Monday, November 7, 2011

Paul Haggis named chair of Canadian Film Centre film programs

The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) has just announced that Oscar-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis has been named the Chair of CFC Film Programs.

Paul Haggis is a London, Ontario-born screenwriter and filmmaker. He is the only screenwriter to write two consecutive Best Picture Oscar-winners (Million Dollar Baby and Crash) and wrote a further Best Picture nominee the following year with Letters from Iwo Jima.

Other films he has written include Casino Royale, The Last Kiss, Flags of Our FathersIn the Valley of Elah, Quantum of Solace and The Next Three Days. He directed and produced CrashIn the Valley of Elah and The Next Three Days.

Crash is one of the most divisive and polarizing Best Picture winners in memory. Many people who preferred Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture accused the Academy of homophobia but this is absurd. If the Academy were homophobic, then Brokeback Mountain wouldn't have led with eight nominations in the first place. Both were outstanding movies and it was probably a very close race. Besides, Crash also won honours at the Writers Guild of America Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, BAFTA and many others.

Roger Ebert considers Crash one of the top movies of the previous decade. I would agree. It's not for everyone, but then no movie ever is. Some found it offensive or maddening. But it takes a touchy subject (racism) and shows how it affects the lives of strangers in an intricate web of inter-connectedness. Taken on its own terms, there's a fearlessness and ingenuity that could hardly be improved.

His other films and screenplays are all of similarly high quality and reflect someone deeply concerned with social issues and humanism.



Toronto, November 07, 2011 – CFC (Canadian Film Centre) is delighted to announce esteemed Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Haggis as Chair of the CFC Film Programs including the Cineplex Entertainment and Short Dramatic Film programs.

“This is a very exciting chapter for the CFC, we are so fortunate to have an accomplished and gifted storyteller such as Paul lend us his expertise, “said CFC Founder Norman Jewison.  “His insights and passion for the art of filmmaking will hopefully inspire our young filmmakers and help to give their ideas and stories a greater reach.”

As Chair, Paul Haggis plans to deliver one Master Class a year and to help the CFC promote greater international awareness of its Film Programs and the talent within them.

“It’s an honour to accept this position and contribute to Norman’s legacy of an organization that supports and fosters creative talent.” said Paul Haggis. “Programs like these are vital in helping make sure that filmmakers will have all the right tools to make their mark on the world and ensure a vibrant future for Canada’s storytellers.”

In 2006, Paul Haggis became the first screenwriter to write two Best Picture Oscar winners back-to-back - MILLION DOLLAR BABY (2004) and CRASH (2005, which he also directed). For CRASH, Haggis won Academy Awards® for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay. Haggis’ writing credits also include such acclaimed films as FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS, CASINO ROYALE and QUANTUM OF SOLACE.  Recent directing credits include IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH and THE NEXT THREE DAYS, which was the first feature to be produced through his Highway 61 Productions. Prior to making his mark on the film industry, Haggis spent over two decades writing, directing and producing television shows such as “thirtysomething”, “Due South” and “WalkerTexas Ranger”. Haggis is equally committed to his social concerns as founder of Artists for Peace and Justice, a non-profit organization supporting communities in Haiti through programs in education, health and dignity (

The Cineplex Entertainment and Short Dramatic Film Programs offer an intense creative and professional immersion in the art and business of dramatic filmmaking for directors, producers, writers and editors. With a focus on entrepreneurial spirit and collaboration, these programs maintain a balance between the artistic and commercial aspects of the filmmaking industry, while nurturing originality and fostering creative risk-taking. The CFC’s film programs have produced over 152 critically acclaimed short films and launched the careers of many of Canada’s top filmmakers such as Clement Virgo, Sarah Polley, Vincenzo Natali, Charles Officer and Don McKellar.

About CFC
CFC is Canada’s leading institution for advanced training in film, television and new media. A charitable not-for-profit organization, CFC is committed to promoting and investing in Canada’s diverse talent; providing exhibition, financial, and distribution opportunities for top creative content leaders from coast to coast. CFC makes a significant cultural and economic contribution to Canada by launching the country’s most creative ideas and voices in film, television and new media to the world. For more information please visit:

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