Busier than ever, the Toronto filmmaker is in the midst of promoting his latest films, Know Your Mushrooms and Astra Taylor's Examined Life (executive producer), all while reviving his 1976 film FLAK that will be featured this year as a part of Hot Docs' Focus On retrospective. I briefly caught up with the iconically coiffed filmmaker to talk about his career, new films and his influences.
Enter documentary filmmaker Shelley Saywell. With over a dozen documentaries to her name, she has spent her career dedicated to telling the stories of people behind the international headlines, after the journalists have all left but the devastation remains. Among her long list of acclaim and awards, she was awarded UNESCO's Gandhi Silver Medal for Promoting the Culture of Peace in 1997 after completing Kim's Story: The Road from Vietnam, and an Emmy in 2001 for outstanding investigative journalism for her film Crimes of Honour. I caught up with Shelley to talk about her new films and her accomplished career that has taken her all around the world.
It was that desire to tell stories that led Min Sook Lee, at the age of 30 and without any formal training, into her award-winning career as a documentary filmmaker. Her short career, highlighted by such films as Hogtown: The Politics of Policing (awarded Best Feature-length Canadian Documentary at the 2005 Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival) and Tiger Spirit (her self-reflecting journey to understand a divided Korea), shows clearly why she wanted to tell stories - she's good at it.
With a skillful ability to gaining access into the lives of her subjects, Min Sook Lee is a welcome voice in the world of documentary filmmaking. I asked her about her current projects, her career thus far, and the challenges of documentary filmmaking.
I met up with Alan Zweig at Primitive Entertainment to talk about his career as a filmmaker, the role of style in a documentary film and his new film, A Hard Name.
Photo by Joseph Michael.
As I began this new series that explores five Toronto documentary filmmakers, I knew there was going to be a lot of talented directors to choose from. It made sense though to begin with one of the city's brightest young filmmakers, Hubert Davis. His very first film, Hardwood, was nominated for an Academy Award in 2005 and an Emmy in 2006. His next film, Aruba, helped him win the Don Haig award in 2007, given at Hot Docs to an "emerging filmmaker whose work has bridged the documentary and fiction filmmaking worlds." I caught up with Hubert at Imprint Music to talk about documentary filmmaking, the concept of control in making a documentary and his new film Invisible City, which will be finished in the coming months.