One of Canada’s most respected filmmakers, Allan King, has passed away at the age of 79. King, who referred to his ground-breaking documentary work as ‘actuality dramas’, died surrounded by his family on Monday, in Toronto.
King’s career in TV and film began with the CBC in Vancouver in the 1950s. Moving to Ibiza in 1958, he earnestly pursued a life as an independent filmmaker, a career choice that gained strength upon his arrival in London, England in the early 1960s. Establishing himself as one of the pioneers of cinema vérité, his first major project, Warrendale, dealt with emotionally disturbed youth and was originally produced for the CBC but it didn’t air on the network, as King refused to edit out some of the more objectionable scenes and language. The film went on to be win the prix d’art et d’essai at the Cannes Film Festival as well as the British Academy’s Best Foreign Film Award and the New York Critics’ Award.
A Married Couple followed soon after and reaped more accolades, as did The Dragon’s Egg,Who Has Seen the Wind? (his first dramatic feature) and 2003′s Dying at Grace, in which he documented the experiences of five terminal patients living their final days at Toronto’s Salvation Army Grace Health Centre. King received the Order of Canada in 2003 and was inducted into the Canadian Film and Television Hall of Fame in 2008. His last feature doc, EMPz 4 Life, was released in 2006.
There will be a memorial at the Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West, Toronto, on Monday, June 22 at 11 a.m.