Writer Director Producer
I decided in first year university that I wanted to pursue filmmaking. This discipline combined a number of arts I was wildly passionate about: writing, acting, photography, drama, and music. I graduated with two degrees, one in English Literature and one in Cinema then completed additional film production studies at New York University and Ryerson University in Toronto.
In all cases I was writer and director and sometimes appeared in the film as an actor. I've chosen these clips as examples of writing, performance, scene structure, editing,
and/or camera. Clips courtesy of Atlantis Films, Sutherland Ent. and Peace Arch/Sony
So, pitching the project and capturing financing was a large part of the work we did until we shot the film,called Jack & Jill in winter 1998 in Toronto. By then, producer Simone Urdl had managed to attach Atom Egoyan as executive producer, and achieved TV pre-sales to The Movie Network and CBC as well as theatrical distribution with Alliance Films, a leader in the Canadian market. Our micro-budgeted film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) and received nominations for the best supporting actress (Kate Zenna) and best Directorial debut at The Genies, Canada's national screen awards.
The project that became Love Is Work (2005) was an improvisational experiment exploring relationships at various stages. I worked with the performers briefly to establish some key story elements then, they were left to work out their situations over the course of a single-take 60 minute shoot. It was financed almost entirely out of the pockets of producer Christopher Binney and myself. As hoped, it became an art house meditation that emphasized performance and was masterfully edited by Roland Schlimme. The film went on to win multiple nominations, awards and honours at special presentations mostly notably at it's Los Angels premier where the film was introduced by Paul Haggis.
The Mad (2007) is a comedy/horror starring Billy Zane and Maggie Castle as a father and daughter who find themselves in a zombie-like crisis sparked by a community's consumption of 'mad cow' tainted hamburgers. The project began as a director-for-hire gig but as I worked on the material, I became more invested and ultimately became a writer, working with the actors and other writing partners to refine both the satire and the rich character potential of the material. We were looking to make the intelligent 'b-movie' viewers discover while flipping channels late at night.
I directed a web-documentary for CBC marking the relaunch of the Doctor Who series in 2005 called Planet of the Doctor and currently am working to complete Profile (2017) a compelling feature about multi-dimensional existence.
I'm mostly attracted to making and watching films that challenge audiences by extending the language of cinema. Certainly I enjoy entertainment films as well but my imagination is more often ignited by art house and experimental works. When studying film, unconventional films that could evoke deep emotions in me inspired and excited me most.
My love of filmmaking is expressed in my digital. interactive and installation work as well. All these films have been able to connect with audiences, critics and award bodies. I've been fortunate to create these pieces with extraordinary actors, producers, cinematographers, editors and each and every other position needed to make a film happen.
When I finished school, I acted and directed in plays, wrote as many screenplays as I could and in 1995, some ambitious friends and I began trying to make a feature film that I had written and planned to direct. It's not easy to make a film, let alone one of some quality and in '95 we didn't have HD cameras in our pockets or home computer editing, colour correction and sound mixing tools available as they are now.