The late, great Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée was honored in Banff with a moving tribute during Tuesday’s Rockie Awards.
The Montreal filmmaker — who is best known for directing “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Wild” along with TV series “Big Little Lies” and “Sharp Objects” — died suddenly on Dec. 25, sending shockwaves across the Canadian film industry and Hollywood. Vallée made his name in Canada with films such as “C.R.A.Z.Y.” and “Café de Flore” before transitioning into Hollywood fare.
Vallée received a post-humous Canadian Award of Distinction, with a beautifully edited reel of the director’s movies and candid moments leaving few dry eyes in the audience. The video was set to songs that were used in Vallée’s films, which relied heavily on music. (The director got his start making music videos.)
Vallée was honored by his close friend and collaborator Marc Côté, who was meant to be in Banff but instead appeared via video as a broken leg prevented him from traveling.
“Jean-Marc and I have been collaborators and friends for 30 years — long before ‘C.R.A.Z.Y.’” said Côté. “By ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ we had established our way of working. He would bring me his story, and I would find a way to reach his goal.”
Côté described his late friend and business partner as “passionate” and “rigorous,” and rarely allowing anything to come between him and finding the best way to tell his story.
The Rockie Awards gala was hosted by Canadian singer Jully Black, who opened and closed the ceremony with interactive musical numbers that brought the house down – at one point even pulling an energetic delegate to the stage.
Tuesday’s event honored individual winners for special prizes, and followed the international program competition on Monday, which saw the “Friends” reunion, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “We Are Lady Parts” take home the big prizes.
CBC and HBO Max original “Sort Of,” about a non-binary millennial trying to figure out his life, won Program of the Year. The show has been a massive hit in Canada and abroad, recently picking up a Peabody award. Season 2 is currently shooting.
The show was created by Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, who weren’t in Banff to receive the award (the former’s travel plans were kiboshed by a positive COVID diagnosis).
“Sometimes, when we’ve been recognized for our work, I like to think it was because it came from a pure and honest place,” said Baig in an audio message shared with the audience. “How lucky we are to be working on a show through this pandemic that’s about what it means to live and to live truthfully.”
Elsewhere, the festival’s Grand Jury Prize went to Channel 4’s single drama “Help,” with writer Jack Thorne accepting virtually.
For a full list of winners, please see below:
PROGRAM OF THE YEAR
The Program of the Year award is presented to an outstanding, critically acclaimed, ground-breaking, and/or highly rated program from within the last calendar year. Past recipients include: “It’s a Sin,” “This is Us,” “Handmaid’s Tale”
THE GRAND JURY PRIZE
The Grand Jury Prize is awarded to the highest scoring project in the Rockies Program Competition by the festival’s specially appointed Grand Jury of industry executives. Past recipients include: “I May Destroy You,” “Fleabag,” “Big Little Lies”
Previously announced awards:
SHOWRUNNER OF THE YEAR
Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson and Jonathan Lisco (“Yellowjackets”)
Presented by Variety, Showrunner of the Year recognizes exceptional achievement of a showrunner or writer/producer for their creative vision, overseeing from development, through pre- to post-production, and as the driving force of a series. Past honorees include: Jed Mercurio, Moira Walley-Beckett, John Ridley, Damon Lindelof, Joey Soloway and Clyde Phillips.
Bela Bajaria (Head of Global TV, Netflix)
The award is bestowed annually to an individual or group that has made a significant and impactful contribution to screen-based entertainment. Past honorees include: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, David Shore, accepting on behalf of ”The Good Doctor,” Anthony Anderson, accepting on behalf of ”black-ish,” and Justin Simien accepting on behalf of “Dear White People.”
SIR PETER USTINOV COMEDY AWARD:
Ana Gasteyer (“Saturday Night Live”)
The award recognizes a creative talent who has made an outstanding comedic contribution to the media industry. Past honorees include: Kenan Thompson, Sean Hayes, John Cleese, Tracey Ullman, Bob Newhart, Tantoo Cardinal, John Candy and Bill Hader.
Vivica A. Fox
Presented by A+E, the Inclusion Award recognizes an individual whose efforts and vision in media champion and reflect the diversity of the world in which we live. Past Honorees include: Danielle Brooks, LeVar Burton, Jonathan Murray and Elizabeth Vargas.
INNOVATIVE PRODUCER AWARD
Presented by Lionsgate, the Innovative Producer Award recognizes the entrepreneurial excellence and achievements of an independent producer in TV/digital media. Past honorees include: Sinking Ship Entertainment, Wattpad Studios, Scott Brothers Entertainment, New Metric Media, Wolf + Rabbit, Don Carmody and marblemedia.
CREATIVE VOICE AWARD
Rose Matafeo (“Starstruck”)
The creative voice award is bestowed on an executive or creative talent that has created outstanding work that breaks through, inspiring and connecting global audiences.