Guy Maddin – 2005 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction

Guy Maddin, filmmaker, has been named the fourth recipient of the Manitoba Arts Council Arts Award of Distinction. This $30,000 award is presented annually to recognize the highest level of artistic excellence and distinguished career achievements by a professional Manitoba artist. “Guy Maddin is an artist who has received international recognition,” says Dr. Judith Flynn, Chair of Council, “and it is our pleasure to be able to honour him here at home. For the last 20 years Guy Maddin’s work has played a crucial role in the growth and development of our local film industry. He has used Winnipeg as inspiration for his stories and productions while writing for various magazines and teaching film history at the University of Manitoba. And he has chosen not to leave our community once his work garnered well-deserved national and international recognition.”

Born and raised in Winnipeg, since 1985 Guy Maddin has been creating extraordinary short and feature films, internationally recognized for their unique and uncompromising vision. He started his film art career at the Winnipeg Film Group with The Dead Father, which lead to the production of his feature Tales from the Gimli Hospital in 1988. Since that time, Guy Maddin has produced a substantial body of work, creating over 20 short films and seven feature films, including Archangel, Careful, Twilight of the Ice Nymphs, Dracula – Pages From A Virgin’s Diary, Cowards Bend the Knee, The Saddest Music in the World and Keyhole – a feature in development.

His work has drawn great admiration from viewers and critics around the world. He won an International Emmy for Best Performing Arts Show for Dracula – Pages From A Virgin’s Diary; Gemini Awards for both Best Canadian Performing Arts Show and Best Direction for Dracula – Pages From A Virgin’s Diary; and a U.S. National Society Film Critics Award for Best Experimental Film of 2001 for The Heart of the World. In 1995 Guy Maddin was the recipient of the Telluride Medal for Lifetime Achievement at the Telluride Film Festival, the youngest person ever to have been awarded this honour. Every time Guy Maddin is recognized, his hometown also receives credit.

“He (Maddin) shades his connections to Winnipeg with some ambiguity portraying it as a frozen and sad place (it was – 40 degrees celsius in the unheated warehouse where they shot Saddest), but where he loves to live and work,” says Victor Enns, who nominated Guy Maddin for the Arts Award of Distinction on behalf of the Winnipeg Film Group.

“Saddest Music and Cowards Bend the Knee show him embracing his origins and making some of the most Canadian art film while using the entire history of film as its progenitor. There would be no better time for him to be recognized for his artistic achievement than in 2005, 20 years after he picked up a camera, and after three very productive years accompanied by international artistic recognition,“ says Enns.

Guy Maddin received his first MAC grant in 1987 and his most recent in 2003.

Guy Maddin was honoured at a ceremony held in March 2006, where he was presented with his $30,000 Arts Award of Distinction.