Norman Jewison

The actor's director adds to the entertainment pipeline

Through both spirit and deliberate design, the Canadian Film Centre today reflects the values of founder Norman Jewison and his body of work.

Jewison’s commitment to social justice is alive in the docu program, his head for business and enthusiasm for innovation are apparent in CFC’s wide-ranging industry partnerships and in the digital media division’s mandate to enhance its talent development by boosting product commercialization and company sustainability.

With his rep as an actor’s director whose work also expresses the importance of music in cinema storytelling, it’s no surprise Jewison is particularly tickled these days about the CFC’s newest additions. “When our directors made films they were drawing on professional actors through the Canadian guild and we thought, gosh, we should have an actors lab so they can study film and TV technique as opposed to theatre,” he says. “And for a long time I’ve been anxious to get attention paid to composers and songwriters.

“Now four years in some of our actor alumni have really started to take off — several had major roles in Canadian films at the Toronto festival last year,” he continues. “And it’s incredibly fortuitous that (music lab chair) Mychael Danna won the Academy Award just as our lab gets rolling.”

As CFC alumni continue to enter the industry at home and abroad, Jewison knows rapid change in the entertainment pipeline will effect the Centre’s future growth and direction. “But when you distill it down, people will always want to see and hear a story and be moved to laughter or tears,” he says.

As for his role, Jewison says, “At this point in my life I’m the guy who walks around and encourages people — you need to get them cooking, that’s what it’s about.”

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