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Paul Jay is the President of Counterspin Films, a production company based in Toronto and New York.
Jay is currently working on a five part documentary series with Daniel Ellsberg based on his book, “The Doomsday Machine”.
Jay’s “Return to Kandahar“, a feature length documentary, was co-directed with Nelofer Pazira (star of the movie Kandahar). The film follows Pazira’s return to Afghanistan in search of her childhood friend. Her first attempt to find Dyana, inspired the fictional movie Kandahar. This film is the documentary account of her second journey. Macleans called it “eye-opening . . .breathtaking”. The Globe and Mail called it “wonderful . . . an astonishing story of the personal and political”. The Ottawa Citizen called it “shocking, compelling . . . as suspenseful as any drama”. RTK won the Donald Brittain Gemini award for best social political documentary.
Jay’s Lost in Las Vegas was a feature length documentary for A&E. “Equal parts hilarious, heroic and heartfelt . . . often surprising, occasionally inspiring, frequently hilarious . . . You’ve got to see this thing to believe it. It’s so good.” (Rob Salem, The Toronto Star)
Jay’s Hitman Hart: wrestling with shadows, a feature length documentary, was screened in 25 major festivals and won more than a dozen awards. It’s been called “one of the most acclaimed Canadian films in years”(eye magazine), “A tale as bizarre as Kafka and as tragic as Shakespeare” (Ottawa Citizen) and “one of the best films of 1998″(Peter Plagens, art critic for Newsweek). See reviews here. ‘Hitman’ was produced in cooperation with the National Film Board of Canada, TVOntario, The ‘A’ Channel, CTV, A&E, BBC’s Storyville, and La Sept/Arte.
Never-Endum-Referendum, also a feature length doc, (CTV, SRC, Arte) was called ‘ a moving, masterful piece of film-making about a tough subject.” (Tony Atherton Ottawa Citizen)
Jay was the creator and executive producer of CBC Newsworld’s flagship debate program counterSpin, for six seasons the prime time debate show about the news of the day. Before that he created and was executive producer of the CBC Newsworld debate show Face Off.
Other work includes “Justice Denied” (Turner), ” The Life and Death of Owen Hart“ (TVO, A&E), Albanian Journey:End of an Era (TVOntario, CBC Witness), The Birth of Language (TVOntario and Discovery U.S.), ‘Here’s to the Cowboy’ (CBC, Disney, London Weekend, Central TV). Jay exec-produced ‘Through Thick and Thin’ (CBCNewsworld), ‘Machine Gun’ (3×1 Discovery Canada&US), and ‘The Famine Within ‘ (TVO).
A past chair of the Canadian Independent Film Caucus (now called DOC), the main organization of documentary filmmakers in Canada, Jay is also the founding chair of Hot Docs!, the Canadian international documentary film festival. He chaired the Hot Docs! board for its first five years.
He is the founder and former editor-in-chief of The Real News Network, an independent, nonprofit news organization based in Baltimore, MD.
Jay was born and raised in Toronto. He is a dual Canadian/American citizen and lived in Baltimore for eight years. He now resides mostly in Toronto and New York.