Author, Photographer, Filmmaker, Hockey Player, Educator, Mentor
Paul Saltzman is a two-time Emmy Award-winning, Toronto-based film and television director-producer known for over 300 productions. He’s also known worldwide as an educator and mentor.
After briefly studying Engineering Science, he did congressional civil rights lobbying in Washington, D.C., and voter registration work in Mississippi with SNCC in the summer of 1965. He began his film and television career that same year at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation as a researcher, interviewer and on-air host, and then moved to the National Film Board of Canada. In 1967 he interviewed American inventor and visionary Buckminster Fuller, who would later say that he believed “the ‘60s generation was a lost generation,” until he met Saltzman.
In 1968, he learned meditation at the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s ashram in India, an experience that changed his life. There, he photographed the Beatles, Mia Farrow, Donovan and Mike Love. In 1968-69 he assisted in the birth of a new film format as second-unit director and production manager of the first IMAX film, produced for the Osaka 1970 World’s Fair. In 1969, he attended the Woodstock Music Festival, later producing a Leonard Cohen concert tour as well as producing and directing his first film, a documentary on Bo Diddley.
In 1973, Paul founded Sunrise Films. He produced, directed, and wrote many documentaries over the next decade, including the acclaimed series Spread Your Wings. In 1983, he turned to drama, producing and directing the premiere of HBO’s Family Playhouse and a special for American Playhouse. In the same year, he co-created and produced the family action-adventure television series Danger Bay. The hit CBC-Disney Channel series ran for 6 years and 123 episodes.
He has produced television series like My Secret Identity, Matrix and Max Glick, as well as miniseries and MOW’s. He co-produced Map of the Human Heart, an international epic directed by Vincent Ward, starring Jason Scott Lee, Anne Parillaud, Patrick Bergin, John Cusack and Jean Moreau. He
also executive produced Martha, Ruth & Edie as well as Sam & Me, which received an Honorable Mention in competition for the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2000, Viking Penguin released Paul’s first book, The Beatles in Rishikesh. In 2006 Paul created a deluxe Limited Edition Box-Set, The Beatles in India. In 2018, a 50th anniversary edition came out.
In 2008, he made his feature-film directorial debut with Prom Night in Mississippi, a documentary with Morgan Freeman. It premiered in competition at Sundance in 2009. His 2nd feature documentary, The Last White Knight—Is Reconciliation Possible? featuring Harry Belafonte, Morgan Freeman and
Byron (Delay) de la Beckwith, Jr. premiered in 2012 at the Toronto International Film Festival. His most recent feature documentary ‘Meeting The Beatles in India,’ is executive produced by David Lynch, with Morgan Freeman narrating.
In 2011, he founded the non-profit organization Moving Beyond Prejudice to work with police forces, students, youth-at-risk, and community and faith groups utilizing Prom Night in Mississippi and The Last White Knight. In December 2011, Paul was invited to the White House to screen his prom movie and hold a Moving Beyond Prejudice discussion with the audience. While there, he was honoured as a Community Leader at a reception with President Obama and the First Lady.
He has taught and mentored over 100,000 people across Canada, the United States, and in 6 countries, in person and via the internet: On moving beyond prejudice; non-violent communication and conflict resolution; maximizing one’s creativity; meditation, mindfulness and personal fulfillment. The University of Toronto has collected his archives.
Paul is a member of the Director’s Guild of Canada and the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. He loves travelling, skydiving, scuba diving, and playing ice hockey (often!).