'Confessions,' CBC come up big at Geminis

Don Newman picks up the Gordon Sinclair Award

TORONTO -- "Confessions of an Innocent Man," a documentary about a Canadian man wrongly jailed and sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia, drew top honors Monday night as it was named best biographical documentary at the Geminis, Canada's TV awards.

The Paperny Films doc about William Sampson's harrowing imprisonment triumphed as the Canadian broadcast industry handed out awards for documentary, news and sports programming on the first of three nights of awards-giving in Toronto.

Other prizes awarded included the Gemini for best social/political documentary, which went to Peter Raymont's "A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman," a biography of the veteran Chilean-American writer and human rights activist.

And "The Fifth Estate," the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.'s flagship investigative news magazine, won for best news series and earned host Hana Gartner a Gemini for best news series interviewer.

As in past years, the CBC dominated the Geminis in the news and sports categories.

Veteran CBC Newsworld political commentator Don Newman picked up the Gordon Sinclair Award for broadcast journalism, while "The National," the CBC's flagship newscast, came away with trophies for best reporting and best news magazine segment.

A complete list of winners for Monday night is available online at GeminiAwards.ca.