When you believe in things you don't understand, you suffer.”

-Stevie Wonder

*Scott Smith - Capturing George

Vancouver filmmaker Scott Smith is the director of two acclaimed feature films: rollercoaster, winner of several awards including Most Popular Canadian Film at the Vancouver International Film Festival, and Falling Angels, starring Miranda Richardson, for which he received a Directors Guild nomination for Best Director. Nominated for both Genie and Gemini awards for his work in film and television, in 2009 Scott completed his first feature-length documentary, As Slow as Possible, which follows blind author Ryan Knighton's pilgrimage to Germany to hear a single note change in the notorious 639-year-long performance of the John Cage composition of the same name.

George Walker

2009 Lifetime Artistic Achievement (Theatre)

Playwright, director and screenwriter

A prolific and popular playwright, director and screenwriter, George F. Walker has greatly enriched Canada's cultural landscape and garnered critical acclaim at home and abroad. Over the last 35 years he has written more than 20 plays and has created screenplays for several award-winning Canadian television series. His bold, darkly comic work sounds a unique note in Canadian theatre, and has inspired young writers and artists across the country.

George F. Walker was born in 1947 in Toronto. His theatre career began in the early 1970s when, while working as a taxi driver, he noticed a poster soliciting original scripts for the newly founded Factory Theatre. "At that time I'd only ever seen one play," he recalls.

"I wrote one (The Prince of Naples), and they produced it. Then they asked me to be their resident playwright. The momentum kind of grew by itself. I just kept writing!"

Mr. Walker experiments with form and language, fitting odd concepts and words into the mouths of everyday characters. Part Kafka, part Lewis Carroll, his distinctive, gritty, fast-paced comedies satirize the selfishness, greed and aggression of contemporary urban culture.

Among his best-known plays are Gossip (1977), Zastrozzi, the Master of Discipline (1977), Criminals in Love (1984), Better Living (1986), Nothing Sacred (1988), Love and Anger (1989), Escape from Happiness (1991), Suburban Motel (1997, a series of six plays set in the same motel room), and Heaven (2000). Since the early 1980s he has directed most of the premieres of his own plays.

His screenwriting credits include the television series Due South, The Newsroom, This Is Wonderland, and (upcoming) The Line, and the film Niagara Motel (based on three plays from his Suburban Motel series).

Mr. Walker's work has been presented across Canada and in over 500 productions internationally, and has been translated into French, German, Hebrew, Turkish, Polish and Czechoslovakian.

Awards and honours include Member of the Order of Canada (2005); National Theatre School Gascon-Thomas Award (2002); two Governor General's Literary Awards for Drama (for Criminals in Love and Nothing Sacred); five Dora Mavor Moore Awards; and eight Chalmers Canadian Play Awards.