John N Smith

Director, Screenwriter, Producer
This earnest, socially conscious Canadian filmmaker gained international attention as the helmer and co-writer of the admirably controlled, intelligent yet ultimately devastating TV miniseries "The Boys of St. Vincent" ... Read more »
Born: 11/29/1941 in Montreal, Quebec, CA

Filmography

Director (15)

Love and Savagery 2014 (Movie)

(Director)

The Worst Witch 1999 - 2001 (Tv Show)

Director

A Cool Dry Place 1999 (Movie)

(Director)

Dangerous Minds 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

Sugartime 1995 (Movie)

(Director)

The Boys of St. Vincent 1994 (Movie)

(Director)

Welcome to Canada 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Train of Dreams 1987 (Movie)

(Director)

Black Tower 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Sitting in Limbo 1985 (Movie)

(Director)

First Stop, China 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

The Masculine Mystique 1983 (Movie)

(Director)

First Winter 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Gala 1981 (Movie)

(Director)

Revenge of the Land (TV Show)

Director
Writer (5)

The Boys of St. Vincent 1994 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Welcome to Canada 1989 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Train of Dreams 1987 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Sitting in Limbo 1985 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

The Masculine Mystique 1983 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (4)

Sitting in Limbo 1985 (Movie)

(Producer)

First Stop, China 1983 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Masculine Mystique 1983 (Movie)

(Producer)

Gala 1981 (Movie)

(Producer)
Editor (2)

Train of Dreams 1987 (Movie)

(Editor)

Gala 1981 (Movie)

(Editor)

Biography

This earnest, socially conscious Canadian filmmaker gained international attention as the helmer and co-writer of the admirably controlled, intelligent yet ultimately devastating TV miniseries "The Boys of St. Vincent" (Canadian Broadcasting Company, 1993; shown in limited theatrical release in the US in 1994; aired on A&E cable network in 1995). A courageous investigation into the abuse of power, the film told the fact-inspired story of a orphanage in Newfoundland wherein young boys were physically and sexually assaulted by the Catholic brothers who administered the institution. Set in 1975, Part One chronicled the abuse and the collusion between the forces of Church, State and commerce that motivated a cover-up. Set 15 years later, Part Two depicted the emotional aftermath and long delayed legal process. Smith elicited strong naturalistic performances from the young boys and showcased a powerhouse portrayal of the driven and terrifying head of the orphanage by Canadian stage actor Henry Czerny. Though brooding and thoughtful, the film served as an effective Hollywood calling card for both director and star.

EDUCATION

McGill University

Montreal , Quebec 1964

Milestones

1995

US TV-movie directing debut, "Sugartime", an HBO fact-inspired period gangster drama starring John Turturro and Mary Louise Parker

1995

"The Boys of St. Vincent" aired on US cable TV on Arts & Entertainment network

1995

Directed first US feature, "Dangerous Minds", a surprise hit starring Michelle Pheiffer; also first film produced for theatrical release

1994

"The Boys of St. Vincent" given a limited US release

1993

Directed and co-scripted the acclaimed and controversial CBC miniseries "The Boys of St. Vincent"

1972

Joined National Film Board of Canada as staff director

1968

Promoted to producer of public affairs program "The Way It Is"

1968

Joined Canadian Broadcasting Company as a researcher

Produced several independent TV series including the Emmy-winning "The 51st State" for NYC's public TV station WNET

Left CBC

Bonus Trivia

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Not to be confused with the John N. Smith who produced such American TV series (often lensed in Canada) as "Profit" and "Street Vengeance".

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Smith's films "For the Love of Dance" and "Gala" both won the Grand Prize at the New York Dance Film Festival in 1981 and 1982 respectively.

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Smith's docudrama "The Masculine Mystique" (1984) won a Red Ribbon Award at New York's American Film Festival.

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"The Boys of St. Vincent" won the National Board of Review's 1995 award for Best Miniseries and received the Grand Prize at the 1993 Banff Television Festival.

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Smith has received numerous nominations for Canada's Genie Award for his work on the following projects: "Revolution's Orphans" (1980) for Outstanding Direction in a Dramatic Film (Non-Feature) and Outstanding Screenplay (Non-Feature); "Gala" (1983) for Best Theatrical Documentary; "Sitting in Limbo" (1987) for Best Achievement in Direction; "Train of Dreams" (1988) for Best Achievement in Direction and Best Screenplay; and "Welcome to Canada" (1990) for Best Achievement in Direction.

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Smith garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Short Film (Live Action) as the producer (National Film Board of Canada) of "First Winter" (1981).

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