performance filled with subtlety and quirkiness [in] a role that could have easily been overshadowed.”

Kwak Ji-Min said, “Firstly, I was surprised at winning this award – thank you! I appreciate the support for Korean films and actors, and a special thank you to director Samuel Kiehoon Lee.”

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

Ambrose Liao and Tyler Parr win $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award


Ambrose Liao and Tyler Parr both won the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award for their work showcased in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

Ambrose Liao (pictured above) won for her work in Home. The jury had this to say about her work:

Media executive Tara Ellis: “Ambrose Liao’s beautiful performance has a delicacy that draws us into her intimate world and makes her emotional journey ring so true to the audience.”

Programmer Laura Good: “Ambrose Liao is captivating in this complex yet understated portrayal of a young woman on the brink of adulthood.”

Recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award Aaron Mirkin: “Ambrose Liao’s naturalistic performance is the centrepiece of this wonderful film.”

Ambrose Liao said, “It’s a big surprise to me because this is the first prize [I’ve won] in my life and it’s really appreciated. Thank you NSI!”


Tyler Parr (pictured above) won for his work in Ironied.

The jury had this to say about his work:

Programmer Agata Del Sorbo: “Tyler Parr conveys a vast range of emotions playing two roles in Ironied, skilfully navigating both comic and dramatic moments.”

Harold Greenberg Fund President John Galway: “Writer, director and performer in two roles … needless to say a real (and dedicated!) talent here. Tyler’s transformation to play both Donald and Charlie is amazing.”

Recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award Athena Han: “Tyler Parr’s performance delicately shows the internal struggles and vulnerability of the character Charlie in this poignant short.”

Tyler Parr said, “I am truly humbled! Brian Linehan was an exceptional human being and receiving this award in his name is an honour. Thank you, most sincerely.”

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

Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation celebrates 10 years of partnership with NSI


The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation has announced an extension of its partnership with the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI), which officially marks their 10th anniversary.

Since 2005, the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation has been a program partner of the NSI Drama Prize and NSI Features First courses.

Last year, the Brian Linehan Actors Award was added to the quarterly prize offering in the NSI Online Short Film Festival. The $1,000 award recognizes lead actors in films programmed as part of the festival.

The Foundation’s investment also supports NSI’s other programs and website.

“What a milestone to share with the Foundation,” said John Gill, NSI CEO. “Across this last decade dozens of writers, directors and producers in NSI courses have benefited from Brian Linehan’s legacy and are becoming media stars in Canada.”

In the first year of the partnership, Jeffrey St. Jules was developing Bang Bang Baby through NSI Features First. That film won the City of Toronto award for best Canadian first feature film at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, Panavision Spirit Award for independent cinema at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and Jeffrey received the prestigious Claude Jutra Award at the 2015 Canadian Screen Awards.

“Our connection with NSI has evolved each year to recognize the talent of amazing Canadian screen artists, including with the Foundation’s website, and the Brian Linehan Actors Award as part of the NSI Online Short Film Festival,” said Michael Levine, Foundation Director. “The Foundation has two goals: keep the legacy of entertainment journalist Brian Linehan alive and continue his quest for a star system in Canada.”

About Brian Linehan

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Brian’s lengthy interviews with such Hollywood icons as Barbra Streisand and Paul Newman made him even more celebrated when CityLights was syndicated around the world. After the series was cancelled in 1989 he hosted several award shows and network specials before returning to the small screen in 1996 with a self-titled interview show.

Diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2002, he donated his personal files including 30 years’ worth of research material, correspondence, photographs and recordings to the Toronto International Film Festival Group’s reference library. Sadly, Brian passed away in 2004.

About The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation

The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation was established from the proceeds of the estate of the late Brian Linehan, one of Canada’s great journalists and on-air interviewers.

Brian left his entire estate for the purpose of creating a star system in Canada including training, providing work opportunities and promoting young Canadians of exceptional talent.

To date, its range of activities have included support for various programs at the National Screen Institute, scholarships at Humber College, support of the Soulpepper Academy, the Company Theatre, the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG), the Canadian Film CentreCanStageCompany TheatreRepublic of DoyleSheridan College and Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

In 2012, a partnership between The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation, NSI and TIFF (home of the Toronto International Film Festival) launched, a place to rediscover some of the most popular and influential of Brian’s interviews, plus information about the Foundation.

About the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI)

Renowned for having given many emerging filmmakers, television writers and producers their first breaks, the National Screen Institute provides training and production support through courses like NSI Totally TelevisionNSI Drama PrizeNSI New VoicesNSI Features FirstNSI Lifestyle & Reality Series ProducerMovie Central Script to ScreenShaw Media Diverse TV Director and NSI Aboriginal Documentary.

NSI also offers exposure through the NSI Online Short Film Festival and provides vast resources and support to those in the film, television, and digital media industry at

All media enquiries

Laura Friesen, Communications Coordinator
Tel: 204.957.2999 or email