James Dunnison Director
Born with dyslexia and attention deficit disorder, James Dunnison naturally ended up in the film industry.
Dunnison’s feature debut Stuff enjoyed international critical acclaim (see press). He also directed the TV pilot and six additional episodes of Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, 14 episodes of HBO Canada’s critical darling Less Than Kind and eight episodes of the SyFy/Space series Bitten. Among his other TV credits are episodes of Carter, The Listener, Lost Girl, Seed, Arctic Air, Blood Ties, Whistler, Godiva’s and Robson Arms.
Known for his positive on-set energy and for getting the best out of cast and crew alike, Dunnison has received numerous awards and nominations for directing both comedy and drama.
As a creator, he currently has three TV series in development. He also speaks fluent French, and his travel writing and photography have appeared in a variety of publications, from specialty magazines to the Los Angeles Times.
Awards & Nominations
- Won, Best Film and Best Director, Critics’ Circle, Northwest Film Festival, Washington State; chosen to be its filmmaker-in-residence
- Voted Top of the Critics’ List at the Vancouver International Film Festival
- Nominated, 4 Directors Guild of Canada Awards
- Nominated, 3 Gemini Awards for Best Direction
- Nominated, Best Pilot, Banff World Television Festival
- Won, Honorable Mention, Columbus International Film Festival
- Won, Best Direction – Television, Canadian Comedy Awards; also nominated for Best Direction – Film
- Won, 1 Leo Award for Best Direction, and nominated for 4 others
- Won, 2 Golden Sheaf Awards, including a Special Jury Award at the Yorkton Short Film & Video Festival
- Won, Grand Prize by unanimous jury decision, Cabbagetown Short Film & Video Festival
- Won, General Idea Award for Artistic Contribution to AIDS Awareness
DGC #6100. WGC #XG20-00075.
Select credits as WRITER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR:
- STUFF (2000), a feature comedy-horror-fantasy.
- ORGAN MUSIC (2001), a short comedy-fantasy-drama. Voted Best Film, Best Actress and Best Director by the Film Critics Circle at the 2001 Northwest Film Festival.
Select credits as DIRECTOR:
- CARTER: 2 episodes of Season 1, Sony Studios (2017).
- BITTEN: 8 episodes, seasons 1, 2 and 3. SyFy/CTV/eOne (2013-2016).
- THE LISTENER: 1 episode, season 5. Fox International/CTV. (2014)
- SATISFACTION: Lead director, season 1. 2 episodes. CTV (2013).
- SEED: 8 episodes, seasons 1 and 2. Rogers/City (2012-2013).
- ARCTIC AIR: 2 episodes, season 1. CBC (2012).
- LOST GIRL: 1 episode, season 2. NBC Universal/Showcase (2012).
- LESS THAN KIND: 14 episodes over the 4 season run (2007-2012). HBO Canada. Dunnison won a Canadian Comedy Award for Best Direction in a Television Series for the episode “First Nighters” and was nominated for two Directors Guild of Canada Awards and two Gemini Awards for Best Direction in a Comedy Series for the show. Season 2 won the 2010 Gemini Award for Best Comedy Series. Season 3 won the 2012 Canadian Screen Award for Best Comedy Series.
- TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL: The 2009 pilot for the Fearnet/CTV/Space series, which greenlit the production and was nominated for a Rockie Award for Best Pilot at the Banff World Television Festival. Dunnison directed 6 additional episodes and was nominated for a 2011 Gemini Award for his direction of the episode “Phantom of Crowley High”, which also won a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Comedy.
- HICCUPS: Multiple episodes of seasons 1 and 2 (2009-2010). Dunnison won a Leo Award for Best Direction for his episode “Hot Luv.” CTV/The Comedy Network.
- WALK THE DOG: Nominated for Best Direction – Film at the 2008 Canadian Comedy Awards.
- ROBSON ARMS: Multiple episodes over all 3 seasons (2004-2007) – including the season premiere for Season 3 (“Mean Girls”), which was nominated for a 2008 Directors Guild of Canada Award. CTV.
- BLOOD TIES: 4 episodes, seasons 1 and 2 (2006-2007), including the Season 1 finale. Lifetime/CHUM City.
- GODIVA’S: 2 episodes, season 2 (2005). Dunnison was nominated for a Director’s Guild of Canada Award for his episode “Out the Door.”
- RAGE (2004). Received the highest ratings for a one hour documentary in Global Television’s history.
- CALL ME AVERAGE (2004). Winner of a Special Jury Award at the 2005 Yorkton International Film Festival, Honorable Mention at the 2004 Columbus International Film Festival and the 2005 Leo Award for Best Documentary. CBC.
- PRETTY BOYS (2002). A documentary that gets into the hilariously conflicted brains of male models in Milan, Italy. Top of the “critics’ picks” list at the 2002 Vancouver International Film Festival. Make Believe Media, CTV.
- CRACK DOLL HOUSE (2001), all 6 episodes of the series for CTV/The Comedy Network. A commission based on Dunnison’s original short comedy which won the Grand Prize by unanimous jury decision at the 1998 Cabbagetown International Short Film Festival.
Select credits as WRITER/DIRECTOR:
- CELLULOID DREAMS (2002), a documentary on “dream logic” in the movies, featuring exclusive interviews with David Lynch, Guy Maddin and Jean-Pierre Jeunet. Independent Film Channel, Paperny Films.
- POWERFUL LOVE (1996), a short film and pool of TV commercials which were broadcast on every national Canadian broadcaster on World AIDS Day, 1996, and went on to win the General Idea Award for Artistic Contribution to AIDS Awareness.
- DIRTY WORK (one hour TV series), as co-creator/producer/director.
- MARGIN OF ERROR (one hour TV series), as co-creator/producer/director. Based on the short story “Sunshine City” by novelist Timothy Taylor.
- LIPKO PARK (a murder mystery limited series), as writer/producer/director.
What the critics said about James Dunnison’s feature debut STUFF:
Los Angeles Times
“The kind of wild, out-there movie – and from Canada yet – that keeps you mining for gold amid the dross inevitable in all film festivals… Consistently inspired and with hilarious zaniness.”
The Montreal Gazette
“STUFF is to Canadian ‘cinema’ what punk is to rock ‘n’ roll.”
Globe and Mail
“Buzz film of the year … Laugh out loud funny, sweet and inventive.”
U.S. National Public Radio
“Absolutely delicious!” – Robert Glatzer
The Hollywood Reporter
“I could say that James Dunnison’s STUFF plays like a really focused KIDS IN THE HALL sketch sustained for 90 minutes, or that it’s the cinematic equivalent of a Beck album, and by doing so, I might hint at this movie’s unique quality, or encourage you to go see it. But neither description does justice to STUFF’s incredible, off the wall charm.”
The Edmonton Journal
“Possibly the greatest Canadian movie you’ve never seen.”
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