The work — thanks to deadlines


Note: The following is a partial list of independent documentaries JT worked on after leaving the CBC. Because of rights issues (the expiry of licenses for archive footage, etc.) hardly any of these films are still available for sale. A few may be found on DVD in public or university libraries or online.

Planet Hunters November 2012 CBC — Lightship Entertainment
Are we alone in the universe? Humans have studied the skies for centuries, wondering if a planet similar to ours exists. Now scientists may be on the cusp of discovering Earth’s twin, using a new space telescope and a technique pioneered by two Canadian astronomers.

Playing God With Planet Earth November 2010 CBC — Lightship Entertainment
Can scientists roll back the effects of global warming? Geoengineering schemes — like spraying acid in the sky to block out the sun — may rehabilitate the climate. Or trigger planetary disaster.

Mystery of the Toxic Swans January 2009 CTV — Omni Films
For nine winters in a row a deadly poison has killed wild trumpeter swans along the West Coast. Forensic investigators confirm more than 21 hundred have died from eating lead shotgun pellets, but they’re having trouble proving where the birds find and eat the toxic metal. Scientists mount a rescue mission, trying to save lives and solve a forensic mystery.

Shock/Wave: Surviving North America’s Biggest Disaster March 2008 CBC — Omni Films
If you live anywhere near the West Coast from California to British Columbia, then brace yourself. Geologists have confirmed—beyond any reasonable scientific doubt—that what happened in Sumatra in 2004 (and in Japan in 2010) will happen here. We in North America need to prepare for the same megathrust earthquake and the same train of killer waves.

The Fifty-Sixers October 2006 CBC
Students and workers in the city of Budapest were the first people inside the Communist bloc to rise up against Soviet tyranny. In October 1956 a peaceful demonstration turned into a bloody revolution. Two weeks later Moscow sent reinforcements to crush the rebellion and more than 200,000 Hungarians fled, including 37,000 who escaped to Canada. Fifty years later we look back on their courageous bid for freedom and their life-changing journey to a new world.

Running On A Dream: The Legacy of Terry Fox September 2005 CTV — Omni Films
If Terry Fox walked in to a doctor’s office today complaining of severe pain in his right leg, how might the outcome be different from 25 years ago? Answer: today he probably wouldn’t die. He might not even lose his leg. This is the story of amazing progress made by cancer research scientists and doctors funded in part by Terry Fox and the millions of people in 50 countries around the world who have joined his Marathon of Hope.

Slammin’ Iron April 2005 CBC — Omni Films
Meet the ironworkers who helped rebuild the World Trade Center in Manhattan. These men—from a proud community of Mohawks on the Kahnawake Reserve near Montreal, to ex-pat Newfoundlanders living in New York—follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. Their fathers, uncles and grandfathers built the most famous skyline in the world—the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Plaza and the Brooklyn Bridge. And now they have lifted “7 World Trade” from the ashes of 9/11.

The 13th Mission June 2004 CBC
One legendary Lancaster bomber, the girls who built it, and the boys who flew it. The story of a fateful mission over France one week after D-Day in June 1944.

Asteroid: The Doomsday Rock November 2003 CBC
The story of a multinational team of gifted scientists who believe and intend to prove that the world’s largest environmental disaster is preventable.

The Parkinson’s Enigma April 2002 CTV & Discovery Channel — Raincoast Storylines
When Michael J. Fox left Spin City to campaign for a Parkinson’s cure, he met a team of researchers who believe PD may not be a conventional disease—it’s more like an injury caused by environmental toxins or viral attacks. If they’re right, stem cell therapy could stop or even reverse the damage.

Firestorm: The Fire Suppression Paradox June 2001 CBC — Omni Films
Fifty years of all-out war against forest fires has had a profound but not entirely positive effect. With air tankers and helicopters firefighters have gained the upper hand in a battle to restrain nature. But by suppressing wildfires that would have cleared forest underbrush, they have created a powder keg of unburned fuel ready to explode in firestorms that technology and human effort cannot contain.

Captured Rain November 2000 CBC & Discovery Channel — Raincoast Storylines
As water becomes more valuable than oil, captured rain will generate wealth or lead to war. Or both. Continent-wide water transfer grids, environmental politics, and the likelihood that world trade agreements will force nations to sell their liquid assets: Captured Rain is the story of fresh water and free trade, of northern water and southern drought.

Stopping Traffik: The War Against the War on Drugs October 1999 CBC — Raincoast
Whether it’s alcohol Prohibition or the War on Drugs, any zealous crusade will have unintended consequences. Watch what happens when a group of frontline cops, social workers and wealthy businessmen join forces to oppose the drug war.

The Gene Squad March 1999 CBC — Raincoast Storylines
For 20 years the Mounties were unable to arrest the man who killed Carolyn Lee. Then forensic science and a new law changed everything. How the DNA revolution and computer databases have transformed law enforcement and threatened personal privacy in Canada, the U.S. and Britain.

The Poet and The Bandit January 1999 CBC — Raincoast Storylines
When Susan Musgrave, one of Canada’s most provocative and best-known poets, met Stephen Reid, he was one of North America’s most notorious bank robbers, doing hard time in prison. Infamous at a tender age, they found romance behind razor wire and survived to tell the tale.

Quake Hunters March 1998 CBC
Tracking a monster in the subduction zone: how scientists from Canada, the U.S., and Japan spent ten years on a quest for proof that a megathrust earthquake hit the Pacific Northwest 300 years ago—an earthquake that will strike again.

Frontier to First Class November 1997 CBC — Raincoast Storylines
The life and times of Max Ward, one of the last of the legendary Canadian bush pilots and founder of Wardair, an international airline famous for its first class service.

Phantom of the Ocean February 1997 CBC — Raincoast Storylines Ltd.
A mystery about millions of missing salmon may provide tangible evidence of global warming. But skeptics have delayed government action with arguments that climate change may not be the disaster everyone feared.

Mystics, Mechanics & Mindbombs October 1996 CBC — Omni Films/Raincoast Storylines
Bob Hunter and Patrick Moore, two founders of Greenpeace, clash, then agree to disagree about the fate of the planet. The Eco-Judas campaign… and a midlife crisis on the Green Crusade.

Pandora’s Double Helix October 1995 CBC — Raincoast Storylines
Behind the scenes at laboratories on the cutting edge of genetic research. The thrill of discovery and why researchers love what they do. The central question is: will DNA save lives and alleviate suffering, or have geneticists opened Pandora’s Box? The promise and perils of DNA research.