Return to tiff.’s home page

Canadian Film Encyclopedia

Shopping Cart

Gudrun Parker

Director, Producer, Screenwriter, Editor, Educator
(b. March 16, 1920 Winnipeg, Manitoba)

Pioneering woman director Gudrun Parker joined the National Film Board as an editor in 1942. She gradually worked her way up to writer, director and producer, and eventually became head of the education unit. Her films were often lyrical documentaries that reflected her interest in music, culture and young children.

She directed the seminal Listen to the Prairies in 1945. An observational documentary about Manitoba’s annual Music Festival, the film has been heralded as helping to inaugurate Canada’s postwar filmic “voice” – one that was lyrical, pastoral, and expressively shot and edited.

She took a pause from filmmaking in 1957 to raise her children. When she returned in 1963, she founded Parker Film Associates with her husband, director Morten Parker, to focus on films dealing with social-justice issues. Her career would ultimately include more than fifty film praised for their defining influence on documentaries in this country. She won two Canadian Film Awards – for Children’s Concert (1950) and Opera School (1952) – taught Canadian Film at Vanier CEGEP and was made an Officer in the Order of Canada in 2006.

Film and video work includes

Before They Are Six, 1943 (director; writer)
Vitamin A, B1, C, and D, 1943 (director; editor)
Canadian Wheat Story, 1944 (producer with Bill MacDonald)
Cattle Country, 1944 (co-producer with Bill MacDonald)
Library on Wheels, 1944 (producer)
Listen to the Prairies, 1945 (director; writer; producer)
Trappers of the Sea, 1945 (producer with Bill MacDonald)
Trees that Reach the Sky, 1945 (producer with Bill MacDonald)
Ballot Boxes, 1946 (co-producer with Nicholas Balla)
A City Sings, 1946 (director)
The Policeman, 1946 (producer)
Electricity, 1947 (producer)
Maps We Live By, 1948 (1947 (director; co-writer with Morten Parker)
New Chapters, 1947 (producer)
The Postman, 1947 (producer)
Spring on a Québec Farm, 1947 (producer)
Summer on a Québec Farm, 1947 (producer)
Water, 1947 (producer)
Winter on a Québec Farm, 1947 (producer)
The Home Town Paper, 1948 (producer)
Who Will Teach Your Child?, 1948 (producer with Tom Daly; co-editor with Stanley Jackson)
Vitamin D, 1948 (producer)
Children's Concert, 1949 (director; producer)
Family Circles, 1949 (co-writer with Morten Parker; producer with Tom Daly)
Sight and Sound, 1949 (co-director with Nathan Clavier)
Rhythm and Percussion, 1950 (director; producer)
String Instruments, 1950 (director; producer)
Woodwinds and Brass, 1950 (director; producer)
Opera School, 1952 (director)
Highlights from Royal Journey, 1953 (co-director with David Bairstow, Roger Blais)
The Majority Vote, 1953 (director)
One Man's Opinion, 1953 (director)
The Honest Truth, 1954 (director)
The Stratford Adventure, 1954 (writer)
Community Responsibilities, 1955 (director; writer; producer)
Getting What You're After, 1955 (director; co-writer with Marjorie McKay)
Having Your Say, 1955 (director; co-writer with Marjorie McKay)
Leaving It to the Experts, 1955 (director; writer)
The Public's Business, 1955 (director; co-writer with Marjorie McKay)
Who's Running Things, 1955 (director; co-writer with Marjorie McKay)
Getting on the Bandwagon, 1956 (director; writer)
Seeing Is Believing, 1956 (director; writer)
The Story Behind the News, 1956 (director; writer)
Being Different, 1957 (writer)
Choosing a Leader, 1957 (writer)
Making a Decision, 1957 (writer)
Making a Decision in the Family, 1957 (writer)
Popular Psychology, 1957 (writer)
Four Teachers, 1961 (writer)
Your Move, 1973 (director; producer)
Sámi Herders, 1978 (writer)
The Sámi, Four Lands, One People, 1978 (writer)
The Idealist: James Beveridge, Film Guru, 2005 (appears as herself)