Joan Prowse is a documentary-maker with two decades experience as a writer, producer, director and video editor. She co-founded CineFocus Canada to make thought-provoking, insightful television shows and documentaries. She’s created more than 20 hours of prime- time arts, biography and social issue documentaries and 50+ commissioned videos for government, health, environment, and labour organizations and for non-profit groups.
Throughout her career, Joan has produced programming for a slate of national and international broadcasters including CBC and Radio- Canada, CHUM (now Bell Media), Global, Discovery, Vision and APTN. Several documentaries she produced in both French and English. All have aired on educational channels across Canada.
Joan’s notable credits here include the international documentary hit, Beauty and the Beach (1997), a documentary that examined women’s contentious relationship with their bathing suits and the Juno- nominated Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life (2006), the first biography made on the achievements of the groundbreaking Native American singer/songwriter and Native rights activist.
Along with her documentaries, she produced and directed the biography series Lucky Breaks that aired on A&E’s Biography Channel and produced 28 profiles of Canadian musicians, directors and actors for Global’s Northern Lights series. The pilot for her latest TV show, Green Heroes was a Rockie award nominee at the Banff World Television Festival in 2010. Green Heroes currently airs on TVO.
As a producer, director and editor of Green Heroes, Joan demonstrates her commitment to the environment along with her board position on the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival and membership in the Clean50 alumni and Al Gore’s Climate Reality Corp.
Joan is a graduate of Ryerson’s Radio and Television Arts program, the Interactive Project Lab at the Canadian Film Centre, the Banff New Media Institute and the National Screen Institute’s Global Marketing Program. Always interested in next platform opportunities, she is now developing an on-line channel for documentary makers and lovers at OCAD University’s Imagination Catalyst incubator.
Interactive Producer/ Writer & Researcher
John Bessai has been producing, writing and directing television documentaries and videos for over twenty years. Through CineFocus Canada, the Toronto-based documentary production company he co- founded, John has produced a body of work that has garnered public attention and recognition with broadcasts and screenings in festivals and forums across the country.
John’s documentary Museum Maestros takes a look at cultural movers- and-shakers Gail and Barry Lord who have shaped the museum world on a global scale. These exceptional Torontonians travel to exotic places like Abu Dhabi and China helping to create a better understanding of the local culture through their work coordinating and developing museums.
John also directed From Field to Studio: The Art of Paul Kane, an interactive DVD based on his award-winning television documentary, Visions from the Wilderness: The Art of Paul Kane. This groundbreaking project fuses the documentary form with interactive technology, enabling the user to gain greater insight into the mind, work and times of one of Canada’s most culturally influential and controversial artists. An interactive exhibit created out of the DVD is a permanent dual screen exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum’s Daphne Cockwell Gallery of Canada: First Peoples. In addition to Paul Kane, John has produced a range of arts biographies including the Juno nominated, Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life, the first-ever screen biography of the well-known activist, singer-songwriter and digital artist.
Before turning his attention full-time to his work at CineFocus Canada, John was a researcher for both CTV News and the CBC. He has a Master’s Degree in Political Science from York University and a BA in History from Carleton University. John also attended Ryerson University’s School of Journalism.