With over twenty four years of creativity as a musician, filmmaker and sound-designer Paul Manly has dedicated his efforts to produce and support the production of work that educates, inspires and illuminates. Motivated at an early age by art, politics and issues of social justice Manly has grounded his practice in activism, choosing subjects that shine a light on the topics that engage him. Starting a music career at age 17, Manly played bass professionally for ten years. Inspired by the work his mother, Eva Manly, was producing, Manly decided to enroll in Broadcasting at Algonquin college in 1989.
His first project after graduating was ‘A Gathering of Nation’ a documentation of the First Peoples Festival in Victoria 1991. After collaborating with Eva Manly on ‘Hair Today’ and ‘Ur-Analysis’ as a director of photography and editor, they collaborated as co-producers on ‘The Awakening of Elizabeth Shaw’. Awakening is a historical account of abuses at the Thomas Crosby residential school (for First Nations) told from a white persons’ perspective, based on letters written in 1898. This half-hour documentary was broadcast nationally and regionally and has been used as both an educational and healing tool. Manly went on to collaborate again with Eva on ‘Bringing Truth to Light’ a documentary about the struggle for justice in Guatemala.
Manly worked at Video In Studios artist run centre in Vancouver as the Equipment Manager for five years and taught media production and postproduction skills at the centre for six years. In addition to mentoring many emerging media artists and documentary makers, Manly also volunteered for the Chiapas Media Project in Mexico, which puts media tools in the hands of indigenous people in the conflict zones of Chiapas. Building Bridges profiles the work of another organization that he volunteered with in Chiapas. Other videos that Manly has produced include; ‘Footprints’ a short lament about the destruction of a place of childhood solace, ‘Upgrade’ a backlash at the ever changing technical learning curve, and ‘P4’ a six channel installation which takes a comprehensive look at cannabis prohibition in Canada. Paul also co-produced ‘Wakanheja’ a pilot for a children's show that became a syndicated series on APTN.
Paul's doc "Sombrio’ is the result of years of documentation, gathering footage from other videographers and editing. Sombrio documents the end of the squatter community at Sombrio Beach on the southwest corner of Vancouver Island. It follows the Johnson-Oke family and other members of the community as they come to terms with their eviction after decades of living on the beach.
You, Me and the SPP is his latest feature documentary.