Film and television writer-director Brian McKenna to receive 2007 Pierre Berton Award

    --Canada's top history prize to be presented at Rideau Hall for the first
    time in it's history--

    OTTAWA, Nov. 1 /CNW/ - Canada's National History Society today announced
Brian McKenna as the recipient of the 2007 Pierre Berton Award. Mr. McKenna is
to be honoured at Rideau Hall tomorrow morning along with the recipients of
the Governor General's Awards for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History.
This will be the first time the award is presented at Rideau Hall.
    During his 37-year career, Mr. McKenna has gained an international
reputation for documenting Canadian history on film and television and in
print. His provocative, prize-winning films and television documentaries have
helped us to gain deeper understanding of Canada, and especially the wars that
have shaped the nation. McKenna won Geminis in both languages for his Memoirs
of Pierre Trudeau, and the stormy series, the Valour and the Horror.
    In April 2006, Brian McKenna's latest production, The Great War aired on
CBC-TV and Radio Canada, signaling a revolutionary approach to historical
documentary television. The Great War brought together 150 direct descendants
of Canadian First World War soldiers, and dramatized the story of their
ancestors' journey into battle. The result was ground-breaking television,
with the battles of Vimy, Beaumont Hamel and Passendaele brought to life in
all their searing horror, destroying a generation of Canadian men, and leaving
a generation of women in agony.
    "In many respects, Brian McKenna's extensive commitment to broadcasting
Canada's stories laid the ground work for future major television projects
with Canadian history at their core," said Deborah Morrison, president and
C.E.O. of Canada's National History Society, who bestow the annual Award. "But
what makes him so honourable to me, is his passion to telling the exceptional
stories of everyday Canadians - so that all of us can better see ourselves in
our history."
    "It's a special honour to receive this Award so named after
Pierre Berton. He stood up for us, writing feisty and eloquent columns
defending our documentaries when they came under attack. I owe him much and
still miss him." Mr. McKenna said. "I am equally honoured to be included among
this prestigious group of talented historians, writers, and popular media
producers. We often spend a great deal of time working in isolation from
everyone else to bring our stories to life. These honours and events provide a
welcome opportunity to pause and celebrate and gain new inspiration."

    About the Pierre Berton Award

    Brian McKenna is the thirteenth recipient of the Pierre Berton Award.
Canada's National History Society first established the Award in 1994 for
distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history. Canadian writer
and popular author Pierre Berton was the first recipient. Other recipients
have included: The Canadian Society for Civil Engineering; CBC (Canada: A
People's History); James Gray; Bob Johnstone; Jacques Lacoursière,
Peter Newman, The CRB Foundation (Heritage Minutes), Will Ferguson,
Charlotte Gray, Jack Granatstein, and Ken McGoogan, . The Award honours those
who, like the Award's namesake, have introduced Canadian characters and events
of the past to a much wider public audience. The Award includes a medal, and a
cash prize of $5,000.

For further information:

For further information: Deborah Morrison, CEO, Canada's National
History Society, (204) 293-1867 (cell), 1-800-816-6777 ext.22,

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