HBO Max/CBC’s ‘Sort Of’ & Channel 4’s ‘Help’ Take Top Prizes At Banff’s Rockie Awards Gala

By Dominic Patten, Max Goldbart


The end of the final full day of the 2022 Banff World Media Festival saw the Canadian confab reward barrier-breaking projects and honor a departed genius.

Tonight’s Rockie Awards Gala handed out the Program of the Year Award and the Grand Jury Prize to CBC sitcom Sort Of and Channel 4’s Jodie Comer-Stephen Graham pandemic TV movie Help, respectively. As was previously announced, the Jully Black-hosted Banff ceremony also posthumously awarded the Canadian Award of Distinction to Jean-Marc Vallée. The Montreal-born Dallas Buyers Club, Wild and Big Little Lies director died late last year.

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Back for an in-person festival up in the stunning Alberta mountains for the first time since 2019, Banff honored Netflix Global TV boss Bela Bajaria with the Rockies’ Impact Award and Vivica A. Fox with the 2022 Inclusion Award. See the full list of awards given out on Tuesday and their category definitions below.

Set and filmed in Comer and Graham’s hometown of Liverpool, Help sees the Killing Eve alum playing Sarah, a recently certified worker in a care home. The Marc Munden-directed film finds her beginning to work with and develop a strong connection with Tony (Graham), a middle-aged man with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Against the backdrop of the pandemic’s devastating early months, Sarah is left virtually alone to assist Tony and the other patients in the home.

The Jack Thorne-penned Help debuted on the UK’s Channel 4 in September. In late May, Comer won her second British Academy Award for her performance. Graham was nominated for Lead Actor, and the film itself was nominated for Best Single Drama.

Created by showrunners Bilal Baig (Acha Bacha), who also stars, and Fab Filippo, Sort Of is a Toronto-based coming-of-age story that follows the journey of Sabi Mehboob (Baig). Sabi is gender-fluid first-generation Pakistani-Canadian millennial who straddles various identities from sexy bartender at an LGBTQ bookstore/bar to the youngest child in a large and sometimes overwhelming family to the de facto parent of a downtown T.O. hipsters.

Sort Of debuted on CBC in October and premiered on HBO Max a month later. An official selection of the 2021 Toronto Film Festival, the series was renewed for a second season on both outlets on February 25 this year.

Having kicked off on June 12, the jam packed 2022 Banff World Media Festival concludes tomorrow.

See the full list of the 2022 Rockie Awards Gala winners below:

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, Making a Murderer and Surviving R. Kelly.

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, Planet Earth II and Sharp Objects.


IMPACT AWARD: Bela Bajaria (Head of Global TV, Netflix)
Presented by The Hollywood Reporter, this 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 (American Auto, 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.

INCLUSION AWARD: Vivica A. Fox (Kill Bill: Vol. 1 & 2, Empire)
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.

Jean-Marc Vallée will be posthumously awarded the CANADIAN AWARD OF DISTINCTION
Presented by the Canada Media Fund (CMF/FMC) and MadeNous, the award is given to a Canadian whose body of work exemplifies outstanding achievement in the entertainment industry. Past Honorees include: Simu Liu, Eric McCormack, Kim Cattrall and Sheila Hockin.

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, Funny Girls)
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.

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.

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