Bonnie Sherr Klein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Bonnie Sherr Klein OC (born 1 April 1941) is a feminist filmmaker, author and disability rights activist.

Film-making career[edit]

Klein worked for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) in Montreal as a director and producer in the late 1960s. Between that time and the late 1980s, she made dozens of films there. In 1975, she joined Studio D, the NFB's women's section, which was the first government-funded film studio dedicated to women filmmakers in the world. She was also part of the NFB's Challenge for Change citizen media project.[1][2] In 1981, Klein made what is probably her best-known film, the anti-pornography documentary Not a Love Story.[3][4] It went on to become one of the most popular and commercially successful films the NFB ever made.[5]

In 2004, Klein shot a production about disability and art for the NFB. Shameless: The ART of Disability was released in 2006. Klein is featured in the film, along with poet and writer Catherine Frazee, humourist David Roche, dancer and choreographer Geoff McMurchy, and writer and artist Persimmon Blackbridge. Vancouver musician Veda Hille contributed music for the film.


Klein was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Stanford University with a master's degree in Broadcasting and Film and then worked in New York City with George Stoney.[6] She and her husband, Michael Klein, immigrated to Canada in 1967 as resisters to the Vietnam War.[5]

Klein and her husband Michael divide their time between Vancouver and Roberts Creek on British Columbia's Sunshine Coast.[5] The pair have two children, Seth Klein (b. 1968), the BC director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Naomi Klein (b. 1970), author of No Logo, Fences and Windows and The Shock Doctrine, and co-writer of the NFB film The Take.[7]

In 1987, at the age of 46, Bonnie had a catastrophic stroke caused by a congenital malformation in her brainstem. She became locked-in, quadriplegic, respirator-dependent, and experienced panic attacks. She spent more than six months in hospital and another three years in formal rehabilitation. She now walks short distances with two forearm crutches and moves through the world on Gladys, her motorized scooter, and a low-slung red tricycle.[8]

She published the book Slow Dance: A Story of Stroke, Love and Disability, coauthored with writer and artist Persimmon Blackbridge, in 1997.


  • 1965-1966 Community Mental Health Series (three docu-dramas)
  • 1966 For All My Students
  • 1966 Last-Chance Children
  • 1966 One Fine Day
  • 1968 Challenge for Change
  • 1968 Introduction to Fogo Island
  • 1968 Little Burgundy
  • 1968 Organizing for Power: The Alinsky Approach. Series of five films: People and Power; Deciding * to Organize; Building an Organization; Through Conflict to Negotiation; A Continuing Responsibility
  • 1969 Opération boule de neige
  • 1970 Citizens' Medicine
  • 1970 La clinique des citoyens
  • 1970 VTR St-Jacques
  • 1976 Du coeur à l'ouvrage
  • 1976 A Working Chance
  • 1977 Harmonie (in French and English)
  • 1978 Patricia's Moving Picture
  • 1979 The Right Candidate for Rosedale
  • 1981 Not a Love Story: A Film about Pornography
  • 1982 C'est surtout pas de l'amour : un film sur la pornographie
  • 1985 Dark Lullabies
  • 1985 Speaking Our Peace
  • 1986 A Writer in the Nuclear Age: A Conversation with Margaret Laurence
  • 1987 Children of War
  • 1987 A Love Affair with Politics: A Portrait of Marion Dewar
  • 1988 Mile Zero: The SAGE Tour
  • 1988 Le mille zéro : la tournée SAGE
  • 1989 Russian Diary
  • 2003 KickstART! A Celebration
  • 2006 Shameless: The ART of Disability


Bonnie received a lifetime achievement award from Women in Film and Television Toronto[9] and a Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case.[10] She was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2013.[11]


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2009-02-02. 
  2. ^ "SHAMELESS: The ART of Disability". Vancouver: DOXA Documentary Film Festival. Archived from the original on 6 July 2011. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Bonnie Klein. Not a Love Story: A Motion Picture About Pornography. National Film Board of Canada. 
  4. ^ DiCaprio, Lisa (March 1985). "Not a Love * Story: The film and the debate". Jump Cut (30): 39–42. Retrieved 2007-09-09. 
  5. ^ a b c "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  6. ^ Canadian Film Encyclopedia entry on her[dead link]
  7. ^ Woolley, Pieta (May 18, 2006). "Shameless disability". Georgia Straight. Vancouver. Retrieved 30 November 2009. 
  8. ^ "Playing The Transformative Power of Art: Bonnie Klein (Clip 5) | CITIZENShift". 2012. Retrieved 9 March 2012. 
  9. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2007-10-29. 
  11. ^ Klein, Bonnie Sherr. "Bonnie Klein: 'Fierce Canadian' Fears for Her Country". The Tyee. Retrieved 10 August 2013. 

External links[edit]