Allan King is one of Canada's leading filmmakers. His prolific career spans four decades and every genre except animation. Retrospectives of his work have been shown in Montréal 1961, London 1970 and 1984, Rome 1983, Cinematheque Ontario 1995.
As an independent filmmaker, King opened a studio in London, England in the early 60's. It pioneered the then novel techniques of cinéma vérité and "direct cinema" and King garnered a reputation as the most innovative and controversial director in Canadian film.
By the mid-sixties he moved toward a genre he describes as "actuality drama," shaping spontaneous action into dramatic form to explore personal experience. The first was WARRENDALE, a film about emotionally disturbed children. Jean Renoir considered it the most remarkable documentary he had ever seen and it won the Priz d'art et d'essai at Cannes in 1967. It also shared the British Academy's Best Foreign Film Award with Antonioni's BLOW UP and the New York Critics' Award with Buñuel's LA BELLE DU JOUR.
King followed this success with A MARRIED COUPLE, described by the New York Time's critic Clive Barnes as "quite simply one of the best films I have ever seen." It was featured at the Director's Fortnight at Cannes in 1970. In 1983 King offered one further essay, a two-hour documentary on unemployment, WHO'S IN CHARGE? It earned him his most treasured epithet: "media monster of the 1980's." Despite the rage it aroused, the program received invitations to the Toronto and London Film Festivals.
King made his first dramatic feature film, WHO HAS SEEN THE WIND, in 1976. It won the Grand Prix at the Paris International Film Festival and the Golden Reel Award for the highest grossing Canadian film of the year. In 1978, his ONE NIGHT STAND won four Canadian Film Awards including Best TV Drama.
His READY FOR SLAUGHTER won the Banff Festival's Best TV Drama in 1983. In 1992 King directed the international television mini-series BY WAY OF THE STARS for Sullivan Films, the Disney Channel, ZDR and Beta-Taurus. He has also directed many episodes of the Emmy Award winning series ROAD TO AVONLEA, garnering an Emmy Best Actor Award for Christopher Lloyd, an Emmy for Diane Wiest and a Gemini Award for King himself for Best Direction in 1992. He also directed the production of Kurt Vonnegut's ALL THE KING'S MEN which won Atlantis Films' ACE Award for Best Picture in 1991.
In 1988 King was given the Ontario Film Institute Award for Excellence in Canadian Cinema. 1998 saw Allan King awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from Hot Docs, the Canadian international documentary festival, in recognition for his long and distinguished career.
His most recent documentary THE DRAGON’S EGG, produced in 1999, was nominated for the Gemini ’s Donald Brittaain Award for Best Social/Political Documentary. The film also received a nomination for the 2000 M. Joan Chalmers Documentarian Award for Film and Video.