A tribute to film guru James Beveridge

York’s Department of Film will honour its founding Chair with A Tribute to James Beveridge, featuring the Toronto premiere screening of the feature documentary The Idealist: James Beveridge, Film Guru tomorrow, Oct. 11, at 7:30pm in the Price Family Cinema, 102 Accolade East Building.

Written and directed by his daughter, York alumna Nina Beveridge (BA ’81), The Idealist: James Beveridge, Film Guru is a compelling exploration of the life and work of the celebrated documentary filmmaker, who died in 1993.

Left: James Beveridge, founding Chair of York’s Department of Film

Beveridge came to York University in 1970 to establish the film department and went on to launch York’s graduate film studies program, the first of its kind in Canada. He taught at York intermittently until 1987 while maintaining an active international career as a passionately engaged filmmaker, advocate and educator.

The Idealist: James Beveridge, Film Guru will be introduced by its executive producer Peter Raymont. Raymont’s credits include more than 100 documentary films and series and 35 international awards, most recently a 2007 Emmy for Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire.

Following the screening, York film Professor Jim Fisher (BA ’74, MBA ’87), a former student of Beveridge’s, will moderate a discussion with Nina Beveridge about her film.

Sharing their recollections of Beveridge and his seminal influence as a filmmaker and educator will be four panellists:

  • Rudy Buttignol (BFA ’82), former creative head of network programming and independent production, commissioning editor of “The View from Here” and executive producer of “Human Edge” at TVOntario;
  • York film professor, award-winning director and cinematographer Ali Kazimi (BFA ’87),(Runaway Grooms, Continuous Journey, Narmada: A Valley Rises);
  • documentary filmmaker Michael Ostroff, (Pegi Nicol: Something Dancing about Her, Budge: The One True Happiness of F.R. ‘Budge’ Crawley, Speaking of Movies); and
  • Risa Shuman, former senior producer of TVOntario’s flagship program, "Saturday Night at the Movies".

Described as "an idealist who never let go of his dreams", Beveridge began working in 1939 at the fledgling National Film Board of Canada – the first Canadian filmmaker to be hired by the NFB. There, he devoted himself to the documentary filmmaking principles of its founder, John Grierson: making films with a political purpose to provoke social change.

Beveridge’s work took him to many parts of the world including England, North Carolina and India where, with his wife, Margaret Beveridge, he established the Mass Communications program at Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, which became a renowned hotbed for political activism.

In a career spanning half a century, Beveridge produced and directed some 150 films for Canada’s NFB and many different agencies around the world. His work took an immense toll on his family. In her provocative and deeply personal film, Nina Beveridge retraces the steps of her father’s complex career.

The Idealist: James Beveridge, Film Guru won top honours at Worldfest Houston 2006, taking the Platinum Remi Award in World Peace and Understanding in competition with some 4500 entries from 33 countries.

For more information about James Beveridge and the making of Nina Beveridge’s film The Idealist: James Beveridge, Film Guru, visit www.beevision.com/JAB.

More about Nina Beveridge

The Idealist‘s writer and director, Nina Beveridge (right), is the president and co-owner of Beevision Productions, a post-production and multimedia company she founded in 1993. Beevision has provided animation and broadcast design for organizations such as the Toronto Raptors, and for many networks and broadcasters in Canada and the US. In 1998 Beevision received a special Gemini Award for Outstanding Technical Achievement for its participation in the development of a digital motion-capture system for 3D animation.

Prior to forming Beevision, Beveridge served as the graphics director for CTV’s coverage of the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona and the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer. She continues to pursue her Olympic aspirations as an official development partner of Olympic Spirit International, currently based in Geneva.