Now here is a David and Goliath battle: Drake’s “Hotline Bling” had, at last glance, notched 457,614,000 hits on YouTube, while Spek Won’s “Black Body” video has a YouTube count of 8,047.
Despite that chasm, those two clips, along with 18 others, are now in the running for The Prism Prize, which has just announced the Top 20 best Canadian music videos of the year. The Prize is voted on by a jury of more than 120 Canadian music, film and media arts professionals (including this scribe).
Last year, the initial list announced was for a Top 10, but Prism Prize Director and Founder Louis Calabro declared that “2015 was the best year for Canadian music videos ever, and a Top Ten list just couldn't capture all the talent. With the Prism Prize Top 20, we are proud to present a diverse group of incredible artists and their remarkable work."
This grouping will be culled to a Prism Prize Top Ten, to be announced on Tuesday, March 22, with the Grand Prize winner declared on Sunday May 15. On that date the Prism Prize Screening and Awards Presentation will be held at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. The evening will include a screening of the Top Ten videos and award presentations including: the $10,000 Grand Prize for best Canadian music video of the year; the Audience Award (presented by Noisey Canada); the Special Achievement Award (presented by FYI Music News) for artistic achievements and exceptional world-wide contribution to music video art; and the Arthur Lipsett Award (presented by MuchFACT) for innovative and unique approaches to music video art.
All Prism Prize Award recipients, including the Grand Prize, Audience Award, Special Achievement Award and the Arthur Lipsett Award, will receive $2000 grants from William F. White for production equipment rentals, and an exclusive gift bag from MAC Cosmetics.
The Prism Prize is also happy to announce FYI Music News as Lead Sponsor of the Prism Prize with support for the Special Achievement Award and a post-screening celebration at the 2016 Prism Prize Awards Presentation.
“We are very proud to have FYI Music News and Slaight Music onboard as a Lead Sponsor this year. These guys do so much for the music industry in Canada, it’s staggering. It’s an honour being associated with such a forward thinking organization,” said Calabro.
Past Prism Prize winners for Best Canadian Music Video of the Year include Noah Pink for Rich Aucoin’s "Brian Wilson is A.L.i.V.E" (2013), Emily Kai Bock for Arcade Fire's "Afterlife" (2014), and Chad VanGaalen for Timber Timbre's "Beat The Drum Slowly" (2015).
One notable omission from the nominees list is Adele’s “Hello,” likely the biggest music video of 2015. Yes it was directed by Quebec filmmaker Xavier Dolan, but The Prism Prize has firm rules regarding the artist’s nationality: At least two (2) of the following audio components: a) Music is composed by a Canadian. b) Artist (principal performer) is a Canadian (in the case of a band, 50% of the members must be Canadian). c) Performance/production is in Canada. d) Lyrics are written by a Canadian.
Here, in alphabetical order, are the nominees:
THE 2016 PRISM PRIZE TOP 20
A Tribe Called Red - Suplex (Director: Jon Riera)
Absolutely Free - Vision's (Directors: Scott Cudmore and Michael LeBlanc)
Aidan Knight - All Clear (Director: Ft. Langley)
Alessia Cara - Here (Director: Aaron A)
Braids - Miniskirt (Director: Kevan Funk)
Daniel Romano - I'm Gonna Teach You (Director: Chad VanGaalen)
Death From Above 1979 - Virgins (Director: Eva Michon)
Drake - Hotline Bling (Director: Director X)
The Elwins - So Down Low (Director: Alan Poon)
Fast Romantics - Julia (Director: Matthew Angus)
Grimes - Flesh Without Blood (Director: Grimes)
Harrison - How Can It Be (Director: Maxime Lamontagne)
Kalle Mattson - Avalanche (Director: Philip Sportel)
Monogrenade - Le Fantôme (Director: Kristof Brandl)
Peaches - Rub (Directors: Peaches, A.L. Steiner and Lex Vaughn)
PUP - Dark Days (Director: Jeremy Schaulin-Rioux and Chandler Levack)
Shy Kids - Rockets (Director: Walter Woodman)
SonReal - For the Town (Director: Peter Huang)
Spek Won - Black Body (Director: Mark Valino)
Yukon Blonde - Saturday Night (Directors: Mac Boucher and Gaya Abdalian)