Donald Brittain Award

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The Donald Brittain Award is a Canadian television award, presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television to honour the year's best television documentary on a social or political topic. Formerly presented as part of the Gemini Awards, since 2013 it has been presented as part of the Canadian Screen Awards. The award has usually been presented to individual documentaries, although in the 1990s sometimes the nominations were given collectively to the overall news or documentary television series rather than to individual broadcasts.

The award is named in honour of Donald Brittain, a pioneering Canadian documentary filmmaker.[1]

Nominees and winners[edit]


Year Nominee Film
6th Gemini Awards
Island of Whales George Johnson, Jack Silberman, Gillian Darling, Jerry Appleton
Between Two Worlds Peter Raymont
Distress Signals Kent Martin, John Walker, Tom Perlmutter
James Bay: The Wind That Keeps Blowing Nancy Archibald
Transplant: The Breath of Life Elias Petras
7th Gemini Awards
Timothy Findley: Anatomy of a Writer Terence Macartney-Filgate, Don Haig
Man Alive Halya Kuchmij
On the Eighth Day: Perfecting Mother Nature Mary Armstrong
Threads of Hope Les Harris, Jane Harris
Women in the Shadows Signe Johansson, Christine Welsh
8th Gemini Awards
Donald Brittain: Filmmaker Adam Symansky
Adrienne Clarkson Presents Adrienne Clarkson
Man Alive Halya Kuchmij
The Fifth Estate Susan Teskey
The Nature of Things Michael Poole
10th Gemini Awards
Ms. Conceptions Linda Frum, Ric Esther Bienstock
The Fifth Estate David Kaufman
The Last Trip Ina Fichman
The Negotiator Laszlo Barna
Orphans of Manchuria Annie Dodds
The Voyage of the St. Louis Arnie Gelbart
11th Gemini Awards
Utshimassits: Place of the Boss John Walker, Mike Mahoney, Peter d'Entremont
Fire and Water Shelley Saywell
Scenes from a Corner Store Sun-Kyung Yi
Summer in the Cherry Orchard Ann Bromley
The True Story of Linda M. Norma Bailey, Joe MacDonald
12th Gemini Awards
The Selling of Innocents Elliott Halpern, Simcha Jacobovici, William Cobban
My Russian Campaign: From Montreal to Moscow John Curtin
Mystics, Mechanics and Mindbombs Michael Chechik, Jerry Thompson
Nowhere Else to Live Alan Handel
Picturing a People: George Johnston Tlingit Photographer George Hargrave, Sally Bochner
13th Gemini Awards
Gerrie & Louise Phyllis Brown, Sturla Gunnarsson, David York
Confessions of a Rabid Dog Rudy Buttignol, Gerry Flahive, Julia Sereny
Dad Chris Triffo
Some Kind of Arrangement Geeta Sondhi
Witness: Between Here and Heaven Andrew Gregg, Wayne Abbott
14th Gemini Awards
Crimes of Honour Shelley Saywell
Believing Nicole Lamothe
East Side Showdown Peter Starr
Four Women of Egypt Éric Michel
The Dragon's Egg Rudy Buttignol, Allan King, Elizabeth Yake


Year Nominee Film
15th Gemini Awards
Deep Inside Clint Star Silva Basmajian
Asylum: Falling Through the Cracks Christopher Sumpton
Kikkik Ole Gjerstad
Legacy of Terror: The Bombing of Air India Rudy Buttignol, Shelley Saywell
The Holier it Gets Rudy Buttignol, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier
16th Gemini Awards
Breakaway: A Tale of Two Survivors Johanna Lunn Montgomery, Johanna Eliot, Mathew Welsh
Chickens Are People Too John Kastner, Hilary Armstrong, Marie Natanson, Charlotte Odele
In the Shadow of a Saint Mark Johnston, Stephen Milton
Kim Campbell: Through the Looking Glass Silva Basmajian
A Moment in Time: The United Colours of Bronstein Judy Jackson
17th Gemini Awards
Offspring Barry Stevens, Laszlo Barna
Aftermath: The Remnants of War Peter Starr, Ed Barreveld, Michael Kot
Culture Jam: Hijacking Commercial Culture Jill Sharpe, Lynn Booth
In the Line of Fire Patricia Naylor
Waging Peace: A Year in the Life of Caledonia Junior High Sally Bochner, Peter d'Entremont, Kent Martin
18th Gemini Awards
Return to Kandahar Paul Jay, Nelofer Pazira, David M. Ostriker
Chinese Daughters Dorlene Lin, Rudy Buttignol
Salvation Kent Martin
Seeing Is Believing Francis Miquet, Peter Wintonick, Katerina Cizek, Catherine Olsen
The Tree That Remembers Sally Bochner
19th Gemini Awards
Dying at Grace Allan King, Rudy Buttignol
Deadline Iraq: Uncensored Stuart Coxe, Greg Kelly, Douglas Arrowsmith, Eric Foss, Aaron Williams
Dying to Be Free: Zimbabwe's Struggle for Change David Belluz
Short Infinity Jean Lemire, Yves Bisaillon
The Man Who Could Be King Mark Johnston, Edith Champagne, Nancy Ing Duclos
20th Gemini Awards
Runaway Grooms Ali Kazimi
Bunny and Leona Deborah Parks, John Kastner
El Contrato Karen King-Chigbo
No Place Called Home Peter Starr
One More River Ernest Webb, Catherine Bainbridge
The Take Avi Lewis, Naomi Klein, Laszlo Barna, Silva Basmajian
21st Gemini Awards
House Calls Gerry Flahive, Silva Basmajian
Beyond Words: Photographers of War Eric Foss, Stuart Coxe, Greg Kelly
Big Sugar Stephen Phizicky, Sylvia Wilson, Arnie Gelbart
Memory for Max, Claire, Ida and Company Kathy Avrich-Johnson, Allan King, Rudy Buttignol
No More Tears Sister Pierre Lapointe, Sally Bochner
22nd Gemini Awards
Fatherland Manfred Becker, Laszlo Barna
Bombay Calling Sally Bochner, Adam Symansky
Cottonland Annette Clarke, Kent Martin
Empz 4 Life Kathy Avrich-Johnson, Rudy Buttignol, Allan King
Faith Without Fear Silva Basmajian, Gordon Henderson
Martyr Street Deborah Parks, Shelley Saywell
23rd Gemini Awards
A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman Peter Raymont
A Place Between Joe MacDonald, Graydon McRea, Michael Scott, Derek Mazur
Darfur: On Our Watch Neil Docherty, Lisa Ellenwood
Forgiveness: Stories for Our Time Johanna Lunn, Kent Martin
Girl Inside Maya Gallus, Justine Pimlott
24th Gemini Awards
Tiger Spirit Ed Barreveld, Anita Lee, Min Sook Lee
Air India 182 David York, Sturla Gunnarsson
bploi wai dtaai: Leave Her to Die Antonia Thomson, Sean Buckley
Norm Kent Nason, Teresa MacInnes
Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma Peter Raymont, Silva Basmajian


Year Film Filmmakers
25th Gemini Awards
Broke Roswitha Dransfeld
A Dream for Kabul Patricia Bergeron, Yves Bisaillon, Nathalie Barton
Reel Injun Christina Fon, Catherine Bainbridge, Catherine Olsen, Ravida Din, Adam Symansky, Ernest Webb, Linda Ludwick
Up Against the Wall Eileen Thalenberg, Gail McIntyre
Water on the Table Liz Marshall
26th Gemini Awards
Life with Murder John Kastner, Silva Basmajian
Jackpot Michelle Latimer
Mom's Home Maureen Judge
Tipping Point: The Age of the Oil Sands Niobe Thompson
When We Were Boys Mark Johnston, Amanda Handy, Sarah Goodman
1st Canadian Screen Awards
About Her Sissy Federer-Less, Michelle Rothstein, Scott Garvie, Alison Gordon, Phyllis Ellis, Christina Jennings, Henry Less
8th Fire Paul Morin, Sue Dando, Peter John Ingles, Jo-Ann Demers, Kelly Crichton
The Market Ed Barreveld
Prosecutor Lea Marin, Silva Basmajian, Julia Bennett, Kelly Jenkins, Peter Raymont
The Team Kelly Jenkins, Peter Raymont, Patrick Reed
2nd Canadian Screen Awards
The People of the Kattawapiskak River Alanis Obomsawin, Ravida Din
Blood Relative Nimisha Mukerji
Herman's House Angad Singh Bhalla, Ed Barreveld, Lisa Valencia-Svensson, Loring McAlpin
3rd Canadian Screen Awards
Tales from the Organ Trade Ric Esther Bienstock, Felix Golubev, Simcha Jacobovici
The Exhibition Robert Straight, Damon Vignale, Miho Yamamoto
The Ghosts in Our Machine Liz Marshall, Nina Beveridge
Out of Mind, Out of Sight Silva Basmajian, John Kastner, Deborah Parks
4th Canadian Screen Awards
Sugar Coated Janice Dawe, Michele Hozer
15 to Life: Kenneth's Story Nadine Pequeneza
Anti-Social Limited Roswitha Dransfeld
Danny Annette Clarke, William D. MacGillivray, Justin Simms
Human Harvest Leon Lee, Jason Loftus
5th Canadian Screen Awards
Guantanamo's Child: Omar Khadr Patrick Reed, Michelle Shephard, Peter Raymont
After the Last River Vicki Lean, Jade Blair
I, Pedophile Matthew Campea, Christopher Sumpton, Robin Benger
The War at Home Deborah Parks, Shelley Saywell
6th Canadian Screen Awards
The Secret Path Stuart Coxe, Mike Downie, Jocelyn Hamilton, Gord Downie, Justin Stephenson, Jeff Lemire, Sarah Polley, Patrick Downie
All Governments Lie: Truth, Deception and the Spirit of I. F. Stone Fred Peabody, Peter Raymont, Steve Ord, Andrew Munger, Jeff Cohen, Oliver Stone
Colonization Road Michelle St. John, Brendan Brady, Jordan O'Connor, Shane Belcourt, Evan Adams
Migrant Dreams Min Sook Lee, Lisa Valencia-Svensson
The Skin We're In Gordon Henderson, Stuart Henderson


  1. ^ "Gemini gala scores with innovation; Awards show tosses in falcon, football and plea from star of Wayne's World". Montreal Gazette, March 9, 1992.