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John Newton Smith, filmmaker, was born in Montréal in 1943 and received a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in 1964. He first became involved in film-making while working towards a Master's of Political Science when he created a film for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with a fellow student in 1967. In 1968, Smith went to work for CBC Toronto as a researcher. One year later, he moved to Hobel-Leiterman Productions where he worked as a producer/director for several television series on the CTV network. In 1972 he joined the National Film Board (NFB) as executive producer of its television unit. With its closure in the mid-1970s, Smith turned his attention to drama and produced several films for the NFB. He directed and co-wrote "Dieppe" and "The Boys of St. Vincent" for which he received a Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Dramatic Program in 1994. More recently, Smith has directed films and television miniseries such as "Dangerous Minds" (1995), "Random Passage" (2002), "Prairie Giant : The Tommy Douglas Story"(2006), "The Englishman's Boy"(2008) and "Love & Savagery"(2009).
Smith has a long history of defending free speech and artists' rights. He protested the delay in broadcasting "The Boys of St.Vincent" fighting to expand the legal definition of freedom of expression for artists. He also fought efforts to have his miniseries "Prairie Giant : The Tommy Douglas Story" repressed, raising public awareness about de-facto censorship by CBC executives due to protests about the depiction of James Gardiner in the work.
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2019/02/28 KCP. Added VIAF.