David Devine (director)

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David Devine
David Devine

Toronto, Canada
Alma materVictoria College,
University of Toronto, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television
OccupationFilm director
& original content creator
Years active1979–2018
Spouse(s)Jane Devine
(1 daughter)

David Devine is a film director and producer. He is a creator of original content for film, television and digital media. He has been the CEO of both public and private companies. His 19 HBO Original films have received 12 EMMY Award nominations (winning 5) and 22 Canadian Screen Award nominations (winning 6) amongst a total of 80 worldwide film awards. Highlights of his directing career include Beethoven Lives Upstairs, Einstein: Light to the Power of Two, Galileo: On the Shoulders of Giants, Degas and the Dancer, Edison: The Wizard of Light and Bailey's Billion$.[1] David was also the Producer and Director of the RAFFI-In-Concert Videos. David was the hands-on creator and producer of 16 symphonic soundtracks for his films and 6 CDs distributed on the Sony Classical label. David has focused on addressing important creative, social and cultural issues in his films and digital media throughout his directing and producing career. By July 2018, his films had been broadcast in over 110 countries and 3.7M DVDs had been sold.

Early life[edit]

David Devine was born in Toronto, Ontario. He is the son of Hugh Brian and Beverley (née Brown) Devine. His father emigrated from Belfast to Toronto. He attended Northview Heights Collegiate Institute. In the late 1960s, he showed an aptitude for playing music.

Devine attended Victoria College in the University of Toronto, where he studied with his literary hero, Professor Northrop Frye. Devine graduated with a B.A. in 1976. As a student he was the editor of the University Newspaper, The Strand.

He started his career working for CBC Television as an investigative researcher on the television shows: The Ombudsman and The Fifth Estate. He then returned to university to pursue his graduate degree at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, graduating with an MFA.[2] Devine attended lectures with Eugène Ionesco at the UCLA Theatre school. He also attended classes at the UCLA Anderson School of Management studying entertainment business with Peter Guber, Sir Alan Parker, Lord David Puttnam and Robert Bookman. Devine's Project Three film at UCLA, co-produced and co-directed with creative partner Lon Diamond, starred Robin Williams and David Letterman. David's UCLA thesis film, Jeeves Takes Charge, was optioned from Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and choreographed by Gillian Lynne and rehearsed at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon.

Professional background[edit]


Upon graduating, Devine's first break was working as John Candy's Associate Producer for Big City Comedy, produced by NBC/CTV Television Network and the Osmond Family. He followed this success with producing and directing "the making of" the comedy film, Strange Brew on set with Rick Moranis and Dave Thomas (actor). Devine was then invited to direct two immersive rock-and-roll satellite specials for Michael Cohl and Bill Ballard starring Brian Setzer and the Stray Cats and the Chris De Burgh band. David then produced and directed the successful classic children's Raffi videos, A Young Children's Concert with Raffi and Raffi and the Rise and Shine Band. He next directed and produced his breakthrough children's film drama, Beethoven Lives Upstairs, and won the Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Children's Program.

Devine subsequently created a NASDAQ and TSX listed publicly traded company, Devine Entertainment,[3] which established itself as a multiple Emmy Award and Gemini Award winning corporation.[4] HBO Original Programming led by Sheila Nevins requested David to create original dramatic entertainment for the 7 to 12 year-old niche market. During this time, David managed companies in four different countries and utilized over 1000 creative employees making 19 HBO Original films over 11 years. He worked closely with his co-producing partner, Richard Mozer, who he met in 1977 when Devine started film classes at UCLA and Mozer started film classes at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. David Devine's first choice for filming was Prague where the Miloš Forman (Amadeus) film crew was hired nearly intact. The next six films were shot in the Český Krumlov Castle and the Jindřichův Hradec Castle, both in Bohemia, as well as in the town of Telč and Kroměříž in Moravia. The films were produced and financed by Devine Entertainment, Sony Classical, HBO Original Films of New York with The Family Channel of Toronto.[5] Further locations were found throughout the Czech and Slovak Republics as well as Istria in Croatia.[6] Even a Roman Coliseum was rented in Pula, Croatia. Devine oversaw symphonic music production for all of the films and produced 6 classical CD recordings distributed by Sony Classical of New York, led by Peter Gelb. One of his loves was directing the ballet sequences with principal dance members of the National Ballet of Canada and the Czech National Ballet for his films, Rossini's Ghost, Bizet's Dream and Degas and the Dancer.[7] Choreography for Rossini's Ghost and Bizet's Dream were by Stelio Calagias.

A further six films were made back in the Czech and Slovak Republics, as well as the castle owned by Desmond Guinness in Dublin, Ireland. Devine also rented the entire piazza in Feltre, Italy for his film Leonardo: A Dream of Flight. His next film Galileo: On the Shoulders of Giants was filmed in the castle of Monselice, the Padova Anatomical theatre—the first medical theatre to teach dissection built in 1596 and the Doge's Palace, Venice. Sales continued worldwide and the films were licensed again in Canada by YTV and subsequently TVO, TFO and Radio Canada.[8] By this time, broadcast sales crossed over the 90 country mark. In all, Devine's HBO Original films utilized locations in 6 countries comprising 5 palaces and 10 castles.

Seeking to expand sales and distribution of the children's films, Devine Distribution was formed to distribute directly to Canadian and U.S. parents and their children, Canadian schools and libraries and U.S. schools and libraries. Over 600,000 DVDs have been sold directly to US and Canadian teachers and librarians.[1]

Devine produced and directed the family feature film aimed at the 4-7 year olds, Bailey's Billion$.[9] The film had a theatrical debut in Canada, the US and Russia and has sold 450,000 DVD copies. It is currently being broadcast on television in 24 foreign countries and is a consistent VOD entertainment on Canadian Specialty Channels.

David was the Executive Producer of the prime time dramatic mini-series, Across the River to Motor City.[10] The programs were aired in prime time in Canada for the CHUM Group. The series was nominated for 7 Gemini Awards including best mini-series. Also in 2008, Devine Distribution bought the rights to a 4 DVD collection on the history of music starring and hosted by Wynton Marsalis called Marsalis on Music.[11]

In 2014, David developed the feature film screenplay, The Runner in collaboration with three time Academy Award winning screenwriter Malcolm Clarke for production in the spring of 2019.

The Runner is based on Billy Sherring - the only Canadian to ever win the Olympic Gold medal in the Marathon at the 1906 Athens Games. Also in development in 2018 is a 26-episode one-hour television drama series on the life and times of Canadian hero, Dr. Norman Bethune.

Devine has also directed 5 films on Holocaust survivors living in Canada produced by his business partner, Richard Mozer, for Naomi Azrieli and David Azrieli's Foundation.

David is a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (ATAS) in Los Angeles and the Director's Guild of Canada (DGC).

Digital Interactive Education Platform: Knowledge Creation through Digital Innovation[edit]

David was the President and Founder of The Madcap Learning Adventure from 2012 to 2017. The company's prime goal was to deliver learning for students and teachers mainly in U.S. K-12 schools. Most big book publishing companies chose to continue selling textbooks to school districts because of the tremendous profits rendered rather than transform education into the digital and interactive revolution. It was and is our opinion that the downward spiral in math, science and literacy has continued in the U.S. and fragmentation and deterioration of the 'old style' of teaching is starving and holding back the youth of the nation. Madcap's goal had been invented to provide the complete curriculum and make it available to all students on their cell phone or pad or any other device any day and at any time to improve learning outcomes at a vast rate. The company unfortunately closed in 2017 and very little progress has been made all across the U.S. and a death spiral in education could be contemplated.

The Madcap Learning Adventure's initial funding came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Pearson Education. The Madcap Learning Adventure was invented to provide a template to provide outstanding creative learning outcomes for students in K-12. Madcap is a digital and interactive education knowledge company which produces pedagogical resources for teachers and film, animation and interactive non-linear content modules for K-12 students. The Madcap Learning Adventure's business ethos centres on engaging students with collaborative knowledge creation, shared experience and adaptive knowledge creation through digital innovation. Modular prototypes are delivered from a web portal by streaming broadband to all forms of mobile devices.

Testing in the classroom took place in Brunswick, Maine and in Toronto, Ontario and truly exceptional results were published in a 98-page Independent pilot study conducted by the University of Maine's Graduate School of Education.

The Madcap Learning Adventures' digital proof-of-concept results confirm vastly improved student learning outcomes when used instead of textbooks. We believe that the solution Madcap offers would disrupt widely and educate deeply greatly transforming 21st Century learning.

Partial List of Film Honors and Awards[edit]

A Young Children's Concert with Raffi - Director and Producer
Raffi in Concert with the Rise and Shine Band - Director and Producer
Beethoven Lives Upstairs - Director and Producer
  • 1993 Prime Time Emmy Award winner for Outstanding Children's Program
  • Selected for the Permanent Collection at the Paley Center for Media, New York.
  • Winner of the New England Film & Video Festival, Boston
  • Winner of the Monitor Award for Best Director – Children's Program, David Devine
  • Award of Excellence presented by the United States National Board of Film Review
  • American Film Association Blue Ribbon Winner – Best Original Children's Program
  • Two United States International Film and Video Festival Gold Camera Awards for – Best Director and Best Children's Film
  • The Dove Foundation – Best Children's Film
  • American Library Association’s Honor – Best Children's Film
The Composers' Specials - Director and Producer of Bizet and Rossini
Handel's Last Chance
Bizet's Dream - Director and Producer
  • 1997 Winner of The Alliance for Children and Television Award for Excellence
Einstein: Light to the Power of Two - Director and Producer
Leonardo: A Dream of Flight - Producer
Galileo: On the Shoulders of Giants - Director and Producer
  • 2000 - 4 Emmy Award Nominations including Outstanding Children's Special
  • 2000 - 2 Emmy Awards
  • U.S. International Film and Video Festival - Gold Camera Award for Best Children's Program
  • U.S. Film and Video Festival – Best Director - David Devine
Edison: The Wizard of Light - Director and Producer
  • 2000 – 5 Emmy Award Nominations including Outstanding Children's Film
  • 2000 – 1 Emmy Award
  • 2000 Winner of the Gemini Award for Best Youth Program
  • 2000 Winner of the First Place Gold Camera Award at the U.S. International Film and Video Festival for Best Children's Production
Degas and the Dancer - Director and Producer
Mary Cassatt: American Impressionist - Producer
Rembrandt: Fathers and Sons - Director and Producer
  • 2001 Kids First! All Star Rating from the U.S. Coalition for Quality Children's Media
  • 2001 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Camera Award for Video/DVD
Monet: Shadow and Light - Director and Producer
  • 2001 Kids First Finalist for Best Children's Video of the Year
Bailey's Billion$ - Director and Producer
Across the River to Motor City - Executive Producer

The Madcap Digital and Interactive Learning Adventure - Creator, Director and Producer

  • 2011 to 2015: - Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation digital curriculum for K-12 students -- successful testing in Maine, USA and in China.


  1. ^ "Tribute Canada Biography". Tribute.ca. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  2. ^ "Northernstars Canadian Movie Database". Northernstars.ca. Archived from the original on November 15, 2012. Retrieved 2013-08-19.
  3. ^ Cheryl Binning (August 25, 1997). "Playback: Devine Entertainment and YTV". Playbackonline.ca. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  4. ^ "Devine Entertainment Garners Three Gemini Nominations". Thefreelibrary.com. September 20, 2000. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  5. ^ "COGECO Program Development Fund". Cogecofund.ca. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  6. ^ "YTV's The Artist's Special Interview on David Devine by jam! SHOWBIZ". Jam.canoe.ca. January 28, 2000. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  7. ^ "Blockbusters Database on David Devine". Blockbuster.com. August 9, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  8. ^ "IPF Annual Report". Ipf.ca. Archived from the original on November 2, 2013. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  9. ^ "Northern Stars Canadian Movie Database for Bailey's Billion$". Northernstars.ca. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  10. ^ Leader, The (November 22, 2007). "Leaderpost Regina Review of Across the City". Canada.com. Retrieved August 19, 2013.
  11. ^ "Wynton Marsalis". Wynton Marsalis. Retrieved August 19, 2013.