Distinctly Canadian 100: the sequel (movie actors and actresses and movie producers and directors).
Animator and director. Born, Saarbruecken, Germany, 1924. It is a measure of Back's extra-ordinary abilities as an artist that his legitimate concerns for ecology, nuclear peace and animal rights have not overwhelmed his films. Two Oscars and numerous international jury prizes testify to this animator's skill in dramatizing his ideals. Soon after his arrival in Montreal in 1948, Back found permanent employment at Radio-Canada, first in its graphics department and since 1970 as a full-scale animator. Crac!, his first Oscar-winner, a subtle, political, pro-provincial piece, is a tribute to folk art in Quebec, while his second, L'homme qui plantait des arbres, is an elegiac portrait of a French-Canadian Johnny Appleseed. Back's work is impressionist and painterly, typifying the strengths he brought to bear on his acclaimed stained glass piece in Montreal's Place des Arts subway station.
Actor. Born, Ladysmith, B.C., 1967. Pamela Denise Anderson was the first baby born on July 1, 1967, in all of Canada, earning her the title "The Centennial Baby." Her parents won cash prizes and awards. In 1988, Pamela moved to Vancouver and while attending a B.C. Lions game, a cameraman noticed her and put her up on the stadium screen. This launched Anderson. She found work on Home Improvement and then was cast as a regular on Baywatch. Anderson has had a rocky marriage to Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee. Her first attempt at a movie lead in Barb Wire proved to be less of a box office hit than anticipated; however, due to the unparalleled worldwide success of Baywatch, Anderson-Lee remains one the most recognizable women of the 1990s.
Actor, director and composer. Born, Rouyn-Noranda, Quebec, 1945. After leaving the National Theatre School of Canada in 1969, Baillargeon co-founded the experimental theatre group Le grande cirque ordinaire. Her key 1979 film, La cuisine rouge (co-directed with Frederique Collin), brought the Cirque's Brechtian style to a fractured narrative about sexual politics. An established performer with roles in some 20 films (La femme de l'hotel, Rejeanne Padovani, Jesus de Montreal), Baillargeon is best known in English Canada for playing "the curator" in Patricia Rozema's 1987 hit, I've Heard the Mermaids Singing.
Lloyd and Hart Bochner
Lloyd: Actor. Born, Toronto, 1924. Hart: Actor. Born, Toronto, 1956. Lloyd has mostly worked in supporting roles and is perhaps best known as Cecil Colby on TV's long-running Dynasty. Some of his more notable films include Tony Rome (with Frank Sinatra) and John Borman's cult classic, Point Blank. Hart got his screen debut in 1977 in Islands in the Stream. By the time he landed the lead in the 1984 TV mini-series, The Sun Also Rises, he was labelled a "heart-throb"; later he was effective as the weasel executive in Bruce Willis's mega-hit, Die Hard. He has since become more interested in directing than acting and his first feature was the National Lampoonish PCU, followed by High School High in 1996.
Director and screenwriter. Born, Montreal, 1939. Although Beaudin has taken a few shots at wild and visionary moviemaking, he will be best remembered for the restrained performances and fastidious visuals of pictures like his 1976 success, J.A. Martin photographe (consistantly nominated by critics as one the best Canadian features ever made). At Cannes, the film won a Best Actress award for star Monique Mercure and attracted Robert Altman to the cinematography of Pierre Mignot. Since J.A. Martin, Beaudin's career has been focused in Quebec with the film version of Being at Home with Cladue and the hit mini-series, Les filles de Caleb. Beaudin has complained on many occasions that Canada's inadequate feature film budgets severely restrict the imagination.
Director. Born, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1951. Having studied film at Queen's University, Berman worked at the CBC for nine years before directing her first independent documentary, Bix: Ain't None of Them Play Like Him Yet (1981). Her follow-up doc, Artie Shaw: Time is All You've Got, about the legendary New York jazz great, captured an Academy award in 1987, and is only one of three Canadian feature documentaries to win an Oscar. Berman's weak 1994 foray into fiction, The Circle Game, included an amazing soundtrack but fumbled the conflicts between a musician and her estranged mother.
Jane Marsh Beveridge
Director, editor and producer. Born, Ottawa, 1915. One of about a dozen women at the NFB during WWII, Beveridge was the only woman to direct and produce war films. She served as de facto producer of the Canada Carries On series, helming six films in two years, but quit over conflicts with John Grierson, who refused to promote her. Although it was watered down from an overtly feminist script, Women are Warriors stands out as one of the few wartime films to argue that women were not leisurely idlers before the conflict. Beveridge's short, Alexis Tremblay, Habitant (1943), shot by the legendary Judith Crawley, was one of the most popular in NFB history. She abandoned filmmaking in the early 1950s to become a teacher and sculptor.
Actor. Born, Montreal, 1957. This award-winning actor has worked in theatre, film and television. Bluteau was first noticed for his riveting performance in Yves Simoneau's Les fous de bassan. Then after receiving great acclaim for his lead in the stage version of Being at Home with Claude, he won the Best Actor Genie in Arcand's masterpiece, Jesus de Montreal. He has since appeared in the Genie-winning films Black Robe and Le confessionnal. Bluteau registered internationally with his supporting roles in Orlando and I Shot Andy Warhol.
Producer. Born, Saumur, France, 1919. Died, 1996. Senior NFB producer and one of the most important ever to work at the Board. Heading the French unit in 1968, he oversaw the production some of the most important films ever made in this country: Perrault's Pour la suite du monde, Groulx's Le chat dans la sac, Jutra's (and other's) La lutte. He was a mentor to a whole generation of Quebecois filmmakers and went to produce the official film of the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. He joined the NFB in 1947 as a writer after a brief stint as a teacher. He retired in 1984, but continued to teach. He once said his role as a producer was "to do all those little things that you don't see in bringing a movie to the screen."
Actor. Born, Montreal, 1968. Bussiere first attracted attention as a suicidal teen-ager in Micheline Lanctot's rigorously dark film, Sonatine. But it was Blanche, a TV series directed by Charles Biname that gave her vedette status in Quebec. After playing the heroine of that show, and more recently the roller-blading cokehead of Biname's Gen-X picture, Eldorado, she became the 1990s heir of Bujold and Laure--the most charismatic actress of her generation. It's a measure of Bussiere's range that her follow-up to Eldorado was her role as a prim theology student who uncovers her desire for women in Patricia Rozema's When Night Is Falling.
Actor. Born Nora Golding, Sarnia, Ontario, 1941. Clark was a leading lady of Hollywood films in the late 1960s following a stage career that began when she was a child. A graduate of London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she made her screen debut in Banning with Robert Wagner in 1967. Returning to Canada, she appeared in some of the most successful tax shelter films (Bob Clark's Murder By Degree and Porky's) and went on to win an Emmy for her portrayal of athlete Babe Didrickson Zaharias in the TV movie Babe. She married her co-star in that production, Alex Karras; he later co-starred with her in the TV series, Webster. For the past decade Clark has been producing TV movies, including Butterbox Babies for CBC-TV in 1995, in which she played the lead.
Actor. Born, U.K., 1942. The career of Jackie Burroughs runs the gamut on-screen from the multi-Gemini-winning role of the prime and proper Aunt Hattie in the long-running Road to Avonlea to the drug-addled tourist "taking a vacation from feminism" in A Winter Tan, for which she won a Genie in 1989. Her stage debut was in director Herbert Whittaker's production of A Resounding Tinkle at the University of Toronto's Hart House. She has since starred in countless plays, including Uncle Vanya and Present Laughter opposite Peter O'Toole. She went on to win back-to-back Genies for her supporting, performances in Robin Phillips' The Wars and Philip Borsos's The Grey Fox.
Actor. Born, Tantoo Martin, Anzac, Alberta, 1951. Tantoo Cardinal was shot in the neck with an arrow in the Bruce Beresford's Black Robe, has played Cupid to Kevin Costner's and Mary McDonnell's characters in Dances with Wolves, and helped hold together the passionately dysfunctional family in Legend of the Falls (with Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt). She is one of the most successful Native actors of her generation and has recurring roles in the popular Canadian TV series, North of 60, and the American prime time drama, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
Actor. Born, Toronto, 1959. Quickly becoming one of Hollywood's favourite supporting actors, Henry Czerny caught the world's attention for his mesmerizing performance as a sexual predator in the NFB production of John N. Smith's The Boys of the St. Vincent, the real-life story of abuse at a boys' orphanage. Czerny's portrayal as the pedophiliac priest won him accolades worldwide, launching his carreer internationally. In Hollywood he landed coveted roles as the White House weasel opposite Harrison Ford in Clear and Present Danger and Tom Cruise's boss in Mission Impossible.
Director and producer. Born, U.K., 1933. Died, 1982. A director and producer who made a significant contribution to English-Canadian cinema for nearly 30 years, Carter is best known for his highly acclaimed 1971 film, The Rowdyman, starring Gordon Pinsent. Trained in Britain, Carter came to Canada in 1955, joining Crawley Films as an editor and assistant director. He later directed and produced several CBC-TV series during the 1960s and lent his production skills to Paul Almond's Isabel and Act of the Heart. Before his death at age 48, Carter was based in Los Angeles.
Actor. Born, Liverpool, U.K., 1956. Trained at New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Cattrall appeared on the Canadian stage and in tax shelter films of the 1970s and early 1980s (few will forget her enthusiasm as the sexually voracious gym instructor in Bob Clark's hugely popular adolescent farce, Porky's), before finding her niche as a sexy comedienne in Hollywood movies. Often poorly utilized, Cattrall was the object of desire in Mannequin; Tom Hanks's uptight wife in The Bonfire of the Vanities, and commanded attention in the Oliver Stone TV mini-series, Wild Palms.
Director. Born, London, Ontario., 1931. Died, 1978. A celebrated visual artist from London, Ontario, Jack Chambers was also a vastly influential figure in the evolution of experimental film in Canada. Pursuing the poetics of perception in his work, even writing an aesthetic manifesto in 1969 entitled "Perceptual Realism," Chambers' deceptively simple films contain dizzying combinations of sound and silence, darkness and light, original and archival footage, abstraction and representation. After almost three decades since its completion, Chambers' feature-length master-piece, Hart Of London (1970), continues to haunt and inspire, and has influenced filmmakers from Bruce Elder to Philip Hoffman.
Administrator. Born, Amherst, N.S., 1948. Clarkson, who came to film through the Canadian Film Institute, was chosen by Toronto film festival co-founder, Bill Marshal, to serve as director for eight years. During that time he launched the Perspective Canada program in 1984, which has grown to become the most important showcase of Canadian films and filmmakers. He then went on to to become chairman and CEO of the OFDC, launching a major government film-funding agency and important cultural agency responsible in large part for the explosion of filmmaking talent in Ontario during the 1980s. Clarkson now heads Jewison's Canadian Film Centre, turning it into a virtual hot house for Canadian feature filmmaking.
Animator, director and composer. Born, Vancouver, 1942. Although Condie was born in Vancouver and has worked at the NFB's headquarters in Montreal for much of the 1990s, his roots are in Winnipeg's zany filmmaking community. During the 1970s and 80s, Condie and fellow NFB animators Cordell Barker and Brad Caslor created cheeky, off-the-wall work fully in keeping with the indie films made by fellow Winnipegers Guy Maddin and John Paisz at the same time. The taciturn, painfully shy Condie let his imagination soar in his two masterpieces: Getting Started, a hymn to procrastination; and The Big Snit, a wry fable about marital squabbling, Scrabble and nuclear war.
Director. Born, Montreal, 1943. Dansereau, who came to filmmaking after 15 years in dance, is a pioneer in the field and co-founder of Quebec's L'association cooperative de productions audio-visuelles (ACPAV). She is still best known in English Canada for La vie revee (1972), an episodic narrative about two women whose obsession for an older man finally leads them back to each other, and away from market-driven images of female desire. After making documentaries for the NFB, Dansereau went on to successfully adapt Marie-Claire Blais's dark, experimental novel, Le sourd dans la ville.
Director. Born, Vancouver, 1941. This leading figure in the development of an independent film scene in British Columbia studied fine arts and philosophy at U.B.C., where his first directorial efforts began. Darcus' penetrating dramas, Great Coups of History and Proxyhawks, signalled a new cinematic energy from the West Coast in the late 1960s. His films since have dramatized Canada-US relations in Deserters; explored the dangers and disillusionments of middle-age in Kingsgate; and satirized the precarious nature of the Canadian film industry in Overnight, about an actor who ends up in porn films to survive and is encouraged by a proud fellow performer with this immortal rallying cry: "We may be small, we may be dirty, but we're Canadian!"
Animator, director and writer. Born, Nimegue, Holland, 1940. An on-going fascination with the elements that make up an animated film places Driessen more in the camp of Snow rather than Disney. His characters continually butt into and out of the frame, often questioning the meaning of the stories they are in. His masterpiece, The End of the World in Four Seasons, presents a storyboard gone awry: divided into four mini-screens, his seasonal creations are buffeted by events taking place above, below and beside them. This philosophical Dutchman became acquainted with the NFB while animating Yellow Submarine in London for Canadian expatriate George Dunning. After a five year stint at the Board in the early 1970s, Driessen began to divide his time between Canada and Holland, a practice he continues to this day.
Cinematographer, editor and director. Born, Lille, France, 1943. A Fine Arts student who emigrated to Canada in the mid-1960s, Dufaux has established himself as one of the country's leading cinematographers. Over the years, he has worked with many of Quebec's leading directors, including Jean-Pierre Lefebvre, Yves Simoneau, Micheline Lanctot, Jean-Claude Lauzon, Denys Arcand and Robert Lepage. In the mid-1980s, Dufaux's work signalled a shift in style from traditional documentary-influenced filming to a more stylized, formalistic cinematography. In films ranging from Pouvoir intime to Un zoo, la nuit and Jesus de Montreal, he has created some of the most striking images in Quebec cinema.
Yvonne De Carlo
Actor. Born Peggy Yvonne Middleton, Vancouver, 1922. Died, 1996. The woman who portrayed Lili Munster in the ghoulish TV show, The Munsters, was once titled "the most beautiful girl in the world." Although De Carlo's mother wanted her little girl to be a famous ballerina, she wanted to act. By 1943 De Carlo was signed to Paramount Studios and, in her own words, "usually cast as an exotic native." She had the title role of Soleme in 1945, followed by The Song of Scheherazade and Slave Girl, and became typecast as a temptress, representing Hollywood's idea of an Arabian Nights beauty. She showed a special knack for comedy in the British-made The Captain's Paradise in 1953.
Director and producer. Born, Vancouver, 1930. This West Coast filmmaker's 1977 film, The Silent Partner, won several Canadian Film Awards, including Best Director. A U.B.C. graduate, Duke began his career in the 1960s working as a producer and director on such CBC-TV shows as Closeup and Telescope. In 1973, he directed his acclaimed first feature Payday, a dark look at the world of country music starring Rip Torn. Duke went on to launch and co-own an independent Vancouver TV station. In the past two decades, he has worked primarily on American TV productions, directing such mini-series epics as The Thorn Birds, Florence Nightingale and Tai-Pan.
Actor. Born, Vancouver, 1932. Famous for his role as Montgomery "Scotty" Scott in the successful TV and film series, Star Trek, James Doohan has had little luck doing much else. He started an acting career after time in the army (he was wounded on D-Day). He studied in New York then returned to Canada to work in early Canadian TV. Heading for Hollywood and Paramount Studios, Doohan "got a job" on Star Trek which lasted nearly 30 years. Stereotyped as his "Scotty" character, Doohan has accepted his fate and is a regular on the Trekkie convention circuit.
Actor. Born, Hamilton, Ontario, 1890. Died, 1974. An acting late starter, Dumbrille sold his southern Ontario onion farm in 1924, when he was 34 years old, and left for Hollywood. Versatile, and more often villainous, Dumbrille appeared in over 250 films as lawyers, politicians, judges and evil potentates. As Mohammed Khan in Lives of the Bengal Lancer, he told Gary Cooper and Franchot Tone, "We have ways to make men talk." His other films include Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, A Day at the Races and The Ten Commandments. In TV he appeared in The Phil Silvers Show and Petticoat Junction.
Director, writer, editor and producer. Born, Port Hawkesbury, Ontario, 1947. Sprawling, stirring, dense, solipsistic, indulgent, interminable, brilliant: all these characterizations of the films of Bruce Elder have been advanced. All are true. One of the key figures to develop in the Toronto experimental scene in the 1970s, Elder's rigorous films range from short works to marathon-length meditations such as Lamentations (1985). In addition to his gargantuan filmography, Elder is also a perceptive commentator on Canadian cinema, creating a lively debate with his 1986 polemical essay, "The Cinema We Need." His critical writing (especially his book, Image and Identity) has opened new and deepened old debates about film in Canada.
Composer, actor and director. Born Lewis Greenblatt, Montreal, 1949. Furey was a classical violinist before he turned to the Euro-pop, art cabaret music that led him to film-composing, then acting and directing. As a composer, his slippery rhythms and witty harmonies spiced up pictures by Gilles Carle and other moviemakers. In 1985, after acting opposite Carole Laure in Carle's L'ange et la femme, and falling in love with her, Furey directed Night Magic, a musical fantasy he scripted with Leonard Cohen. The picture, which starred Laure, didn't win over many fans, but this didn't stop Furey from pursuing a career as a feature film and straight-to-video director.
Director, writer and actor. Born, Saint-Tite-de-Champlain, Que., 1909. A star of Quebec stage from 1936, Gelinas is considered by many to be the godfather of the province's theatre. In 1948, Gelinas wrote Tit-coq (The Cocky One) and performed it hundreds of times in both French and English. It was made into a film which became the most successful feature shot in Quebec during the mini-boom of the 1940s and early 50s. It won Film of the Year at the 1953 Canadian Film Awards. Gelinas is one of the early links between English-and French-speaking Quebec cultural divide as a playwright, actor, theatre manager, and the first chairman of the Canadian Film Development Corporation in 1968.
Director, writer and actor. Born Lethbridge, Alberta, 1933. A prominent player on the English-Canadian film scene in the 1970s, Fruet's early claim to fame was as screenwriter of such ground-breaking films as Goin' Down the Road, Rip-Off and Slipstream. Fruet had attended the Canadian Theatre School and acted in the first NFB feature, Drylanders. His directorial debut, Wedding in White, won a Canadian Film Award for Best Picture in 1972 and is still considered a classic of the period. In a dissapointing carreer move, Fruet would go on to make several slice-and-dice films during the tax shelter years including Search and Destroy, Death Bite and Killer Party. He continues to direct for television.
Director and writer. Born Saguenay-Lac-St-Jean, Quebec, 1963. This technically innovative filmmaker stunned English Canada with his brilliant feature, Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould (1993), which garnered Genies for Girard as Best Director and Rhombus Media for Best Picture. Structured in 32 parts, the film utilized drama, documentary, animation and performance art to offer insights into the life of an enigmatic Canadian genius. Those who had seen Girard's award-winning collaboration with the dance troupe Carbone 14, Le Dortoir, were probably less surprised that Girard could score a triumph with difficult material.
Actor. Born, Jonquiere, Quebec, 1950. A onetime law student turned theatre actor, Girard made his film debut during the mid-1980s. A decade later, he is one of the busiest performers on Quebec's bustling entertainment scene, visible in everything from TV commercials to high drama. An unlikely leading man, chubby and open-faced, Girard slips easily into the role of the modern Everyman. But he also has a puckish quality that gives his characters an ironic amusement with the condition of their lives. Winner of three acting Genies, Girard is most remembered for the jovial lecher he played in Denys Arcand's Le declin de l'empire Americain.
Chief Dan George
Actor. Born, Burrard Indian Reserve, North Vancouver, 1899. Died, 1981. After working 28 years as a longshoreman, an injury on the job inadvertently led to a career in acting for the then 47-year-old George. He got his first role in 1960 on CBC-TV's Caribou County and then Disney came knocking with the feature Smith, touting George as "the real thing." His most famous role was in Arthur Penn's Little Big Man as Old Lodge Skins--a role originally offered to Sir Laurence Olivier. He was nominated for an Oscar in 1971 for his poignant performance opposite Dustin Hoffman.
Producer. Born, Toronto, 1930. Died, 1996. At Harold Greenberg's funeral, the mourners filled two chapels and spilled out the door of the building where the ceremony took place. Many of them were film industry people come to pay their last respects to a man they thought of as simply "Harold," an unpretentious guy who expanded a retail photography business into Astral Communications, one of the most powerful companies in Canadian media. Aided by members of his family, Greenberg did it all--from producing hit movies to launching Pay-TV and specialty channels. Along the way, this genial entrepreneur and philanthropist contributed both time and money to the promotion of Canada's film culture.
Actor. Born, Six Nations Reserve, Ontario, 1952. A member of the Oneida tribe, Greene is best known for his Oscar-nominated performance in Dances with Wolves opposite Kevin Cosner. He worked as an audio technician for rock bands before becoming involved in theatre in Britain and Toronto, scoring supporting roles in Running Brave, Revolution and Powwow Highway. An actor of uncommon intensity, Greene gave an astonishing performance in Richard Bugjaski's seldom seen Clearcut (1992). He also appeared to good effect as the sole survivor of a pre-WWI Indian tribe in the cable-TV movie The Last of His Tribe opposite Jon Voight.
Director. Born, Chicago, U.S.A., 1948. One of Canada's most respected avant-garde filmmakers, Gruben emigrated to Canada from Texas in 1972 and has taught film at Simon Fraser University since 1984. Her 1981 film Sifted Evidence stands as a landmark exploration of feminist and colonial issues, using language against itself to complicate the story of one woman's trip to Mexico in search of matriarchal history. After a poorly received foray into commercial features, Gruben refocused her attention to produce Ley Lines 1993, a tour de force return to experimental methods which pursues the idea of family across the ages, according to an associative logic all its own.
Director and producer. Born, Toronto, 1928. Died, 1989. Hart, a University of Toronto graduate, got his start during the 1950s working as a producer and director for CBC-TV. After directing a variety of U.S. TV series from Mannix to Alfred Hitchcock Presents in the 1960s, Hart returned to Canada in 1970. Known for his "international style," he made several features in Canada including Fortune and Men's Eyes (which proved intensely controversial at the time), Goldenrod (which won him a Canadian Film Award for Best Director), The Pyx and Utilities. Prior to his death, Hart devoted most of his talents to American TV projects such as the mini-series, East of Eden.
Novelist, poet and scriptwriter. Born, Sainte-Catherine-de-Fossambault, Quebec, 1916. Famous author of Kamouraska, Heloise, Les enfants du sabbat and many other novels, Hebert worked as a scriptwriter with the NFB in Montreal from 1953-54. Her co-scripting effort with Claude Jutra led to a somewhat marred film version of Kamouraska, 1973, which may have gone too far to preserve the novel's aleatory approach to memory. Hebert denounced Yves Simoneau's version of her novel Les fous de bassan, but some see it as a better film than Jutra's. Her short story, La canne a peche, was made into a memorable film by Fernand Dansereau in 1959. Hebert has lived in Paris since the mid-1950s.
Actor. Born, Greenville, Michigan, U.S.A., 1938. Canada's foremost stage actress and winner of four acting Genies, Henry came to Canada in her youth to study theatre and was the National Theatre School's first graduate. Her expansive career as an actor includes 19 seasons at Stratford; the Broadway musical Pal Joey; and award-winning performances in The Wars, Dancing in the Dark, Mustard Bath and Long Day's Journey Into Night. She made her directorial stage debut with Brief Lives in 1980 and won accolades as the artistic director of the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario in the late 1980s. Henry is a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Director and writer. Born London, Ontario, 1960. A product of the radical video movement that characterized the downtown art scene in 1980s Toronto, Greyson has remained true to his roots while creating critically acclaimed feature films. His unique combination of wit and didacticism makes Greyson a force for the mainstream to reckon with, particularly as he creates tales that are unabashedly gay in style and content. Urinal, a Berlin Festival film winner, combined video and film aesthetics as did his astonishing Zero Patience, a musical which that featured the ghosts of Sir Richard Burton and a nearly mythical carrier of the AIDS virus. His recent Lilies, a prison drama that deals with guilt, homosexuality, priests and young love, garnered a Genie for Best Picture in 1996.
Denis and Claude Heroux
Denis: Producer and director. Born, Montreal, 1940. Claude: Producer. Born, Montreal, While studying history at the University of Montreal, Denis Heroux collaborated with fellow students Denys Arcand and Shephane Venne on a bemused film about student life called Seul ou avec d'autres. By the late 1960s, the urbane Montrealer had become one of Quebec's first successful private industry moviemakers with the hit erotic picture, Valerie. Heroux went on to pioneer international co-productions with such films as Atlantic City and Quest for Fire. and was a co-founder of Alliance Entertainment, a company he had left by the end of the 1980s. Brother Claude produced In Praise of Older Women and a whole slew of tax shelter bombs as well as Cronenberg's breakthrough films, Scanners and Videodrome.
Michael Hirsh, Patrick Loubert and Clive Smith
Hirsh: Born, 1946. Loubert: Born, 1947. Smith: Born, London, U.K., 1944. Nelvana has evolved from a live action and animation house making local educational and broadcast fare to one of the most important producers of children's television programs in the world. The key moment in their development was the realization with Cosmic Christmas (1976) that Loubert, Hirsh and Smith could produce high quality animation for TV. After the financial failure of their early 1980s animation feature Rock and Rule nearly ruined the company, the Nelvana triumvirate recovered their equilibrium with The Care Bears films and TV shows. Deciding to concentrate on the half-hour children's broadcast market, they have since gone on to create such high quality shows as Babar, Tintin and Little Bear.
Animator, director and cinematographer. Born, Amsterdam, Holland, 1940. Hoedeman's mature work neatly divides into two. There is Hoedeman, the fantasist, who has turned Russian dolls, trains and sand sculptures into the stuff of dreams in, respectively, Matrioska, Tchou-tchou, and the Oscar-winning The Sand Castle. Then there's Hoedeman, the mentor, who uses puppets to transform native fables and social concerns into well-meaning but pedestrian films like Lummaq and The Sniffing Bear. One sings, the other doesn't. Hoedeman left The Netherlands for the NFB in 1965; after a try-out as an assistant on educational films, he found a permanent home in the French unit as a full-time animator in 1968.
Actor. Born, St. John's, NFLD., 1951. This former Rhodes Scholar, Robert Joy was one of the founding members of Newfoundland's famed CODCO, with whom he worked as an actor, musician, writer and composer for three years. He moved to New York to work in theatre and became part of the New York Shakespeare Festival and a regular on Broadway. Joy has appeared in numerous Canadian films, including Ticket to Heaven and Atlantic City, as well as Woody Allen's Radio Days and Shadows and Fog, Forman's Ragtime, and the cult hit, Desperately Seeking Susan with Madonna.
Director, writer, editor and producer. Born, Toronto, 1959. Prolific and protean, Mike Hoolboom has produced over 40 films, ranging from experimental shorts to daring feature-length dramas (Kanada, Valentine's Day and House of Pain). Often cinematically breathtaking, Hoolboom's works are as visually inventive as Derek Jarman's and as politically courageous as Pier Paolo Pasolini's in their explorations of the troubling intersections of desire, the body, the world, and the nation-state in the chaotic, fearful late 20th century. A major talent whose work has been acclaimed here and abroad, Hoolboom captured the best short film award at the 1996 Toronto International Film Festival for his film about living with HIV, Letters From Home.
Actor. Born, Victoria, 1914. Died, 1992. Although Ireland's run at accumulating more than 100 on-screen credits landed him in some shabby pictures in the 1970s and 80s, his career featured many high notes. He was discovered while studying under Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne by Margaret Webster. She cast him in the lead in her 1941 Broadway production of Macbeth. His work on the big screen includes John Ford's My Darling Clementine, Howard Hawks' Red River, and Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus. He was nominated for an Oscar for his role in All the King's Men. In his later years, Ireland returned to Canada to write his memoirs and star in tax shelter bombs such as Incubus and Tomorrow Never Comes.
Cinematographer. Born, Toronto, 1950. This boy wonder of Canadian cinematographers had shot scores of feature films and documentaries by his mid-20s. Irwin, who studied film at York University, lensed the CBC series The Newcomers and shot his first feature, Starship Invasion, in 1976. He was once dubbed the "prince of darkness" for his distinct low-light shooting style and body of work, which includes Paul Lynch's Blood and Guts, and most of Cronenberg's earlier films. Since the mid-1980s, Irwin has primarily shot big budget Hollywood flicks such as Passenger 57, Dumb and Dumber and Vampire in Brooklyn.
Director, writer and producer. Born, Johannesburg, South Africa, 1937. Of all the filmmakers from the 1960s, Larry Kent is the most consistently, unjustly underrated, his films suffering from a puzzling neglect by canon-builders and critics alike. Born in South Africa, Kent moved to Vancouver as a 19-year-old. His low-budget mid-1960s feature films, The Bitter Ash and Sweet Substitute, were stylistically brash, sexually frank dramas of post-adolescent angst. After moving to Montreal in the late 1960s, Kent's work, often skeptical assessments of 60s idealism and ground breaking examinations of feminist themes, led him into further into the margins. Sadly, his most recent and impressive film, Mothers and Daughters (1992), went unnoticed and unreleased.
Bonnie Sherr Klein
Director. Born, Philadelphia, U.S.A., 1941. Best known for her controversial 1981 investigation into the sex trade, Not a Love Story. The film, which ignited a wide-ranging debate about pornography, was banned in Ontario and Saskatchewan and went on to be one of the most popular films the NFB has ever made. After moving to Canada in 1967 to protest the Vietnam War, Klein joined the NFB's Challenge for Change program, making a series of films about social activist Saul Alinsky. Klein moved back to the U.S. in 1970 to establish a community channel in Rochester and direct for PBS, but returned to Canada in 1975. Her 1989 film, Russian Diary, provided a memorable last glimpse of the Soviet Union before the transition to glasnost.
Director, writer and actor. Born, Quebec City, 1958. In 1995, visionary theatre director Robert Lepage soared to the top of the Canadian film scene with his first picture, Le confessionnal. This visually arresting exploration of familial secrets and lies garnered ecstatic reviews and took four Genies, including Best Director. But one year later, Lepage's follow-up, an adaptation of one of his own plays, Le polygraphe, met with lukewarm reviews, audience indifference and a Genie shut-out. It is now unclear whether or not this incredibly prolific, globe- trotting theatre artist will pursue his adventures in film.
Director, writer and cinematographer. Born, Montreal, 1941. Throughout his career, Leduc has been fascinated by the lives and fates of ordinary Quebecois. As a cameraman and latterly a director, Leduc was involved with the the NFB's direct cinema movement. Following the banning of his controversial non-fiction film Cap d'espoir, Leduc slowly moved away from documentaries to dramas. His fiction features, from the celebrated Tendresse ordinaire through to La vie fantome have continued to emphasize how work and the daily grind of events effect one's emotional and romantic life.
Animator and director. Born, Seattle, U.S.A., 1946. Using simple means--sand, silhouettes and drawings etched directly on to film--Caroline Leaf has created films that posses the disturbing power of dreams. Her films have true narrative depth, concentrating on carefully delineated shifts in her character's circumstances. In the Oscar-nominated The Street, a boy in the Montreal Jewish ghetto achieves his goal of getting a bedroom through his grandmother's death. In the Kafkaesque The Metamorphosis of Mr. Samsa, the nightmare of an ordinary man being turned into a cockroach is evoked, while in her prize-winning comeback film, Two Sisters, the ugliness of sibling rivalry reaches Gothic proportions.
Richard and Douglas Leiterman
Richard: Cinematographer. Born, South Porcupine, Ontario, 1935. Douglas: TV director and producer. Born, South Porcupine, 1927. Richard is one of the best and most famous Canadian cinematographers. His early work at the CBC and low-budget films such as Goin' Down the Road, Rip-Off, Wedding in White and Between Friends virtually defined the look of early Canadian features--hand-held direct cinema shot with style and grace. His brother Douglas co-created (with Patrick Watson) CBC's seminal This Hour Has Seven Days and directed and produced some the network's most insightful documentaries during the turbulent 1960s.
Director, editor and writer. Born, Montreal, 1936. Died, 1986. The ghost of experimental film in the NFB documentary machine, Arthur Lipsett is one of Canadian cinema's most original artists and a key figure in the development of experimental cinema. Hired as an editor at the NFB Animation Unit in 1958, Lipsett worked on several masterpieces by Norman McLaren. He soon began reworking stock footage into stunning collage films harshly critical of contemporary culture (Very Nice, Very Nice and Free Fall). Increasingly metaphysical and filled with elusive, even opaque cinematic poetry, his later films demonstrate a transcendental quality rare in Canadian cinema. After leaving the NFB in the early 1970s, Lipsett's output came to a virtual standstill. He took his own life in 1986.
Writer, director, and producer. Born, Copper Cliff, Ontario, 1954. Well known in Canadian film studies for her theoretical work on feminist and international cinema, Longfellow teaches and directs between articles (or writes between films). Her politically engaged film practice has taken her from an impressionistic comparison of two icons, Marilyn Monroe and Marilyn Bell in Our Marilyn, to a feminist analysis of the Gerda Munsinger sex scandal in Gerda, and the role of female activists in the former Yugoslavia in A Balkan Journey: Fragments from the Other Side of War. That film won Longfellow a Genie nomination in 1996, while Our Marilyn, which is still her most emotionally affecting work, shared the grand prize at Oberhausen and won the Prix du Publique in Montreal.
William D. MacGillivray
Director, writer and producer. Born, St. John's, NFLD., 1946. A founder of the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative in Halifax in 1974, MacGillivray has made lasting contributions to the development of film culture in Atlantic Canada. Out of his fiercely independent production company, Picture Plant, MacGillivray wrote and directed several critically acclaimed films, including Stations (1983) and Life Classes (1986). Concerned with the pressures of mass culture and commercialization on the individual imagination and identity, MacGillivray's films are intelligent, introspective and formally complex. "Tell your own stories, get to know who you are," exhorts his protagonist in Understanding Bliss: it is MacGillivray's own credo.
Director, producer and cinematographer. Born, U.K., 1924. An influential figure in the development of new forms of documentary in Canada, Macartney-Filgate joined the fabled Unit B of the NFB in 1956. Working extensively as a producer and cinematographer on the ground breaking Candid Eye series of film portraits of Canadian life, Macartney-Filgate helped refined the free form, unscripted, observational approach of the direct cinema movement. He left in the NFB in 1960 to work independently. Rejoining the Board briefly in the late 1960s during its Challenge For Change program, he went on to produce several major docudramas. Macartney-Filgate's most memorable films are The Back-Breaking Leaf, Up Against the System and Dieppe 1942.
Actor. Born Lois Ruth Hooker, Kitchener, Ontario, 1927. Maxwell has had spells in Hollywood and Italy, but spent the majority of her film career in England. There her pleasant personality was always welcome, if somewhat wasted, in playing the unflappable, always hopeful Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond films over a period of 24 years. From Dr. No to A View to Kill, Maxwell added a touch of humour and class to the longest-running hots in the history of cinema.
Producer and distributor. Born, Joliette, Quebec, 1942. A variety show and record producer before entering the film industry, Malo is a major industry player. He built Malofilm into one of Canada's most successful distributor's of Canadian features; as a producer, Malo has been behind some of the best films made in Quebec over the past 10 years: Lanctot's Sonatine, Arcand's Le declin de l'empire americain and Mankiewicz's Les portes tournantes. Malo once said that producers should react to scripts "like a normal person on the street."
Actor and writer. Born Ruff de Rythor Juan Acklom, Halifax, 1902. A prolific writer as well as stage and movie actor, Manners claimed his lineage dated back to William the Conqueror. A second lead in many of Universal's horror films of the 1930s, Manners was the naive Jonathan Harker in Bela Lugosi's Dracula, one of the explorers who discovers Boris Karloff in The Mummy, and starred with both Lugosi and Karloff in Edgar G. Ulmer's classic, The Black Cat. He also played opposite Katherine Hepburn in A Bill of Divorcement in 1932. Manners left Hollywood in the 1940s for the New York stage and a career as a novelist.
Director and writer. Born, London, U.K., 1932. Died, 1992. Leonard Cohen once described his friend Derek May as a man with an acute sense of "upset," an uncanny ability to turn seemingly ordinary ideas on their heads and make them fascinating. Trained in visual arts (painting, sculpting), May's remarkable films offer evidence of Cohen's theory. Beginning at the NFB in 1965 as an assistant editor, May would direct films such as Angel, Pandora--films which merged documentary, experimental, and personal styles. His final film, Projections (1992), a beguiling and insightful portrait of another artist of "upset," Krzyztof Wodicko, was an impressive swan song for a filmmaking life too soon cut short.
Director, editor and cinematographer. Born, Winnipeg, 1929. Died, 1989. One the world's best director and photographer of nature films, Mason worked at the NFB from 1962 to 1984 where he directed, shot and edited some of the Board's most popular shorts, including the enduring Paddle to the Sea in 1966. His one and only feature, Cry of the Wild, released in 1974, grossed $1-million in its first week of release and went on to become the most successful feature to be produced by the Board. A devoted naturalist and expert canoeist, Mason wrote The Path of the Paddle in 1980, with a forward by another canoe enthusiast, Pierre Trudeau.
Actor and writer. Born, Toronto, 1963. To connoisseurs of Canadian cinema, McKellar is best known for his collaborations with Bruce MacDonald: he wrote Roadkill, Highway 61 and co-wrote Dance Me Outside, and appeared in Roadkill and Highway 61. McKellar also wrote the Genie-winning Thirty-two Short Films About Glenn Gould, and wrote and directed a controversial short about pornography, Blue, starring David Cronenberg. Sometimes called a "renaissance man" for his diversity and originality, McKellar is also a prodigious writer for the stage (The Man With the Million Pound Note, and Ends & Odds). His role as an idiosyncratic pet shop owner in Atom Egoyan's Exotica won him a Best Supporting Genie in 1995.
Actor. Born, 1956. As the airborne, quirky Polly, Sheila McCarthy made her first notable impression on the Canadian movie scene in Patricia Rozema's I've Heard the Mermaids Singing in 1987. She won her first Genie for that performance. When Rozema and McCarthy worked together again, on White Room, the response was less than favourable. However, little harm was done to McCarthy's career which has hummed along at a steady pace with varied roles in conventional Hollywood pictures (Die Hard 2, Paradise), local fare such as The Lotus Eaters (which brought her a second Genie), George's Island and on-stage at Stratford, Shaw and the Grand Theatre.
Director. Born, Bombay, India, 1949. Although Mehta's father was a film distributor and she grew up watching popular Bombay musicals, her university studies led to a degree in philosophy, not film. In 1973 she immigrated to Canada, married Paul Saltzman, and together they started up Sunrise Films. Mehta proved to be an industrious and talented writer, editor and director of short films and documentaries. Her features include Sam & Me, which won an Honourable Mention at Cannes in 1991, Camilla (with Jessica Tandy and Bridget Fonda) and Fire, the first in a trilogy set in India. Her reputation in the Canadian film industry is of a woman not to be trifled with.
Director and writer. Born Toronto, 1938. Pearson won many Canadian Film Awards for his stunning debut film, The Best Damn Fiddler From Calabogie to Kaladar, and Paperback Hero, still the best film ever made about the Canadian Prairies. Well-known as a screenwriter, he co-wrote (with Robin Spry) the award-winning One Man. He made several documentaries for CBC-TV and NFB and he directed many of the innovative dramas for CBC's For the Record. Pearson went on to head Telefilm Canada's Broadcast Fund and was CEO of the federal funding agency from 1985 to 1987.
Director, cinematographer, editor and producer. Born, Toronto, 1958. One of the most important figures to emerge out of the Ontario New Wave of the early 1980s, Peter Mettler studied filmmaking at Ryerson. Cinematographer for fellow filmmakers Atom Egoyan, Bruce McDonald, Patricia Rozema and others, Mettler's own films are astonishing dramas of technology and perception which examine cinema's mysteries of sound and vision while enacting them on screen. Blurring the borders between experimental and narrative cinema, and always with a stunning visual and aural design, Mettler's films include Scissere, Eeastern Avenue, The Top of His Head, Tectonic Plates and Picture of Light.
Writer. Born, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1921. This internationally acclaimed novelist is known for writing screenplays between books. Two of Moore's novels became Canadian-made feature films based on his screen treatments. The first, The Luck of Ginger Coffey, was inspired by his four-year stint as a proofreader and reporter at The Montreal Gazette. In 1991, Black Robe was brought to the screen and won several Genies, including Best Picture. The author's other screen efforts include Hitchcock's Torn Curtain and an adaptation of his novel, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne. Moore, a Canadian citizen since the 1950s, now resides in California.
Director, writer and editor. Born, British Columbia. Nash gained attention in 1982 when her anti-nuclear film, If You Love This Planet, was denounced by the U.S. Justice department as propaganda and then went on to win an Oscar. Working freelance with the NFB's women's unit, Nash has made a specialty of profiling smart, politically engaged women in films ranging from Speaking Our Peace, to A Love Affair with Politics: A Portrait of Marion Dewar, and her latest, Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics, made in 1995. Compelling and beautiful to watch, Who's Counting found ingenious visual analogies to illustrate the alternative economic analyses developed by Waring, a former Australian MP.
Animator, director and producer. Born, Jalsan, India, 1942. A visionary philosophy combined with innovative technical prowess has allowed this gifted animator to produce a unique body of work. Born in India and trained in Switzerland, Patel found a congenial working environment at the NFB in the 1970s. There he was able to create abstract worlds in a series of films that utilized beads, intricately designed backgrounds and back-lit plasticine figures. From How Death Came to Earth through Afterlife to Divine Fate, he has pursued with great art and style his project of animating religious and mythical concepts and tales. Patel's masterpiece remains Paradise (1984), an Oscar-nominated parable about envy that is as luminous as the castle in which the tale is played out.
Animator and director. Born, Copenhagen, Denmark, 1927. A naturally gifted cartoonist, Pindal worked as an animator in Sweden and at Denmark's legendary Nordisk Film Company before emigrating to Canada and the NFB in 1957. His love of machinery and outrageous character designs qualified the puckish Pindal for a prime spot in the Board's burgeoning Animation Department during the 1960s and 70s. There he won kudos for his sprightly animation of Derek Lamb's I Know an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly and his own satirical peek at car culture What On Earth! Pindal remains an important influence in Canadian animation through teaching stints at Sheridan College, his on-going work on the barnyard Peep creatures, and the animation, with Lamb, of the Third World hero, The Karate Kid.
Actor, writer and director. Born, Grand Falls, NFLD., 1930. Pinsent, a versatile character actor and one of the most enduring Canadian screen talents, has seen two of his novels--The Rowdyman and John and the Missus--brought to the screen. He starred in both productions, and directed the latter. Pinsent's career started at the Manitoba Theatre Centre and from there moved on to Stratford, across Canada's theatrical circuit and to the U.S. His film credits include Who Has Seen the Wind and Jack London's Klondike Fever. His small-screen work includes A Gift to Last, Due South, and The Red Green Show. He has been awarded the Order of Canada, two Genies, two ACTRA awards and the 1997 Earle Grey Award for lifetime achievement.
Director and producer. Born, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, 1932. One of the first women directors at the NFB, Poirier pre-figured the feminist movement with such films as De mere en fille (1967), and became the dominant force behind women's production at the Board. For rhetorical force, nothing in her oeuvre matches the 1979 docudrama Mourir a tue-tete, which combines footage of ritual clitorectamy and an episodic narrative to convey the emotional disintegration and eventual suicide of a nurse victimized by rape. More recently Poirier co-directed Il ya longtemps que je t'aime, an often indicting film montage of the image of woman in Quebec cinema.
Director, producer and animator. Born, London, England, 1931. Few Canadian careers have been as colourful as that of Potterton. He has collaborated with Harold Pinter (Pinter People), Buster Keaton (The Railroader) and Donald Pleasance (The Rainbow Boys), run his own studio, and directed the highest grossing animated feature in Canada, Heavy Metal. Arriving in Canada in the mid-1950s, Potterton was in the forefront of the animation wave which shook the NFB; by the early 1960s, he found himself twice nominated for Oscars for My Financial Career and Christmas Cracker. His comic sense proved equally adept in both live action and animated films, allowing Potterton to direct features, theatrical shorts and television programmes in either format.
Producer. Born, Singapore, 1956. In Canada since 1978, Raffe spent 10 years with the Xerox Corporation before finding her calling as a hands-on producer of Patricia Rozema's wildly successful I've Heard the Mermaids Singing. Coming as it did just one year after the creation of the OFDC, Mermaids success launched Ontario's New Wave and lead the way to the smart film festival/commercial marketing of a series of low- budget films by Egoyan, McDonald, Mettler and many others. Raffe's next film, Rozema's follow-up White Room, didn't fair so well, but she regained her footing with three films in 1993, I Love a Man in Uniform, Lotus Eaters and John Greyson ground-breaking gay musical, Zero Patience. Raffe currently is the CEO of the OFDC.
Director and writer. Born, Montreal, 1933. Like many of his contemporaries, Mort Ransen began his filmmaking career at NFB and later moved into private sector production. While at the Board he made a number of short documentary portraits of his restless generation, culminating, in 1968, in one of the most peculiar, engaging and telling examinations of the 1960s ever filmed, Christopher's Movie Matinee. After producing several notable shorts in the 1970s, Ransen left the NFB in 1984 to work independently, turning his attention to feature dramas such as Bayo and Falling Over Backwards. His most recent film, Margaret's Museum, won rave reviews internationally and, in Canada, captured a multitude of Genie awards in 1996.
Director, writer and producer. Born, Toronto, 1928. This internationally acclaimed Canadian filmmaker is best known for his biographies of famous people including The Passions of Leonard Cohen, Homage to Chagall -- The Colours of Love and Stratosphere. Rasky's unique, innovative documentary films have often been dubbed "Raskymentaries" for combining documentary and fiction-film elements. Rasky began his career as a newspaper and radio journalist and then wrote and directed CBC news programs in the early 1950s. From 1957 through the 1960s, he made freelance documentaries for every major English-language network. Considered a "chronicler of greatness and historical atrocities," his most recent documentary was Prophecy.
Director, writer and editor. Born, Bamberg, Germany, 1946. This Vancouver-based teacher, critic and filmmaker has produced two major "cycles" of thematically linked short experimental films: Visual Essays: Origins of Film (1972-83), described by Razutis as a "structural investigation of the primitive silent cinema"; and Amerika (1972-83), an epic, phantasmagoric and decidedly dystopian descent into the gloom of western industrialized society. In these larger works and in more recent films, Razutis' frequently ferocious interrogations of contemporary culture utilize a variety of optical and sonic techniques (collage, layering, etc.) to penetrate and illuminate the contours of the cacophony of modernity.
Director, writer and editor. Born, Vancouver, 1942. One of the Canadian experimental cinema's most internationally acclaimed filmmakers, David Rimmer is based in Vancouver and has assembled a remarkable body of meditative, finely nuanced films which expose and investigate the material properties of the very images of which they are constituted. His most celebrated early films include Surfacing on the Thames and Canadian Pacific, both made in the 1970s. Rimmer's recent films (Black Cat, White Cat and Lizard Music) have merged his philosophical and aesthetic preoccupations in a striking stylistic hybrid of documentary and diary, infused with the insistent interrogations of image and epistemology evident in his earlier work.
Administrator. Born, St. Ferdinand d'Halifax, Quebec, 1915. Film Commissioner and head of the NFB from 1957 to 1965, Roberge was the first French Canadian to hold that position. He initiated many changes at the Board including scrapping the long-running theatrical series Canada Carries On and initiating French-language production and television production. He lobbied persistently for the creation of a feature film fund that would stand alone from the NFB and CBC. He took the matter to Cabinet, but was transferred to Paris to become the Agent General for Quebec before the legislation to create the CFDC (now Telefilm) was enacted by Parliament in 1967.
Cinematographer and director. Born, Srinagar, Kashmir, India, 1941. This multi-award winning cinematographer is one of Canada's best and has worked with many of Canada's top directors on such feature films as Margaret's Museum for Mort Ransen, Bye Bye Blues for Anne Wheeler, and Heartaches for Don Shebib. Sarin made a strong feature film directing debut in 1990 with Cold Comfort. He has numerous credits on scores of CBC-TV productions as well as directing the documentary The Other Kingdom and the TV movie Family Reunion. Known for his stunning shots of Canada's winter landscape, Sarin once said he came to the Great White North because of the snow.
Actor. Born, Russell Craig Eadie, Toronto, 1948. Died, 1990. There was no competition when Russell lay claim to the title of "Canada's best-known female impersonator." At 16, he founded the Mae West Fan Club with a phony list of 25 names and four years later, he was West's secretary for nine months. West became the inspiration for his best impersonation. His lead role as a gay hairdresser in the surprise 1977 hit film Outrageous! was bewitching. On condition that he cut out the booze and drugs during production, Russell added some shine to the otherwise lacklustre sequel, Too Outrageous!, a decade later. Unfortunately, his addictions would take his life at 42.
Actor. Born: Wolfrathausen, Germany, 1948. Born in a German refugee camp, Saul Rubinek grew up in Toronto where he co-founded the Toronto Free Theatre and established himself on stage in both Canada and the U.S. He got his film debut in Agency, and won a Genie award in 1982 for his work in Ticket to Heaven. In the U.S. his work has been in mostly supporting roles -- opposite Alan Alda in Sweet Liberty and Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman in Unforgiven. Rubinek received particular acclaim for his starring performance as an Orthodox Jewish rabbi in the provocative 1992 Canadian film, The Quarrel. Currently he stars opposite Ted Dansen in TV's Ink.
Actor and director. Born, Winnipeg, 1939. Known as a talented documentarian who made solid social purpose and slice-of-life films (including Flamenco at 5:15, for which she won an Oscar in 1984), Scott gained international attention in 1990 with her endearing docudrama, Company of Strangers, about seven elderly women stranded at a deserted farmhouse. Featuring no professional actors and spontaneous dialogue, this film managed to be both heartwarming and radical, building sympathy for a soft-spoken lesbian in her 70s and raking in over a dozen awards. In her other incarnation, Scott has played a corporal in Aliens and a waitress in Rush.
Actor. Born, Quebec City, 1940. Initially cast as a youngster undergoing initiation at the hands of older men, Michael Sarrazin prepared for the stage at New York's Actors Studio. He made his screen debut with the NFB and later got into feature films via American TV. He connected with youthful audiences in the 1968 surfing saga, The Sweet Ride, which co-starred longtime girlfriend Jacqueline Bisset, and opposite Jane Fonda in the harrowing melodrama, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? but never got beyond the brink of stardom. In recent years he's taken many unsympathetic roles, including white-collar criminals.
Director. Born, Montreal, 1945. A skilled documentarist with a great eye for detail, Shaffer joined the NFB in the mid-1970s and is best known for her work on the Children of Canada series (1975-1978), including I'll Find a Way, for which she won an Oscar in 1977. More recently, Shaffer directed seven instalments for the Board's Children of Jerusalem series, which explores questions of identity and cultural conflict through profiles of Arab and Jewish youths. Her 1987 film, To a Safer Place, won awards for its uplifting story of an incest survivor in her 30s who has succeeded in building a full life after years of abuse.
Producer. Born, Vancouver, 1935. The star in Shannon's documentary filmmaking legacy is the fact that she founded the NFB's Studio D. From 1975 to 1986, Shannon ran the woman's studio with the idea that films are meant to affect change in the world. Under her tutelage, Studio D produced, among others, Not A Love Story and If You Love this Planet. Shannon joined the NFB in 1956 as a music editor, worked her way into picture editing, and produced and directed her first film in 1971. She is an officer of the Order of Canada.
Actor. Born, Hamilton, Ontario, 1950. The son of an Irish-born steel executive and his concert-violinist wife, Martin Short began performing at McMaster University where he majored in social work. After graduation he moved to Toronto where he began his professional career in 1972 in the legendary production of Godspell. In 1977 he joined the Second City improvisational group and later, SCTV. He scored his first success on TV in the 1984 season of Saturday Night Live and has had a spotty career both on TV and film ever since. He has made some truly dreadful comedies but did his annoying best as "Franck," the wedding coordinator from Hell, in Father of the Bride.
Writer and director. Born, Hong Kong, 1966. One of the freshest new voices in Canadian cinema, Vancouver-based Shum has so far made a specialty out of light but filling comedies exploring what it's like to be Chinese, Canadian and female. Of her six short films, Me, Mom and Mona stands out for its stylishly loopy depiction of the main women in her life. Shum developed her semi-autobiographical first feature, Double Happiness, while a resident at the Canadian Film Centre, and has won best film awards at home and in Germany and Italy. Sandra Oh, who earned a Genie for her role in the film, plays an aspiring young actress caught between love and responsibility, affection for her family and anger at their Old World ways.
Director, producer, cinematographer and editor. Born, Toronto, 1927. Died, 1991. His wall at the National Film Board prominently featured a still of Buster Keaton. It was an ironic recognition that Buster Keaton Rides Again was Spotton's finest achievement in a long career as a supposedly pragmatic filmmaker. For over four decades, Spotton functioned as a jack-of-all-trades, producing, directing, shooting and editing films mainly at the NFB. Although loyal to his bureaucratic masters, he was not averse to subversive activity, most notably in the case of Nobody Waves Goodbye. As Don Owen's cinematographer and editor, Spotton was complicit in the secretive expansion of a half hour documentary on delinquents into a ground-breaking feature drama. Spotton also shot many of Tom Daly's memorable direct cinema efforts for the Board's Unit B and co-directed the moving Holocaust film, Memorandum, with Donald Brittain.
Director and producer. Born, Edmonton, 1946. Following an eclectic early career in computer programming and music education, Wheeler has emerged as one of Canada's finest storytellers, blending the social conscience of an NFB doc with a firm grip on story structure in such films as Loyalties, Bye Bye Blues and The War Between Us. Friendships between women, WWII and prairie history have been major concerns throughout her career, which began at Filmwest with Great Grandmothers, a short film about pioneer women. Since then Wheeler has worked on some 26 film and TV projects, including adaptations of two Margaret Laurence stories, To Set Our House in Order and The Diviners.
Administrator. Born, U.K., 1919. Former producer and director at the NFB, Spencer was the executive director of the Canadian Film Development Corporation during its first formative decade. As director of planning for the Board, he played a major role in the creation of the CFDC. He was named executive director in 1969 and left the CFDC in 1978 with opinions differing on his contribution to Canadian film culture, but there is no doubt that during his tenure the film industry in Canada was transformed. Although chronically underfunded, the CFDC, contributed funds to Goin' Down the Road, The Rowdyman, Paperback Hero, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, and many others; seminal Canadian films, without which we would have no feature-film culture whatsoever.
Director, producer and writer. Born, Toronto, 1939. A pioneer of the emerging English-Canadian film scene in the late 1960s, Spry first got interested in film while attending university in Britain. When he returned in 1965, he joined the NFB as an assistant director and later made several docudramas focusing on social issues including Flowers on a One-Way Street. Spry's first feature, Prologue, won a British Academy Award. His 1977 feature film, One Man, won seven Canadian Film Awards. Other works include the TV film Drying Up the Streets and the features Suzanne and Obsessed. In recent years, he has produced films such as Une historie inventee and Malarek through his Montreal-based firm, Telescene.
Actor and director. Born, Toronto, 1947. Thomson majored at university in math and physics, but left the lab for the stage in his youth. This remarkable talented actor, an English-Canadian Everyman, has over 40 screen credits to his name, and despite the more lucrative fees he could get for acting in Hollywood films, Thomson has resolutely remained in Canada. He has won every major acting award in theatre, film and TV and has shown considerable range from the waterfront thug in Canada's Sweetheart: The Saga of Hal C. Banks to a survivor of the Holocaust in The Quarrel. Currently, he hosts CBC-TV's long-running Man Alive series--a role he has said suits his "opinionated" disposition.
Animator, director and musician. Born, Belleville, Ontario, 1945. In the comic world of John Weldon, average Canadians are confronted by absurd circumstances that tear away the fragile underpinnings of their lives. His Oscar-winning Special Delivery, co-directed by Eunice Macaulay, follows a postman, his wife and her lover as they work their way through a darkly humorous scenario of love, death, misunderstanding and exile. Questions of identity are played out in several of Weldon's films. To Be, an animated sequel to The Fly, raises the ante on Hamlet's soliloquy by duplicating a scientist through a teleport machine. Made before Who Framed Roger Rabbit, his stylish Real Inside has a toon--a cartoon creation--apply for a job because he wants to be human too. Appropriately, Weldon's most recent effort is entitled Scant Sanity.
Director. Born, Penticton, B.C., 1947. Talented but unfortunately cursed with a taste for pure Okanagan tree sap, Wilson made a splash with her 1986 debut feature, My American Cousin, about a pre-pubescent girl's first big crush, but floundered with the sequel, American Boyfriends. Harmony Cats (1993) was even more of a disappointment, pitting an arrogant city musician against country folk with the most predictable results. Wilson began her film career in 1970 with Penticton Profile, and things looked promising in 1977 with the experimental short Growing Up in Paradise, structured around her father's home movies.
Actor. Born, Edmonton, 1942 With lead roles in Perfectly Normal, Margaret's Museum, Whale Music and the CBC-TV movies Dieppe and Love and Hate, Welsh is a familiar face on Canadian screens. He is equally known south of the border, with roles in such films as The Freshman, The January Man, Heartburn and Clint Eastwood's latest, Absolute Power. He worked on and off Broadway from 1976 to 1989 where his biggest hit was starring opposite Kathy Bates in Terrence McNally's Frankie and Johnny. Welsh also received good notices for the play he conceived, Standup Shakespeare, which the New Yorker called "77 minutes of enchantment."
Artist and filmmaker. Born, Toronto, 1931. Considered the "mother" of Canadian experimental cinema, Wieland has explored her woman-centred artist's territory through some 15 avant-garde films, one feature (The Far Shore), paintings and political quilts. Her 1966 film Water Sark has been held up as a key instance of feminine ecriture, dramatizing the discovery of a filmic language based on the female body, while Reason Over Passion (1968-69) sums up her impassioned but critical approach to Canadian nationalism. Grounded in a sense of the female body/ bawdy, Wieland's work has consistently exploded categories of high and low art, the political and the personal, the artistic and the domestic.
Distributor and exhibitor. Born, Risce, Hungary, 1873. Died, 1976. Founder of Paramount Pictures, Adolf Zukor was far from the only one involved in a bid to annihilate competition, but perhaps he was the most successful--and certainly through his control of Famous Players Canadian Corporation (FPCC), he came to dominate the Canadian film industry. Zukor's strategy was simple. With the aid of a massive loan from the Morgan Bank, he embarked on a process of acquiring theatres across North America. The stifling control FPCC had on the film industry in Canada lead to, in 1930, an investigation under the Combines Investigation Act. Despite the mass of evidence and the persuasive conclusion of Commissioner White that FPCC's operations were detrimental to the public interest, no conviction resulted. The problems for the Canadian film producer in the 1930s and 40s were virtually insurmountable and continue to this day. Zukor, who, like John Grierson, was never a Canadian citizen, has had the most profound impact on the (lack of) development of a Canadian feature film industry than any other single individual.
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|Date:||Mar 22, 1997|
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