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The Best Independent Canadian Music Videos released in 2020 Announced at Third Annual CIMVAs

The Best Independent Canadian Music Videos released in 2020 Announced at Third Annual CIMVAs

Presenting the Best Canadian Independent Music Videos Released in 2020

The Third Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards has officially come to an end. The winners were decided based on the votes of over 20,000 Canadians from across the country, coupled with the votes from the Dropout Entertainment CIMVA Judges. While we didn’t know what to expect at the beginning of this contest this year – we’re overwhelmed by the resourcefulness, and creativity of the Independent Canadian Music Scene. Even in a year like 2020. 

These are the winners of the Third Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards.


Best Rock Video – The Saydes – ‘Nightmare’

Winner of the CIMVA for Best Rock Video, The Saydes is an alternative-grunge band from Barrie, Ontario consisting of members Talin Chadwick, Kameron Price, Connor Lauzon, and Dylan Chlon. The band sights some of their biggest influences as 90’s alternative chart-toppers such as Silverchair, Soundgarden and Nirvana. 

Barrie Ontario has a nostalgic history for me and 90’s alternative music. In particular I remember seeing Silverchair at Molson Park in Barrie ON in 1999 at Edgefest. I can’t help but wonder if any of the members of this band were in attendance there as well. The Saydes released their debut EP ‘Nervous System’ in 2020 that included their single ‘Nightmare’.

‘Nightmare’ the song is melodic and heavy in the awesome grunge kind of way. I’m going to look forward to hearing more from The Saydes while I finish off listening to their new EP.

The video for ‘Nightmare’ was directed by Alexander Ciprian, and is a visually stunning dark journey through a farmstead a-la central Ontario. The video mimics the feeling of floating through a nightmare, looking for familiar things in strange places and being followed.

This is the debut music video from The Saydes first EP ‘Nervous System’.


Best Indigenous Video – Snotty Nose Rez Kids – ‘Real Deadly’ 

Snotty Nose Rez Kids are the combined talents of Yung Trybez and Young D, hailing from the Haisla Nation, “The People of the Snow”. The duos music can best be described as thought-provoking club-bangers that challenge indigenous stereotypes. 

The duo released a five-song EP in 2020 called Born Deadly, that included the track Real Deadly. The song is not only catchy as hell, it takes on the current Canadian-system in an inspiring and rebellious way. It’s also a great gate-way into the music of Snotty Nose Rez Kids. The duo has fans from all over the world and have toured in Canada, the US and Australia in support of their work. 

‘Real Deadly’ – the music video – was directed by Travis Didluck, and features the artists in a number of cinematically stunning scenes, incredible art direction and even a few live birds of prey for good measure. The video for ‘Real Deadly’ by Snotty Nose Rez Kids won a CIMVA this year for Best Indigenous Video.

Best Folk Video – Noah Malcolm – If Not’

The Debut EP ‘On Time’ by Noah Malcolm is an introspective indie-folk/pop journey through the mess & magic of coming into your own. The Toronto based singer songwriter released ‘If Not’ the second single from the album in October of 2020, well into the COVID-19 lockdown. 

The song is a sweet and playful folk tune about all those awkward personal feelings you have about yourself while you’re growing up, and while you’re living the rest of your life too quite frankly. I’ll let you know if it stops. 

The video was produced, directed and edited by the artist himself in his parents backyard during the lockdown. The artist notes special thanks to his parents for letting him use the furniture and to his sister for pressing the record button “1000 times”. 

The video for ‘If Not’ won a CIMVA for Best Folk Video. 

Best Metal Video – Judgement – ‘Terra Firma’

Judgement believes in the freedom of self expression, and the acceptance of all. The band is based out of Oshawa, ON. The band was 2018’s recipient of the Best Emerging Artist Award at the first annual Oshawa Music Awards.

The band is gearing up for the release of their first EP in 2021, and in the meantime have released a number of singles including their 2020 release ‘Terra Firma’. The song itself is a tribute to post-emo-hardcore; indpendenence and freedom. The video for ‘Terra Firma’ was directed and edited by Roberto Spadafora. 

The music video for ‘Terra Firma’ won the CIMVA for Best Metal Video at the Third Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards. 

Best Pop Video – Dani Kristina – ‘Drift Away’

The music video for ‘Drift Away’ by Toronto based pop artist Dani Kristina took home the CIMVA this year for Best Pop Music Video. As a classically trained mezzo-soprano and pianist, Dani’s diverse musical roots allow her to experiment with complex harmonies within her songwriting, and you can get a good ear on that from listening to ‘Drift Away’. While the song is firmly planted in the pop-world, her complexities come into play in her compositional writing. 

The video for ‘Drift Away’ is a testament to what budget-ish in-camera lighting can accomplish when shooting a music video if you know how to use it. The video was shot in and around Toronto, ON, featuring the artist against beautifully lit backdrops of the Toronto skyline. The video is a dreamscape of a broken heart in the big city. The video was directed, produced and edited by Filmmaker Blake Garbe.

Best Country Video – Justin Fancy – ‘Sure Beats a Good Time’

The video for ‘Sure Beats a Good Time’ by Justin Fancy, Produced by Center City Media and Film Production was awarded the CIMVA for Best Country Video at the Third Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards. The video features stunning footage, incredible colouring, and above all else images that remind us of incredible times with our friends.

Justin Fancy is a proud Newfounlander making country music and we love him for it. No Bravado. Zero Hype. Humble to a fault. Justin Fancy is a refreshing breed of artist that isn’t afraid of taking chances to get where he wants to be.

Best Hip Hop Video – AllMillz – Mysterious Vibes’

‘Mysterious Vibes’ by AllMillz takes a while to get going. That’s the first thing you should know about it. There are too many things about this video to try and explain. ‘Why is it green?’ is a popular question right off the bat.

‘Mysterious Vibes’ is a song that speaks to the weird times that we live in, to me at least. The music video is not only a reflection of that weird feeling you get about life late at night, but a developed idea that is literally translated into what can only be described as a psilocybin hallucination coupled with an actual self-haunting. 

The video for ‘Mysterious Vibes’ presents the complicated idea of being held up by your past self after leaving that part of yourself behind. The video won the CIMVA for Best Hip-Hop Video in the Third Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards.


Best Indie Video – Mountain Head – Soul Stain’

The video for ‘Soul Stain’ by Mountain Head is so rich with eye-candy it should come with a health advisory. Filmed entirely at the Come Together Music Festival at Frontier Ghost Town in Ontario, Canada. The festival itself is rich with interesting characters, and the duo made the most of it. The video was Directed by Sara Brasso, and Edited by Sara Brasso and Jake Chirico. 

Mountain Head begins with the Hanna Brothers, and a mountain. Don’t ask which one. The duo started releasing their own music independently in 2019 after losing faith in mainstream music, and seem to be picking up on a vibe that gets a few feet in front of the rest of us at every turn. In the middle of this article I took a Reddit break and found one of the Hanna Brother’s playing a sitar on a Reddit Livestream for 5000+ people, on a Thursday afternoon!

Mountain Head is said to have wandered through a wasteland and arrived at a mountain, which they scaled. At the top, they discovered a shaman who changed the brothers’ lives and way of thinking forever. Mountain Head won the CIMVA for best Indie Music Video for ‘Soul Stain’ in the Third Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards. We hope this pleases the superspectrum. 


Emilie Landry – ‘Bouillir D’la Misere’

‘Bouillir D’la Misere’ by Emilie Landry won the CIMVA for best Lockdown Video. A category added specifically for the year that was 2020, to recognize musicians that created exceptional music videos in the time of lockdown. The video for ‘Bouillir D’la Misere’ was created by Le Grenier musique – a French-Canadian music management company from Moncton, New Brunswick, in Landry’s own kitchen. 

Watching Landry sing as she – like so many of us this year – struggles to make bread is nothing less than comforting.

Best Music Video – Cody Coyote – ‘Manidoo Dewe’Igan’

Cody Coyote is a Canadian hip-hop artist born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. He is of Ojibwe/Irish descent with ancestry from Matachewan First Nation. Coyote’s video for his single Manidoo Dewe’Igan’ off his 2019 album ‘Ma’iinganag’, won the CIMVA for Best Video at the Third Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards. 

The video was directed and produced by Ajax Creatives, also based out of Ottawa, and features a truly Canadian story from a unique and important perspective. As it plays out we see a struggle with racism; and a self-identity crisis, come to life. The video takes you on a journey through the artist’s past, the racism he faced growing up that ultimately led him “down a road of violence, substance abuse and self-destruction”. 

The song speaks to finding guidance going forward from your distant past. One that you were ruthlessly disconnected from well beyond the year of your birth. The Sixties Scoop is a term coined by Patrick Johnston in 1983 in his book ‘Native Children and the Welfare System’. It refers to the mass removal of Indiginuous children from their families, only to be haphazardly placed into the Canadain welfare and residential school system. It was a common practice for Canadian officials to remove infants from their birth mothers – off reservations – to be raised without access to their own families or cultures. The artist’s father was part of the ‘scoop’ and it took Coyote more than twenty-five years to reconnect with his blood-relatives, his language and his roots. Outside of music Cody Coyote is also a motivational speaker and the host of ‘The Beat’ on 95.7 elmnt fm.

Beyond the message itself this music video impressed our whole editorial team with it’s production value, choreography and the beautiful way it portrayed a complicated story in a very short amount of time. The team at Ajax Creatives did a fantastic job on the production of this piece – a special kudos to the solid action sequences.

We’d like to thank everyone again who voted in this year’s awards, and all the participating artists. We would also like to again thank this year’s generous sponsors Toronto Creatives, Tea Squared, SteamWhistle Brewing, SonicBids, Long & McQuade Musical Instruments and The Rehearsal Factory. We will see you next year for the Fourth Annual Canadian Independent Music Video Awards. 



About The Author

Benjamin Gibson

Benjamin is a Graphic Designer and Creative Director in Toronto, Canada. He has worked on projects for Arkells, Broken Social Scene, and Paul Oakenfold. instagram: @ben_in_toronto

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