History of the Academy
The inauguration of the Academy in 1979 began a dream and a journey to build an organization that would both unify the bourgeoning Canadian film industry and annually showcase its outstanding achievements. While this vision was and continues to be grand, the Academy's beginnings were decidedly humble.
Its founding members, together with a modest staff of three, achieved much in the first 12 months of the Academy's existence. Rules and regulations for entering films were created and juries to adjudicate submissions by their peers were established. The culmination of their efforts was the first Genie Awards ceremony, televised on CBC to an audience of one million people.
After the successful launch of the Genies, the Academy gained momentum and established its television division in 1986. The Gemini Awards and Prix Gémeaux were created to celebrate excellence in Canada's English-language and French-language television respectively.
The institution of the Genie, Gemini and Gémeaux award shows affirmed that Canada's national cinema and television production merited public promotion. Over the years, these celebrations have evolved to remain relevant with the times. As measures of achievement, they, along with the industries they honour, have enjoyed international recognition.
Through national awards show, professional development programs and numerous other services and resources, the Academy will carry on fostering and celebrating the creativity, talent and achievements of all who play an invaluable role in telling Canada's stories in theatres and living rooms alike.
- The Academy of Canadian Cinema (ACC) is officially formed.
- The first 29-member Board of Directors is established.
- The Etrog, sculpted by Sorel Etrog for the Canadian Film Awards, is renamed the Genie.
- The first Genie Awards ceremony, held at Toronto's Royal Alexandra Theatre, is broadcast on the CBC.
- The Breakfast Club Speaker Series, the Academy's first professional development program, debuts.
- The Montreal office opens.
- The Academy's first title The Shape of Rage, critically reviewing the works of David Cronenberg, is published.
- The Academy's television division is established.
- The organization is renamed the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television (ACCT).
- 1st edition of Who's Who in Canadian Film and Television is published.
- The Vancouver office opens.
- The Gemini Awards sculpture, designed by Scott Thornley, is unveiled.
- The first Gemini Awards are broadcast on CBC from the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.
- The first Prix Gémeaux takes place at Radio-Canada's Studio 42 in Montreal.
- The Gemini Awards are expanded and presented over three-days.
- The ACCT Corporate Membership Program is introduced (now known as Industry Partners).
- The Genie Awards are broadcast from Montreal & the Claude Jutra Award is established to recognize first time feature film directors.
- Maria Topalovich's And the Genie Goes To..., documenting 70 years of the Canadian Film Awards and Genie Awards, is published.
- The first Digital Award was given out at the Gemini Awards.
- The first ITV-enhanced live broadcast is piloted at the Genie Awards.
- The Gemini Awards begin a cross-Canada showcase, with the first stop in Vancouver, BC, followed by Regina, SK in 2007 and Calgary, AB in 2009.
- Le Prix Gémeaux is broadcast simultaneously on the web for the first time.
- The Academy introduces 4 new Digital Media Awards for the 25th Annual Gemini Awards.
- The Academy expands its programming activities to include the preservation of Canadian film and television works by carrying on the restoration work of the recently defunct Audio-Visual Preservation Trust.
- The first Canadian Screen Awards ceremony, held at Toronto's Sony for the Performing Arts, is broadcast on the CBC.