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Sylvia Spring

Director, Screenwriter
(b. July 14, 1942 Galt, Ontario)

Feminist filmmaker and media activist Sylvia Spring is best known for making the independent feature Madeleine Is…(1970), the first Canadian feature film directed by a woman since the days of Nell Shipman.

After receiving her B.A. in English literature and drama at the State University of New York at Buffalo, she worked in advertising, journalism and radio before turning to television, where she focused on subjects including international development, human rights, youth education and women’s issues. In 1979, she led the Task Force on Sex-Role Stereotyping in the Broadcast Media, which examined the portrayal of women in the media and developed guidelines for its improvement. This led to the creation of Media Watch, a watchdog organization dedicating to eliminating sexism in the media.

Between 1984 and 1998 she designed and led training workshops and conferences on women in media, democratization of media, media literacy and media monitoring in Canada and abroad. Her 1996 documentary Breaking the Silence: Stories from AIDS Activists in Southern Africa, won several international awards. She continues to work as a lecturer and workshop leader for national and international agencies such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the United Nations Educational, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Film and video work includes

This Land is People series, 1966-67 (director; TV)
Hippies and Housing, 1967 (director; writer; TV)
Knowplace, 1968 (co-director with David Rimmer; writer)
Weekday series, 1972 (director; TV)
Nightmusic, 1973 (director; TV)
Point of View Dog, 1973 (director; writer; producer)
Some of My Best Friends series, 1975 (director; TV, four episodes)
Women and the Law, 1977 (director; writer; producer)
Something in Common: Children of Other Lands series, 1989 (director; writer)
Voices and Visions series, 1995 (producer; TV)
Breaking the Silence: Stories from AIDS Activists in Southern Africa, 1996 (producer)
Making Waves: Canadian Women Evolving Through the 20th Century, 1998 (writer; executive producer)

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