Jack Silberman earned a B.A. (English) from Middlebury College, studied documentary film production at MIT, and has a master’s degree from the Harvard University Graduate School of Education.
He has been producing, directing, and writing documentaries for 30 years and has extensive international experience, having worked on location in Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Laos, Japan, Kenya, Tanzania, Borneo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Belize, Mexico, the Bahamas, France, Brazil, the Virgin Islands, Israel, and England, as well as the United States and Canada.
His films have won more than 60 national and international awards. His production ‘Island of Whales’ was narrated by Gregory Peck, broadcast on PBS (Nova), and won 17 national and international awards, including the Gemini Award for Best Canadian Documentary (1992).
His film ‘Bombies’ was broadcast on PBS and won the Golden Gate Award (first place) at the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Gold Award (first place) for best social / political documentary at the Chicago International Film Festival, Best of Festival at the Vermont International Film Festival, the Special Prize at Okomedia (Germany), the Swiss Prize (first place) at the Basel-Karlsruhe Film Festival, and the Japan Prize - one of the world’s leading awards for educational films.
He has produced, directed, and/or written more than 45 films for Canadian, American (PBS), and British television networks (Channel 4), as well as for National Geographic Channels International, Discovery Channel, the National Film Board of Canada, and for international organizations such as Unicef, the United Nations Development Program, the Canadian International Development Agency, and the Aga Khan Foundation.
Currently: Directing and writing a 20 minute film about refugees and immigrants in Surrey for the Surrey Foundation.
In Search of Nirvana: one hour documentary about Buddhist meditation. Filmed in Burma and Sri Lanka. (Producer). 2008.
The Graduates: one hour documentary about the history of higher education in British Columbia. Produced for Knowledge Network and the B.C. Ministry of Higher Education. (Producer/Director). 2008.
Raised To Be Heroes: one hour documentary about conscientious objectors within the Israeli army. Produced for the National Film Board of Canada. Licensed to CBC - Passionate Eye. (Director/Writer). 2006.
Polio Hunters: one hour documentary about the worldwide effort to eradicate polio. Produced for the Discovery Health Channel, Knowledge Network, and the Canadian International Development Agency. (Producer/Director/Writer). 2006.
Uganda Rising: Feature-length documentary about child soldiers in Uganda. Numerous international awards. (Consulting Producer). 2006.
The Vanishing Tattoo: one hour documentary about the disappearing tattoo traditions of the Iban people of Borneo. Produced for the Aboriginal People’s Television Network and National Geographic. (Producer/Director). 2003.
Call It Karma: One hour documentary about a Tibetan monk’s journey to the west. Produced for Canadian television networks. Best Adventure Film - Whistler Film Festival. (Co-writer). 2003
Bombies: one hour documentary about the U.S. secret war in Laos and its legacy of unexploded cluster bombs. Produced for ITVS (PBS), Canadian television networks, CIDA, The Rogers Documentary Fund, and the MacArthur Foundation. Broadcast on PBS and winner of first place awards at 10 international film festivals. (Producer/Director/Writer). 2002.
Champions of The Wild: 3 half-hour films about sharks, orangutans, and dolphins and the wildlife biologists who are working to protect them. Produced for the Discovery Channel Canada and the National Film Board of Canada. (Director, 3 half-hours).1997- 98.
The Adventures of Mowgli: English language version of an animated feature length production of “The Jungle Book”, originally produced by Soyuzmiltfilm - Russia’s leading animation studio. Voices by Charlton Heston, Sam Elliott, and Dana Delaney. Licensed to HBO. (Producer). 1996.
Battle For The Trees: one hour documentary about the struggle to protect British Columbia’s disappearing rainforest. Produced for the National Film Board of Canada, Channel 4 (U.K.), and Canadian television networks. Winner of 7 national and international awards, including ‘Best of Festival’ - International Nature Film and Television Festival. (Producer). 1994.
Island of Whales: one hour documentary about the whales of Vancouver Island. Produced for the National Film Board of Canada, Canadian television networks, and PBS (Nova). Winner of 17 national and international awards, including ‘Best Nature Film’ - Houston; ‘Best of Festival’ - Yorkton; ‘Best Independent Film’ - International Wildlife Film Festival; ‘Gemini Award’ (Best Documentary)- Canada. (Producer). 1992.
Bowl of Bone: feature-length documentary about the relationship between a troubled young woman and a Native healer. Produced for the National Film Board of Canada. ‘Best of Festival’ - Atlantic Film Festival; ‘Best of Festival’ - Northwest Film and Video Festival (Portland). (Executive Producer). 1992.
Short Format: Director of more than 2 dozen segments for various magazine format television programs on subjects as diverse as how computers are helping the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation preserve their disappearing language, to raising racing pigeons, to meditation. (Director, 2 dozen segments). 1993 - 97.
Nature Walk: 10 half-hour episodes of a series about the animals and plants in national parks in Canada, the U.S., and Central America. Produced for the Life Network. (Director, 10 half-hours). 1995-97.
Aga Khan Series: 5 half-hour documentaries about rural development, health, education, culture, and economic development in the developing world. Produced for the Secretariat of His Highness the Aga Khan. (Producer/ Writer, 5 half-hours). 1985 - 89.
First Harvest: one hour documentary re-visits community development projects in Northern Pakistan. Produced for the Canadian International Development Agency and the Aga Khan Foundation. (Producer/ Director/ Writer). 1987.
Valleys in Transition: one hour documentary about rural development in the remote high mountain valleys of northern Pakistan. Produced for the Aga Khan Foundation. (Producer/Director/Writer). 1983.
Duran Duran: Field producer for 2 music videos shot in Sri Lanka - ‘Hungry Like The Wolf’ and ‘Save A Prayer’. (Field Producer). 1982.
International Development: 13 educational films in a variety of formats (drama, documentary, educational soap opera) on a variety of topics - primary health care, clean water, nutrition, etc. Shot on location throughout Sri Lanka. Produced for UNICEF, UNDP, and other international organizations. (Producer/Director/Writer, 13 films). 1979 - 83.
Also: Creator and co-manager of the Mostra Vida (‘Festival of Life’), an environmental film festival of over 100 international films which were screened during the Earth Summit at various locations around Rio de Janeiro, from the grounds of the Global Forum to the favelas (slums) of Rochina, 1992.
Jury Member: Riena (at that time France’s largest festival of films about the environment), 1991.
Keynote speaker: NHK Asian Documentary Forum, Bangkok, Thailand, 2004. Jury member: Canadian Independent Film and Video Fund, 2005.
Instructor, Capilano University, Documentary Film Program, 2009/2010.