Great North Productions
Patricia Phillips partnered with Andy Thomson in their Edmonton-based Great North Productions Inc. from 1987 to 2002. As President of Factual Productions she was responsible for overseeing the development and production of all Great North factual programming and undertook many roles during that time - from writer and story editor to director, producer and executive producer. Among her personal highlights are “Ah gee, forgetting me…” - Nell Shipman, a Gemini nominated documentary written, directed, and produced by Patricia for History Television, producer of the Gemini and Hot Doc nominee Tickling the Dragon’s Tail - Louis Slotin also for History, director of the one hour drama, The Beat: Sightings for CBC, and writer and co-producer of the Hot Doc and Gemini nominee The Rat Among Us for Discovery Canada, ORF Austria and ZDF Germany.
During her time at Great North the company completed more than 350 hours of television, with a full slate of documentaries (series and specials). Some of Patricia’s credits include creating and producing the long running half-hour series Acorn The Nature Nut for Discovery Canada and Animal Planet US, Shiver (13 x ½ hour)for National Geographic International and Life Network Canada, the reality series Circus (26 x ½ hour) for Life Network, the two-hour special St Patrick - Man Or Myth for A&E, S4C and RTE, Ireland, sixty episodes of the one-hour series The Canadians: Biographies of a Nation for History Television Canada, Doves and Pigeons with Interspot of Austria for Discovery Canada, Discovery US, ORF Austria, and ZDF Germany and Kinmel Park Riots for History Canada and S4C Wales.
Alliance Atlantis Entertainment Group
When Alliance Atlantis acquired Great North in 2000, Patricia served as Senior Vice President AAC FACT, International Co-productions in 2000 and 2001. She attended film and television markets on a regular basis to pursue international co-production ventures with international producers and broadcasters. In this capacity she oversaw the creative for all co-productions for Factual Production including Return To The Barren Ground, The Great Surveyor and War Surgeons, all for History Television, Canada and S4C Wales as well as being responsible for development of new co-production projects.
As Senior Vice President AAC FACT from April, 2002 to 2004 Patricia worked with her team to develop, produce, and executive produce factual programs for the domestic market including the 13 part series Manhunt for History Canada, Fresh and Wild for Food Network Canada and UK Food, and Tool Box Challenge for HGTV. For the international market she was Executive Producer for AAC FACT with a number of UK production houses such as Lion, ZigZag, Keo and Windfall in co-productions including Hitler’s Victory, Hitler and I: Reflections on Evil, Inventing the Past, Surviving Extremes and Going to More Extremes and co-producer Of Pigs And Men, the third in a series of documentaries on Misunderstood Animals with Interspot of Austria for National Geographic US, Discovery Canada , ZDF Germany and ORF Austria and Samurai: Behind The Blade with Bang Productions for National Geographic US and Canada.
When Alliance Atlantis closed down their production activities in 2004, Patricia incorporated her company, Patrician Media and contracted with Amerimage Productions, Toronto, part of the Montreal based Equipe Spectra group, to Executive Produce her projects and manage their Toronto office. While acting as their General Manager and Senior Producer, she also produced her three part series, Medical Secrets featuring episodes about Dudley Moore, Judy Garland and FDR for Discovery Health Canada and US, co-produced with West Park Pictures of the U.K., Japan’s Atomic Bomb for History Television Canada, History Channel US and National Geographic International.
Through Patrician Media, Ballinran Productions contracted Patricia in 2008 and 2009 to be Creative Producer on the Gemini nominated feature documentary Death or Canada, a co-production with Tile Productions, Ireland for RTE Ireland, History Canada, History U.K.
Currently Patrician Media is developing factual programming with international co-production partners for domestic and foreign broadcasters.
Many of the productions and co-productions Patricia has been associated with have received awards or nominations from prestigious festivals such as the WorldFest Houston, Columbus International Film & Video Festival, Hot Docs, Gemini Awards, New York Festival, and the Banff Rockies etc. A complete filmography , credit list and awards list is available on request. Patricia also served on the board of directors for Banff Television Festival from 1997 to 2004.
Soon after graduating from Acadia University in 1967 with a B.A. in English Literature, Andy Thomson became hooked on the film industry—and it has been his ongoing passion ever since.
He learned the craft of filmmaking with the National Film Board of Canada, where he worked his way from director to executive producer over the course of nearly 100 films—both drama and documentary—earning Academy Award nominations for Blackwood (1977) and The Painted Door (1983). As executive producer for the Bell Canada Playhouse, a series of 26 half-hour dramas based on Canadian short stories, he began what would become an ongoing and ultimately rewarding relationship with Atlantis Films.
In 1986 Andy was instrumental in forming the National Screen Institute of Canada, a major source of support for emerging filmmakers. A year later he helped establish Great North Communications to produce a feature documentary on the Canada-China Dinosaur Project, a mammoth undertaking that spanned four years and eventually saw Andy emerge as the sole driving force behind the company. From its first low-budget production of Life After Hockey, Great North grew to be the largest producer of factual programming in Canada, producing for all of Canada’s major television networks, plus European broadcasters and specialty channels across North America, employing hundreds of craftspeople and a staff that grew from four to forty. Early success in production inspired Andy to expand into the distribution business and by 2000, Great North International’s catalogue included almost 700 hours of programming, representing independent producers from around the world.
In July of 2000, Great North was acquired by Alliance Atlantis Communications of Toronto, and Andy accepted the position of Executive Vice President, Television Production. In his role as director of their factual production division, AAC Fact, Andy continued to oversee the operation of Great North Productions in Edmonton. In July of 2005, Alliance Atlantis decided to close down all their production activities and Andy started Entente Entertainment Inc., a small company devoted to helping young film makers develop their projects and find international financing. Entente currently represents a dozen documentary producers from Canada, the USA and the UK.
Andy has served in many capacities within the television industry—from President of the Alberta Motion Picture Industries Association (AMPIA), to board member for both the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association and the Canadian Television Fund. In June of 1997 he received the CFTPA’s Chetwynd Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence and in 2000 he was honored with the David Billington Award for his outstanding contribution to the Alberta film and television community.
Daniel Thomson is a Gemini nominated and award winning documentary filmmaker with over ten years of industry experience. He was the driving force behind the award winning and Gemini nominated docudrama Hangman's Graveyard. Daniel has also produced Des McAnuff: A Life In Stages and served an integral role as Associate Producer, Production Manager and Researcher on the internationally acclaimed and four-time Gemini nominated docudrama Death or Canada. More recently Daniel has contributed to Explosion 1812, TSN's ambitious documentary series Engraved On A Nation as part of the CFL's 100th Grey Cup celebrations and the feature length documentary SongbirdSOS. Daniel's directorial debut, the short documentary Reclaimed had its world premiere at the Planet In Focus Film Festival in 2013.
Daniel has been nominated for the Barbara Sears Award for Best Editorial Research and won awards from Heritage Toronto and the Canadian Archaeological Association. He has also served as a jury member for Heritage Toronto and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television.
Daniel holds a degree in History and Classical Studies from Bishop's University and has also participated in the National Film Board's Momentum Program. He is an avid skier, sailor, golfer and cyclist and has a passion for history, the arts and literature.