The Current

Mark Starowicz on the decline of documentary production in Canada as interest rises

A People's History was a ground breaking documentary series for the CBC back in the 90s and the man behind it would continue to shape the range and direction of documentaries in Canada for decades. So who better to consult on the state of the documentary?
Longtime producer and documentary filmmaker Mark Starowicz helped shape documentaries in Canada for almost four decades. (Kevin Van Paassen/CBC)

There are people, Kevin McMahon leads them, who are moving to have the documentary declared Canada's national art form. And it is the Canadian national art form. It is also the art form of an entire generation.- Mark Starowicz

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The majority of documentary work is a labour of love but funding is hard to come by and the financial return can be meagre. Still the storytelling is as rich as ever.

Mark Starowicz shaped radio and then TV documentaries in Canada for nearly four decades. He is the former head of CBC's documentary unit. He revamped CBC Radio's As It Happens and created Sunday Morning. On the TV side he was the force behind The Journal and Canada: A People's History. He retired from CBC last season and has since started his own documentary company.

As part of our occasional series, Eye on The Media, Mark Starowicz joined Anna Maria in our Toronto studio to talk about the state of documentary making in Canada. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Ines Colabrese.