I am a documentary filmmaker and educator, with more than 30 years of experience in journalism and storytelling from the front lines of social movements.
With ever-greater clarity over the course of my career, the climate emergency has emerged as the defining crisis of our time. It is rooted in, and exacerbated by the other overlapping disasters we face: the pandemic, white supremacy, colonialism and a dangerously unequal global economy. I am passionate about putting my work at the service of students, to help them understand and confront these intersecting crises.
In 2015, I was a co-author of The Leap Manifesto; fifteen political demands to get Canada off fossil fuels in a way that simultaneously confronts racial and gender discrimination and economic inequality.
More recently, I have been deeply involved in the emergent frame of the Green New Deal – working with The Sunrise Movement in the US, and producing the animated short films Message from the Future with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Message from the Future II: The Years of Repair, written with Black Lives Matter co-founder Opal Tometi.
Prior to joining UBC, I was a lecturer at Rutgers University School of Communication and Information, where I designed a course that unpacks the impact of feature length documentaries. My students developed a vocabulary to identify and critique the filmmaker’s “toolbox” of techniques and examine how they are deployed in service of the film’s message and theory of social change.
At UBC, my teaching focuses on social and political change, communication and documentary filmmaking. This is a historical moment that calls on communities to come together and put justice at the center of the vast transition we must make as a matter of survival.
For media enquiries, please contact Mary Halton
Democracy (saving it, and ourselves), narrated by Danny Glover, 2019
Why the Climate Movement Should Fight for Migrant Justice, narrated by Thandiwe Newton, 2019
A Green New Deal for Housing, narrated by Ted Danson, 2019
What is a Green New Deal?, narrated by George Elliot Clarke, 2019
This Changes Everything. 2015. Directed by Avi Lewis. [90 minutes]. Toronto, Ontario, CN: Klein Lewis Productions.
The Take. 2004. Directed by Avi Lewis. [87 minutes]. New York, NY: First RunFeatures/Icarus Films
Keepers of the Future. 2016. Directed by Avi Lewis. [23 minutes and 32 seconds]. Toronto, Ontario, CN: Klein Lewis Productions.