Blackbird – Jason Buxton

Creator: Jason Buxton

Nominator: Rohan Fernando

Blackbird, released in 2012, is Jason Buxton’s first feature-length dramatic film. Dealing with issues of youth violence, bullying and social media, it tells the story of Sean, an apparent outsider who is accused of planning a school shooting. In a manner that is honest and unromantic, the film peels away layers to reveal Sean not as the villain he first appears but as someone caught up in a web. Blackbird premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival where it won the Best First Canadian Feature. It also won the Best Canadian feature at the Vancouver International Film Festival. This year it won the Claude Jutra Award at the Canadian Screen Awards.

Jury comments: Haunting. Compelling, topical story. Solid conventional drama with excellent cinematography. The visual bleakness makes the action more convincing. The film has had a strong reception. Screenings in schools help it to reach its most important audience.