– College Days College Nights is a six-hour series following the
lives of fifteen university students through one year of school, as
they search for knowledge, love, sex, and a path to the future. Produced
for The Documentary Channel and CBC Television for release in 2005.
Director – Men Don’t Cry: Prostate Cancer Stories profiles
three men diagnosed with prostate cancer, and follows their journey
through treatment. A growing epidemic, prostate cancer is a disease
that can make men incontinent and impotent, and is killing greater numbers
every year. One of the film’s subjects is Bob Hunter, a co-founder
of Greenpeace, whose cancer was diagnosed too late to be treated effectively.
Men Don’t Cry was broadcast on CBC Television’s Witness
series in the summer of 2003. Length 47 minutes.
Director – No Kidding: The Search for the World’s Funniest
Joke follows British psychologist Dr. Richard Wiseman’s year-long
scientific search to find the world’s funniest joke. Wiseman created
an internet website that collected data on how different sexes, nationalities,
and age groups react to humour. John Zaritsky took the joke doctor on
a round-the-world field trip to test his results, and found wacky characters
everywhere with jokes to tell – some good, some awful, all entertaining.
No Kidding was broadcast on CBC Television’s Witness series in
the summer of 2003. Length 50 minutes.
– Ski Bums is an off beat and entertaining look at a youth subculture
filled with colorful characters like Johnny Thrash, Punchy, and Stray
Doggy who provide an audience with some inside tips on how to survive
on very little in a jet set destination like Whistler B.C. The film
explores the backgrounds of ski bums and the reasons they sacrifice
everything in the pursuit of danger and adventures in the mountains.
Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2002. Length 78
Director – Extraordinary People is a sequel to “Broken Promises”,
which ten years ago profiled some young Canadian thalidomide victims.
In Extraordinary People, four thalidomiders go through the normal ups
and downs of a transition from young adulthood into middle-aged citizens,
but in this case they also cope everyday with some severe physical handicaps.
Released on October 14 of 1999 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Length: 86 minutes.
Director – Little Criminals focused on a six-year-old California
boy who almost beat a 2-month-old boy to death with a stick. The boy
was the center of a controversy about whether he should be tried as
an adult criminal. As an intellectual backdrop, the film also examined
a 25-year-old case in which two brothers, seven and 10, kidnapped a
two-year-old boy from a San Francisco park and then beat him to death
before hanging their victim on a cross. One of the brothers is interviewed
about his role in the crucifix murder. Little Criminals was broadcast
in May, 1997 over PBS’s Frontline. Length: 53 minutes.
Director – Murder on Abortion Row—When two Catholic youngsters
met over a reception counter at a women’s health clinic near Boston,
it set off an explosion of violence that would leave two dead and seven
injured. The film traces the lives of those youngsters leading up to
that moment, one, a beautiful receptionist, daughter of an ex-nun and
brother, the other, her killer, an ex-altar boy and nephew of Catholic
priests. In an exclusive interview, the Cardinal of Boston explains
why he decided to take an unprecedented step in the wake of the killings.
First broadcast on PBS’s Frontline series in February, 1996. Length:
Director – Romeo and Juliet in Sarajevo—During the siege
of Sarajevo, a young couple was shot down by snipers on a bridge while
trying to escape the city. He was a Serb, she a Muslim, and their death
attracted the attention of the world press as a tragic symbol of the
Bosnian War. The film tells the love story of the couple, as they and
their families stay together in the midst of a war that bitterly divides
neighbours and close friends. First broadcast in PBS’s Frontline
series in May, 1994. Length: 85 minutes.
Director – Choosing Death was an examination of euthanasia as
performed by doctors in Holland. The film takes an audience down, what
critics view as the slippery slope of euthanasia, starting with the
most prevalent cases, terminally ill cancer and AIDS patients before
looking at a request from an AIDS patient in the early stages of his
disease, to a brilliant psychiatrist losing his mind to the husband
of a comatose patient and finally to the parents of a severely deformed
baby. First broadcast on PBS, as a Health Quarterly Frontline special
in May, 1993. Length: 85 minutes.
Director – My Doctor, My Lover, focused on a Denver woman who
was sexually abused by her psychiatrist. Although the doctor admitted
being intimate with his patient, his attorney claimed that the patient's
psychiatric condition, including post-traumatic stress disorder, resulted
from the treatment she received from a subsequent psychiatrist, who
happened to be a feminist and herself a victim of sexual abuse by a
therapist. How the system from the courts to the state licensing body
to the American Psychiatric Association dealt with this controversial
case surprised and shocked many people. First broadcast in November,
1991 on PBS’s Frontline series. Length: 85 minutes.
Director – Born in Africa chronicled the last weeks in the life
of Philly Lutaaya, a charismatic Ugandan musician dying of AIDS. Lutaaya
used his last days to tour his country to alert his people about the
dangers of AIDS and to sing a song of hope and redemption he had composed.
In doing so, Lutaaya became the first prominent African to publicly
declare he had AIDS and his life and death was a powerful message to
millions of sufferers on his continent. First broadcast as a Health
Quarterly—Frontline Special in May, 1990. Length: 85 minutes.
Director – Broken Promises—In the early 60s, thousands of
babies were born around the world with severe birth defects such as
shortened and deformed limbs. Their defects were caused by thalidomide,
a drug their mothers had been prescribed during pregnancy for morning
sickness. Most doctors predicted that few babies would survive and those
that did would require institutional care for life. But this film profiled
three extraordinary thalidomiders who had defeated the odds and were
living full and independent lives in their mid-twenties. Broken Promises
also investigates the failure of the Canadian government to live up
to a commitment made 25 years ago to do everything it could to help
the thalidomide victims and their families. First broadcast by the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation in February, 1989. Also broadcast on PBS’s
Frontline and on the BBC series, Everyman. Length: 85 minutes.
Director – My Husband is Going to Kill Me is what a terrified
Denver woman told police and judges her violent spouse would do. But
even though he kidnapped and held her hostage at gunpoint for six hours,
he was set loose and a week later shot her down in front of their two
young children. How the system failed to protect a woman from a man
who previously had shot a neighbour to death during a front porch confrontation
was the focus of this film. First broadcast on PBS’s Frontline
in May, 1988. Length: 53 minutes.
Director – The Real Stuff is an entertaining and thrilling look
at Canada’s aerobatic flying team, the Snowbirds. Featuring breathtaking
photography and the music of David Foster, the daredevil pilots reveal
what the real stuff is all about. First broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation in May, 1987. Length: 53 minutes.
Director – Rapists: Can They Be Stopped? Looked at controversial
treatment program for sex offenders at Oregon State Hospital. Four rapists
talk about their lives and crimes while undergoing treatment that includes
electroshock, chemical castration and confrontations with victims. First
broadcast on HBO’s Undercover America series in June, 1986. Length:
Director – Tears Are Not Enough chronicles the day top Canadian
musical stars came together to record a song for Ethiopian famine victims.
Featuring Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell, Anne Murray, and Cory
Hart, the film was a behind-the-scenes at a recording session in which
even the biggest stars left their egos at the studio door. The film
was released theatrically in Canada and Los Angeles and first broadcast
by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in December, 1985. Length:
Director – I’ll Get There Somehow profiles people with different
forms of arthritis and lupus, from a young girl with juvenile arthritis
to an old lady coping with the devastating effects of osteoarthritis.
First broadcast by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in February,
1985. Length: 85 minutes.
Director – The Boy Next Door was the only fictional film produced
by John Zaritsky. It was a drama about a single mother trying to cope
with an absent, sometimes violent teenage son. First broadcast on the
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s For the Record series in May,
1985. Length: 55 minutes.
Director – Bjorn Borg chronicled the last days of a young tennis
champion suffering from burnout and attempting a comeback. First broadcast
on Global Television in August, 1983. Length: 60 minutes.
Director – Just Another Missing Kid told the story of a rich and
powerful Ottawa family trying to find their teenage son who had gone
missing while on his way to summer school. But everywhere they went,
police refused to help and finally a private detective was hired to
track down the two killers of the teenage boy. First broadcast on the
CBC’s Fifth Estate in April, 1981. Length: 85 minutes.
Director – Caring for Chrysler examines the controversy about
whether governments on both sides of the border should be asked to save
America’s third largest automaker from bankruptcy. First broadcast
on CBC’s Fifth Estate in December, 1979. Length: 55 minutes.
Director – Charity Begins at Home was an investigative report
into foreign aid which demonstrated that the chief beneficiaries were
not the Third World poor but inefficient, uncompetitive industries at
home. First broadcast on CBC’s Fifth Estate in May, 1978. Length:
Director – The Loser’s Game was an investigative report
into phony promotions and shady practices on the Vancouver Stock Exchange.
Regarded by many as the Wild West, its penny stocks are the least regulated
of any exchange in North America. First broadcast on CBC’s Fifth
Estate in May, 1977. Length: 52 minutes.
Director – John Zaritsky worked for five seasons for Canada’s
leading television magazine show, The Fifth Estate. During that time,
he produced over 30 short films, including the following:
Director – “I Did Not Kill Bob Neville”—A reexamination
of a controversial murder case in which a law professor was convicted
of killing his former partner.
Director – “Steel City Star”—A profile of Frank
Augustyn, then Canada’s leading male ballet dancer.
Director – “The Making of a Martyr”—An investigation
into how the American Indian movement used the suicide of a troubled
youth for their own political purposes.
Director – “Betsy’s Last Chance”—The heroic
attempt by skier Betsy Clifford to recover from severe injuries and
personal tragedies to win Olympic gold.
Director – “The 17 Million Dollar Man”—An investigative
report into how a shady Australian businessman bilked taxpayers out
of 17 million dollars on a phony pulp and paper mill scheme.
Director – “No Hangovers, No Regrets”—A Remembrance
Day profile of Canada’s greatest war hero, Tommy Prince, an elderly
Indian living on skid row in Winnipeg.
Director – “Not in My Backyard”—Everybody agrees
an old prison should be torn down but nobody wants the new maximum security
prison built in their backyard.
Director – ”The Nantucket Mystery”—A real case
in which a top scientist on the eve of releasing a major international
scientific discovery vanishes one night from her island retreat and
nobody, including the police, know why.
Director – “Gord S.”—A profile of one of Canada’s
leading sculptors, Gordon Smith whose life and career was almost ended
Director – “Red Tape”—An investigative report
into how government kept heating a deserted but luxurious air force
base while Indians were forced to survive a bleak winter in dilapidated
Director – “Charlie’s Friends”—A profile
of a Canadian biker, Danny De Carlo, who taught Charlie Manson everything
he knew about guns. Danny and his wife, Simi Valley Sheri, recall their
days with Manson on the Spahn Ranch.