The awardwinning team behind the camera bring their provocative and persuasive analysis to THE CORPORATION, interviewing 40 corporate insiders and critics – including Noam Chomsky, Naomi Klein, Milton Friedman, Howard Zinn, Vandana Shiva and Michael Moore.
DIRECTOR & EDITOR
Jennifer Abbott is a Genie and Sundance award winning filmmaker dedicated to filmmaking as art, philosophy and activism. She is best known as the Co-Director and Editor of THE CORPORATION (2003), still the top grossing and most awarded documentary in Canadian history also credited as one of the top ten films to inspire the Occupy movement. In 2020, she released two films:THE MAGNITUDE OF ALL THINGS (Director, Writer, Editor, Sound Designer and Co-Producer) and THE NEW CORPORATION: THE UNFORTUNATELY NECESSARY SEQUEL (Co-Director and Supervising Editor). Since the release of her first short film SKINNED in 1993, exhibited at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, she has been the recipient of 41 filmmaking awards and 17 nominations. While her primary interests lie in writing and directing, Abbott almost always edits and frequently sound-designs her own films. She lives on Canada’s West Coast with her twin teenage daughters.
Producer, Director, Executive Producer
Mark Achbar is one of a wave of non-fiction feature filmmakers reaching large international audiences through mainstream theatres, TV, DVD, and the internet. After studying Film at Syracuse University, he worked on independent drama, documentaries, and books until he found his footing as the driving force behind the two most successful Canadian feature documentaries ever made. His five-year collaboration with Peter Wintonick resulted in MANUFACTURING CONSENT: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992) and six years working with Joel Bakan and Jennifer Abbott gave us THE CORPORATION (2003). Both surprise box office hits, the two films won a total of 48 awards, among them 14 audience choice awards, including Sundance.
THE CORPORATION’s box office success triggered a Telefilm-financed “performance envelope” within the Canadian film-financing system, which set aside $2.4m for the exclusive use of Achbar’s production company. This thrust him into an unusual position; whereas previously he had to fundraise for several years to finance a film, he abruptly found himself controlling more production money than the budgets of some of the broadcasters he used to seek license fees from.
In his newfound role as Executive Producer, Achbar facilitated the development and production of more than a dozen feature documentaries. The completed films are: Sam Bozzo’s BLUE GOLD: World Water Wars (2008); Velcrow Ripper’s FIERCE LIGHT: When Spirit Meets Action (2008); Denis Delestrac’s PAX AMERICANA and the Weaponization of Space (2009); Kevin McMahon’s WATERLIFE (2009); Mathieu Roy’s and Harold Crooks’ SURVIVING PROGRESS (2011); Oliver Hockenhull’s NEURONS TO NIRVANA (2013); Mark Grieco’s MARMATO (2014); and Fiona Rayher’s and Damien Gillis’ FRACTURED LAND (2015). Still in production: Jonathan Corbiere’s SAPIENCE, Jill Sharpe’s SEX, BREATH, AND DEATH, Sean Devlin’s WHEN THE STORM FADES, and Malina Fagan’s THE COVERUP.
My overriding objective in making The Corporation and its sequel (in progress) was, and remains, to foster in viewers a critical distance on the corporations and the corporate culture that envelop us all. New perspectives on today’s dauntingly complex problems come from within as well as without, which is why The Corporation films strive to include the views of both critics and thoughtful leaders of big corporations who are working to advance significant value shifts while contending with challenging institutional constraints.
— Mark Achbar
Writer, Co-Creator, Associate Producer
Joel Bakan is professor of law at the University of British Columbia, and an internationally renowned legal scholar and commentator. A former Rhodes Scholar and law clerk to Chief Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada, Bakan has law degrees from Oxford, Dalhousie, and Harvard.
His critically acclaimed book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power (2004), electrified readers around the world (it was published in over 20 languages), and became a bestseller in several countries. Bakan wrote and co-created (with Mark Achbar) a feature documentary film, The Corporation, based on the book’s ideas and directed by Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The film won numerous awards, including best foreign documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, and was a critical and box office success.
The New Corporation, a sequel to that film, is based on Bakan’s book of the same name and directed by Bakan and Jennifer Abbott. Bakan’s scholarly work includes Just Words: Constitutional Rights and Social Wrongs (1997), as well as textbooks, edited collections, and numerous articles in leading legal and social science journals. His award-winning book, Childhood Under Siege: How Big Business Targets Children (2012), has been translated into several languages. A recipient of awards for both writing and teaching, Bakan has worked on landmark legal cases and government policy, and serves regularly as a public speaker and media commentator. Also a professional jazz guitarist, Bakan lives in Vancouver, Canada with his wife Rebecca Jenkins.
Mikela Jay has had a vast and varied career, both in front of and behind the lens. As a teenager, she was scouted and became a top model appearing in magazine spreads and covers, billboards, ad campaigns, commercials, runway and music videos around the globe. This eventually led to Mikela becoming a singer herself, fronting a handful of electronic-based bands both in Canada and in much of Europe, since 1994.
Film and television eventually beckoned Mikela with an assortment of lead and guest star characters, ranging from two very different roles on Millennium, to super diva (Future Sport), burlesque dancer (The L Word), 1950’s religious housewife and mother (Talking To Heaven), 1930’s courtesan (Passageway), and the head of the FBI (Brotherhood Of Murder), as well as the award winning short film ALIEN ORE, directed by The Spear Sisters, to name just a few of her most challenging roles.
Taking a leave from acting, Mikela dived deep into the documentary film world, starting with the mega-hit Canadian docu-feature and multi-award winning ‘The Corporation’. Director/Producer Mark Achbar initially hired her to be the ‘Creative and Organizational Catalyst’ while the film was in post-production, with Mikela eventually supplying both the temp and eventual final narration. She continues to narrate a number of other hard-hitting documentaries including ‘Pax Americana’, Scott Noble’s documentary film series ‘Psywar’, ‘Human Resources, ‘The Power Principle’, and ‘Counter-Intelligence’, as well the voice of numerous in-house tech videos for Cisco Systems Inc.
Mikela has also worked as film editor, creative consultant and project manager. She continues to produce and sing as a solo performer, in addition to being one of the founding members of performance group BPL (www.bureauofpowerandlight.com)
Bart Simpson has been part of the Canadian documentary and fiction community for the past eight years, and joined THE CORPORATION during the development days of late 1998. Previously, Bart has worked in various capacities on such documentary films as Nettie Wild’s Genie-Award winning A Place Called Chiapas and David Vaisbord’s Juicy Danger Meets Burning Man.
Bart currently serves as National Chairperson of the Documentary Organization of Canada (DOC), an association of over 500 documentary filmmakers across the country.
He has directed and shot documentary projects in the Yukon, eastern Africa and Norway, and has a special interest in Scandinavian and Nordic issues.
His short fiction films have appeared on national television across Canada and in festivals in Europe and the United States. His play Phat Tank: A Post-Rock Garage Opera (written with Step Carruthers and Christopher Gora) opened in Vancouver in 2003.
Sound Designer & Music Supervisor
Velcrow Ripper is a Genie award winning filmmaker, writer, and sound designer. He has directed over thirty films and videos, both fiction and issue oriented documentary including the spiritual activism trilogy: Scared Sacred, Fierce Light and Occupy Love. In addition to sound designing his own films, he sound designed such documentaries as A Place Called Chiapas (Best Sound Hot Docs, Best Sound Leo Awards), CultureJam (directed by Jill Sharp; nominated for a Leo) and The Falls (directed by Kevin McMahon), as well as sound fx work on The Adjuster, (by Atom Egoyan) Highway ’61 (by Bruce Macdonald) and sound consultant on Nettie Wild’s Fix.
Among his own films are In The Company of Fear (Vision T.V.), the Golden Gate Award-winning Open Season (co-directed with Heather Frise, CBC), the multi-award winning non-fiction feature Bones of the Forest (co-directed with Heather Frise; TVO; winner of over seven awards, including Best of the Festival and Best Over-all Sound at Hot Docs!), and I’m Happy, a feature fiction.
Leonard J. Paul
Leonard Paul attained his Honours degree in Computer Science at Simon Fraser University in BC, Canada with an Extended Minor in Music concentrating in electroacoustics. He has a ten year history in video games with over ten titles to his credit and currently teaches Game Audio at the Vancouver Film School.
As a professional musician and composer, he works primarily with film and dance. He was honoured to be chosen as the composer for The Corporation and is inspired to do more documentary film work in the future. He composed for the anti-war multimedia dance project Painting Peace which was was awarded entry into the 2003 Barcellona Video Dansa Festival.
In 2003, he toured in Germany with Lars Korb and others playing clubs in Hamburg, Munich and Berlin as Freaky DNA for Urban Guerilla Records. In Vancouver, he does regular performances in the electronica group unspoken with mikéla j. mikael.
For more information see the Lotus Audio site.