Shawn Levy To Be Honored With TIFF Inaugural Norman Jewison Career Achievement Award

Shawn Levy To Be Honored With TIFF Inaugural Norman Jewison Career Achievement Award

The Toronto International Film Festival will honor one of Canada’s own, Montreal native Shawn Levy, with the inaugural Norman Jewison Award, also named after another Canadian great filmmaker.

The Norman Jewison Career Achievement Award is presented by The Budman Family, and recognizes Canadians in the film industry who have made a global impact with their careers. The awards presentation will take place at the TIFF Tribute Awards gala fundraiser on Sunday, Sept. 10, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

Levy originally set about pursuing a career in acting, attending Yale University. He turned to directing and received an MFA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts in 1994. One of Levy’s first acting gigs was the low-budget horror 1987 movie, Zombie Nightmare, which got poked at on an episode of Comedy Central’s Mystery Science Theater 3000. He cut his teeth directing wise with teen drama like Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack and Animorphs, and directing and EPing the Disney Channel show The Famous Jett Jackson and its sister 2001 movie. The early aughts brought him several comedy feature directing gigs including Big Fat Liar, Just Married, Cheaper by the Dozen, Steve Martin’s The Pink Panther reboot, before his blockbuster status was raised with 20th Century Fox’s Ben Stiller-Owen Wilson franchise, Night at the Museum. Other movies directed by Levy include Real Steel, Date Night, Netflix’s The Adam Project, the Covid-hit, Free Guy, and the upcoming Deadpool 3, which is currently scheduled to kick off summer 2024 in the first weekend of May. Levy was also nominated for an Oscar in the Best Picture category as a producer on the Amy Adams-Jeremy Renner sci-fi movie, Arrival.

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Levy’s production company, 21 Laps, which has an overall film and TV deal with Netflix, is committed to empowering storytellers across a swath of genres. He produced and directed the streamer’s tentpole series, Stranger Things, and his latest mini-series, All the Light We Cannot See, based on Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, which he also helmed and produced, will be showcased at TIFF this year.

The series follows the story of Marie-Laure (Aria Mia Loberti), a blind French girl, and her father, Daniel LeBlanc (Mark Ruffalo), who flee German-occupied Paris with a legendary diamond to keep it from falling into the hands of the Nazis. The first two episodes of the series will be presented as part of TIFF’s Primetime programme, a showcase featuring series from Canada and around the world.

Levy is also producing the upcoming Netflix limited series, The Perfect Couple.

“We’re honoured to present this new Award, named after legendary Canadian filmmaker Norman Jewison,
whose commitment to developing Canadian cinema and impact on the global stage is unmatched,” said TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey.

“With a multi-faceted career spanning over three decades, Shawn Levy has become one of the most versatile filmmakers and storytellers of his generation, and we’re thrilled for him to be the inaugural recipient of this Award.”

Levy joins the recently announced fifth annual 2023 TIFF Tribute Award honorees Pedro Almodóvar, recipient of the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media presented by Participant, and Spike Lee, recipient of the TIFF Ebert Director Award. Past honorees Michelle Yeoh, Brendan Fraser, Jessica Chastain, Roger Deakins, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Joaquin Phoenix, Taika Waititi, and Chloé Zhao have gone on to win awards on the international stage, with the Tribute Awards serving as an awards bellwether.

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