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.
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
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
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.