Shaun JohnstonShaun Johnston from the made-in-Alberta tv series Heartland will be presented with the Billington Award at a luncheon at the Westin Hotel in Calgary on November 5. The award is presented hearch year to an individual who has made an invaluable contribution to Alberta’s production community, and celebrates those individuals who, like him, inspire us all with their vision, passion and dedication. Shaun’s character Jack on Heartland is considered “the rock of Heartland, anchoring the family through all the ups and downs of their increasingly complicated lives.”

About Shaun Johnston:

Shaun Johnston loves to say, “Home is where your heart is,” and he tells everyone that his heart is strongly beating in Alberta.

I’ve worked in every corner of this country and I find great things in every place where I work,” Johnston says, adding, “But it is very special to be working here in Alberta, especially on a project that everyone is so passionate about.

Born and raised in Ponoka, Alberta, Johnston has lived in Edmonton since he attended the University of Alberta, where he took the renowned acting program there, graduating with a BFA.

The first film he was the lead character in was William Hornecker’s 1993 feature “Two Brothers, a Girl and a Gun,” which garnered him an Alberta Film & Television Award for Best Actor. He recently won the award again this year, for his portrayal of Captain Fancher – the leader of the wagon train – in Christopher Cain’s theatrical feature “September Dawn.”

On television Johnston has appeared in an array of roles, including the series lead, Jake Trumper, in “Jake and the Kid,” opposite Christopher Plummer is both television movies “Agent of Influence” and “Dinosaur Hunter,” as well as in the Emmy winning “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and the Gemini winning “Mayerthorpe.” Among his many other television appearances he was a series regular on “Traders” and had a recurring role as Sid Flemming on “Da Vinci’s Inquest.”

Shaun was honoured to receive a Gemini nomination for his portrayal as Jack in the first season of “Heartland.” He was nominated in the Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series category, for his work in the episodes “Rising from the Ashes” (aka “Nothing Endures“) and “Coming Together.”

About David Billington:

The prestigious award is named for David Billington who came to Alberta in 1975 with 2 national newspaper awards and a stint at Reuters behind him. He worked as a cowboy then joined the Calgary Herald in 1977. In 1978 he became entertainment editor and rodeo commentator for the newly established Edmonton Sun. David was the first print journalist to give serious attention to the arts and in particular, film and television in Alberta. In 1974, David covered Alberta’s first film festival, four years later he was a founding member of the Commonwealth Games Film Festival and was on the pre-selection committee for the first Banff Television Festival in 1979 – a role he played until his death in 1987. David believed that Alberta film should be held to the exacting standards of the global industry. Since David’s death in 1987, the award has been presented each year

David Billington was given the very first Billington Award posthumously in 1988. It was accepted by his son Dai Billington. See the other award winners of the  Billington Awards and order tickets on the AMPIA website.

This announcement just received from AMPIA…

AMPIA is excited to offer 2 FREE tickets to the upcoming “Roast & Toast” of Alberta actor Shaun Johnston at the annual David Billington Award Luncheon at the Westin Calgary on Saturday, November 5th! Hosted by comedian, Fred Keating, this annual industry event brings together Alberta’s talented production community for an afternoon of fellowship and laughter. Plan to join us! Enter your name today in the draw for 2 FREE tickets, by sending a quick email to pgerlach@ampia.org. Draw will take place this Friday, October 14th at 12:00 Noon.