Douglas Arrowsmith is a Canadian film director and writer. He has produced award-winning documentaries for CBC Television, music videos, and feature-length films for BBC Four, The Movie Network and HBO Canada.
Arrowsmith received his Ph.D. in Social and Political Thought in 2001 from York University, Canada. His doctoral thesis examines technologies of the self founded in Montaigne’s self-essays, Shakespeare’s self-dramatisations in the historical plays, and Freud's self-analysis. Part of the research involved a series of field interviews with writers, actors, and singer/songwriters including with Timothy Findley, Peter O’Toole, and Steve Earle, each of whom discussed the concept of ‘mastery’.
Film & Television
Arrowsmith began his television career in 2001 as a producer on CBC News: Sunday a 3-hour current affairs program on CBC’s main network. During his 10 years as a staff producer he worked on everything from quick-turnaround video features to network specials and documentaries, including "As The Towers Fell: Moment by Moment with the Journalists" (2002), “Deadline Iraq: Uncensored Stories of the War” (2003, nominated for Canada’s Donald Brittain Award for Best Social/Political documentary), and "Tsunami: Untold Stories" (2006, nominated for a Gemini Award, Best Direction).
In 2008, Arrowsmith was honored with a Gemini Award, for a short documentary that he directed about Montreal singer, Nikki Yanofsky. The award was presented by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television.
In 2009, he produced and directed a feature-length documentary, entitled Memory & Desire: 30 Years in the Wilderness with Stephen Duffy & The Lilac Time, about Stephen (Tin Tin) Duffy, founding member of Duran Duran. The film was nominated for the "Sound & Vision Award" at CPH:DOX Festival in Copenhagen.
In 2010, he wrote, produced, and directed a feature-length film, entitled Love Shines, about Canadian songwriter, Ron Sexsmith. Love Shines won the 2011 Audience Choice Award at SXSW in the "24 Beats per Second" category, and an Audience Choice Award at the 2011 Maui Film Festival.
In 2014 Arrowsmith was writer/director of "The Klondike Gold Rush" (PBS America) a 1-hour television documentary that examines the existential range of challenges faced by the men and women who set off to discover gold in the Klondike.
Arrowsmith is also the co-author of the book Witness to a City: David Miller's Toronto, which presents stories of Toronto citizens who act for the greater public good, following personal loss and hardship. The book was co-authored with former Toronto mayor, David Miller. The book was nominated for the Heritage Toronto Award in 2011.
Cherry Red Records
In 2013 Arrowsmith was commissioned by UK celebrity designer Nicky Haslam to direct a series of music videos to support the release of the LP "Midnight Matinee" a collection of Haslam’s favourite cabaret songs, performed and recorded by Haslam for Cherry Red Records. The videos were designed to capture biographical pieces from Haslam’s life and were shot in the UK for tracks: “Total Control” feat. David Ogilvy, “Illusions” feat. Bryan Ferry, and “Real Live Girl”.
In 2017 Arrowsmith was commissioned by English singer, songwriter, and guitarist Lawrence (Felt, Denim and Go Kart Mozart) to produce and direct the first video authorized by the artist since the days of Felt. The video for the track “Depressed” was shot over a period of time at locations in the UK and edited in Toronto, Canada, and officially released in February 2018 by Cherry Red Records.
Ursula K. Le Guin Tribute & Margaret Atwood
In March 2018 Literary Arts of Portland Oregon commissioned Arrowsmith to produce and direct Margaret Atwood’s tribute to fantasy/science fiction writer and essayist Ursula Le Guin (Earthsea series and The Left Hand of Darkness). In the video Atwood reads selected portions from Le Guin’s works and states, among other things, that she could always count on her colleague, Le Guin, to "get it." The video was screened as part of a tribute gala on June 13, 2018 at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland Oregon.
- Arrowsmith, Douglas; and Miller, David. "Witness To A City: David Miller's Toronto", Cormorant Books, 2010. ISBN 978-1-897151-80-8
- Arrowsmith, Douglas. Topia: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, "Melancholy in the Field of Self-Mastery: Memory, Desire and Lost Objects", 17, pp. 143–149.
- Arrowsmith, Douglas; David Levinson, ed. The Encyclopedia of Human Emotions, "Literature", New York: McMillan Press, 2000. ISBN 978-0-02-864766-1
- "Program: Social and Political Thought" (PDF). York University.
- "23rd Annual Gemini Awards Celebrates Lifestyle, Children's and Youth Winners" (PDF). Gemini Awards. 2008-10-21.
- "Available Light Film Festival 2011". Yukon Film Society. 2011.
- "Discovering Sexsmith, Escobar, Zanzibar and Uzbek art at VIFF". Maclean's. October 12, 2010.
- "True crime, true wealth, true melancholy". The Globe and Mail. May 14, 2011.
- "Ron Sexsmith: Love Shines". BBC Four. March 2011.
- "SXSW announces aud kudos". Variety. March 3, 2011.