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The John Driftmier Memorial Award

John F. Driftmier was a gifted director.  He loved people; to celebrate and give dignity to the people on the screen was always his guiding vision.  His enthusiasm was contagious.  Everyone wanted to work with him because he genuinely loved working with everyone.   

After completing the Program in Film at Simon Fraser University, he directed many popular documentaries for the Discovery, History and National Geographic networks and co-created Pyros and other shows with Tyson Hepburn, another SFU graduate. 

John lived passionately; he had a big heart and many friends.  He loved his family.  His first documentary made at SFU, Story of a Lifetime, was made to honour his grandfather.  He loved being in the outdoors.  Above all else, he loved his wife, Carolyn Allen.

While in Africa filming an episode for the television series Dangerous Flights, John died in a tragic airplane crash on the slopes of Mount Kenya.  “He was a wonderful guy and was just starting to hit his stride as one of Canada’s creative forces,” his friend Michael Bodnarchuk said.  Tyson Hepburn writes, “John had the uncanny ability to find the bright spot and reveal the motivations and goals in everyone he filmed.”

Most of all, John is remembered as a wonderful and wise mentor.  Under his leadership, film crews became unified teams that created great films.

 

The John Driftmier Memorial Award will be given each year to a third year student whose passion and exemplary directorial skills create an environment which brings out the best in others; who demonstrates a deep understanding and realization of people, and exhibits a perceptive grace under pressure that bonds the students in the film program.

 

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