Selected Filmography

PASSAGE
(director, writer/narrator, co-producer) 2008

“History would be an excellent thing if only it were true,” claimed Tolstoy, and filmmaker John Walker takes us on an epic historical adventure that involves cannibalism, a vengeful woman and an historical cover-up by British authorities that credited the wrong man with the discovery of the Northwest Passage. Stunningly cinematic, the film follows a trail from London to the Orkney Islands to Nunavut, elegantly slipping between past and present, drama and documentary, and observational and self-reflexive cinema.

  • Banff World Television Festival
    Grand Jury Prize – Best Canadian Production – 2009
  • Grierson British Documentary Awards
    Shortlist – History Today Best Historical Documentary – 2009
  • Canadian Film & Television Producers Association
    Indie Award – Best Documentary Production – 2009
  • Reel 2 Reel International Film Festival for Youth
    Best Picture
  • Atlantic Film Festival
    Best Director, Best Cinematography
  • Writers Guild of Canada
    Screenwriters Award – Best Documentary Script
  • Columbus International Film & Video Festival
    Silver Chris Award
  • Vancouver International Film Festival
    Audience Top Ten Canadian Films
  • MEN OF THE DEEPS
    (director, writer, cinematographer, co-producer) 2003

    The film is a moving portrait of a group of former miners gathered together because of their love of song. Through testimonials from both miners and their wives, evocative scenes underground and the hauntingly beautiful voices of the choir, we explore the last days of coal mining in Cape Breton. Featuring sixteen outstanding songs, which exemplify an oral tradition of almost 300 years, the film captures the grace and dignity of a group of men whose livelihood has been lost but who use their voices to inspire and uplift.

  • Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
    Gemini Awards
  • Best Performing Arts Documentary, Best Documentary Photography, Best Documentary Sound
  • Audience Award at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival
  • Canadian Society of Cinematographers Award
    Best Documentary Photography
  • Atlantic Film Festival Award
    Excellence in Sound Design
  • Tidal Wave Film Festival
    Viewers Choice Award for Best Documentary
  • YEARS FROM HERE
    (director, writer/narrator) 2002

    This documentary follows the Maisin, who live in an isolated region of Papua New Guinea, on their first trip to visit the indigenous Sto:lo of British Columbia. The film is a follow up to CHANGING GROUND that documented the Sto:lo’s journey the previous year to PNG. It is through the observations of the Maisin and the experiences of the Sto:lo in Canada that we come to understand the complexity and tragedy of adapting to a foreign way of life.
    – CBC The Nature of Things

    CHANGING GROUND
    (director, writer/narrator) 2001

    A documentary film shot in Papua New Guinea with the Maisin – the first tribe in PNG to say no to foreign logging in their territory. The film witnesses an extraordinary exchange between two indigenous communities: the Maisin of Collingwood Bay and the Sto:lo of the Fraser Valley in British Columbia who face the same dilemmas.
    – CBC The Nature of Things

    THE FAIRY FAITH
    (director, writer/narrator, producer) 2000

    In this feature documentary Walker takes us on a personal journey into a world of myth that he learned from his grandmother. From the ancient tales of Ireland, through Shakespeare to Walt Disney fairies occupy a unique place in our collective imagination. Walker travels from the Moors of Devon and the Highlands of Scotland to the brooding Celtic landscapes of Ireland and the intimate hills of Cape Breton, in his search of this potent “otherworld” of the imagination.

  • (Theatrical release Toronto Film Festival Film Circuit, Empire Theatres and CBC television broadcast)
  • Academy of Canadian Cinema (ACCT)
    Genie nomination – Best feature documentary
  • UTSHIMASSITS: PLACE OF THE BOSS
    (director, writer, producer) 1996

    A documentary film in which the nomadic Mushuau Innu tell their story of how they were settled in the 1960’s on the island of Davis Inlet, in Labrador. Within one generation everything changed.

  • ACCT Gemini
    Donald Brittain Award – Best social/political documentary
  • ACCT Gemini nomination
    Best documentary director
  • Hot Docs nomination
    Best cultural documentary
  • Yorkton Film Festival – Golden Sheaf Awards
    Best film of festival, best documentary over 30min and Best music
  • Atlantic Film Festival
    Rex Tasker Award- Best documentary
  • TOUGH ASSIGNMENT
    (director, cinematographer, co-producer) 1996

    A feature length documentary following four high school teachers as they struggle through an academic year at a downtown Toronto high school. TVOntario

  • Hot Docs Award
    Best editing of festival
  • THE CHAMPAGNE SAFARI
    (executive producer) 1995

    Feature length documentary on the industrialist and alleged Nazi collaborator Charles E. Bedaux.

  • ACCT Genie Award
    Best feature length documentary
  • The New York Festivals – International Competition
    Gold Medal
  • HIDDEN CHILDREN
    (director, cinematographer) 1994

    Shot in Poland, Israel and Canada the film reveals the deeply held childhood memories of those who were forced to hide their Jewish identity during WWII. October Films, Channel 4 broadcast.

  • Chicago Film Festival
    Golden Plaque Award
  • Invited to the New York, San Francisco and Toronto Jewish Film Festivals
  • ACCT Gemini nomination – Donald Brittain Award
    Best social/political documentary
  • ORPHANS OF MANCHURIA
    (director, co-cinematography) 1993

    Shot in China and Japan this film deals with the plight of Japanese children left in China at the end of WWII. Like the Jews of Europe they had to hide their true identity in Mao’s China. Returning to Japan they face a new challenge as they try to adapt to a culture that is now foreign to them. October Films, Channel 4 broadcast.

  • ACCT Gemini nomination – Donald Brittain Award
    Best social/political documentary
  • SHEPHERDS TO THE FLOCK
    (director) 1992

    An exploration of Protestant ministers with different political points of view and interpretations of the Bible. One of a four-part CBC series “God’s Dominion” based on the book by Ron Graham.

    DISTRESS SIGNALS
    (director, producer) 1991

    Based on the communication theories of Harold Innis the film looks at the economic and political world of global television culture that is dominated by products from Hollywood and New York. The film explores the public sector opposition in Europe, Africa and Canada to this U.S. cultural hegemony. In Cannes, France we hear from the American CEO’s who challenge the opposition.

  • (Channel 4 broadcast in the UK and CBC in Canada)
  • ACCT Gemini nomination – Donald Brittain Award
    Best social/political documentary
  • THE HAND OF STALIN
    (director, cinematographer) 1990

    Opening two films of the October Films / BBC trilogy. Leningradskaya – A Village in Southern Russia and Leningrad.

  • ACCT Gemini Award
    Best Documentary Director
  • Nominated as Best series by the Royal Television Society, the British Press Guild and the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
  • Leningradskaya – A Village in Southern Russia invited to the Toronto International Film Festival, Nyon International Documentary Film Festival and St. Petersburg International Documentary Film Festival
  • STRAND – UNDER THE DARK CLOTH
    (director, producer, cinematographer, narrator) 1989

    Feature length documentary on the photographer and filmmaker Paul Strand. (BBC, Theatrical release)

  • ACCT Genie Award
    Best feature documentary
  • Nyon International Documentary Festival
    Public Jury Award
  • Festival International Du Film Sur L’Art
    Best biography
  • Invited to the Toronto, Berlin, London, Los Angeles, Washington, Amsterdam, Nyon and Hong Kong International Film Festivals
  • A WINTER TAN
    (co-director, cinematographer, co-producer) 1987

    Feature drama starring Jackie Burroughs, based on the book.

  • “Give Sorrow Words – Maryse Holder’s Letters From Mexico” (Theatrical Release)
  • ACCT Genie Award
    Best Actor and nominations for Best picture and Best director
  • Invited to the Toronto, Berlin, London and New York International Film Festivals
  • CHAMBERS – TRACKS AND GESTURES
    (director, cinematographer) 1982

    Portrait of the celebrated Canadian artist and experimental filmmaker, Jack Chambers who died at the peak of his career from leukemia. CBC broadcast.

  • Canadian Film and Television Association Award
    Best documentary
  • Yorkton Film Festival – Golden Sheaf Awards
    Best film of festival and Best human condition
  • American Film Festival
    Blue RibbonHouston Film Festival
    Bronze AwardCanadian Film Editors Award
    Best EditingCanadian Society of Cinematographers Award
    Best Documentary Photography

    John Walker’s awards for cinematography include a Gemini for Men of the Deeps, A Fragile Tree Has Roots; Canadian Society of Cinematography awards for Chambers Tracks & Gestures, Blue Snake and Men of the Deeps; Yorkton Film Festival – Golden Sheaf Awards – Best cinematography of festival for On To The Polar Sea and Leningradskaya-Southern Russia. Whalesong and Making Overtures (Oscar nomination) also received Gemini nominations for best documentary cinematography. The Hand of Stalin received a Gemeaux nomination for best director of photography in all categories.

    PUBLICATIONS

    • Alioff Maurie,“The Fairy Faith : In the Realm of the Little People”
      Take One, Volume 10, #32, May 2001
    • Alioff Maurie, “Ongoing Passage: John Walker’s Emotional Connection”
      Canadian Cinematographer, Volume 1, #1, April 2009
    • Cole Janis, “The Deeps of Doc Directing”
      POV, Issue 51, Fall 2003
    • Crooks Harold, “Vacuuming the Crumbs: The Politics of Film Production”
      The Canadian Forum, #779 March 1989 – Interview with John Walker
    • Glassman Marc, “The POV Interview” Part One
      POV, Issue 72, Winter 2008
    • Glassman Marc, “Art and the Documentary” Part Two Interview
      POV, Issue 73, Spring 2009
    • Moscovitch Arlene, “The Filmmaker as Camel: interview with John Walker”
      Constructing Reality: Exploring Media Issues in Documentary, The National Film Board of Canada, 1993
    • Perlmutter Tom, “Tough Assignment: A Film by John Walker”
      Take One, Volume 4, #11, Spring 1996 – Feature article
    • Perlmutter Tom, “Distress Signals”
      Channels of Resistance: Global Television and Local Empowerment, Tony Dowmunt editor, British Film Institute Publishing/Channel 4 Television, 1993 – Opening chapter based on the film Distress Signals
    • Painchaud Jeanne, “Le Prix de la Liberte”
      Entretien avec Jackie Burroughs et John Walker, 24 Images, #41 Winter 88-89
    • Steed Judy, “School daze inspire filmmaker’s class act”
      The Toronto Star, March 20, 1996 – Feature article on the filmmaker and the film Tough Assignment
    • Stevens Peter, The Brink of Reality: New Canadian Documentary Film and Video
      Toronto: Between The Lines, 1993 – Includes a chapter and interview on the documentary films of John Walker
    • Walker John, “Location Notes on A Winter Tan”
      Descant 64/65, Volume 20, Spring-Summer 1989 – Notes and photographs from the location shooting of the feature film starring Jackie Burroughs
    • Walker John, “The Big Deal”
      Cinema Canada, #156 October 1988 – Feature article on the making of A Winter Tan
    • Walker John, “Manufacturing Consent”
      POV, #20 Winter 1992
    • Walker John “In conversation with John Paskievich”
      Take One, Volume 6, #18, Winter, 1998
    • Wise Wyndam, “Back From the U.S.S.R.”
      POV, #14 September, 1990 – Interview with John Walker

    MEMBERSHIPS

    • Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television
    • Canadian Society of Cinematographers
      (Full CSC member)
    • Documentary Organization of Canada
      formerly Canadian Independent Film Caucus
      (Co-Founder, First National President, Honorary Life Member)
    • Writers Guild of Canada