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

Where are they now? Update on Linehan alumni

(Republished with kind permission from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television)

BrianLinehan_eNewsJune5-3The 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 scholarships at Humber College, support of the Soulpepper Academy, the Company Theatre, the Toronto International Film Festival Group (TIFFG), the Canadian Film Centre, CanStage, the Company Theatre, Sheridan College, the National Screen Institute, and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Working artists in whose careers the Linehan Foundation has invested include:

  • Paul Alexander Nolan, who first played Broadway as Jesus Christ Superstar, returned to New York to take over the lead in the long-running Tony award-winning musical Once and recently returned to the Great White Way as one of the stars of Des MacAnuff’s musical version of Dr. Zhivago.
  • Evelyn Brochu, perhaps best known from her role as Delphine in Orphan Black, who is now starring in CBC’s new hit drama series X Company.
  • Guillaume Coté, who is both a Principal Dancer and Choreographic Associate for the National Ballet of Canada, and who is currently choreographing a full-length ballet based on the classic Antoine de Saint-Exupéry fable Le Petit Prince/The Little Prince for the National Ballet’s 2015-2016 season.
  • Emmanuel Kabongo, who is currently working with Natasha Lyonne (Orange is the New Black) Chloe Sevigny (American Horror Story) and Meg Tilly (Bomb Girls) on a new feature film by director Danny Perez, Antibirth.
  • Sara Farb, now in her third season at Stratford, who is set to appear in The Last Wife and is currently winning rave reviews as Constance in She Stoops To Conquer and Anne in The Diary Of Anne Frank.
  • Ian Lake, who was recently seen on the Global TV drama series Remedy, and who continues to star in the Mirvish production of Once, playing eight shows a week at the Ed Mirvish Theatre in Toronto from February 16 through June 28.
  • And Republic Of Doyle creator and star Allan Hawco, most recently celebrated for his portrayal of Jewish merchant Solomon Lindo in the acclaimed CBC mini-series The Book of Negroes, who will soon be seen on the big screen with Rossif Sutherland, Paul Gross and Clark Johnson in Hyena Road and is currently developing two new dramatic series for Discovery & CBC Television respectively.

Oliver Becker wins Brian Linehan Actors Award


Oliver Becker recently won the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award for his work in Bridges, in the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

The NSI Online Short Film Festival jury had this to say about Oliver’s work:

Kristyn Stilling (Whistler Film Festival shorts programmer/director of Vancouver Short Film Festival): “Oliver Becker delivers a touching and layered performance as a grieving father searching for comfort. His journey through myriad emotions is engaging and moving.”

Kire Paputts (award-winning filmmaker): “Mr. Becker brought great subtlety to a serious and delicate role that could have easily been played more over the top.”

Oliver said

Having always been a fan of Brian Linehan it is an honour and a joy to receive this award in his name and as part of the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

Heartfelt thanks to NSI and those who made this unexpected and pleasant surprise possible!

Audiences will recognize Oliver for his work in Rookie Blue, Reign, Republic of Doyle, Rent-a-Goalie, among other roles.

Latest Brian Linehan Actors Award announced


Patti Allan (above) won the $1,000 Brian Linehan Actors Award for her work in Mimi and Me, in the latest round of the NSI Online Short Film Festival.

Comments from the NSI Online Short Film Festival jury:

Sonya Davidson, Channel Zero: “Patti Allan stood out as this unconventional character. Her performance is engaging, hilarious and, yet, believable as this foul-mouthed, chain-smoking grandmother.”

Karilynn Thompson, Calgary International Film Festival: “Patti Allan plays a very unique grandma with a gruff and well-acted lack of tact. You can just feel the years of cigarette stained fingers, poker and booze but, also shining though, a love for her granddaughter.”

Terry Miles, filmmaker: “Patti Allan stood out for her dynamic performance, moving from beat to beat and moment to moment with perfection.”

Patti Allan said:

It’s so inspiring that NSI honours filmmaking in such an active and significant way. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have been cast by our amazing director, Marly Reed, and am so very happy that her obvious talent, skill and storytelling have been recognized.

Actors can often feel isolated and insecure in our roles and this kind of acknowledgement is extremely uplifting. Thank you to Brian for his visionary desire to inspire and encourage people. What a truly amazing value and legacy to have left us very fortunate recipients.

Patti was also nominated for a Leo award for her work in this film. Audiences will recognize her for her work in Ramona and Beezus, Good Boy!, Dead Like Me and Cold Squad, among other roles.

Watch Mimi and Me

Mimi & Me from Marly Reed on Vimeo.

Read the full awards news release.

George Anthony honoured with Academy Special Award at 2015 Canadian Screen Awards

George Anthony

Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation Advisor Board member George Anthony will receive the Academy Board of Directors’ Tribute at the upcoming Canadian Screen Awards.

According to Academy Chair Martin Katz, “The Academy Special Awards are presented annually to uniquely talented people in our industry who have left an indelible impression in the Canadian film, television and digital media landscape.”

Montreal-born writer and producer George Anthony has contributed decades of creative, hard and successful work to the Canadian entertainment industry.

In his long run as the head of arts, music, science and variety television programming at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he championed dozens of series including long-running hits Royal Canadian Air Farce and This Hour Has 22 Minutes, high-rated specials with Anne Murray, Celine Dion and Shania Twain, and TV movies and feature films, notably the critically-acclaimed 32 Short Films About Glenn Gould.

Canadian programs under Anthony’s aegis have won more than 100 Gemini awards and an impressive array of other honours including the Prix Italia and a number of international Emmy Awards.

Anthony initially made his mark as a founding member of the Toronto Sun as both its entertainment editor and its best-read entertainment columnist and critic.

He returned to writing with his 2007 biography Starring Brian Linehan and collaborated with Gordon Pinsent on the actor’s 2012 autobiography, Next.

He currently serves as the CBC’s creative point person on its highest-rated comedy series, the Rick Mercer Report.

Read more information about the Academy Special Awards.