(b. August 7, 1951 Toronto, Ontario)
The nephew of Canadian screenwriter Ted Allan, Paul Jay worked as a railroad mechanic and a truck driver for Canada Post before establishing himself as one of Canada’s pre-eminent documentary filmmakers. A past chair of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus (now the Documentary Organization of Canada, or DOC) – a lobby group for point-of-view documentaries – Jay was the driving force behind the creation of the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film festival – the largest festival of its kind in North America – and served as the chair of its board of directors for five years.
His documentary feature Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows (1998), about Canadian wrestling star Brett Hart, was heralded by “Eye” magazine as “one of the most acclaimed Canadian films in years.” It screened at more than twenty international film festivals and won more than a dozen awards, including a Gemini for Best History/Biography Documentary. He then co-directed the feature-length documentary Return to Kandahar (2003) with the film’s subject Nelofer Pazira, who travelled to Afghanistan in search of her childhood friend. The film won wide critical acclaim and the Donald Brittain Gemini Award for Best Social Political Documentary.
Jay was also the creator and executive producer of CBC Newsworld’s flagship debate programme “CounterSpin,” which aired for six seasons. He is currently chair of independent world television (www.iwt.tv), a project to establish an independent news and current affairs network free from government or corporate funding.
Film and video work includes
The Smokey River Marathon, 1981 (director; editor; sound; TV)
The Supercross Spectacular, 1981 (director; TV)
Here's to the Cowboy, 1982 (director; writer; co-editor with Yan Moore; producer; TV)
The Schooner Grand Prix, 1982 (director; co-cinematographer with Joan Hutton, Barry Stone; editor; TV)
The Birth of Language, 1986 (director; writer; co-editor with Chris Pinder; producer)
The Famine Within, 1990 (executive producer; TV)
Albanian Journey, End of an Era, 1991 (director; co-producer with Joan Hutton; TV)
Face Off, 1994-(co-executive producer with Ron Haggart; TV)
Never-Endum-Referendum, 1997 (director)
Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows, The View from Here series, 1998 (director; co-producer with Sally Blake; TV)
The Life and Death of Owen Hart, The View From Here series, 1999 (co-director with Sally Blake; writer; editor; producer; co-executive producer with David M. Ostriker; TV)
Machine Gun, 1999 (executive producer; TV)
Through Thick and Thin, 2000 (co-executive producer with David M. Ostriker; TV)
Lost in Las Vegas, 2001 (director; writer; producer; co-executive producer with David M. Ostriker; TV)
counterSpin, 1998-2004 (executive produer; TV)
Return to Kandahar, 2003 (co-director, co-editor and co-producer with Nelofer Pazira; additional photography; TV)
Show Me Yours, 2004-2005 (executive producer; creator; TV)