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Don Haig

Producer, Editor
(b. July 22, 1933 Winnipeg, Manitoba - d. March 2, 2002 Toronto, Ontario)

Don Haig, recognized by some as "the most important person on the Canadian film scene," enjoyed a long and illustrious career spanning some forty-five years and more than five hundred films produced while he worked at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the National Film Board and in the private sector. As an executive producer, Haig developed a stellar reputation as a mentor for young filmmakers and produced a number of debut features, including Patricia Rozema’s I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (1987),Patrick Loubert’s 125 Rooms of Comfort (1974), Julius Kohanyi’s Summer’s Children (1979) and Clay Borris’s Alligator Shoes (1981). His gentle, wise demeanour and tireless efforts to boost the careers of many fledgling Canadian filmmakers earned him the affectionate nickname "the Godfather of Canadian film.

Haig dropped out of high school after the ninth grade and began his career in the Winnipeg distribution offices of MGM Canada repairing films. In 1956, he came to Toronto with his partner, Bill Schultz, in the hopes their relationship would be more readily accepted in the big city than it had been in their hometown (the two remained together for forty-seven years). Haig landed a job with the CBC film department, splicing commercials into The Ed Sullivan Show. After establishing a reputation as a superb editor, he left the CBC in 1962 and travelled briefly to England and Spain. It was during this time that he met Vancouver-based producer and director Allan King, who was in the United Kingdom doing freelance work for the British Broadcasting Corporation. They developed a loose partnership and, upon their return to Toronto in 1963, founded their own company, Film Arts, along with director Beryl Fox.

When the legendary CBC series This Hour Has Seven Days was launched in 1964, Film Arts was contracted to edit the series, which led to a steady stream of work with both the CBC and CTV networks. Haig distinguished himself as an editor par excellence on This Hour Has Seven Days, the fifth estate and the premiere season of W5, as well as the Document series, including Douglas Leiterman’s One More River (1964) and Summer in Mississippi (1964) and Beryl Fox’s Mills of the Gods: Viet Nam (1965), which won the Canadian Film Award for Best Film of the Year in 1966.

In 1971, Haig began producing (and editing) two CBC series, Journal and Canadian Postcards; these series were sold around the world and Haig became known for making favourable sales and distribution deals with filmmakers. A great many young filmmakers launched their careers at Film Arts in the early seventies and, with the wealth of talented, driven young directors passing through, it wasn’t long before Haig started producing features. In 1974, he produced Patrick Loubert’s 125 Rooms of Comfort; and went on to produce, executive produce or serve as completion guarantor on a wide range of award-winning documentaries, television dramas, artists’ profiles and theatrical features. With genial guidance and generosity, he produced such independent hits as Brigitte Berman’s Artie Shaw: Time Is All You’ve Got (1985 Academy Award® winner for Best Feature Documentary), I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing (winner of the Prix de la Jeunesse at the 1987 Festival de Cannes) and Ron Mann’s Comic Book Confidential (1989 Genie Award winner for Best Feature Documentary).

Haig offered assistance on countless films for which he was never credited and also devoted substantial time, on a volunteer basis, to a variety of industry associations that have contributed immensely to the growth of an English-Canadian film culture. He was a founding officer of the Canadian Film Editors Guild in 1970 and served as chairman of the Canadian Film and Television Association in 1972. Throughout his distinguished career, he served on juries and advisory boards for the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre, the Ontario Arts Council, the Yorkton Short Film and Video Festival, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, Toronto Women in Film and Television and the Canadian Film Celebration Festival in Calgary.

He received a number of awards recognizing his contributions to both Canadian and Toronto film culture, including the Air Canada Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Canadian Film Industry at the 1985 Genies, the Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary Program (for Timothy Findley: Anatomy of a Writer) at the 1993 Geminis, the 1991 City of Toronto Arts Award, the Ontario Film Institute’s 1987 Achievement Award and the 1993 Governor General Performing Arts Award. He also received an honourary doctorate in literature from York University in 1993.

Haig left Film Arts in 1992 to become director of the NFB’s Pacific Centre in Vancouver and the following year he was named executive producer of the Board’s English documentary studios in Montreal. He went on to assume responsibility for documentary production in Atlantic Canada following the creation of the Documentary East unit in 1996. He left the NFB in 1998, having produced over one hundred and thirty-five films, including the acclaimed Canada Remembers series (1995).

Haig died in 2002 after a year-long battle with cancer.

Film and video work includes

A Long View of History, Explorations series, 1959 (editor)
Close-Up, series, 1959-61 (editor; co-producer; TV, multiple episodes)
The Critical Years: Forty Million Shoes, Intertel/Background series, 1961 (co-editor with Michael Fetenyi, Moses Wingarten; TV)
Israel: A Generation Comes, 1961 (editor)
Document, series, 1962-1969 (editor; TV, multiple episodes)
Montreal: The City and Its People, Camera Canada series, 1963 (editor; TV)
This Hour Has Seven Days, series, 1964-1966 (editor; TV, multiple episodes)
A Further Glimpse of Joey, 1966 (editor)
Carpenter by Trade, The Way It Is series, 1967 (editor; TV)
Haight Ashbury, The Way It Is series, 1968 (editor; TV) a.k.a. San Francisco Summer 1967
22 October 1967, The Way It Is series, 1968 (editor; TV)
Fasten Your Seatbelts: A Report on Airline Safety, The Way It Is series, 1969 (editor; TV)
Pleasure Island, 1972 (producer)
Man at the Centre: The Prairie Way Next Year Country, 1972 (editor)
125 Rooms of Comfort, 1974 (producer)
Journal, series, 1976 (editor; co-producer; TV, multiple episodes)
Who Has Seen the Wind, 1977 (post-production supervisor)
Fields of Endless Day, 1978 (editor)
Summer's Children, 1978 (producer)
Carillon: The Bells of Song, 1979 (producer)
A Path of His Own, 1979 (executive producer) a.k.a. The Story of Canadian Painter David B. Milne
Portrait of Christine, 1979 (producer)
Different Timbres, 1980 (executive producer)
A.J. Casson: The Only Critic is Time, 1981 (executive producer)
A Helping Hand, The Nature of Things series, 1981 (co-executive producer with James Murray; TV)
Highwinding, 1981 (executive producer)
Jimmy and Luke, 1981 (executive producer)
Leonard Oesterele, 1981 (executive producer)
Old Fort William, 1981 (producer)
Seasons of the Mind, 1981 (executive producer)
Artie Shaw: Time is All You've Got, 1982 (associate producer)
John Doe, 1982 (executive producer)
K.C.I.: Beyond the Three R's, 1982 (editor; co-sound editor with Scott Barrie)
Alex Colville: The Splendour of Order, 1983 (executive producer; TV)
Unfinished Business, 1984 (co-executive producer with Douglas Dales, Robert Verrall)
Concertante: Arnold Spohr and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 1984 (executive producer)
Finding Out: Incest and Family Sexual Abuse, 1984 (executive producer)
Sky High, 1984 (producer)
A Touch of Alice, 1985 (executive producer)
Dancing in the Dark, 1985 (executive producer)
Getting Married... Staying Married, 1985 (executive producer)
Marriage: The Early Years, 1985 (executive producer)
Overnight, 1985 (co-executive producer with Hank Leis) a.k.a. Not Just a Dirty Little Movie
The Ordinary Bath, 1985 (executive producer)
D.P. Brown: Beyond Realism, 1985 (executive producer)
The Kidnapping of Baby John Doe, 1985 (executive producer)
Samuel Lount, 1986 (co-executive producer with Laurence Keene)
Turnabout, 1987 (executive producer)
Dreams Beyond Memory, 1987 (executive producer) Home to Buxton, 1987 (executive producer)
Night Friend, 1987 (executive producer)
Taking Care, 1987 (co-associate producer with Doug Dales ) a.k.a. Prescription for Murder
Proceed with Caution, 1987 (executive producer)
Those Roos Boys and Friends, 1987 (executive producer; co-writer with Barbara Boyden)
The Brain, 1988 (executive producer)
The Great Lakes Salmon Adventure, 1988 (executive producer)
Growing Up in America, 1988 (executive producer)
Shadow Dancing, 1988 (co-executive producer with Robert Phillips)
Stanley Knowles: By Word and Deed, 1988 (executive producer)
Comic Book Confidential, 1988 (executive producer)
The Crow and the Canary, 1988 (executive producer)
Flags of Canada, 1988 (executive producer)
Freakshow, 1988 (executive producer)
St. Nicholas and the Children, Wonder Tales series, 1988 (executive producer)
Strangers in a Strange Land: The Adventures of a Canadian Film Crew in China, 1988 (co-associate producer with David W.G. MacKenzie, Sheilagh D'Arcy McGee)
Mob Story, 1989 (executive producer)
Dear John, 1989 (executive producer)
The Midday Sun, 1989 (executive producer)
Odyssey in August, 1989 (co-executive producer with Joan Schafer)
Solitary Journey, 1989 (executive producer)
Special of the Day, 1989 (co-executive producer with Ron Mann)
Termini Station, 1989 (executive producer)
Altered Ego, 1990 (executive producer)
In Advance of the Landing, 1990 (executive producer)
Thick as Thieves, 1991 (executive producer)
Joe Boyle: Heart of a Viking, 1991 (executive producer)
Defy Gravity, 1991 (executive producer)
Elizabeth Smart: On the Side of Angels, 1991 (executive producer)
White Light, 1991 (co-executive producer with Alan Chapple, Michael Manley)
Nurses: The Heart of the System, 1992 (co-producer with Dennis Murphy, Colin Neale)
Secret Nation, 1992 (executive producer)
Timothy Findley: Anatomy of a Writer, 1992 (executive producer)
Twist, 1992 (executive producer)
First Nations, the Circle Unbroken - Video 1, 1993 (co-executive producer with Gary Marcuse, Barbara Janes)
First Nations, the Circle Unbroken - Video 2, 1993 (co-executive producer with Gary Marcuse, Barbara Janes)
First Nations, the Circle Unbroken - Video 3, 1993 (co-executive producer with Gary Marcuse, Barbara Janes)
First Nations, the Circle Unbroken - Video 4, 1993 (co-executive producer with Gary Marcuse, Barbara Janes)
Just For Fun, 1993 (co-executive producer with Tom Berner)
View from the Typewriter, 1993 (co-executive producer with Barbara Janes, George Anthony)
Blockade, 1994 (co-producer with Nettie Wild, Barbara Janes)
By Woman's Hand, 1994 (co-executive producer with Colin Neale)
Children for Hire, 1994 (co-executive producer with Laszlo Barna, Jerry McIntosh)
Children of Jerusalem - Yehudah, 1994 (executive producer)
Dinosaurs: Piecing it All Together, 1994 (co-executive producer with Mark Zannis)
Freedom Had a Price, 1994 (executive producer)
Seven Crows a Secret, 1994 (co-producer with George Johnson)
The Summer of '67, 1994 (executive producer)
Trawna Tuh Belvul, 1994 (co-executive producer with John Taylor, Barbara Janes, Svend-Erik Eriksen)
When Shirley Met Florence, 1994 ( executive producer)
Who's Counting? Marilyn Waring on Sex, Lies and Global Economics, 1995 (co-producer with Kent Martin)
10-7 for Life, 1995 (co-producer with Kenneth Hirsch, Cynthia Banks, Paul Caulfield)
Anatomy of Desire, 1995 (co-producer with Kenneth Hirsch, Jean-François Monette, David Wilson)
Baby Business, 1995 (executive producer)
Broken Promises: The High Arctic Relocation, 1995 (executive producer)
Canada Remembers - Part One: Turning the Tide, 1995 (producer)
Canada Remembers - Part Two: The Liberators, 1995 (producer)
Canada Remembers - Part Three: Endings and Beginnings, 1995 (producer)
Eldon Rathburn: They Shoot... He Scores, 1995 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig)
Lessons, 1995 (producer)
The Marco Polo: Queen of the Seas, 1995 (producer)
Multiple Choices, series, 1995 (producer; thirteen episodes)
My Name is Kahentiiosta, 1995 (co-producer with Alanis Obomsawin)
Mystery of the Maya, 1995 (co-executive producer with Mark Zannis, Frank Corcoran, Dennis R. Murphy, Ignacio Durán Loera; IMAX®)
The Odyssey Diaries, 1995 (producer)
The Passerby, 1995 (co-producer with Susan Huycke)
The Pinnacle and the Poet, 1995 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig, Judith Merritt)
The Reluctant Deckhand, 1995 (co-producer with Svend-Erik Nielsen, Barbara Janes, George Johnson)
Silence & Storm, 1995 (co-producer with Wolf Koenig, Judith Merritt, Colin Neale, Sally Bochner, David Wilson)
Le Temps d'une guerre, series, 1995 (producer; TV, three episodes)
The Voyage of the St. Louis, 1995 (co-producer with Maziar Bahari, Arnie Gelbart, Yves Jeanneau, Adam Symansky;
War at Sea: The Black Pit, 1995 (co-producer with Arnie Gelbart, Mark Starowicz)
War at Sea: U-boats in the St. Lawrence, 1995 (co-producer with Mark Starowicz)
Children of Jerusalem - Gesho, 1996 (co-producer with Beverly Shaffer)
Children of Jerusalem - Ibrahim, 1996 (co-producer with Beverly Shaffer) A Balkan Journey: Fragments from the Other Side of the War, 1996 (co-producer with Janis Lundman, Kenneth Hirsch, Brenda Longfellow)
Bronwen & Yaffa: Moving Towards Tolerance, 1996 (co-producer with Mike Mahoney, Marilyn A. Belec)
Children First!, 1996 (co-producer with Adam Symansky, Jacques Vallée)
Chronicle of a Genocide Foretold - Part 1: Blood was Flowing Like a River, 1996 (co-producer with Yvan Patry, Sam Grana)
Chronicle of a Genocide Foretold - Part 2: We were Cowards, 1996 (co-producer with Yvan Patry, Sam Grana)
Chronicle of a Genocide Foretold - Part 3: We Feel Betrayed, 1996 (co-producer with Yvan Patry, Sam Grana)
Faces of the Hand, 1996 (producer)
Fennario: His World On Stage, 1996 (producer)
First Nation Blue, 1996 (producer)
Good Things Too, 1996 (co-producer with Svend-Erik Nielsen, George Johnson, Leonard Terhoch)
Marilyn Waring on Politics, Local & Global Show One, 1996 (co-producer with Kent Martin, Colin Neale)
Marilyn Waring on Women and Economics Show Two, 1996 (co-producer with Kent Martin, Colin Neale)
Marilyn Waring on the Environment Show Three, 1996 (co-producer with Kent Martin, Colin Neale)
Packing Heat, 1996 (producer)
Power, 1996 (co-producer with Glen Salzman, Mark Zannis, Katherine Buck)
Sitting on a Volcano, 1996 (producer)
Someone to Talk To - Peer Helping in High School, 1996 (co-producer with Judith Merritt, Wolf Koenig)
The Spell of the Yukon, 1996 (producer)
Tough Assignment, 1996 (producer)
Wanted! Doctor on Horseback, 1996 (producer)
A Web of War, 1996 (executive producer)
You Won't Need Running Shoes, Darling, 1996 (co-producer with Sally Bochner, Dorothy Todd Hénaut)
All the Right Stuff, 1997 (co-producer with Marilyn A. Belec, Mike Mahoney)
Alternate Route, 1997 (producer)
Barbed Wire and Mandolins, 1997 (producer)
The Battle of Vimy Ridge - Part 1: Setting the Stage, 1997 (co-producer with Kenneth Hirsch, Deanne Judson, Richard Nielsen, Doug Steeden; TV)
The Battle of Vimy Ridge - Part 2: Keys to Victory, 1997 (co-producer with Deanne Judson, Richard Nielsen, Doug Steeden; TV)
The Battle of Vimy Ridge - Part 3: The Battle Looms, 1997 (co-producer with Deanne Judson, Richard Nielsen, Doug Steeden; TV)
The Battle of Vimy Ridge - Part 4: The Battle Joined and Won, 1997 (co-producer with Deanne Judson, Richard Nielsen, Doug Steeden; TV)
Body Politics, 1997 (producer)
Caregivers - Episode One: Madeleine and Rose, 1997 (producer)
Caregivers - Episode Two: Doris and Tom, 1997 (producer)
Caregivers - Episode Three: Kurt and Elizabeth, 1997 (producer)
Caregivers - Episode Four: Pat and Molly, 1997 (producer)
Caregivers - Episode Five: Paul and Jean, 1997 (producer)
Circles, 1997 (producer)
Creatures of the Sun, 1997 (producer)
The Double Shift, 1997 (producer)
The Gender Tango, 1997 (producer)
Jeunes, beaux et entreprenants, 1997 (producer)
Kid Nerd, 1997 (executive producer)
Louisbourg Under Siege, 1997 (co-producer with Mark Zannis)
Murder Remembered: Norfolk County 1950, 1997 (producer)
The Need to Know, 1997 (co-producer with Raymond Gauthier, Huguette Marcotte, Jean-François Mercier, Lise Payette)
The Petticoat Expeditions, Part One: Anna Jameson, 1997 (co-producer with Kent Martin)
The Petticoat Expeditions, Part Two: Frances Hopkins, 1997 (co-producer with Kent Martin)
The Petticoat Expeditions, Part Three: Countess of Aberdeen, 1997 (co-producer with Kent Martin)
Picturing a People: George Johnston, Tlingit Photographer, 1997 (producer)
A Place in the World, 1997 (co-producer with Adam Symansky, Robert Lang
The Power Game, 1997 (producer)
Seven Brides for Uncle Sam, 1997 (executive producer)
Spudwrench, 1997 (co-producer with Alanis Obomsawin) a.k.a. Spudwrench - Kahnawake Man
The Street: A Film with the Homeless, 1997 (producer)
Victor-Martin, Diane and John, 1997 (producer)
Asylum, 1998 (co-producer with Sally Bochner, David Wilson)
David Fennario's Banana Boots, 1998 (co-producer with Sally Bochner, Mark Zannis)
Democracy B la Maude, 1998 (producer)
The Illuminated Life of Maud Lewis, 1998 (co-producer with Sally Bochner, Mike Mahoney, Kent Martin, Christopher
Zimmer, Peter d'Entremont)
Labour of Love, 1998 (co-producer with Hillary Armstrong, Sally Bochner, Adam Symansky)
And So to Bed, 1999 (co-producer with Kent Martin)
Beyond Borders: Arab Feminists Talk About Their Lives... East and West, 1999 (producer)
Desperately Seeking Helen, 1998 (co-executive producer with Sally Bochner)
The Kitchen Goddess, 1999 (co-producer with Marilyn A. Belec, Sally Bochner, Kent Martin)
Shylock, 1999 (co-executive producer with Sally Bochner)
Under One Sky: Arab Women in North America Talk About the Hijab, 1999 (producer)
Moving Pictures, 2000 (executive producer)
Postcards from Canada, 2000 (co-producer with Sally Bochner)
Aftermath: The Remnants of War, 2001 (co-producer with Louise Lore, Ed Barreveld, Michael Kot, Norm Bolen, André Bennett, Sydney Suissa, Peter Starr)
The Last Illusion, 2004 (executive producer)