John N Smith
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.