In 1956 the CBC Vancouver Television Station had only been open for two years. Many people went there straight out of high school and into a new career – I was one of the fortunate ones. Qualified in fact as a carpenter, I was hired as an assistant editor, and thus begun a lifelong love affair with film.
I was tempted away from the CBC in 1969 to go the Middle East, appointed as a Professional Officer with the UN Relief and Welfare Agency (set up in 1949 as a temporary agency to look after the Palestinian refugees until they could go back to their homes), and I worked as head of the film unit in Beirut, Lebanon, for three years. Our small unit made documentaries for UNESCO, WHO and other UN agencies in several Middle Eastern countries: Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq, Qatar and Egypt.
Back in Vancouver in 1973, I and a partner started a small post production company called Petra, which helped to launch the careers of many friends and students. In 1979 a documentary I was working on with Phil Borsos – Nails – was nominated for an Oscar, and it was while working on Borsos’ drama The Grey Foxthat I was approached by Joan Rynartson, then head of the film department at UBC, and asked to come and teach film production out on the Point. I became a permanent faculty member in 1980 and spent 17 most enjoyable years with UBC film students until my retirement in 1997.