Remember Matt Johnson? He's in the news again with his film Operation Avalanche as one of three finalists for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award to be presented at the Toronto Film Critics Association's annual gala, being held this year on Jan.10. It's no small honour. The award comes with a monetary prize of $100,000.
Johnson, who created, wrote and starred in the web series Nirvanna the Band the Show from 2007 to 2009, got a kickstart to his mainstream film career by winning the Slamdance Film Festival's 2013 Grand Jury Sparky Award for Feature Narrative for his film The Dirties, a brutal and terrifying look at bullying.
At the 2017 Slamdance film fest in Park City, Utah, three Canadian directors are taking part in the narrative features program. They are Daniel Warth, with Dim the Fluorescents; Adrian Murray, with Withdrawn; and Joyce Wong with Wexford Plaza.
Slamdance films competing in this category must be directorial debuts and must have a total budget not more than $1 million (U.S.). The narrative features program for 2017 has a total of 11 films in competition, meaning that Warth, Murray and Wong have an excellent chance of winning, and getting the boost to their careers that Johnson got back in 2013.
This year's Slamdance festival, its 23rd iteration, runs from Jan. 20 to Jan. 26.