Filmmaker Judith Pyke talks about her film Cracking Cancer. (Photo courtesy Dreamfilm Productions)

Award-winning filmmaker deconstructs documentary process at public UVic lecture

Discovering Documentary: A Filmmaker’s Journey Through the Foundational Aspects of Documentary Making

An award-winning filmmaker will deconstruct the documentary process at a UVic talk Thursday evening that is open to the public.

As a writer, director, executive producer and show-runner, Judith Pyke has travelled from the frozen lands of the High Arctic to the scorching streets of Liberia to follow her storytelling passion. She has interviewed a myriad of people ranging from top scientists and international figures to village locals and renowned artists like Lou Reed, Philip Glass and Stephen King.

“Filmmaking is my passion so I am always excited about it,” said Pyke. “I’m always challenging myself to tell the best story possible.”

Pyke will discuss the key pillars to what she believes makes a strong documentary, using her last two films as primary samples: Cracking Cancer, which aired on the Nature of Things last year; and Inseparable, which aired on CBC as part of CBC Docs POV.

Inseparable – the story of a set of conjoined 10-year-old twin girls in Vernon, B.C. – won a Remi Award at the 51st Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, and has also been nominated for a Golden Sheaf Award in the “Documentary History and Biography” category at the Yorkton Film Festival. Her 2017 documentary Cracking Cancer received a Canadian Screen Award nomination for “Best Direction in a Documentary”.

As the 2018 Southam Lecturer in Journalism and Nonfiction for UVic’s writing department, Pyke has been commuting to UVic from Vancouver every Friday this semester to teach a one-off course about documentary filmmaking as part of the prestigious journalist-in-residence program.

While Pyke’s 50 students have had access to her 20 years of filmmaking experience over the last few months, Thursday’s talk will give the public a chance to see what goes into the process that has led Pyke to multiple awards.

“Some projects I work as a hired gun and some as an independent producer and director. Sometimes people will hire me to do a particular topic and other times I come up with the story on my own,” said Pyke. “It’s a mix of what I’m passionate about, and also what broadcasters are looking for. You get a commission when you are both on the same page.”

Cracking Cancer had Pyke in the role of a hired gun, directing and writing the film for Dreamfilm Productions. Inseparable was produced through her own company, Curious Features.

The academic path that Pyke took to get to where she is today began at UVic with an English degree before moving on to a graduate degree in Communications at Concordia and a Masters Degree in Political Science at York University.

“They are all relevant to what I do as a filmmaker,” said Pyke. “I loved going to UVic so it is really great to be back as an instructor. I’m basically teaching the course that I really wanted to take when I was there.”

The class has walked students through the documentary process from the initial idea for a film, through execution and completion of a film.

“The students are super keen and super bright. This group of students is really exceptional,” said Pyke of the class that wraps up the day after the public lecture.

After the class and talk wrap up, Pyke returns to Vancouver to dive back into juggling films and family.

“Balance is basically an impossible dream as a working mom. It’s a nice word. I like the sound of it,” said Pyke. “But having a kid has made me a better journalist. It makes me a better filmmaker. It is another way to connect with people.”

And documentary work is all about connecting with people.

“You have to take that first chance and reach out to people. Then you have to earn their trust. It is a process,” said Pyke. “I don’t think most people understand the amount of work that goes into a documentary.”

What: “Discovering Documentary: A Filmmaker’s Journey Through the Foundational Aspects of Documentary-Making”

When: Thursday, April 5, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

Where: Room 240, Human & Social Development Building, UVic

Admission is free and everyone is welcome.


 

keri.coles@oakbaynews.com

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

(Photo courtesy Curious Features)

Judith Pyke’s film, Inseparable – the story of a set of conjoined 10-year-old twin girls in Vernon, B.C. – won a Remi Award at the 51st Annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival, and has also been nominated for a Golden Sheaf Award in the “Documentary History and Biography” category at the Yorkton Film Festival.. (Photo courtesy Curious Features)

Just Posted

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Tour Government House and other homes, enjoy art along the way

The Art Gallery’s 66th annual House Tour features artists at work, artistic floral displays

Colwood square dancing open house to welcome in new dancers

“It’s therapy,” said long-time square dancer Linda Townsend

Christian bookstore’s Victoria location marks 80 years in business

The store opened on corner of Douglas Street, View Street in 1939

Green candidate expects a tight race in Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke

David Merner says Green Party would act as “strong moral conscience” in a minority Parliament

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Newcomer Ferland lines up with sniper Pettersson as Vancouver Canucks camp opens

Ferland provides more depth and a scoring threat up front, Pettersson says

Intelligence official charged seemed to be ‘exemplar of discretion’: UBC professor

Professor Paul Evans says he served on Cameron Ortis’s doctoral dissertation committee

B.C. police watchdog to investigate man’s head injury during RCMP arrest

Suspect fled on a bicycle and fell off when an officer attempted to stop him

Nanaimo company gets licence to test psychedelic drugs for therapy treatment

Salvation Botanicals interested in manufacturing, testing and research and development

‘A real shame’: B.C. MLA says factors behind Tolko mill closing should have been caught

Kelowna-Mission MLA Steve Thomson said the industry is in bad shape across the province

VIDEO: Seniors at B.C. assisted living facility shocked by Oct. 1 eviction notice

Building owners terminate lease for McGuire Lake Congregate Living in Salmon Arm

‘How does it even happen?’: Bear locks itself inside vehicle in Port Moody

It was apparent the suspect had gained entry with his ‘bear’ hands

Most Read