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WWI romance wins six times, including best pic


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MONTREAL - World War I epic romance "Passchendaele" won top honors at the Genie Awards, the Canadian film awards, Saturday night in Ottawa. The hit film from writer-helmer-thesp Paul Gross was voted best picture, one of six Genies the pic nabbed. As previously announced, it took home the Golden Reel Award for top homegrown box-office performer of the year, thanks to ticket sales of C$4.4 million ($3.6 million). Pic stars Gross, one of Canada's most popular thesps, as a soldier who takes part in the battle of Passchendaele, one of the most famous World War I battles for the Canadian Army.
But the other four Genie awards for "Passchendaele" were in secondary craft categories.

The 2009 Genie Awards were doled out a ceremony at the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa Saturday night.

Montreal helmer Benoit Pilon's "The Necessities of Life" came in second, with four wins and three were in major categories. Pilon - a seasoned Montreal docu director who made his feature dramatic debut with the film - won as director, Bernard Emond garnered the hardware for original screenplay for the same film, and Natar Ungalaaq won as actor.

In the film, which unspools in French and Inuktitut, Ungalaaq plays an Inuit hunter in the Far North in the 1950s who is taken down south to a sanatorium in Quebec City for treatment of tuberculosis. The pic is a snapshot of the culture clash that results when this guy who can't speak a word of French arrives in this all-franco environment.

Ellen Burstyn won as best actress for her lead role in "The Stone Angel", writer-director Kari Skogland's adaptation of the classic novel by Canadian author Margaret Laurence. Callum Keith Rennie won for best supporting actor for "Normal" and Kristin Booth took the trophy for supporting actress for the romantic comedy "Young People Fucking".

Lyne Charlebois and Marie-Sissi Labreche won for adapated screenplay for "Borderline", an explosive sexually-explicit drama directed by first-time feature helmer Charlebois and adapted from two Labreche novels. The Genie for documentary went to Montreal helmer Yung Chang's "Up the Yangtze", Denis Villeneuve's Cannes prize-winner "Next Floor" was named best live-action short drama and the National Film Board of Canada production "Sleeping Betty" from helmer Claude Cloutier was voted best animated short.

It was previously announced that Yves-Christian Fournier's "Everything Is Fine", a drama about teen suicide, was the winner of this year's Claude Jutra Award for best first feature.

Historical background of the Battle of Passchendaele:
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