Midtown director, producer win big at Canadian Screen Awards

Drew Taylor, Elena Semikina’s Our Man in Tehran takes home five trophies

DYNAMIC DUO: Our Man in Tehran directors, Larry Weinstein, left, and Drew Taylor in a shot leading up to their documentary’s big TIFF premiere.

Midtown Toronto was well represented at the Canadian Screen Awards on Feb. 24.

Leasider Drew Taylor and Yonge and St. Clair resident Elena Semikina saw their hard work on Our Man in Tehran win all five of the awards the documentary was nominated for.

The accolades came in the categories of Best Documentary Program, as well as Best Direction in a Documentary or Factual Series (Drew Taylor, Larry Weinstein), Best Photography in a Documentary Program or Factual Series (John Minh Tran), Best Picture Editing in a Documentary Program or Factual Series (Steve Weslak) and Best Sound in a Documentary, Factual or Lifestyle Program or Series (Martin Lee, David McCallum, Sanjay Mehta, Brennan Mercer, Jane Tattersall).

Our Man in Tehran, a true story about Canada’s role in the Iran hostage crisis that stretched from November 1979 to January 1981, was Taylor’s directorial debut. He also co-wrote the film with Robert Wright and produced it with Rhombus Media’s Larry Weinstein.

Reminiscing a week afterward, Taylor called the Canadian Screen Awards ceremony a “wild” night.

“It almost doesn’t sink in, because it’s all happening so fast,” he said. “By the time one of them is over you’re sitting back and they’re announcing the next one.

“Now that it’s been a couple of days, it’s feeling real.”

Semikina, an executive producer on the project, beamed at the chance to tell former Canadian ambassador Kenneth Taylor’s story, and to dispel some of the myths cast by the Hollywood film Argo.

“Even though I met Ken before, and I had no idea of what Argo was, it was important to tell the story because it was a true story and a very important historical moment for Canadians,” she said.

Next on the film-making schedule for Taylor and Semikina is a short 15-minute documentary on Taylor’s father, former Major League Baseball pitcher, Ron Taylor, who owns four World Series rings.

“It’s very personal for me, obviously, and I’m doing it with my brother, Matthew,” Taylor said. “We’re almost finished this one.”

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