Showing 136 results

People and organizations
University of Toronto Media Commons Archives

Bittman, Roman and Belec Bittman, Marilyn

  • Family
  • 1941 - present

Roman Bittman was born on June 5, 1941, in Fort Vermilion, Alberta. He grew up in a hunter-farming community with his German father and Metis mother. He later moved to Hay River, Northwest Territories. He entered the world of media when he started the first northern radio station at 17. As he grew, he became a film producer, businessman and writer. His contributions to Canadian media and Indigenous cultural organizations are many, as he was involved in more than 100 films and was well-known for having designed and implemented the Film Industry Labour Tax Credit, which was an essential financial instrument that fueled the growth of the English Canadian film industry. Roman Bittman worked at CBC News and was the producer for the series he is most well-known for, The Nature of Things, CBC’s flagship natural history and science series. His involvement in various Indigenous productions includes his position as an early advisor to the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN). He served as President of the Nova Scotia Film Development Corporation and produced the awards show the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF), now known as Indspire today; he was the organization’s interim CEO. He died in 2017 and received special awards after his death, such as the Canadian Screen Awards in 2019.

Marilyn Belec Bittman is an award-winning film industry veteran for 32 years. She worked for the National Film Board and owned her company, Mobius Media. She worked alongside her husband, in Mobius Media. During her time as president of Mobius Media, she made and distributed films and acquired films produced outside her production company only if they had won awards. She was also a producer at the National Film Board’s Atlantic office. She helped found the first Canadian chapter of Women in Film and TV – Toronto.

Taipei Economic & Cultural Office (TECO)

  • Corporate body
  • 1993 -

The Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) was established in Toronto in 1993. In addition to consular services, its mandate is “to promote exchange and cooperation between Taiwan and Canada within its jurisdiction over Ontario, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.” A related TECO Culture Centre was established in Toronto in 1989, moving to a Scarborough facility in 1994.


Colin Campbell

  • Person
  • 1942-2001

Colin Campbell was born in Reston, Manitoba in 1942. He studied art at the University of Manitoba and Claremont Graduate School. He taught at Mount Allison University in the 1960s and 1970s before moving to Toronto in 1973. In Toronto, Campbell taught at the Ontario College of Art and then the University of Toronto. Campbell died in October 2001.
A prominent video artist, Campbell was a founding member of Vtape. His work was shown at the 1980 Venice Biennale and appeared at institutions including the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée National d’Art Moderne, the Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum, the Melbourne Film Festival, The British Film Institute Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, The Festival of Festivals (now TIFF), and the Chicago International Film Festival. A retrospective of his work took place at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in 1990. In 1996, Campbell received the Bell Canada Award in Video Art.

“Colin Campbell – Video Artist.”
Gale, Peggy. “Colin Campbell.” Vtape. 2006.

Ray Jafelice

  • Person

Raymond Jafelice worked as an animation storyboard artist and director for Nelvana.

Bob Kain

  • Person
  • 1932-2021

Robert (Bob) Kain, born 1932, worked as a cartoonist, and illustrator in Toronto. He studied at the Ontario College of Art and the School of Visual Arts in New York. In Toronto, Kain lead Videoart, a commercial art studio. After retiring from advertising, he became an illustrator for Chirp, a children’s magazine, designing their mascot. Bob died in 2021.

Rob Bowman

  • Person
  • 1956-

Robert (Rob) Bowman, born 1956, is a music professor at York University. After studying ethnomusicology at York, he completed his PhD at the University of Memphis. Bowman is an expert in popular music. He has written liner notes for multiple albums and appeared in many broadcast documentaries and radio programs. Nominated for six Grammy Awards, he won Best Album Notes Grammy in 1996 for The Complete Stax/Volt Soul Sings, Vol. 3: 1972-1975. Among his many publications is the book Soulsville, U.S.A.: The Story Of Stax Records, a history of the record label.


Jerry G. Gray

  • Person
  • 1933-

Jerry G. Gray was born in Toronto in 1933. He graduated in Dentistry from the University of Toronto. In 1953, at Camp Naivelt, The Travellers, a folk music band, was formed by Gray, Sid Dolgay, Helen Gray, Jerry Goodis, and Oscar Ross. Initially associated with the United Jewish Peoples Order, the group was linked to the labour movement. Membership of the band changed over time, with Simone Johnston, Pam Fernie, Aileen Ahern, Marty Meslin, Ray Woodley, Ted Roberts, Joe Lawrence Hampson, and Don Vickery joining the group at various periods.
The Travellers debuted on television in 1954 on CBC. That year they adapted Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land” to a Canadian context, releasing the song as a single in 1957. In 1961, they performed at the Mariposa Folk Festival. In 1962, they toured the USSR, and in 1964 they performed for Queen Elizabeth II at the celebration of PEI’s centennial. In 1970, the band played at the Canadian Pavilion of Expo 70 in Japan. The group continued to perform into the 2000s. In 2001, an NFB documentary, “This Land Is Your Land,” was directed by Robert Cohen.
Beginning in 1999, Jerry Gray began teaching courses at the University of Toronto, Ryerson University (now Toronto Metropolitan University), Florida Atlantic University, and George Brown College. These courses covered Folk & Protest Music, as well as Yiddish Music.

“The Travellers.” The Canadian Encyclopedia. September 7, 2018.

Davies, Frank

  • Person
  • 1946-

The Hon. Francis (Frank) William Harding Davies, born 1946 in Northampton, England, was a prominent record producer and music publisher. In 1964, while studying at Strasbourg University, he started in the music business as a correspondent for Billboard Magazine. Davies then worked in England at EMI and Liberty Records. In 1970, he moved to Canada and established Love Productions and Daffodil Records (1971-1978) with Ronnie Hawkins. Davies was president of Partisan Music Productions (1978-1982), ATV Music Group Canada (1982-1985), and TMP – The Music Publisher (1986-1999). TMP was sold to Alliance Atlantis in 1994. In 1999, Davies began consulting as Let Me Be Frank Inc. He founded the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1998. He is the recipient of numerous industry awards, including multiple Junos. Prominent artists Davies has worked with include: Crowbar, King Biscuit Boy, A Foot In Coldwater, Fludd, Tom Cochrane, Klaatu, Chilliwack, The Rankin Family, and Serena Ryder.

Sally Dundas

  • Person
  • 1953-2022

Sally Dundas was born in London, England in 1953. She moved to Canada in 1970 and started her film career at the National Film Board, at Women’s Studio D in Montreal. After a few years, she moved to Toronto and worked as a freelance production manager in the film industry, before joining IMAX in 1983.
Dundas co-produced many films at IMAX, including “Skyward,” (1985), “A Freedom to Move” 1985) and “Heart Land,” (1987). In 1990, Dundas produced three films for Expo ’90 in Osaka, Japan: the IMAX Dome stereoscopic film “Echoes of the Sun” (1990), the IMAX 3D film “The Last Buffalo” (1990) and “Flowers In The Sky”, the first film made for the IMAX Magic Carpet format. Dundas then produced “Mountain Gorilla” (1992), the first film by the IMAX Natural History Film Unit. This film received the 1992 Genesis Award for Outstanding Film Documentary in 1992. Dundas also produced “Fires of Kuwait” (1992), which was nominated for an Academy Award in the Feature Documentary category. Dundas then returned to 3D and stereoscopic film, producing “Four Million Houseguests” (also known as “The Hidden Dimension”) in 1997.
After IMAX, Dundas went on to work with the Motion Picture Bond Company. In her later years, she took up drawing and ceramics as another way of documenting the natural world. Dundas passed away in 2022.

Frank Ferguson

  • Person
  • 1905-1993

Frank Ferguson was born in 1905 in Stoughton, Saskatchewan, to George Ferguson and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Fairlie. After Elizabeth passed away in the 1919 influenza pandemic, George sent Frank and his siblings to live with their aunt in Beeton, Ontario. Frank attended school in Georgetown, Ontario, and went on to enroll at University College at the University of Toronto in 1923.
Frank planned to become a minister, and studied English and History, hoping that a strong background in both subjects would contribute to his success as a preacher. Frank spent two summers on religious mission in Saskatchewan, where he met his future wife, Grace Warner. Upon return to Toronto, Frank decided against the religious life, and instead decided to focus on teaching. He graduated with degrees in English and History in 1927, and went on to study at the Ontario College of Education, graduating in 1928. In the same year, Frank and Grace were married. Grace, a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan, also became a schoolteacher.
The couple lived briefly in London and Weston, where Frank accepted teaching positions. In 1933, the couple settled in Galt, when Frank was hired as the head of the English Department at Galt Collegiate Institute and Vocational School. Grace and Frank had four children, Graeme, Janet, Mary, and William. In 1945, the Ferguson family settled into their home in Puslinch, Ontario.
In addition to his teaching role in Galt, Frank Ferguson also had a keen interest in politics, and in 1945 ran as a federal candidate for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) in Waterloo South, coming in second place. He was again named the CCF candidate in 1949 but dropped out of the race due to time constraints.
As a teacher, Frank had a particular passion for the works of William Shakespeare, and he taught The Bard and other classics of English literature with relish to generations of students. In 1959, Frank became one of the first secondary school teachers in Ontario to take a sabbatical leave. During this time, he spent a year in England researching, preparing, and editing a series of Shakespearean textbooks that would go on to be used in Ontario schools. In 1963, Frank was named the outstanding English teacher in the province of Ontario. Frank retired from Galt Collegiate Institute the following year, but he continued to teach and lecture part time at the University of Toronto’s Extension Department (now the School for Continuing Studies), the Cambridge Public Library, and the Workers' Economic Association in Galt, Preston, Kitchener, and Brantford. In 1979, Frank received the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federations Diamond Jubilee award for distinguished service to education and community.
Many of Frank’s students went on the achieve great success in their fields, including Peter Gzowski, a well-known Canadian broadcaster, as well as Graeme Ferguson (Frank’s son), Robert Kerr, and William Shaw, three of the founding members of the IMAX Corporation.
Frank Ferguson passed away in 1993, in Arundel, Quebec. In recognition of his work and dedication to his community, Frank Ferguson was posthumously inducted into the Cambridge Hall of Fame in 2002. His legacy at Galt Collegiate Institute also continues through the Frank Ferguson Award, a college scholarship for students who excel in English.

Phyllis Ferguson

  • Person
  • 1950-2021

Phyllis Marie Ferguson (née Wilson) was born in 1950 in Quetico, Ontario, a status member of the Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation. At the age of 12, she was sent to live with her grandmother, Phyllis Tenniscoe, in Thunder Bay, Ontario. There, the young Phyllis attended Port Arthur Collegiate, where she excelled in sports and enjoyed working with the school’s audio-visual equipment, so much so that a school guidance counsellor encouraged Phyllis to pursue broadcasting as a career.
Upon graduation, Phyllis enrolled in Confederation College, in their new radio and television program. In 1970, Phyllis was hired to assist the location manager of “North of Superior,” one of the very first films shot in the newly invented IMAX format. The film’s director, Graeme Ferguson, would become Phyllis’ mentor, creative partner, and eventually, husband. After “North of Superior,” Phyllis went to host the National Film Board’s weekly “Challenge For Change” slot on local television. Later, she accepted a job with the CBC and became a radio announcer in Whitehorse. She also worked on an Indigenous community newspaper in Ottawa. In 1974, Phyllis rejoined Graeme Ferguson as the sound recordist on his film “Man Belongs to the Earth.” She later returned to television, working as the location manager for CBC’s “The Fifth Estate” and CTV’s “W5.”
Both Phyllis and Graeme eventually returned to the Thunder Bay area – this time to collaborate on a film that Phyllis was directing. Her 1977 documentary short “Nishnawbe-Aski: The People and the Land” explored the effects of change and northern development on the Cree and Ojibwa people of the Nishnawbe-Aski region, through interviews, lyrical vignettes of everyday life, and Phyllis’ own narration. Phyllis made the film pro bono, and it served as a way for indigenous community members to voice their opposition to clear-cutting in northwestern Ontario.
Phyllis and Graeme married in 1982, the same year that they launched another of their collaborative projects: “Hail Columbia!”, with Graeme serving as director and Phyllis co-producing. It was the first in a series of IMAX space films documenting NASA’s space missions in the larger-than-life format. Phyllis went on to co-produce “The Dream is Alive,” (1985) “Blue Planet,” (1990) and “Mission to MIR,” (1997) and was both co-producer and co-director of “Destiny in Space” (1994). Phyllis played a pivotal role in the IMAX Space team, particularly in winning the trust of the astronauts. With her disarming, unaffected style, her natural curiosity, and her regular presence at the Johnson Space Center, she came to be seen as the “glue that held the IMAX Space Team and the NASA 'extended family' together," according to former astronaut and associate administrator of NASA's Space Flight office, Bill Readdy.
After IMAX was sold to investors in 1994, Phyllis retired, and she and Graeme took up full-time residence at their summer home in the Lake of Bays area in Muskoka. She dedicated her time to community issues and charities, traveling, keeping in touch with her family, and taking up the sport of golf. She passed away on March 12, 2021, at the age of 70.

Graeme Ferguson

  • Person
  • 1929-2021

Ivan Graeme Ferguson was born in Toronto on October 7, 1929, to Frank and Grace Ferguson (nee Warner), both school teachers. His parents encouraged his creative pursuits, gifting him a Kodak Brownie camera when he was seven, and later, a Keystone 8mm film camera. Ferguson was raised in Galt, Ontario, and he attended Galt Collegiate Institute alongside his future IMAX co-founders Robert Kerr and William Shaw.
Ferguson enrolled at Victoria College at the University of Toronto in 1948, planning to study economics and political science. At U of T, Ferguson was active in the Students Administrative Council, the Historical Club, as well as the U of T Film Society. In 1950, Ferguson was selected for a summer filmmaking apprenticeship program at the National Film Board, where he met another IMAX co-founder and eventual brother-in-law, Roman Kroitor. Ferguson’s filmmaking career was further influenced by the avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren. While teaching a workshop at U of T in 1951, Deren enlisted Ferguson as a lighting assistant, and convinced him to pursue film instead of economics.
Upon graduation, Ferguson was appointed the National Secretary of the World University Service of Canada. His job with WUSC took him to India, where he met the Swedish filmmaker Arne Sucksdorff. Sucksdorff hired Ferguson as an assistant director to work on his film, “En Djungelsaga,” (also known as “The Flute and the Arrow”) a dramatized documentary about the Muria people of central India. The film would go on to premier at the Cannes Film Festival. Ferguson eventually relocated to New York, with his first wife, Betty Ramsaur, a filmmaker he met while shooting in Alaska. The pair would go on to have two children, Munro and Allison, though they eventually divorced in 1974.
In New York, Ferguson found work as a freelance director, cinematographer, and editor. He edited the series ”Silents Please.” He also worked as the cinematographer on the short films “A Bowl of Cherries” and “Rooftops of New York” (that latter of which was nominated for an Academy Award). Ferguson also wrote and directed “The Legend of Rudolph Valentino,” a documentary about the legendary film star, and wrote and produced “The Love Goddesses”, a documentary about female film stars. Alongside Severn Darden and several members of the Second City, Ferguson wrote and directed the anarchic White House farce, “The Virgin President.”
It was around this time that Ferguson was also commissioned to make a documentary for Expo 67 in Montreal. Ferguson spent a year traveling and documenting the lives of Arctic peoples in Canada, Lapland, and Siberia. The resulting film was shown in a specially built theatre, in which audiences sat on a rotating turntable while viewing the film on 11 screens. In another pavilion, Ferguson’s brother-in-law Roman Kroitor was screening his film with Colin Low, “Labyrinth,” another immersive, multi-screen film experience. Both films were hugely successful, but both had technical challenges – particularly when it came to running and syncing multiple projectors across multiple screens. Kroitor and Ferguson at first commiserated with each other over technical issues, but then began to imagine an alternative method for producing an immersive, large-format viewing experience. The pair envisioned a single large screen – about the size of nine 35mm screens stacked in a three by three grid – projected from a single 70mm, 15-perf format moving horizontally. The idea for a new medium was born.
Ferguson moved back to Canada, and he and Kroitor began their new venture, Multiscreen Corp. They enlisted Ferguson’s former high school classmate Robert Kerr as a business manager. The group also tapped another one of Ferguson’s high school classmates, Bill Shaw, an engineer, to help build the technology needed for this new format. Within a few years, the team developed the 70mm format, commissioned a 70mm camera, and built the 70mm rolling loop projector. With the sponsorship of Fuji, they were also able to produce and screen the fist large-format film, “Tiger Child,” (directed by Donald Brittain) at Expo ’70, in Osaka, Japan.
But when the Expo closed, the future of the fledgling company was in doubt. That is, until the team learned the province of Ontario planned to open a new park with a multimedia theatre on Toronto’s lakeshore. Multiscreen struck a deal with Ontario Place, and Graeme Ferguson was commissioned to make a film for its new theatre. Ferguson’s “North of Superior” premiered at the Cinesphere, the first permanent IMAX theatre, on May 22, 1971. The venue would become a model for future IMAX theaters. Ferguson’s landmark film would further set the tone for future IMAX releases; while “Tiger Child” had featured multi-image filmmaking, Ferguson’s “North of Superior” predominantly featured sweeping vistas of nature in Northern Ontario in full-frame. The film was so popular that it quickly pushed all other Cinesphere films off the schedule, and even then, audiences lined up for hours to view it.
Over the next few years, Ferguson and his team focused on promoting and selling the IMAX format, while also continuing to make IMAX films. An IMAX theatre was launched at Circus World, in Florida, which featured Ferguson’s film of the same name. Another theatre opened at Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio. The first dome IMAX theatre (dubbed OMINMAX) opened at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center in San Diego, California. An IMAX theatre was built at Expo ’74 in Spokane, Washington, where Ferguson’s film “Man Belongs to the Earth” premiered. It was here that Michael Collins, a former astronaut and first director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum was sold on the IMAX concept. Collins agreed to incorporate an IMAX theatre at NASM, and the film “To Fly” (produced by MacGillivrary Freeman Films) premiered at the Samuel P. Langley IMAX theatre in 1976. The film was an enormous success. Not only did it break attendance records, it also set up a more consistent stream of revenue for IMAX, as other museums and institutions bought the system in order to replicate the NASM formula.
In 1980, Ferguson sought new filmmaking frontiers, and approached NASA with the idea of sending an IMAX camera to space with shuttle astronauts. NASA agreed, and the result was Ferguson’s “Hail Columbia!” in 1982. In that year, Ferguson also married his partner Phyllis Wilson, whom he had met while working on “North of Superior” several years earlier. Wilson, as well as writer-editor Toni Myers, were key members of the IMAX space film team. Over the next decade and a half, the team would go on to make eight space films in total, training astronauts to use the IMAX camera to capture breathtaking footage of Earth and space.
Ferguson and his founding partners sold IMAX in 1994, but he continued to consult on and produce a number IMAX films up to year 2016, with the release of “A Beautiful Planet,” on which he served as executive producer. IMAX now has over 280 theatres in 36 countries, showing traditional IMAX films as well as Hollywood features adapted to the format. Ferguson received many awards and honours for his work, as well as for his contributions to the film industry. In 1986, he received a Genie Special Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to the Canadian film industry. He received the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts Medal in 1990, and was named to the Order of Canada in 1993. Ferguson also received honorary doctorates from the University of Bradford (UK), as well as Victoria University (at the University of Toronto). In his later years, Ferguson also wrote and published a book on the Swedish-American inventor Frank Ofeldt. Ferguson passed away in May, 2021 at the age of 91.

Annette Mangaard

  • Person
  • 1956-Present

Annette Mangaard was born in 1956 in Vaerlose, Denmark. She and her family emigrated to Canada in 1960, and she grew up in Scarborough, Ontario. She attended the Ontario College of Art and design from 1977 to 1981, completing an honours degree in painting and printmaking. In 1981, Mangaard moved to Baker Lake, Nunavut, bringing with her a Super 8 camera and five reels of film. After a year of isolation, Mangaard returned to Toronto, determined to become a filmmaker.
Mangaard’s first forays into film were loose and intuitive Super 8 shorts, made nearly contemporaneously. Her first film, “Line Through Bath,” (1984) documented an art installation in Bath, England. “Nothing by Mouth” (1984) and “She Bit Me Seriously” (1984) followed, with the latter being screened at The Funnel, an experimental film collective where Mangaard was a member. It was at The Funnel that Mangaard began to explore 16mm filmmaking. While she enjoyed the immediacy of Super 8, there were fewer opportunities to exhibit small gauge films. Her next experimental works, “There is in power … seduction” (1985), “Her Soil is Gold” (1985), “The Tyranny of Architecture” (1987) and “The Iconography of Venus” (1987) were all made in 16mm.
Mangaard then branched out into scripted fare, with the “new wave road comedy” “Northbound Cairo” (1987), as well as the deeply personal “Let Me Wrap My Arms Around You.” (1992), for which she repurposed her footage shot in Baker Lake a decade earlier. During a residency at the Canadian Film Centre, Mangaard made the short drama “94 Arcana Drive” (1993). She then made her debut as a feature writer and director with “Fish Tale Soup” (1996), a sweetly comedic look at a couple dealing with infertility issues. She also returned to autobiographical themes with the film “Into the Night” (2006), a personal exploration of her struggle with insomnia.
Mangaard also turned her camera towards documentary subjects – in particular, artists and the process of making art. Notable works along these lines include “A Dialogue With Vision: The Art of Spring Hurlbut and Judith Schwarz” (1990), “The Many Faces of Arnaud Maggs” (2004), “General Idea: Art, Aids and the Fin de Siecle” (2007), “Kingaait: Riding Light into the World” (2010) and “Suzy Lake: Playing With Time” (2014).
Mangaard’s films and documentaries have screened all over the world. Notable festival credits include PAFID (Patagonia) in Argentina, Hot Docs and TIFF in Toronto, DOCSDF Mexico City Film Festival, Atlantic Film Festival, Halifax and Millenium, New York. Notable solo screenings include the Pacific Cinematheque in Vancouver, Canada and the Kino Arsenal Cinematheque in Berlin, West Germany. She was also honoured with a career retrospective of her film works at the Cinemateque Palais de Kino in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Alongside her filmmaking, Mangaard’s video installation work has appeared at Nuit Blanche, Toronto, The Confederation Art Gallery in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Olympic Park in Sydney Australia, South-on Sea, Liverpool and Manchester, UK, and Broken Hill, Australia. She is the cofounder of the Images Festival, and has sat on the board of The Funnel, The Toronto Arts Council, LIFT, and the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre. In 2017, she received her MFA in in Interdisciplinary Media, Art and Design from OCADU in 2017 and was awarded the gold medal for her outstanding graduate work.

Rush Productions

  • Corporate body
  • 1972-2010

Rush Productions was a corporate subsidiary of SRO/Anthem, specifically concerned with Rush’s touring expenses and coordination within Canada. Over the years, various other corporate entities were set up to handle American and International touring expenses, including ORS Management Corporation, By-Tour Inc., PLD UK, PLD Tourco, and LDP Entertainment. All of these activities were overseen by the creator of these records, Sheila Posner, who was SRO Management’s accountant and office manager.

Sandler, Robert

  • 2022.015
  • Person

Robert Sandler is a Canadian writer and producer with many memorable Television credits to his name. Sandler is credited as ‘Bob Sandler’ in some scripts and Television credits. He is most well-known for his writing in children’s programs such as Fraggle Rock, beginning in the second season, Sesame Street Canada, The Adventures of Moby Dick, and many television series and TV movies. His other work includes scripting various Canadian productions such as Under the Umbrella Tree, the law drama Street Legal, The Argon Quest with Terry Angus, and production duties on the investment banker drama Traders. He later served as co-creator and executive producer of the semi-documentary series 72 Hours: True Crime. Robert Sandler is also the President of the Video production company Creative Anarchy Inc. His production company, Creative Anarchy Inc., established in 1997, has made the pioneering documentary/re-enactment series on crime called Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science.

Edie Steiner

  • Person
  • 195[?]-Present

Edith (Edie) Steiner is a Toronto based photographer, filmmaker, composer, writer, and teacher. Born in Germany, Steiner emigrated to Canada with her parents in the 1950s, and her family settled in Manitouwadge, in Northern Ontario. Steiner moved to Toronto in the 1970s and pursued a degree in Media Studies from the Ryerson Institute of Technology (now Toronto Metropolitan University), specializing in fine art photography.
After graduating in 1973, Steiner became a freelance photographer, and she focused on documenting Toronto’s burgeoning punk and new wave scenes, as well as portraits of musicians. Her photographs began to make the pages of “Night Out,” “Today,” and “Impulse” magazine. Some of her notable portrait subjects at this time included Patti Smith, Debbie Harry of Blondie, and Rough Trade.
In the early 1980s, Steiner joined the experimental film collective, The Funnel, where she became interested in Super 8 filmmaking. Here, she produced several experimental short films on Super 8. As she was also composing music and playing in musical groups at the time, her film screenings often had a live music or performance aspect to them. Steiner also continued her photography, exhibiting her work at the Funnel and other galleries in Toronto. Around this time, her focus began to shift from the music scene and portraits to urban objects and landscapes.
Steiner branched out into narrative filmmaking, joining LIFT (Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto) in 1985. She began to write, direct, and produce films on 16mm, including “Places to Stay,” a film about Steiner’s experience as a German émigré; “Roses are Blue,” a lush, surreal film about the healing power of music; and “Felicity’s View,” a mediation on aging and desire. Steiner continued to compose music for her films, and frequently collaborated with other musicians including Chip Yarwood, Malcolm Lewis, Colin Offord, and Daniel Rojas.
Through the 1990s, Steiner’s work in both film and photography began to focus on social justice and environmental themes. In “Northland: Long Journey,” Steiner revisited both her hometown, Manitouwadge, as well the death of her father due to work-related illness. Steiner’s further explored the environment of Northern Ontario in her photo series “Northland,” as well her documentary film “Conversations on the Lake.” In the early 2000s, Steiner began to document the changes to Toronto’s waterfront wrought by development, which became the film and photo series “Views from Home: Facing North.” Her recent film, “Borderland Memories” explores the natural and built environments of Eastern Europe, as well as the ideas of memory, family, and nation.
Steiner earned an MA (2006) and PhD (2014) in Environmental Studies from York University, in Toronto, and she has taught at several Canadian universities. She is a member of the Association for Literature, Environment, and Culture in Canada (ALECC); the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre (CFMDC); The Film-Makers’ Cooperative (NACG); Gallery 44 Centre for Contemporary Photography; the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN); and Vtape. Some of her early photographic works can be found at the National Gallery of Canada.

Cylla von Tiedemann

Cylla von Tiedemann is a world-renowned photographer and is one of Canada’s most sought-after performance photographers. She grew up in Germany and immigrated to Canada to expand her career in her early 30s. She has become renowned for capturing points in movement and dance. Von Tiedemann is a performing arts photographer, educator, and visual artist with an impressive and wide-ranging work. She is renowned for her works in dance portraiture and live theatre photography; she is also involved with film, music, and the visual arts. Von Tiedemann’s photography ranges from portraits of dancers and performers to production documentation for notable national and international organizations, including the National Ballet of Canada, Stratford Festival, Mirvish Productions, Toronto Dance Theatre, Toronto Symphony Orchestra and Yo-Yo Ma’s SILK Road Project, among many others. Beyond her usual works of performing arts photography, Cylla has collaborated on numerous multi-media projects, and her recent collections of work involve dancer-focused digital collages.


  • University of Toronto Media Commons Archives
  • Corporate body
  • 1980-2023

Cinemavault was a Toronto-based motion picture and television distribution company. After graduating from Toronto Metropolitan University’s School of Image Arts in 1978, company Chairman and CEO Nicholas Stiliadis began his career as a writer and film producer. Alongside business partner, Syd Cappe, Stiliadis founded SC Entertainment. The pair produced several industrial and educational films, including the Genie-nominated short Productivity and Performance by Alex K (1984). But Stiliadis and Cappe found their niche as producers of low-budget romps, thrillers, and action-adventure films such as The Pink Chiquitas (1986), Still Life (1990), and Gladiator Cop (1995). These films were often shot in Toronto, with principal photography sometimes starting before financing had even been secured. While widely considered to be B-movies (a 1990 MacLean’s article characterized them as “shlock”), these genre films had broad international appeal, and SC Entertainment found eager buyers on the international marketplace. Some critical successes followed, with the true crime drama Murder One (1988), which garnered some positive attention from American critics. Stiliadis also served as Executive Producer on Pump Up the Volume (1990), a title that was initially developed for SC Entertainment, with New Line Cinema brought on to co-produce and distribute. The darkly comedic teen movie starring Christian Slater was widely praised at the time and continues to enjoy a reputation as a cult classic.
Stiliadis and Cappe parted ways in 1994, and amidst expanding international film markets, the company’s focus gradually shifted from production to distribution. Under the Cinemavault banner, Stiliadis and company worked with both Canadian and international producers, financiers, and independent filmmakers to secure the distribution rights to a substantial catalogue of films. In some cases, Cinemavault would license these films to other companies to handle distribution in individual worldwide markets. In other cases, Cinemavault was brought on by filmmakers as the principal worldwide distributor. While representing international titles, Cinemavault also played a role in promoting Canadian cinema to the world. They were the international distributor of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001), the first feature film in the Inuktitut language. They also represented the Genie award winner Savage Messiah (2002), as well as the Genie nominated film Histoire de Pen (2002). Cinemavault was a frequent participant in the international film festival circuit, taking their films to Cannes, Berlin, and Venice. Beyond feature film distribution, the company found many new sales avenues in DVD and VHS sales, pay television, free television, video on demand, and streaming video on demand.

Creative Anarchy

  • Corporate body
  • 1997-2008

Creative Anarchy is a Toronto-based film production company. Creative Anarchy co-produced the crime documentary series Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science with Kensington Communications, and co-produced a similar series, 72 Hours: True Crime with Kensington Communications and Meech-Grant Productions.

Angus, Ian

  • Person
  • 1945 -

Scholar and activist Ian Angus has been involved in following Canadian socialism and communism since the late 1970s. Author of Canadian Bolsheviks: The Early Years of the Communist Party of Canada (originally published in 1981), Angus has followed Canadian communism and other solidarity movements for years. Having an established background in ecosocialism, Angus is the editor of the journal Climate & Capitalism as well as a founding member of the Global Ecosocialist Network. Other more recent publications include Facing the Anthropocene: Fossil Capitalism and the Crisis of the Earth System (2016) and A Redder Shade of Green: Intersections of Science and Socialism (2017).

Primitive Entertainment

  • Corporate body
  • 1990-Present

Primitive Entertainment (formerly, Primitive Features) was formed in January 1990 by brothers Kevin and Michael McMahon. Previously, Michael had worked as an editor for Canadian ‘B’ movie production company SC Entertainment. Kevin had been a journalist at the “St. Catharine’s Standard” but became interested in making feature films, and attended film school in Bristol, England.
Primitive’s feature documentaries and series often focus on the intersections between the environment, human culture, history, and technology. The brothers’ first film with their new company was “The Falls”, a meditation on their hometown of Niagara Falls, Ontario. It debuted at TIFF in 1991 to critical praise and received a Genie for Best Feature Length Documentary that year. Primitive’s next projects were “Deserts,” a massive film project for a multimedia museum exhibition (which unfortunately never came to fruition), “In the Reign of Twilight,” a feature documentary about the militarization of the Arctic and its effects on the Inuit, and “Intelligence,” a documentary film exploring different ideas and meanings of intelligence. “Twilight” received a Gemini Award for Best History Documentary Program, while “Intelligence,” received a Gemini nomination for Best Direction in a Documentary.
Documentary programs and series made for television followed, including “Cod: The Fish That Changed the World,” (hosted by Mary Walsh), “Truth Merchants,” and “Lifting the Shadow.” Primitive’s “Ancestors in the Attic” – a series which featured people exploring their family history through genealogy – aired for four seasons on History Television in Canada, while their “Things That Move” – a series that explored the social and technological histories of all kinds of moving vehicles – aired for four season on The Discovery Channel. Primitive also continued to produce acclaimed feature documentaries, including “McLuhan’s Wake,” a richly layered film about the life and works of Marshall McLuhan. The films “Waterlife” and “Four Wings and Prayer” gave viewers insight into the waters of the Great Lakes and the migration routes of monarch butterflies respectively. “The Face of Victory,” co-produced with Barna-Alper Productions, stitched together thousands of archival photographs and audio, and documented the jubilation and the horror at the end of WWII.
Over their more than 30 years in business, Michael McMahon has overseen the company’s project selection, as well as the financing and distribution of productions, while Kevin McMahon has focused on directing. Their films have been screened at TIFF, Berlin, Hot Docs, and SXSW, while their programs have been broadcast on CBC, TVO, Discovery, NHK, ZDF, and others. The company has received over 50 awards for their work, and they continue to produce thought provoking series and documentaries to this day.

Grigsby, Wayne

  • 2022.023
  • Person
  • 1947 - present

Wayne Grigsby was born in 1947 in Calgary, Alberta, and is an award-winning Canadian writer and producer. Grigsby started his career in writing as a journalist, mainly in the arts and entertainment sector, for many publications such as Maclean’s magazine and the Globe and Mail. Grigsby was also one of the founders of Big Motion Pictures, a film and television production company that focuses on scripted drama for distribution on all platforms. Launched by Wayne Grigsby and David MacLeod in 1999, Big Motion Pictures produced content, such as the multiple Gemini award-winning mini-series Trudeau: The Man, The Myth, The Movie (2002) and the international hit mini-series Sex Traffic. Grigsby is also well-known for his work on the series North of 60 (1992), E.N.G. (1989), and Snakes & Ladders (2004).

The Toronto Film Society

  • 2017.009
  • Corporate body
  • 1948 - Present

The Toronto Film Society (TFS) is one of Canada’s oldest non-profit film organizations. The TFS was established later when in 1934, the National Film Society in Ottawa was founded, prompting many other film societies to come up in cities all over Canada. One of those film societies was the Vancouver Branch of the National Film Society of Canada organized in 1936. Members of the Vancouver branch were Dorothy and Oscar Burritt. Dorothy, Oscar Burritt, and a group of dedicated film enthusiasts established the Toronto Film Study Group (TFSG) in 1948, eventually becoming the TFS. The TFS is an organization meant to preserve, restore, and meet the demand for films from Canadian and international films. Some films incorporated into the TFS vast collection were once banned, independent, fringe sound and silent films. The new TFSG launched with a 1948 summer series that continues today. Now the TFS does various events such as the annual summer series, BUF series and study group. TFS also partners with the Toronto International Film Festival and other international film festivals.

SRO Management

  • Corporate body
  • 1973-2015

Ray Danniels was a booker and talent manager in Toronto. Danniels became acquainted with the members of Rush, a Willowdale, Ontario band, when they were all high school students. Danniels began to book the band – then composed of members Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and John Rutsey - for the high school circuit, which included a church basement youth drop-in center called The Coffin. In 1971, Danniels became the band’s full-time agent and manager. There was just one problem: Danniels could not find a single record label in Canada willing to release the band’s music. Undeterred, Danniels sold his booking agency and teamed up with Vic Wilson to start their own management company and record label, SRO and Moon Records, respectively. Under the Moon label, Danniels fronted the money for Rush to start recording. The band released their first single in 1973, a cover of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” The single sold a few thousand copies, mainly in Southern Ontario. In the spring of 1974, their self-titled debut album followed. This too received a fair amount of airplay in Southern Ontario, as well as south of the border, when the album was played on a Cleveland area radio station.
With cross-border recognition, Danniels signed Rush with an American talent agent, ATI, and the band also signed a major record deal with Mercury. Rush was set to begin touring extensively, but on the eve of their first big U.S. tour, Rutsey left the band. Auditions for a new drummer were held, and the band chose Neil Peart, who was to become the band’s chief lyricist. By the end of the U.S. tour, Rush had cracked the Billboard charts, and another album, “Fly by Night,” followed in 1975. The album was a hit in Canada, selling 100,000 copies and reaching No. 9 on the charts. It was certified platinum in both the United States and Canada. Through the 1970s, Rush would continue to tour and to release albums, including “Caress of Steel,” “2112” the live album “All the World’s a Stage,” “A Farewell to Kings” and “Hemispheres.”
Meanwhile, Danniels expanded SRO's roster of talent. He signed Toronto-area rock bands such as Max Webster, Liverpool, and A Foot in Coldwater, as well as solo artists Ian Thomas and Moe Koffman. Alongside Vic Wilson, Danniels also continued to expand his business, and SRO quickly became more than simply a management company. Its associated divisions covered a full range of music business activities including recording, songwriting and publishing, and merchandising. In the mid 1970s, Danniels and Wilson created two new record labels, Taurus Records and Anthem Records to showcase their artists. Moon Merchandising was established to handle merchandising rights – which would soon become a major revenue stream. At this time, Pegi Cecconi, a former SRO employee, rejoined the company, and helped to launch the additional divisions, Brandy Publishing, Core Music, and Mark-Cain Music, which handled songwriting and publishing.
Handling artist management, recording, publishing, and merchandising (known in the industry as the 360 deal) gave Danniels and Wilson (who left the company in 1980) the opportunity to sign, record and publish a diverse array of artists. In the 1980s, the company would go on to represent acts as varied as Coney Hatch, Lawrence Gowan, Mendelson Joe, Spoons, and BB Gabor. In addition to music, SRO/Anthem would also make its mark on Canadian comedy, with Anthem Records releasing the Bob and Doug McKenzie comedy album “The Great White North,” as well as “The Wankers’ Guide to Canada,” which featured the talents of SCTV alums Eugene Levy, Martin Short, and Catherine O’Hara.
SRO’s independence also gave Rush a certain measure freedom from major label interference, particularly as the band’s sound became more experimental, synth-driven, and progressive through the late 70s and early 80s. Drummer Neil Peart was once quoted as saying “We just complete a record, do the artwork, master it, and then present [Anthem Records] with a finished work rather than kibitzing [with label executives] all the way along from the demos. We just tell Ray our silly idea, and he makes it work."
A canny negotiator, Danniels excluded Canada as a territory when signing multinational recording contracts. With Anthem as the Canadian record company, Danniels and SRO’s artists had more control over how their music was released. Danniels once noted: “By having Anthem, every time the U.S. label wanted to do things differently than what the band or I wanted, and they told us ‘No,’ we had the ability to have the tail wag the dog instead of the dog wag the tail. It was the ability to say, ‘Fine, if you don’t want to release it until September, we are releasing it in May [in Canada].’” If the American label was reluctant to support a single, Danniels could force their hand, as a successful Canadian single could create a demand in the United States. The exclusion of Canada in multination recording contracts also meant that SRO’s artists could begin earning royalties on records sales in Canada right away, as well as earning royalties from worldwide publishing. Fiercely protective of SRO’s business interests, Danniels retained the worldwide publishing rights to Rush, despite being offered a large sum of money for them by Warner Brothers Publishing in 1981. Touring and merchandising were also sources of artist income – and here too SRO safeguarded their interests by going after bootleggers and counterfeiters. SRO’s legal counsel, Robert Farmer once joined the RCMP in a dramatic raid of counterfeit merchandise operations outside a Rush concert at Maple Leaf Gardens.
With the support of SRO, Rush went on to release over 20 studio albums, went on over 30 tours, won 9 Juno Awards, received a handful of Grammy nominations, and sold an estimated 40 million albums worldwide. They were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2013. SRO went on to manage the careers of other major Canadian musical talents, including The Tea Party, Big Wreck, Molly Johnson, and the Matthew Good Band. In 2015, music rights publishing group Ole acquired several of SRO/Anthem’s divisions, including Core Music Publishing, Mark-Cain Music, and the Anthem Entertainment Group, which included the publishing rights as well as the legacy audio and video release of Rush and other Anthem artists. The records in this collection highlight the growth of SRO/Anthem from its humble beginnings representing the band no one wanted to record, to a major force in the Canadian music industry who managed the career of one of the most successful Canadian bands of all time.

Dave and Dale Cox

  • Family
  • 1967-2023

Dale and Dave Cox are prominent figures in the Canadian animation industry. Now retired, the couple worked for major Canadian animation studios and led many major animated programs. Their work has been internationally recognized, and has won many awards, including two Daytime Emmy Awards.
Both Dale and Dave graduated from Sheridan College in the late 1960’s and early 70’s in Animation. Both began their education in graphic design but switched to animation after taking a few classes and realizing they truly enjoyed the processes and creating stories. After graduation, Dave was hired by Sheridan College to direct animated commercials for the school. He then moved on to be hired by VideoArt Productions, where he worked with Bob Kain. The two would stay close friends and continue to work together. Dale began her career after college by freelancing. From there she got a job with Rainbow Animation where she stayed for a few years.
The duo are most known for their time with the Canadian animation company Nelvana. Working over 30 years for the company, they have lent their talents to many beloved programs, including The Care Bears, Inspector Gadget, and Rolie Polie Olie. Often, Dave would direct, and Dale would be the production manager.
Overall, the Coxes have worked on over 70 animation projects. Some have been independent work, and have been invited to the Academy Awards. Their skills have been recognized by film makers and fellow animators alike. The many television programs they have worked on have become household names. Dave and Dale Cox have made significant impacts to both the Canadian animation field and the animation world. They have worked on programs both in Canada and internationally, and helped to make Canada one of the leaders in animation during their long careers.

Nancy Nicol

  • Person
  • 1951 -

Artist, scholar, activist, and filmmaker, Nancy Nicol (professor emerita, York University) has created a prodigious body of work over a lifetime career investigating movements for social change, equality and human rights; delving into unfair laws and persecution as well as the capacity of ordinary people to challenge injustice. Her portfolio serves as an enduring record of struggles against violence, bigotry and discrimination, spanning stories of immigrant workers, women’s reproductive freedom, LGBT and queer histories, and transnational stories of resistance and resilience. In particular, her work has made a unique and powerful contribution to the documentation of queer histories in Canada and internationally; a body of work that will become even more significant as the years pass. Her scholarship on LGBT rights and social justice has received wide recognition in scholarly and community-based forums and her documentary films have been distributed widely in national and international festivals, conferences and community-based organizations. Grounded in critical theory, Nancy has worked across difference, facilitating spaces for the unrepresented through a participatory documentary practice based in collaboration, community engagement, and advocacy.

Nancy’s interest in art began in her youth, when she participated in group visual arts exhibitions while still a teenager. In the late 1970s, her interests shifted from painting and graphics to film and video. Her first video, The Miniature Theatre, won first prize in the first ‘video open’, a national screening celebrating independent video (1979) and her second film, Sacrificial Burnings, premiered at the Festival of Festivals in Toronto, in 1981. Both works went on to screen at the International Feminist Film and Video conference (Amsterdam, 1981) and Kijkhuis (Germany, 1982). Nancy’s interest in political change and social justice grew during the late 1970s and early 80s, a period of significant activism including anti-racism, abortion rights, and solidarity with struggles internationally. One early expression of growing political awareness in her work was the agit-prop video Let Poland be Poland (1981), created in response to the suppression of the free trade union, Solidarnosc, in Poland. She became increasingly committed to documentary, often working with local community-based organizations, labour unions and women of colour groups. In 1982, she was a founding member of a feminist art collective, the Women's Media Alliance, and with other members of the collective created Our Choice, A Tape About Teen-Age Mothers (1983). In 1988, she co-directed with Phyllis Waugh Working for Piece Work Wages which followed the Immigrant Women's Health Centre Mobile unit into the garment factories of Toronto to examine garment workers’ working conditions and access to healthcare. In 1997, Nancy collaborated with Filipino migrant workers to create Migrante, stories and songs of migrant Filipino Workers, which examined efforts by Filipino migrant workers to improve their working conditions and access to citizenship and rights.

By the mid 1980s Nancy was active in a vital and growing pro-choice movement, joining the Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics (OCAC). Inspired by this, she launched a cross country filmic journey, on a shoe string budget, documenting women’s access to reproductive health, and the work of pro-choice activists from Smithers, BC, to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The result was a five-part documentary series entitled The Struggle for Choice (1987) that examined the pro-choice movement in Canada from ‘Abortion Caravan’ in 1970 to the Supreme Court ruling in 1987 that removed abortion from the Criminal Code of Canada, the first ruling of its kind under the newly adopted equality provisions of the Charter of Rights. The impact of the Charter and social movement organizing became a theme that Nancy would return to in her work on lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and queer (LGBTQ) rights organizing.

In the early 90s Nancy joined the Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights of Ontario (CLGRO). For the next three decades, she focused on LGBT and queer histories and struggles, first domestically, and later internationally. It was a pivotal time in the struggle for queer rights. After years of struggle, the Ontario Human Rights Code included non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in 1987, but recognition of LGBT and queer relationships and parenting rights faced bigotry and entrenched political opposition. In 1994, a bill to extend relationship recognition to same-sex partners went down to defeat in a hail of homophobic rhetoric in the Ontario legislature – in response, Nancy created Gay Pride and Prejudice (1994), juxtaposing queers in the street with the historic debate in the Ontario legislature. Later in the 1990s, CLGRO asked Nancy to create a documentary on their history to mark their 25th anniversary. In creating the work, Nancy became immersed in the fascinating but little documented history of gay liberation in Canada, interviewing activists and digging into personal collections and archives. Stand Together (2002) premiered at the Inside Out Film Festival to a standing ovation. The film examined CLGRO’s history and gay liberation in Canada more broadly, beginning with the investigations and arrests of homosexuals by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Security Campaign; and traced the growth of gay liberation groups, civil rights organizing, police surveillance of queer organizing and raids on gay steam baths, religious right opposition to gay rights, and the campaign for inclusion of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Stand Together marked the beginning of a large body of work culminating in her award-winning series entitled From Criminality to Equality, completed in 2009. The series includes Stand Together (2002); The Queer Nineties (2009), which probed into struggles for legal and civil rights and the growing diversity of LGBT organizing during the 1990s; Politics of the Heart (2005), which focused on the Lesbian Mothers Association’s campaign to win parental and adoption rights for same-sex parents, making Quebec the first jurisdiction in the world to include such provisions; and The End of Second Class (2006), which examined the legal and social history of the battle for equal marriage in Canada. During this period, Nancy also created a large number of shorts, and the feature films Dykes Planning Tykes (co-directed with Mary Daniel, 2011), and One Summer in New Paltz, a Cautionary Tale (2008) on same-sex marriage civil disobedience in the USA during the Bush administration.

Seeking to expand on her contributions to social movement histories and legal consciousness in greater depth, Nancy turned to writing, publishing: “Politics of the Heart: recognition of homoparental families”, in Who’s Your Daddy? And Other Writings on Queer Parenting (ed. Rachel Epstein, 2009); “Legal Struggles and Political Resistance: Same-Sex Marriage in Canada and the U.S” (co-written with Miriam Smith, Sexualities, Sage, 2008); and “Politics of the Heart: recognition of homoparental families” (Florida Philosophical Review, 2008). In May 2011, Nancy was inducted into the National Portrait Collection of the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives in recognition of her work, with a portrait done by her life partner, Phyllis Waugh.

During this time, Nancy contributed to a growing list of international conferences. In 2006 she showed Politics of the Heart and the End of Second Class at the World Outgames International Conference in Montreal, where she met Monica Tabengwa, a lawyer and activist from Botswana and Phumi Mtetwa, from South Africa, and attended a panel on legal developments in India, presented in part by Arvind Narrain. In 2009, she presented a panel at the World Outgames in Copenhagen, and attended a panel on efforts in India which had resulted in the High Court of Delhi ruling to decriminalize homosexuality. By the 2000s Toronto was one of the most ethnically varied cities in the world, with a large number of diverse ethno-cultural LGBT community groups and social service agencies and a sophisticated resource of LGBT community leaders, legal experts and academics. These developments laid the basis for the next chapter in Nancy’s work. Between 2006 and 2010 Nancy began research and outreach and ultimately assembled a large international team; and in 2011, Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights (Envisioning), was launched (funded by the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council of Canada). The project was a partnership of mutual learning that brought together 31 international and community-based partners in Canada, India, Africa and the Caribbean

From 2011-2016, Nicol was the project’s Principal Investigator. In a period when the global LGBT movement faced some of its most extreme challenges, Envisioning brought together community leaders from across the world, to share knowledge, facilitate learning from each other, and to create outcomes that would advance knowledge and social justice, a visionary politics that inspired participants. Combining research, writing and participatory documentary video, Envisioning sought to examine the impact of laws that criminalize people on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, the ways in which LGBT and human rights groups were organizing to resist criminalization and to advance LGBT rights, and flight from persecution and LGBT refugee issues in Canada.

As part of the Envisioning project, Nicol developed participatory video projects with partners based in the Caribbean, India and Africa. Outcomes include Sangini (2016), focusing on a lesbian shelter based in Delhi; And Still We Rise, (2015, co-directed with Sexual Minorities Uganda researcher, Richard Lusimbo), a moving documentary on resistance to the Anti-Homosexual Act in Uganda; No Easy Walk To Freedom (2014) on the struggle to decriminalize same-sex sex in India; The Time Has Come (2013, co-directed with Kim Vance and John Fisher), which features LGBT human rights defenders from around the world working to strategize on ways to strengthen protections under the historic United Nations resolution that recognized sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds for discrimination in 2011; and a large number of video shorts created through Envisioning participatory video projects, many of which were included in an exhibition Imaging Home: Migration, Resistance, Contradiction, at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives during World Pride Toronto in 2014.

In 2018, Envisioning published an anthology, entitled Envisioning Global LGBT Human Rights: (Neo)colonialism, Neoliberalism, Resistance and Hope, edited by Nancy Nicol, Adrian Jjuuko, Richard Lusimbo, Nick J. Mulé, Susan Ursel, Amar Wahab and Phyllis Waugh, and published by the Human Rights Consortium, Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London, UK. The anthology received immediate international recognition, with downloads in over 80 countries within the first 3 months of publication; today it remains the second most downloaded publication in the history of the press. The chapters are bursting with invaluable first-hand insights from leading activists at the forefront of some of the most fiercely fought battlegrounds of contemporary sexual politics in India, the Caribbean and Africa. Nancy’s chapter on participatory documentary, Telling Our Stories: Envisioning participatory documentary, recounts the experiences and challenges of the video teams, working in conditions of repression and violence, and infused with courage and creativity.

William Harry Petts

  • Person
  • 1954 – 2014

William Harry Petts (1954 – 2014) was a film collector and member of Toronto’s vintage film community. He had a life-long passion for film and collected films for many years. Until his death, Petts was a staff member at East York Collegiate Institute, where he was active in the school’s AV club.

Shirley Hughes

  • Person
  • 1960 -

Shirley Hughes (b. 1960) is a high-profile member of Toronto’s vintage film community. She has been active in the Toronto Film Society since 1979 and served as vice-president for nearly a decade. In the late 1990s, Hughes co-founded Goddess Film & Entertainment Inc. which produced and marketed art videos, feature films, and shorts. In 2010, Hughes co-founded the Toronto Silent Film Festival and has programmed the Toronto Film Noir Syndicate since 2012. A long-time collector of films on home video formats, Hughes began collecting film prints in the early 2000s.

Kerr, Robert

  • Person
  • 1930-2010

Robert Kerr was born and raised in Galt, Ontario, and as a young man he established and operated the printing company John Kerr and Son with his father.
Kerr was drawn to politics as a young man, and in 1964 became the youngest mayor in the history of the City of Galt. In 1975 he was elected mayor again, representing the City of Cambridge, which had recently been formed by the amalgamation of the towns of Galt, Preston, and Hespeler. He retired from that role in 1976 to devote himself full-time to work on IMAX.
IMAX corporation (originally named Omnimax, then IMAX Entertainment Limited, and finally IMAX Systems Corporation) emerged from large-screen and multiple-screen displays that Robert Kerr, Graeme Ferguson, and Roman Kroitor did at Montreal’s Expo 67. Together with engineer William Shaw, they developed a camera system that allowed for high-resolution images and enlarged projection. The Rolling Loop Projection System invented by Ron Jones allows the projection of 70mm film to create a projection area ten times the size of a standard projection area.
After debuting the IMAX film Tiger Child, dir. Donald Brittain, in 1970 at Expo 70 in Osaka, Japan, the IMAX format took off, and construction began on permanent IMAX theatres around the world.
Robert Kerr worked for IMAX from 1967 to 1994 as Chairman, then Chairman Emeritus and finally President and Chief Executive Officer.
IMAX received an Academy Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for technological innovation and excellence (1986), a Canada Export Award from the Department of External Affairs (1988) and an Award of Excellence for contributions to Canadian culture from the Department of Communications (1991). In 1997, IMAX received an additional Academy Award for scientific and technical achievement.
IMAX corporation was sold to a US investment group, WGIM Acquisition Corporation, in 1994. It was then restructured and merged with Trumbull Company Inc. Douglas Turnbull now serves as Vice Chariman of IMAX and President of its Ridefilm Division.

In Robert Kerr’s retirement he took an interest in local arts education, and in 1997 he endowed the University of Waterloo's Stanley Knowles Visiting Professorship in Canadian Studies and bestowed bursaries at all of the Cambridge high schools. In his later years he enjoyed spending time at the Lake of Bays, Ont., which Graeme Ferguson dubbed “Lake IMAX,” because he, Kerr and other IMAX founders kept cottages on the lake.

Lang, Robert

  • Person
  • Floruit 1972-

ROBERT LANG is an internationally recognized, award-winning filmmaker and television producer whose work has covered many documentary topics, from music programs and interactive media to science and social documentaries.

Lang founded the production company Kensington Communications in 1980, and in that role he has been responsible for hundreds of television programs, including: 3 seasons of 72 Hours: True Crime; the acclaimed four-part television series The Sacred Balance with David Suzuki; 5 seasons of the true crime series Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science; the Gemini Award-winning 3-part series Diamond Road; the 5-part series Shameless Idealists; and 3 seasons of the hit documentary program Museum Secrets.

He has worked as a director on many music productions with artists such as Bruce Cockburn, Emmylou Harris, Daniel Lanois, Jackie Richardson, Toumani Diabate and Ali Farka Toure.

Among his many award-winning documentaries and TV specials are the Gemini-winning Separate Lives, One Warm Line: the Legacy of Stan Rogers, Diamond Road, and The Equalizer (Canadian Screen Award).

Lang has produced many interactive digital projects over the years, from River of Sand interactive website (1998), to The Sacred Balance online (2003), Diamond Road interactive documentary (2007), Museum Secrets Interactive (2011), ScopifyROM, a mobile app to enhance the museum experience at the Royal Ontario Museum (2013) and Risk Navigator mobile app (2017).

Kensington Communications Inc.

  • Corporate body
  • 1980-

Kensington Communications is a production company founded in 1980 in Toronto’s Kensington Market that has produced documentary and factual films, television shows, and multimedia projects for more than 40 years. Kensington has produced documentaries and series for the CBC and NFB, and its productions have been broadcast internationally on Discovery Channel, TLC, BBC, ZDF Arte, and other networks.
Early productions in the 1980s focused on social issues such as blended families (Stepdancing, 1986), youth suicide (Childhood’s End, 1981), and addiction (Out of the Past, 1989).
Many of Kensington’s productions have featured Earth’s natural environment and human activities that threaten it: Fragile Harvest (1986, the Nature of Things), Sacred Rhythm (1990), Sacred Balance with David Suzuki (2002), and Port Hope: A Question of Power (2005, The Nature of Things).
Kensington also has a history of producing iconic music documentaries. One Warm Line: The Legacy of Stan Rogers (1990), Mariposa: Under a Stormy Sky (1990), My Beat: The Life & Times of Bruce Cockburn (2001), and the City Sonic App (2009) all highlight Canadian music and musicians.
Kensington Communications worked with Bruce Cockburn over decades from the 1980s to the 2010s to produce short documentaries and advertisements for USC (formerly known as the Unitarian Service Committee of Canada) about their work in Nepal.
Kensington produced two successful crime series that focused on the role of forensics in solving real crimes – Exhibit A: Secrets of Forensic Science, and 72 Hours: True Crime.
Recent TV productions include The Shadow Of Gold (2019), Risk Factor (2017), The Equalizer (2016), and three seasons of the popular international TV series Museum Secrets, which goes behind the scenes at great museums of the world.
Kensington Communications has also been a leader in using multimedia websites to enhance documentary and television content. River of Sand, Sacred Balance, Diamond Road, Raw Opium, and Museum Secrets all included website content. Museum Secrets included a tie-in app called Scopify to help visitors navigate the Royal Ontario Museum, and the documentary Risk Factor was accompanied by the Risk Navigator app.

Stephen Ellis

  • Person

Ralph C. Ellis, father of Stephen, was born July 11, 1924, in Milton, Nova Scotia. After serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, he began his career at the National Film Board as a field representative working out of the Halifax, Ottawa, and New York offices. In 1956, he formed Fremantle of Canada with Paul Talbot and Saul Turell, distributing television programs for Freemantle International. In 1963, in partnership with filmmakers Gerry S. Kedey and Dan Gibson, Ellis established KEG Productions, a production company specializing in wildlife and environmental documentaries (including the series Audubon Wildlife Theatre, 1968-1974, for the CBC). The company became the largest producer of wildlife programming in Canada. In 1964, he founded Ellis Enterprises, which went on to become the most prominent distributor of British programs in Canada (including the series Coronation Street, Upstairs Downstairs, The Two Ronnies, Doctor in the House, The Jewel in the Crown, and Sherlock Holmes). In 1969, Ellis established Manitou Productions, with William Davidson, to produce dramas, resulting in children’s programs such as the Adventures in Rainbow Country (1970-71) for the CBC and Matt and Jenny (1979-1980) for Global Television. Ellis helped to organize the Canadian Television Program Distributors Association, served on the Children’s Broadcast Institute Board, and was a member of the Broadcast Executives Society. He was appointed to the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario in 1997 and retired in 2002. Ellis died in 2016.

In 1973, Maclean-Hunter acquired a 50% stake in KEG Productions. By the 1990s, Ellis Entertainment Corporation had re-acquired 100% of the production group, re-branding its productions and distribution arms as Ellis Vision Inc. and Ellis Releasing. Ellis Enterprises had an early deal with Discovery Channel in 1986 and was a co-founder of the Outdoor Life Network in Canada in 1996. In 2009, Ellis Entertainment merged with Knightscove Media Corp., creating the Knightscove-Ellis International television division. In 2015, the 600-title library of material produced by Ralph and Stephen Ellis was acquired by Stellis Media Inc.

Stephen Ellis, Ralph’s son, began working for Ellis Enterprises as a shipping clerk in 1973 while he was in university. In 1983, Stephen became Managing Director of KEG after Ralph bought out the original partners. In 1986, Stephen became president of Ellis Enterprises. Stephen joined the CFTA board in 1980 (serving as president in 1984), was secretary-treasurer for the Canadian Film and Television Production Association, and in 1989 was founding president of the Canadian Retransmission Collective (CRC). In 2002, Stephen took over Ellis Entertainment upon his father’s retirement, and continued producing until 2011. In 2015, Stephen founded Stellis Media, naming his father chairman emeritus. As of 2020, Stephen Ellis is president of RocketFuel Media Inc. (launched in 2012 with Gina Lijoi), a principal with the consultancy Media Cattellist Solutions, chair of the CRC, and chair of ISAN Canada.

Alert Music

  • 2005.006
  • Corporate body
  • 1984-2006

Alert Music was founded in 1984 by Toronto’s W. Tom Berry and Montreal’s Marc Durand. From 1975-1983, Berry had been managing director at Anthem Records whose roster included Rush, Max Webster and Bob and Doug Mackenzie. Durand was the manager and producer of the Montreal rock band Men Without Hats. Alert’s mission was to create a unique label that could bridge the “two solitudes” of Canada, hopefully turning regional hits into national ones; the Toronto office would sign English language artists that the Montreal office would attempt to promote in French Canada, and vice versa. The Montreal office immediately signed The Box, while the Toronto office signed Kim Mitchell (who had recently begun a solo career).

In the late 1980s, Berry decided that his interest in rock music was waning and he and Durand agreed to go their separate ways. Berry kept the name Alert and all the English language artists currently signed to the label, while Durand kept The Box and the company’s Montreal office. Sometime after, Berry discovered jazz singer Holly Cole performing with pianist Aaron David and bass player David Piltch. He signed the trio and immediately set out to create a distinctive image and style for Cole. Her album Girl Talk caught the attention of jazz label Blue Note Records, and they released Cole’s next five albums in the American market. The majority of Alert’s efforts since the mid1990s have revolved around recording and marketing Cole. The label also continues to record and market other Canadian jazz, blues and roots-oriented music including Roxanne Potvin, Michael Kaeshammer and Cole’s accompanists, Piltch and Davis.

Barna-Alper Productions

  • Corporate body
  • 1979-2004

Born to Hungarian Holocaust survivors in 1949, Laszlo Barna arrived in Montreal shortly after the Soviet Union’s Red Army suppressed the 1956 Hungarian democratic revolt. He attended McGill University in the late 1960s and, after a brief period as an academic, he became an independent filmmaker. In the late 1970s, he moved with his partner (Laura Alper) and their daughter to Toronto, where they established BarnaAlper Productions.

Initially, the company produced industrial films (primarily for unions, including the Canadian Auto Workers). Later, they produced small documentaries at the National Film Board, but their big break came in 1989 when CBC introduced the all-news channel Newsworld. Barna pitched a weekly current affairs, called Workweek, which became their first broadcast series. Over the next decade, BarnaAlper continued to produce factual series (including Frontiers of Construction, one of the first shows commissioned by Discovery Canada, and Turning Points of History, one of the first programs commissioned by History Television in 1997). Through this period, Alper began to take a less active role in the day-to-day affairs of the company, and she now serves as a consultant. In 1996, BarnaAlper entered the field of dramatic programming with the story of Teamster leader Diana Kilmury. The movie-of-the-week met with critical success in Canada and the United States, and the company began developing a slate of new dramatic projects. In 2008, BarnaAlper was acquired by Entertainment One (E1).

The company has won numerous awards, among them Geminis for Best Dramatic Series, Best Documentary Series, Best Sports Program or Series, Best Science, Technology, Nature and Environment Documentary Program, and Best History Documentary Program. They have also been recognized at prestigious TV festivals in the United States, including the Columbus International Film and Video Festival, Double Take, and the Chicago International TV Festival.

Delaney & Friends Productions

  • Corporate body
  • 1993-1998

Delaney & Friends was incorporated by Christopher Delaney in Vancouver in 1984. Delaney was joined by his brother, animation designer and comic book artist John Delaney, in 1992. Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the company produced several television commercials for such clients as 711, Purex and the Vancouver Province, and they garnered a number of awards for these (including two TVB Awards, three Bessie Awards, and an IBA Award).

In 1993, Delaney & Friends produced an animated Christmas special, Christopher the Christmas Tree (the special was based on a record album of the same name, produced by George T. Bowers in 1969). The program premiered on the FOX Kids network in the United States and YTV in Canada. Over the years, several stations around the world have picked up the broadcasting rights to the special, and as of 2007 Christopher the Christmas Tree had been shown in over 35 countries while the commercially released DVD had sold over 50,000 copies.
Beginning in 1995, Delaney produced the first of two full seasons of the animated series Nilus the Sandman. Created by Michael Fawkes, each season consisted of 13 episodes; these were all either written or edited by Michael Mercer and employed the voices of Donny Osmond and Holly Cole. The first season was co-produced with Cambium Entertainment of Toronto at a studio in Manila. The studio (Typhoon Toons) employed a staff of 400 animators, though it failed due to interference from customs agents and the difficulty of managing such a large operation from afar. When production of the second season began in 1998, Delaney subcontracted production work to Morning Sun Animation studio in Shanghai. The Nilus series was recognized with numerous nominations and awards, including two Geminis, three Worldfest awards, two U.S. International Film and Video Festival awards and a Golden Sheaf Award from the Yorkton Short Film Festival.

In 1996, Delaney & Friends produced The Littlest Angel, based on the children’s book originally published in 1940. In addition to the material produced through Delaney & Friends, Chris Delaney has created such well-known animation programs as The Care Bears, Detective Dog, Tales of the Mouse Hockey League, Leonard Lemming’s Lament, The Legend of the Candy Cane and Phish and Chip.

In 2003, Vancouver videogame developer Radical Entertainment agreed to purchase the assets of Delaney & Company, which was no longer operational. Two years later, Radical was acquired by Vivendi Universal Games, a global games publisher.


  • Corporate body
  • 1975-2002

Syd Kessler and Jody Colero operated a number of commercial studios from the 1970s to 2000. Hamilton born Syd Kessler began working in media in 1966 when he was hired by Chuck Blore Creative Services, a Los Angeles-based radio production company. Over the next five years, Kessler learned his way around a recording studio while also freelance writing for the prime time comedy show, Laugh-In. Returning to Toronto in 1971, Kessler obtained work writing for television shows such as Wayne and Schuster and began working on commercials with noted jingle writer and film composer Ben McPeek. Kessler joined the Cockfield Brown Advertising Agency in 1973; it was here that he met Cubby Marcus, who would become his mentor.

By 1975, Kessler had started his own company, WAMO (Words and Music Organization), which then became Kessler, Morrison, Meteskey and Giacomelli Inc. Three years later, he founded Kessler Productions (later Kessler Music Corp.), which over the next several years became the largest jingle company in Canada. In 1981, Kessler acquired Berryman Studios and Sounds Interchange and formed the Air Company and Creative Interchange. These two companies dominated the advertising business in Canada for nearly a decade, with Kessler co-writing, producing and/or directing commercials for major companies including Coca-Cola, Esso, Air Canada, McDonald’s and others. In 1988, John Labatt Ltd. merged with Kessler Music Corp, thereby forming a new entity called Supercorp. Five of Kessler’s competitors came under the Supercorp umbrella; one of these, Einstein Brothers, included Jody Colero.

Following a change in direction in 1994, Kessler sold his shares in Supercorp and started a new company called The Kessler Group. In 1997, Kessler became co-director of KPMG e-commerce practice. He retired in 2000, and published a book (called The Perfect System) in 2005, and currently lives in Toronto.

Jody Colero began his professional career in 1977, working as an engineer at Thunder Sound. He subsequently worked in A & R, signing notable Canadian pop and rock artists such as Teenage Head, Harlequin and David Bendeath while helping to develop a number of successful Canadian songwriters like Mary Margaret O’Hara and Tim Thorney. Colero also worked with such notable Canadian acts as Dr. Music and Craig Russell. In 1985, Colero formed Einstein Brothers Music Inc. with two partners that he subsequently bought out. The company was acquired by Kessler’s Supercorp in 1992. Shortly afterwards, Colero created the Einstein Brothers Record label, which enjoyed some success with Cassandra Vassik and Charlie Major. Einstein Brothers Inc. was acquired by Supercorp in 1992 and, after its dissolution, Colero became the sole owner of the company that he once co-owned. After a brief sabbatical at the end of 2001, Colero returned to the advertising business with a new company called Silent Joe. He continues to create musical products for all media.

In addition to their advertising work, both Kessler and Colero served as executive producers or worked ‘hands on’ on commercial recordings by Bob and Doug MacKenzie, Rick Moranis and Mary Margaret O’Hara, among others. Kessler and Colero’s work has been well-regarded within the advertising, music and broadcasting communities, and they have earned countless awards: AMPAC (Advertising Music Producers Association of Canada), Andys (Advertising Club of New York), Bessies, Canadian Radio Commercial Awards, Canadian TV Commercials Festival, CLIOs (International Broadcasting Awards), International Film & TV Festival awards, Toronto Art Directors Club Awards, and others.

Shaftesbury Films Inc.

  • 2007.008
  • Corporate body
  • 1987-

Shaftesbury Films was founded by Canadian Film Centre alumnus Christina Jennings 1987. The initial goal was to produce feature films with strong Canadian content and identity; their first feature, Camilla, was produced in 1992 and followed by Swann and Painted Angels. In 1996, Jennings recruited Jonathan Barker, a former IMAX Corp. executive. Due to the scarcity of funding for feature filmmaking in Canada, Shaftesbury quickly moved into television, producing their first ‘movie of the week’ (External Affairs, based on Timothy Findlay’s The Stillborn Lover) in 1998. After establishing their commitment to adapting prestigious Canadian literary works by such authors as Margaret Atwood, Carol Shields, and Mordecai Richler, Shaftesbury expanded to produce a broad range of television programming for children and adults. In 1998, Shaftesbury established a large format division (SK Films) in partnership with IMAX founder Robert Kerr. The company distributed Bugs!, Journey to Mecca, and Gold Fever, among other films. Also in 1998, Jennings and Barker further diversified their company by launching a feature-film distribution arm in partnership with Oasis Pictures. In 2008, Barker left Shaftesbury Films; he and Kerr now have sole control of SK Films.

Shaftesbury has accumulated a host of awards over its twenty-three year history, including Geminis, International Emmys, Canadian Screenwriting Awards and Directors Guild of Canada Awards. Jennings was awarded the Crystal Award for Oustanding Achievement by the Women in Film and Television organization in 2006.

S&S Productions

  • 2005.002
  • Corporate body
  • 1980-

S & S Productions was founded by husband-and-wife comedy team Steve and Morag Smith in 1980. The company was founded just as Canada’s broadcasting industry was experiencing unprecedented growth; the new cable market was just developing, and smaller companies like S & S were able to feed the demand for new content with cost-efficient and viewer-friendly programming.

The duo first achieved success with the series Smith & Smith, and subsequent series included The Comedy Mill and Me & Max. However, S & S has achieved its greatest success with The Red Green Show. Originally aired by CHCH-TV in Hamilton in March of 1990, the comedy enjoyed a fifteen year run on television. The series also aired in the United States, Australia, India and Israel. With Red Green’s success, S & S kept diversifying and expanding: more comedy like An American in Canada and History Bites as well as lifestyle programs like Balance Television for Living Well, The Gardener’s Journal and Anything I Can Do. In 2002, the company produced their first feature film, Duct Tape Forever.

Over the course of its 30 year history, S & S Productions has won three Gemini Awards and been nominated for several more. The company has also received nominations for two Rose D’Or awards, and was a finalist in the New York Festival’s International Competition for Television Film and Video Communication.

Lionsgate Entertainment

  • Corporate body
  • 1997 -

Lionsgate was founded by Frank Giustra in 1997. Giustra, the son of a nickel miner, was born in Sudbury, ON and eventually became CEO of Yorkton Securities Inc., an investment bank that specialized in funding mining ventures. A lifelong film fan, Giustra became involved with the financing for a half-dozen films before deciding to found a Canadian film company that could compete with Hollywood on its own terms. Giustra contributed $16 million of his own money to found Lion’s Gate, and secured $40 million from investors (including Yorkton, his former employer). He obtained an additional $64 million when Lion’s Gate merged with Toronto Stock Exchange listee Beringer Gold Corp. to become a publicly traded company. Beringer’s mining assets were sold off, and Lion’s Gate was soon in a position to acquire a number of existing Canadian film companies.
One of these was Cinepix Film Properties (CFP), which was founded in Montreal by John Dunning and Andre Link in 1962. Created at the height of Quebec’s Quiet Revolution, CFP quickly became the centre of risqué filmmaking with such hits as Denis Heroux’s Valerie. When this and other Cinepix titles were distributed in English Canada in the early 1970s, there was a good deal of criticism levied at the Canadian Film Development Corporation (now Telefilm Canada) for spending Canadian tax dollars on what some referred to as ‘sexploitation movies’. CFP released both English and French films, and also had an American distribution arm based in New York. The company produced 10 – 12 modestly budgeted films annually, while also distributing such arthouse titles as Hype and Buffalo 66. CFP also owned 56 percent of CineGroup, a Montreal-based animated film production company. Cinepix was renamed Lion’s Gate Films after the acquisition (though its leadership remained intact), and an offshoot, Lion’s Gate International, was later formed in Los Angeles to serve as a worldwide distribution branch.

Giustra also acquired Vancouver-based North Shore Studios in 1997. North Shore (subsequently renamed Lion’s Gate Studios) was Canada’s largest film production facility, and home to a number of American television programs (including The XFiles). Over the next several years, Lion’s Gate continued to acquire various film and television companies, including International Movie Group, Inc., Artisan, Redbus and Trimark. In addition to the feature films that they produced and/or distributed, several of these companies also brought extensive inventories of home entertainment titles. As such, Lionsgate has grown to become one of the most commercially successful independent production companies in North America.
In 2000, CEO Frank Giustra stepped down and was replaced by former Sony Pictures executive John Feltheimer. In 2005, the company changed its name from “Lion’s Gate” to “Lionsgate” across all of its divisions. Under the rebranding, division titles Lions Gate Films, Lions Gate Television, Lions Gate Documentary, Lions Gate International. Lions Gate Home Entertainment, Lions Gate Family Entertainment, Lions Gate Family Home Entertainment and Lions Gate Music disappeared.

Lionsgate currently employs ca. 800 people, and has offices in Vancouver, BC and Santa Monica, CA.

Radke Film Group

  • 2007.010
  • Corporate body
  • 1992-

The Radke Film Group was formed in Toronto in 1992 by Richard Radke (in partnership with the company Partners’ Film Company). Radke, who was raised in New York City, had come to Canada in the early 1980s and began his advertising career in 1988. The company was intended to be a director-driven enterprise with sales agents generating contracts to produce commercials for various clients. Radke enlisted several directors to his firm, which his company then represented to various clients. In addition to representing Canadian directors, the Radke Film Group also served as a sales representative for a number of the major American production companies for business in Canada.

Following Radke’s sudden death at the age of 40 in 1994, then General Manager Edie Weiss took over the company. In 1998, Partners’ sold its 30% share to Weiss and she became the company’s full owner (she continues to serve as President). In 2003, the company opened an office in Vancouver.

The Radke Film Group also encompasses a number of affiliates:
· Steam Films was launched in 2001 to enable Radke to represent a larger number of directors; in 2003, they too opened a Vancouver office. Steam also provides crew and production for American shoots.
· Soft Citizen, a dedicated music video production company, was founded in 2003 with the intention of producing videos for both Canadian and international artists. To date, the company has produced videos for such artists as Badly Drawn Boy, Broken Social Scene, Cut Copy, and Death Cab for Cutie.
· The Vapor Music Group is a full service music house based in Toronto. The company specializes in original music, sound design, film/television branding, long format licensing, radio and voice direction. Vapor is managed for former Jungle Music head Roger Harris; clients include Nissan, Purolator, AGF, Gatorade, Nike and Toyota.

Radke directors have won every major international advertising award, including Cannes Lions, Clios, AICP’s (Association of Independent Commercial Producers), Bessies and more. Amongst the best known directors are Mike Bigelow, Antoine Fugua, Zak Snyder, Martin Shewchuk and Eric Lynne; a number of these people have also worked on feature films.

Primedia Productions

  • 2006.010
  • Corporate body
  • 1981-1994

In 1981, producer/director W. Patterson Ferns and writer Richard Nielsen formed Primedia Productions Ltd. Their previous company, Nielsen-Ferns Ltd., had been created in 1972 when the two left their posts at CBC in order to focus on independent productions. In early 1985 Nielsen left Primedia to pursue his writing career and Pat Ferns took over the company.

In the years prior to Primedia’s founding, Ferns initiated several co-production arrangements with international partners; although an unusual practice in the 1970s, such co-productions have become a mainstay of the contemporary Canadian television industry. Ferns was instrumental in the creation of an independent production department within the CBC and for acceptance of independent production by private broadcasters. His arguments in front of the CRTC and other representations have been credited with sowing the seeds from which the Broadcast Fund of Telefilm Canada was born. As a result of these efforts, he has been referred to as “the father of independent production” in Canada.

Following his departure from Primedia, Neilsen founded Norflicks Productions Ltd. He has been granted a Michener Award, a Chetwynd Award and four Gemini Awards for his work. By the time Primedia folded in 1992, it had produced approximately 100 programs that had been seen around the world. Primedia’s programming falls into four general categories: performing arts programs, original TV drama, celebrity-hosted travelogues, and science programming.

In 1994, Primedia was sold to Douglas Dales, president of Production Services Ltd., one of Canada’s largest motion picture equipment rental companies.

NOW Communications

  • 2002.002
  • Corporate body
  • 1981-

NOW Magazine was founded in 1981 by Michael Hollett and Alice Klein. In many ways, NOW was modeled as a Toronto equivalent to New York’s Village Voice; a weekly newsprint publication combining progressive news coverage with extensive and literate coverage of the cultural events occurring in the city. However, one essential difference between NOW and its predecessors was that NOW was completely supported by ad revenue and thus available for free. While this was a new concept in 1981, the majority of North American cities now have at least one such publication.
Over the course of its history, NOW’s arts writers have provided in-depth coverage of the film, theatre, music, dance, poetry and visual arts scenes in Toronto. The emphasis in this coverage has been on independent and alternative artists whose work gets little or no exposure in the mainstream press. NOW’s news coverage has also been influential, providing a voice for a variety of communities that were traditionally marginalized elsewhere (including LGBT people, sex workers, labour organizers, environmental activists and so on).

In the course of its coverage of politics and the arts, NOW has published original photography by nationally and internationally renowned names such as Larry Towell, David Hlynsky, Paul Till and Chris Nichols. The magazine has also printed original art by people such as Margaret Hathaway, Buzz Burza, Thach Bui and Kris Patterson.

Insight Productions

  • Corporate body
  • 1970 -

The Insight Production Company Ltd. is an independent production company based in Toronto. It was established in 1970 by Penray "Pen" Densham and John Kingsley Watson. In 1973, the company gained recognition for the documentary film Life Times Nine, which received two Academy Award nominations. In December 1978 John McLeod Brunton, Jr., assistant editor and director with Insight, bought the rights to the company from Densham and Watson, becoming President.

Born in Toronto (ca. 1954), Brunton was the youngest of three children and attended the Ridley School in St. Catharines, ON. Upon graduating, Brunton attended York University, Guelph University and Ryerson University. After being impressed by a short film produced by Insight in the mid1970s (Dazzled), Brunton called the company and expressed interest in their work. He began working for them in 1976. Working with Executive Vice President Barbara Bowlby (who joined the company in the mid 1980s), Brunton established a company that has fostered Canada’s domestic star system. Insight has created programs in several genres (documentary, drama, sports, variety, comedy, music, reality), and has adapted to shifting tastes, technology and formats. Canadian Idol, an Insight-produced iteration of the successful international format, aired between 2004 and 2008 to record-breaking audiences. Insight is also credited with revamping Canada’s national music awards, the JUNO Awards. By moving the show from a theatre to an arena setting, Insight was ultimately able to take the show on the road to cities across the country. The company has produced a number of award-winning programs for youth, including The Truth About Alex and the dramatic series Ready or Not. Insight is also recognized for producing Canada’s first successful late-night talk show, Open Mike with Mike Bullard, for six years.

King, Susan

  • Person
  • 1954-

Born in 1954, Susan King grew up in Toronto and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Mount Allison University, and a Masters of Fine Arts degree from York University. After graduation, King opened XOX Artist’s Postcards, a retail store whose stock was comprised of a variety of art postcards designed by both Canadian and international artists. By 1981, King was commissioning, publishing and distributing her own line of artists’ postcards through the store. Since 1983, and continuing throughout her career, King has contributed photographs on a freelance basis to Now Magazine, The Globe and Mail, MacLean’s, Toronto Life, Canadian Business, Image Nation, Broadcast Week, and Elm Street. In addition to her freelance photojournalism work, King has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in galleries throughout Canada, as well as internationally in New York City, Philadelphia, Duluth, Krakow, Poland, San Juan, and Merida. Her work has been included in the collections of the National Archives of Canada, the Art Bank, The Lynnwood Art Centre, and The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography.

Blum, Leonard

  • Person
  • 1951 -

Leonard Solomon Blum was born in Toronto in 1951, and raised in Toronto, Montreal and Toronto. He spent his youth playing in rock bands, including The Brass Union which had some success with a 45 rpm single (“It Won’t Be Long”). Among Blum's fellow students in high school was Dan Goldberg, who later became a scriptwriter with whom Blum was to collaborate on many projects. In 1972, Blum enrolled at McMaster University, where he worked on student film projects with Ivan Reitman, an older student who had already established himself as a budding filmmaker. Blum graduated from McMaster with a degree in sociology in 1975. He initially pursued a career in music, working as a session guitarist and producer with the Sound Canada Recording Studio in Toronto. He also wrote commercial jingles for clients such as The Bay, Chrysler, Pepsi and Labatt’s.

In 1977, Blum wrote a two man cabaret, Midnight Opera, which was produced at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto. In 1978, he wrote After the Opera, which was produced by Theatre Passe Muraille. Also in 1978, Blum was contacted by Reitman to devise a scenario for a film about a summer camp. The resulting film, Meatballs, was shot in Haliburton, Ontario, with a script by Blum, Goldberg, Janis Allen, and Harold Ramis. It turned out to be an immensely popular film, setting records for the revenues it grossed, and the writers won a Genie Award for their screenplay. Blum was invited to work on Reitman's next project, Stripes, whose screenplay Blum co-wrote with Goldberg and which starred Harold Ramis and Bill Murray. At the same time, Blum and Goldberg wrote the script for Reitman's Heavy Metal, a futuristic animated film. In 1983, Goldberg and Blum began work on a script called GMen, which became the film Feds. To develop the project, they moved to Los Angeles (although Blum's wife, Heather, continued her studies in Canada). In 1986, Blum returned to Canada, while Goldberg opted to stay in the U.S. Although Blum and his family moved back to Los Angeles briefly in 1991 so that Blum could work on the Disney picture Beethoven's 2 nd ( another Ivan Reitman film), they soon returned to Canada. In 1995, Reitman asked Blum to adapt the autobiography of the controversial American radio host Howard Stern. The resulting film, Private Parts, was released in 1997. A number of other films (including The Pink Panther, Over the Hedge, and Grass) followed. In later years, Blum occasionally wrote under the pseudonym ‘Solomon Vesta’.

Between 1998 and 2001, Blum wrote a weekly Arts column (‘Going to the Movies’) for The National Post. In 2003, he became a certified Yoga teacher, and in 2005 he opened the United Yoga Studio in Montreal and he now works there fulltime. Also in 2005, Blum received a Distinguished Alumni Award from McMaster Univerity. Blum currently lives in Montreal with his wife, Dr. Heather Munroe-Blum (Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University). They have one daughter, Sydney.

Switzer, Jacob

  • 2008.010
  • Person
  • [ca. 1956]-

Jacob (Jay) Switzer was born in Calgary (ca. 1956) and raised in Lethbridge, AB and Estevan, SK. The family moved to Toronto when Switzer was in his teens. His father, Israel, was an engineer and his mother Phyllis was a journalist. In 1972, Phyllis Switzer (along with Moses Znaimer and two other partners) launched City-TV, a station that Israel Switzer had conceived as a modest UHF service designed to exploit CRTC regulations that all local broadcasters be carried by cable systems.

Jay Switzer’s first real job, at age 16, was on the switchboard at CityTV. He worked as a Media Research Analyst for The Financial Post from 1979-1981, and then, having completed his education (B.Comm from the University of Toronto, MBA from the University of Western Ontario), he returned to CityTV in 1983 as a junior program manager. Since CHUM Ltd. (the company that had bought City-TV in 1978) could not afford to compete with the networks for costly American programs, Switzer instead focused on movies and reruns of youth-oriented shows like Star Trek. In 1984, Switzer co-wrote the license application that would bring MuchMusic to air, and over the following years he was instrumental in City-TV’s expansion into other markets and innovative new services. He also presided over the exportation of such City-TV made programs as FashionTelevision and MovieTelevision to markets around the globe (CHUM was among the first Canadian broadcasters to sell its homemade programs internationally, and to license formats to partners). Throughout the 1990s, Switzer developed more specialty services such as MuchMoreMusic, Star!, Bravo!, and CablePulse24. In 1995, he was named Vice President of Programming for CHUM Television, and in 2002 he became the company’s President and CEO. CHUM was acquired by CTV-Globemedia in 2006 (with the five CityTV stations going to Rogers
Communications for regulatory reasons), and Switzer left the company in 2007.

Jay Switzer currently works as an independent Media Management Consultant. He lives in Toronto with his wife, actress Ellen Dubin.

Nevitt, Barrington

  • Person
  • 1908-1995

Throughout his life and career, as a professional engineer, international consultant, theorist, and linguist, Henry James Barrington Nevitt was associated with the phenomenon of modern communications. His interest in the theoretical aspects of mass media and communications resulted in a professional association and personal friendship with Professor Marshall McLuhan of the Centre for Culture and Technology, University of Toronto. In addition to being a prolific writer, who even experimented with science fiction, Nevitt was an international lecturer.

Nevitt was born in 1908 in St. Catharines, Ontario and spent his early years abroad, returning to Toronto from England in 1917. From 1920 to 1930, Nevitt was involved in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of radio equipment. Nevitt was employed as a radio operator for the Canadian Marconi Company on coast and ship stations between 1927 and 1928. For a year, he served as a bush pilot in training with the Ontario Provincial Air Service. In 1932 Nevitt went to Leningrad to work as a research and development engineer at Zavod Elecktropibor where he assisted in the development of VHF measurement techniques. In 1933, Nevitt returned to Canada and worked with the Northern Electric Company in Montreal as a manufacturing engineer of telecommunication equipment, remaining with the company until 1939. During WWII, Nevitt worked on various sensitive projects at Canadian Pacific and Defence Communications Ltd, and as an engineer developing radio teletype systems at RCA. He remained with RCA as an executive engineer until 1947.

Nevitt received his Bachelor of Applied Science, Electrical Engineering, from the University of Toronto in 1941 and his Master of Engineering in Telecommunications degree from McGill University in 1945. From 1947 to 1960 Nevitt worked for the Swedish international public utilities firm L.M. Ericsson of Stockholm as a telecommunications troubleshooter in various locales including Caracas, Venezuela, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. In the early 1960’s, Nevitt served as a consultant to the Royal Commission for Government Organization, and returned to work for the Northern Electric Company and for other private and governmental bodies. In 1963, he joined the Ontario Development Corporation as a manager in research and consultative services, rising to become the corporation’s Director of Innovations.

Nevitt’s association with Marshall McLuhan began while he was a graduate student. From 1965 until McLuhan’s death in 1980, they wrote various articles and papers together. In 1968, McLuhan invited Nevitt to collaborate on the book later published under the title Take Today; the Executive as Drop Out. For more than a decade, Nevitt assisted McLuhan in the conducting of weekly seminars at the Centre for Culture and Technology.

Nevitt published several works throughout the later portion of his career including: ABC of Prophecy, (1982), The Communication Ecology (1982), Keeping Ahead of Economic Panic (1985), Who Was Marshall McLuhan? (co-written with Maurice McLuhan 1993), and the self published science fiction work Captain Gulliver’s Interplanetary Travels.

Nevitt died in 1995.

Monk, Lorraine

  • Person
  • 1926-

Lorraine Monk was born in Montreal (ca.1926). She earned a B.A. from McGill University in 1944, and an M.A. in 1946. She worked as a writer at the National Film Board (NFB) from 1957 to 1959, and became the director of their Still Photography division (which she created) in 1960. In 1967 she inaugurated "The Photo Gallery" in Ottawa, the first gallery in the country devoted to contemporary Canadian photography. That same year, she started a program of traveling photographic exhibitions that crossed Canada and toured abroad. Monk also published several books, including Canada: A Year of the Land (1967), which won major awards for printing excellence, The Female Eye (1975), Canada (1975), which won the silver medal at the Leipzig International Book Fair, and Between Friends (1976), which won the gold medal at the Leipzig International Book Fair.

After leaving the NFB and moving to Toronto in 1980, Monk continued to organize photo exhibitions and to produce books, such as Canada with Love (1982). She established the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, and also served as its first executive director. The museum, situated in Ottawa, held its first exhibition in 1987. Monk is the recipient of several awards, including the Centennial Medal (1967) and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (2002). She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Ontario. Monk has also been given two honorary doctorate degrees from York and Carleton Universities.

Lorraine Monk had four children with her husband, John, before he died in 1978. Her daughter Karyn Monk is a novelist. Lorraine Monk currently lives in Toronto.

Zend, Robert

  • CAN
  • Person
  • 1925 - 1985

Hungarian-Canadian poet and radio producer Robert Zend was born in Budapest, Hungary in 1929. Zend majored in Hungarian and classical literature and received a Bachelor of Arts from Péter Pázmány Science University in 1953. Zend immigrated to Canada in 1956 and commenced working for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in1958. During his time at the CBC, Zend held a number of increasingly important positions including Film Librarian (1958-1966), film editor (1966-1969), and writer and radio producer for the CBC-Radio Arts and specifically for the program “Ideas” (1969-1977).
Throughout his career, Zend continued to pursue his academic and literary interests, receiving a Masters of Arts in Italian and Comparative literature from the University of Toronto in 1969 and writing, translating and publishing several works of poetry and prose. Works published by Zend include From Zero to One, My Friend Jeronimo, Arbormundi, Beyond Labels, Oāb I, The Three Roberts Premiere Performance, The Three Roberts On Love, and The Three Roberts On Childhood. Works written by Zend but unpublished include: Madouce, How Do You Doodle, Nicolette, and Key to the Cube. Works translated by Zend include: Gilgamesh, The Tragedy of Man, and Pattern Without End. Zend received numerous Ontario Arts Council Awards to help support his creative activities during the period between 1975 and 1985.
Zend died in Toronto on June 27, 1985.

Trelevean, Cameron

  • 2003.001
  • Person
  • [19-]-

In 1993, Toronto-based band The Cowboy Junkies released the album Pale Sun, Crescent Moon. The lead single was a cover of Dinosaur Jr.’s “The Post”, and the video began production in November of that year. The band commissioned Bev Wotton of Streetlight Productions Ltd, who in turn recruited John Fawcett, Peter Wellington and Thom Best to direct, edit and shoot the video. The trio later went on to feature films (The Boys Club, Ginger Snaps, Joe’s So Mean to Josephine).

Cameron Treleaven, a bookseller based in Calgary, acquired the material described here in the late 1990s when the storage facility in which it was being kept auctioned it off. Treleaven donated the material to the Media Commons Archives in 2003.

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