Kimberly-Sue Murray, Eric Peterson receive Brian Linehan Actors Award


Kimberly-Sue Murray and Eric Peterson are the latest winners of the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

Kimberly-Sue Murray

Jury comments for Kimberly-Sue Murray’s performance in She Came Knocking.

Selina Crammond, director of programming for DOXA Documentary Film Festival: “Kimberly-Sue Murray’s performance is essential for creating the suspenseful tone in She Came Knocking. Subtly, she forces the audience to imagine what they would do if placed in a similar situation.”

Chris Chin, festival and operations manager, Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival and an associate programmer at the Inside Out Toronto LGBT Film Festival: “[She] admirably captures the twists and turns of her character’s arc from bewildered onlooker to steely-minded intervenor.”

Ashley Hirt, award-winning filmmaker known for co-producing indie darling Black Field: “Very honest and beautifully executed.”

Kimberly-Sue said, “In 2011, I was lucky to attend the CFC Actors Conservatory thanks to the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation. During my time there, I met writer/director John Ainslie and that was the start of our collaboration. I am so thrilled and honoured to receive this award for my work in She Came Knocking. Life’s come full circle and I couldn’t be more grateful.”

Eric Peterson

Jury comments for Eric Peterson’s performance in Static.

Martha Cooley, filmmaker and arts administrator: “Eric Peterson’s performance in Static carries the film, capturing the horror of loss through the experience of a deteriorating mind.”

Tarique Qayumi, director whose feature film Black Kite premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2017: “There is a lot of range in such a short film for an actor and also a difficult genre to find the right balance. [Eric’s] experience as an actor and his unwavering commitment is to be commended. It’s a heart-wrenching emotional journey that he takes us on.”

Lina Roessler, recent winner of the A&E Short Filmmakers Award in the NSI Online Short Film Festival for her film Winter: “Eric Peterson masterfully unveils the cracks in his character’s exterior, finally revealing the deep pain, fear and guilt which lie beneath.”

Eric Peterson said, “I am knocked sideways, gobsmacked, very happy and truly honoured by the jury’s decision to award me the Brian Linehan Actors Award. My thanks to NSI for all its fine work, and my profound thanks to Tanya Lemke whose passion, talent and determination is the reason there is a film called Static.”

Brian Linehan $1,000 actors award added to NSI Online Short Film Festival

The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation is proud to announce a new initiative with the NSI Online Short Film Festival run by the National Screen Institute – Canada (NSI).

A quarterly $1,000 award will recognize lead actors in films programmed in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

The Foundation is also entering its ninth year as program partner for two of NSI’s training courses: NSI Features First and NSI Drama Prize.

“The Foundation has two goals – keep the legacy of entertainment journalist Brian Linehan alive and continue his quest for a star system in Canada,” said Foundation director Michael A. Levine. “We have worked with NSI for many years supporting behind-the-camera talent and we’re delighted to now recognize Canadian actors in the films programmed in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.”

Before he died in 2004, Canada’s best-known celebrity interviewer Brian Linehan became as famous as the people he interviewed.

“NSI is very proud to help keep the spirit of Brian alive through our initiatives with the Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation,” said John Gill, NSI CEO. “This new film festival award is a perfect fit for their goals, and offers even more recognition to Canadian filmmakers and actors accepted to the NSI Online Short Film Festival.”

Launched in 2008, the NSI Online Short Film Festival attracts about 1,000 submissions per year and presents up to $5,000 in awards and prizes: the Shaw Media Fearless Female Director Award for best film directed by a female; A&E Short Filmmakers Award for best film; Bite Comedy Award for best comedy; and now the Brian Linehan Actors Award for best performance by a lead actor.

Festival winners receive Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television membership and Canadian Screen Award eligibility (if applicable) in the live action short drama, short documentary or animated shorts categories.

The first Brian Linehan Actors Award will be announced in June. Watch for the next call for submissions to the NSI Online Short Film Festival later this month.

About Brian Linehan

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, Linehan’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 has 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 Doyle, Sheridan College and Stratford Shakespeare Festival. Foundation advisory board members are Michael A. Levine (director), Marcia Martin, George Anthony, Maxine Quigley and Arthur Weinthal.

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

The National Screen Institute is renowned for having given many emerging filmmakers, television writers and producers their first breaks, and for providing training and production support through courses like NSI Totally TelevisionNSI Drama PrizeNSI New VoicesNSI Features FirstNSI Lifestyle & Reality Series ProducerMovie Central Script to Screen 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

Media enquiries

Laura Friesen, Communications Coordinator
National Screen Institute
Tel: 204.957.2999 or email: