Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design
Degree: Advanced Television and Film
Year of graduation: 2002
At 31, John Christou is a young veteran of the documentary industry, with close a dozen productions under his belt. His credits include the Genie Award-winning Up the Yangtze!, the Golden Sheaf-nominated Morbidly Obese, and The Colony, which was chosen as one of the Top Ten short films of 2007 by the Toronto International Film Festival.
John has also dabbled in new media, having co-founded www.CreativeMatter.ca (a type of YouTube allowing users to upload films, music and writing) in 2002, and, more recently, produced the web series Les Grands Penseurs, for TV5.ca. He developed CreativeMatter while at Sheridan with fellow student Alec Mathewson, who also directed Morbidly Obese.
Since founding his company, Prospector Films, in 2008, John has been hard at work on a half-dozen new projects, including the feature films Blood Quantum (a zombie film set on an aboriginal reserve) and Breaking the Band (about a young executive and a rock band). He is also working on several documentaries: The United States of Africa, WaveMakers, Towards the End of Time and Residential Schools, about the tragedy of the residential school system and what aboriginal people are doing to overcome it.
John generally choses subjects for his films based on what he would like to watch himself. “Any film I get involved with will likely be a five year commitment, so I need to really love it to stay engaged for that long.
Although he is producing two fictional films now, John has veered toward documentary filmmaking so far in his career. “I am very drawn to social and political issues, and, in turn, to the role of documentaries as educational tools and catalysts for change,” says John, who is the current Chair the Documentary Organization of Canada.
Before attending Sheridan, John received a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing from Concordia University in Montreal where he now lives. “I had a foundation in story-telling and was looking for a program that would teach me the nuts and bolts of filmmaking. The teachers at Sheridan weren't academics. You could feel that they'd all been through the wringer and I think we absorbed a little of that hard-won wisdom.”