Laura Sky

Writer, Documentary Director/Producer
Teacher and Mentor

Photo Vincenzo Pietropaolo

I came to my documentary life as an activist and an advocate. My dream was to create films that were authentic, affirming, and risk-taking, working alongside people who are determined to change the world.

Throughout my career, I have brought this vision to my work as a filmmaker, teacher, mentor and public speaker. More recently I have transferred my documentary skills, exchanging my camera for a pen, to work as a writer.

From an early age my mother introduced me to the magic of film, photography and storytelling. I learned that images and stories can move people, change our perceptions and inform our heads as well as our hearts. I learned that shared experiences can connect people – especially people who are searching for justice.

My career began at the National Film Board where I created earnest but, at times, terrible films. I used these opportunities to learn – to make mistakes and to learn from fine mentors. This process allowed me to grow into my commitment and confidence as a working documentarian.

In 1983, with two colleagues, we founded SkyWorks Charitable Foundation, a small but mighty documentary organization. As the Foundation’s Executive Director, I have worked with colleagues and participants to create films that are not didactic or utilitarian, but are lyrical, poetic, funny and passionate. Those values now inform my work as a creative non-fiction writer.

“Laura Sky LL.D (Hon) is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who places social issues, including human rights and advocacy, at the centre of her work. The founder of SkyWorks Charitable Foundation, Laura’s artistry and passionate engagement with communities have attracted international honours, as well as loyal audiences at home and abroad. Her work as a teacher, mentor, guide and writer puts her on the front line of advocates and artists who are committed to social change.”

Susan Scott
Writer, Nonfiction Editor with The New Quarterly, Director, Wild Writers Mentorship Program.

“Working with Laura is different than working with any other documentary filmmaker. She has a respect for the participants. Always. With other directors, once the filmed material is “in the can” it belongs to the production. It no longer belongs to the participant. But with Laura, that image belongs to and will always belong to the person who gave it to us.”

Jim Aquila
CSC, Cinematographer, Long time colleague

“Laura sees the world with an inquisitive, creative and loving eye and we are fortunate she shares her analysis and thoughts on social justice issues in both film and in her writing. Laura’s ability to disentangle complex issues allows all of us to participate in being part of the solution. That’s community development in action.”

Cathy Crowe
Street Nurse, RN, C.M.