About Us



Philip Hoffman

Associate Professor, Department of Film
-, Graduate Program in Film (MFA) - Production

A film artist of memory and association, Philip Hoffman has long been recognized as Canada’s pre-eminent diary filmmaker. He apprenticed in Europe with Peter Greenaway in 1985, where he made ?O,Zoo! (The Making of a Fiction Film) (1985), which was nominated for a Canadian Genie Award. He has been honoured with more than a dozen retrospectives of his work. Among them was the centrepiece series at the 2001 Images Festival for Independent Film and Video in Toronto, coupled with the launch of a book titled Landscape with Shipwreck: First Person Cinema and the Films of Philip Hoffman, comprising some 25 essays by academics and artists. As well in 2002 he received the Golden Gate Award from the San Francisco International Film Festival and Gus Van Sant Award from the Ann Arbor Film Festival for What These Ashes Wanted, a diaristic meditation on loss and grief. In 2009 he premiered his feature-length experimental documentary, All Fall Down, at the Berlin International Film Festival. The film is a reflection on childhood, property, ecology and love. Lessons in Process is a poetic documentary revolving around his `Process Cinema’ workshop which he gave at the famed Escuela Internacional de Cine y Televisión de San Antonio de los Baños in Cuba. In this film, like all of Hoffman’s films, serendipity guides the filmmaking process and establishes three weaving threads: the aging founder of the film school Fernando Birri and his return to the school, the Haiti earthquake and Hoffman’s father’s last days. In 2013 Hoffman presented his installation, Slaughterhouse in the Land/Slide exhibition at the Markham Museum - a 7-channel work which weaves inter-connected stories of loss throughout southern Ontario: of land and agriculture, of property and business, through political, social, economic and environmental slaughter.

Hoffman has screened his films in international festivals and galleries in Holland, Belgium, China, India, Germany, Australia, England, USA and South America. He currently teaches at York University in Toronto, and since 1994, he has been the artistic director of the Independent Imaging Retreat (Film Farm), a 1 week workshop in artisinal filmmaking which is held on his farm in southern Ontario every summer. He has also given these `Process Cinema’ workshops in Cuba (EICTV), Helsinki, Halifax, Guelph and Dawson City. His new film `AGED’, expected to premiere in 2015, is a 45 minute experimental documentary about the relationship between aging and corporeal perception. 

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