DGC honors Furie with lifetime achievement

'Cairo Time,' 'Being Erica,' 'Mosque' also big winners

TORONTO -- Veteran Canadian director Sidney J. Furie loves the U.S. Marines, doesn't know why, insists he possibly wanted to become one.

And Saturday night, as Furie received a lifetime achievement award at the 2010 Directors Guild of Canada Awards, he recalled the best review he ever received among the around 100 movies he made since "A Dangerous Age" in 1957.

"I met a Marine captain who said when he went out to Kuwait in 1991 for the Gulf War, he played Boys of Company C to make his young recruits feel great," Furie said.

"That was the best review I ever got," he added of the 1978 film that followed young Marine recruits from Camp Pendleton into battle at the 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam.

That war drama followed the Canadian director graduating from the early ranks of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. to direct a young Michael Caine as a counter espionage agent in the 1965 film "The Ipcress File," and a year later going to Los Angeles to direct Marlon Brando in "The Appaloosa."

Furie, a dual Canadian-U.S. citizen, has kept homes in Los Angeles and Toronto even since, directing Frank Sinatra in the 1967 film "The Naked Runner," and a young Diana Ross in her seminal 1972 film "Lady Sings The Blues."

"I've always believed in the writer, and hidden behind the camera and hidden in the darkest part of the set," Furie said as he struggled to sum up his 53 years as a movie director.

"It's the greatest thing to be in this business," he finally said.

Other big winners at the 2010 DGC Awards included local directors Ruba Nadda winning for best feature with "Cairo Time" and Reginald Harkema grabbing the best director trophy for "Leslie, My Name is Evil."

And the TV side, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. saw three of its series take top honors, with the best TV drama trophy going to "Being Erica," "Little Mosque on the Prairie" named the best TV comedy and the best family TV series going to "Heartland.

Also in the TV arena, Norma Bailey won the best TV movie direction prize for "Too Late to Say Goodbye" and Adrienne Mitchell was named best TV drama director for "Durham County."

Other lifetime achievement winners included Paul Bronfman receiving the DGC lifetime member award, and Don McCutcheon earning the Don Haldane Service Award.

A full list of DGC Award winners is available at www.dgc.ca.