Jennifer Abbott

Jennifer Abbott
Director, Editor

Jennifer Abbott is a Canadian filmmaker who has been experimenting with media as a form of intellectual and creative expression and activism for almost 25 years. Abbott is largely self-taught struggling over the course of 5 years to make her first feature documentary, A Cow at My Table. At the time and before she learned the pitfalls of hyperbole, she would often be heard saying that her film meant so much to her that when it was done, she’d feel her life had been worthwhile and could die. Happily she didn’t and went on to make several others. She is best known as the co-director with Mark Achbar and editor of The Corporation, an international hit in festivals, TV and theatres. It garnered 26 awards including the Sundance Audience Award and a Genie and has a 90% rating for both critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes. It is also credited as one of the top ten films to inspire the Occupy Movement. 

Currently Abbott is in development with the National Film Board of Canada on a feature documentary The Air That Breaths Us about the psychology of climate change. She is also co-writing and editing Sea Blind, a film about the melting Arctic Ocean and the opening of the Northern Shipping Route slated to screen at the Paris Climate Talks, COP 21. Abbott is also finishing co-directing, co-writing and editing the feature documentary Us & Them about homelessness and addiction, slated for release in 2016. In 2013, Abbott made the experimental short Brave New Minds for Amsterdam’s Submarine Channel that premiered at DOK Leipzig and was nominated for Prix Europa. ln 2012, she began developing a documentary with the NFB but emerged having written the first draft of a feature screenplay titled Money and Other Love Stories. 2011 saw the release of I Am, which Abbott edited and executive produced. Her previous work includes the experimental short Skinned exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and editing several other indie-docs. She lives on a permaculture farm with her large blended family on a small Pacific Island on Canada’s west coast.

Filmmography

THE AIR THAT BREATHES US
Writer, Director, Editor, Co-Producer, Currently in Development with the NFB
A personal story about the psychology of climate change: The filmmaker applies what her dying sister taught her about life to our collective grief about planetary destruction, only to discover an escape route from immobilizing fear and a passageway to an emerging world.

SEA BLIND
Co-Writer, Editor, 2015
As Arctic sea ice melts, the race to re-route transglobal trade overtop of the globe provides economic opportunities and
environmental risks. Scheduled to screen at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change, Paris 2015

MONEY AND OTHER LOVE STORIES
Screenwriter, 2012 to the present
Feature screenplay - a young woman’s quest to escape meaninglessness and find her voice in a peak everything, neo-con
world.

US AND THEM
Co-Director, Co-Writer, Editor, 2013-2015, to be released in 2016
Feature documentary - a woman attempts to help 4 addicted street people over the course of eight years, but they end up helping her.

BRAVE NEW MINDS
Director, Editor, 2013
Experimental short - 1 of 6 short films commissioned by Submarine Channel for a multimedia compilation based on the book Unspeak by David Poole.

I AM
Executive Producer, Editor 2008-2011
Feature documentary directed by Tom Shadyac - Death is a persuasive teacher. A funnyman’s brush with the Reaper leads him to philosophers’ doorsteps.

LET IT RIDE: THE CRAIG KELLY STORY
Editor, 2005-2006
Feature documentary - The life of Craig Kelly.

THE CORPORATION
Co-Director, Editor, 2003
Feature documentary and three part television series about the dominant institution of our time. Top grossing Canadian documentary in history, with international festival and television distribution and commercial theatrical release in Canada, US, Europe, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and elsewhere.

TWO BRIDES AND A SCALPEL: DIARY OF A LESBIAN MARRIAGE
Editor, 1999
Feature video-diary about the first legally married lesbian couple in Canada, after one undergoes sex reassignment surgery.

A COW AT MY TABLE
Director, Producer, Editor, 1993-1998
Feature Documentary about culture, meat & animals

SKINNED
Director, Co-Writer, Editor, 1993
Experimental short and video installation about inter-racial relationships,
Exhibited at Museum of Modern Art, New York, June-September 1994

Statement

As a teenager, fragments of information came my way that betrayed earlier ideas I had been taught about many issues: the food we eat, American foreign policy, the rich and the poor, etc. In those moments of betrayal, I became a non-stop questioner and struggled to find ways to explore what I perceived as our most problematic social norms and practices, and especially how we come to accept these as "normal." I also felt the need to find my voice within a society that I frequently felt alienated from, and to explore an individual artistic practice. Filmmaking offered me a way to express my ideas publicly and I seized it as socially engaged communication as well as an artistic medium.

I live on Galiano Island, a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean where I see crossbills and eagles daily and look across the Trincomalli Channel to Salt Spring and the San Juan Islands. It is here that The Corporation was edited, and where I developed a deep understanding of why the richness of the world is worth working hard for. The Corporation to me is many things, but it resonates most strongly as a gesture towards exposing the destructive nature of that institution. It is my hope that the film will contribute to change made possible by ever-growing awareness.

-- Jennifer Abbott

To book Jennifer for a speaking engagement, please contact Evil Twin Booking.

Quotes

Coolheaded and incisive...thorough and informative... It leaves audiences with a cold shiver.

- Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle