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If you read my editorial in FANGORIA #309 (the David
Cronenberg/SHIVERS cover) you’re aware
of my personal connection to the late producer John Dunning, who along with his
partner, Andre Link co-founded and operated the legendary Montreal based
Canadian sexploitation and horror production/distribution outfit CINEPIX.
On Tuesday, January 10th the Toronto Film Critics
Association – of which I am a voting member – posthumously awarded John (who
passed in September of last year at age 84) the Clyde Gilmour Award at our
lavish annual dinner and ceremony, for his pioneering, tireless work in
Canadian film and for the massive barriers he broke in making lurid, lively
homegrown pictures that were exported and adored internationally.
Cronenberg presented the award, telling tales of how his
“movie father” mentored and influenced him, ushering his first two features
SHIVERS and RABID into the world and standing by him, putting his unique
visions on the map. The legendary filmmaker then gave the award to John’s son
Greg, who brought the room to silence and, for many—myself included—tears, as
he emotionally accepted the honor, relating further stories of that wild west
of weird cinema culture that he himself grew up in.
In the audience were CINEPIX alumni like producer Don
Carmody (also profiled in FANGORIA #309 ) and director Larry Kent and
comedian/actress Andrea Martin (SCTV) even stepped up to present another award
while sharing anecdotes about another notorious Canadian horror show, the Ivan
Reitman (who also was mentored by Dunning) classic CANNIBAL GIRLS.
In between the moving speeches was this, a sonic blast of CINEPIX
clips and imagery edited by FANGORIA contributor and Montreal screening room
BLUE SUNSHINE co-founder David Bertrand. In it, you’ll find a flurry of sexy,
violent segments from some of Dunning’s most notorious works like the French
Canadian soft porn VALERIE, the ILSA series, the Cronenberg classics, MY BLOODY
VALENTINE, MEATBALLS, DEATH WEEKEND, FRANKENSTEIN 88….the list is long. Have a
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The evening represented something significant for yours
truly as I helped bring this award to life, wrangled the players and was even
with John in the summer when the press announced that he would be receiving. We
all hoped he would make it to attend the event, but alas, he did not. But he passed
knowing that he was loved and that his legacy was secure. And because of that,
everyone at the TFCA should be proud…
For a look at the rest of the awards and some of the
acceptance speeches (including Fango fave TAKE SHELTER and its stars Jessica Chastain
and Michael Shannon) go here.
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