York film Professor John Greyson wins Bell Award in Video Art

John Greyson, professor of film in York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, is the winner of the 2007 Bell Award in Video Art. The announcement was made on Oct. 9 by the Canada Council for the Arts.

"John Greyson is perhaps best known to a general public as a feature film director, he shoots his ‘film’ projects on video with trademark video post-production techniques, thus colonizing the space of cinema with the aesthetics of video," wrote the jury. "An incisive social and political critic, Mr. Greyson is in fact one of the leaders in the AIDS activist video movement among others. Mr. Greyson has supported the practice in many ways and he influences many emerging artists."

Left: John Greyson

A Toronto-based filmmaker, video artist, writer, activist and educator, Greyson’s productions have won accolades at festivals throughout the world. His work includes more than 20 single-channel tapes and video installations, including: The Kipling Trilogy (1984-1985); The ADS Epidemic (1987); The Making of Monsters (1991- Best Canadian Short, Toronto International Film Festival, Best Short Film ‘Teddy’, Berlin Film Festival); Herr (1998); Packin’ (2001); and Fig Trees, a seven-room video ‘opera’ at Oakville Galleries.

His award-winning experimental features (from no-budget digital to 35mm) include: Urinal (1988  Best Feature ‘Teddy’, Berlin Film Festival); Zero Patience (1993 – Best Canadian Film, Sudbury Film Festival); Lilies (1996 – Best Film Genie, Best Film at festivals in Montreal, Johannesburg, Los Angeles, San Francisco); Un©ut (1997 – Honourable Mention, Berlin Film Festival); The Law of Enclosures (2000, Best Actor Genie); and Proteus (2003, co-created with Jack Lewis – Best Actor at Sithenghi Film Festival).

Greyson has received grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Chalmers Foundation, and Telefilm Canada, and was awarded the Toronto Arts Award for Film/Video in 2000. He has been active in various anti-censorship, AIDS, peace and queer activist media projects, including The Olive Project, Deep Dish TV, Blah Blah Blah and AIDS Action Now. Currently president of V/Tape Distribution, he’s also been active in the Inside Out Film/Video Festival, the Euclid Theatre, Trinity Square Video, Charles St. Video, and the Beaver Hall Artists Housing Co-op.

His publications include Urinal and Other Stories (1993) and Queer Looks, a critical anthology of gay/lesbian media theory (co-editor, Routledge/Between the Lines, 1993).

The Bell Award in Video Art prize, formerly the Bell Canada Award in Video Art, has been awarded annually since 1991 for exceptional contribution by a video artist or artists to the advancement of video art in Canada and to the development of video practices (videotapes, installations or Web based video art).