With over twenty four years of creativity as a musician, filmmaker and sound-designer Paul Manly has dedicated his efforts to produce and support the production of work that educates, inspires and illuminates. Inspired at an early age by art, politics and issues of social justice Paul has grounded his practice in activism, choosing subjects that shine a light on the topics that engage him. Starting a music career at age 17, Paul played bass professionally for ten years. Inspired by the work his mother, Eva Manly, was producing, Paul decided to enroll in Broadcasting at Algonquin college.
Growing up with a multi-cultural extended family sensitized Paul to issues of social justice, racism and cultural struggle. His first major project after graduating was A Gathering of Nation a documentation of the First Peoples Festival in Victoria 1991. After collaborating with Eva Manly on Hair Today and Ur-Analysis as a director of photography and editor, they collaborated as co-producers on The Awakening of Elizabeth Shaw. Awakening is a historical account of abuses at the Thomas Crosby residential school (for First Nations) told from a white persons’ perspective, based on letters written in 1898. This half-hour documentary was broadcast nationally and regionally and has been used as both an educational and healing tool. Paul went on to collaborate again with Eva on Bringing Truth to Light a documentary about the struggle for justice in Guatemala.
Seeing media tools as a form of empowerment Paul has sought to help others engage in media production as an educator, mentor and support technician. He was the equipment manager and head technician at Video In Studios artist run centre in Vancouver for five years and taught media production and post production skills at the centre for six years. In addition to mentoring many emerging media artists and documentary makers, Paul initiated a technical internship program and coordinated the collectives Mini-Grant program. Paul also volunteered for the Chiapas Media Project in Mexico, which puts media tools in the hands of indigenous people in the conflict zones of Chiapas. More recently he has done training projects and programs in Nanaimo for Tillicum Lelum and Arts Alive.
Other projects that Paul has produced include; Footprints a short lament about the destruction of a place of childhood solace, Upgrade a backlash at the ever changing technical learning curve, P4 a comprehensive look at cannabis prohibition in Canada and Wakanheja a pilot for a children’s show that became a syndicated series. ‘Sombrio’ documents the end of the squatter community at Sombrio Beach on the southwest corner of Vancouver Island and follows the Johnson-Oke family and other members of the community as they come to terms with their eviction after decades of living on the beach. ‘You, Me and The SPP’ a feature length documentary about the secretive Security and Prosperity Partnership between Canada the United States and Mexico. During the making of You Me and the SPP, Paul caught three police provocateurs on video attempting to incite a riot, the video went viral and made news around the world. After days of denial the Surete du Quebec (Quebec Provincial Police) had to admit that these were their police officers who had been caught on tape. ‘Voices of the River’ a 48 minute film about the history, values and many contemporary uses of the Nanaimo River watershed. Paul’s latest project, ‘Troubled Water’ documents the threats to public water systems on the East Coast of Vancouver Island.
Paul also produces Public Service Announcements (PSA’s), commercials, promotional, training and educational videos for a wide variety of community organizations, non-profits, social enterprises and small businesses. If what you are doing is sustainable and ethical, if it falls within the principles of social justice for all and the environmental well being of the planet, if it advances humanity and the common good in some way then your idea will be interesting to Paul. Life is short, we have a legacy to leave, let’s make it meaningful!