When it comes to the Canadian film scene one of the most important people in the game is producer John Dunning.
Dunning founded the distribution company Cinepix back in the ‘60s and has had a hand in such films as Meatballs, Shivers, Rabid, My Bloody Valentine, and Vincent Gallo’s Buffalo ‘66. He also helped launch the careers of people like David Cronenberg, Ivan Reitman, Denys Arcand, and Don Carmody, to name a few. To celebrate the work of Dunning, the Toronto Film Critics Association (TFCA) have named him the next recipient of the Clyde Gilmour Award.
The award, named after the late Canadian film critic Clyde Gilmour, is occasionally handed out to someone who has contributed to the understanding and appreciation of Canadian film. Previous winners include Elwy Yost, James Quandt, Robin Wood, and Allan King. The last time the TFCA gave the award was in 2009 when it went to Cinema Scope publisher Mark Peranson.
“John Dunning is the unacknowledged godfather of an entire generation of Canadian filmmakers,” said David Cronenberg in a statement about the award. “I still consider him my movie mentor, and Cinepix my film school. It’s thrilling and cathartic for me to see this wonderfully wry, gentle and supportive man finally get the public celebration he deserves.”
At the age of 84 Dunning does not seem to be slowing down either. He’s currently working on a horror film with George Mihalka, director of the original My Bloody Valentine, and is honoured about the award.
“I think one would be hard pressed to find a glowing review from Clyde Gilmour for any of Cinepix’s productions,” Dunning says, “but I think Clyde and I would agree that our films proved that Canadian films could gain international acceptance and recognition.”
The award will be presented at the annual TFCA award ceremony in January. For more information on the TFCA, visit torontofilmcritics.com.
Top image: A scene from the original My Bloody Valentine. Courtesy Maple Pictures.