Producer, Director, Writer
John Kastner has won four Emmys for his documentaries—more than anyone else in the history of Canadian television. He received the awards for his work producing, directing, and writing the documentaries Four Women, about breast cancer, Fighting Back, about leukemic children, The Lifer and the Lady, about a convicted killer’s romance with a middle-class woman, and Life with Murder, about the agonizing choice two parents must make after their son murders their daughter. Kastner has also won more than 75 international awards for his films, which include Monster in the Family and Rage Against the Darkness. He was honoured by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television with the Academy Achievement Award in 2007.
Most high-profile NCR patients -- that is, sufferers of mental illness who have committed horrific acts of violence and have been declared "not criminally responsible" by the courts -- are usually kept well-hidden from public view. But on Wednesday, October 8, another high-profile NCR patient, Sean Clifton, who tried his best to stab to death a complete stranger because his psychosis led him to believe he had to kill "the prettiest girl in the mall," will bravely step on stage to face the public after the screening of my documentary NCR: Not Criminally Responsible, in which he is featured.
There he stood with his excellent manners telling me politely that he did not want to be in my film, or discuss his tragic case or for that matter have anything further to do with me, not now or ever. And for the next few months, cut me dead. Welcome to the cruel realities of the world of documentary making. It's supposed to get easier when you've won four Emmys.
04/29/2014 08:17 EDT
I am about to screen my finished film for Andy Bouvier, his wife, Noella, and the victim, their daughter Julie. They will be learning for the first time what was going through the mind of a madman in the midst of that murderous psychotic break -- what he was thinking as he tried to stab Julie to death.
04/27/2013 07:50 EDT
We are now half-way through the screening. When Sean hears the victim describing years of pain she endured from the six stab wounds he inflicted, he sighs and says quietly: "I can't believe I caused so much suffering," He is nervous but excited that the film is coming out soon.
04/25/2013 05:07 EDT
Growing whispery and weepy, Jimmy tells me his story. He murdered his wife and two daughters, aged 14 and 9, with an axe. "I don't want to live," he moans, "I'm a monster." In 25 years of making prison films I've never seen an inmate crack open this way. Most killers I have encountered rarely show real remorse.
04/23/2013 05:27 EDT
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