Bashar Shbib (Bachar Chbib) started making films in 1982 at Concordia University with the award winning docudramas OR’D’UR and BETSY. The filmmaker has over 40 feature films and 10 short subjects to his credit. He is currently producing theatrical feature films, television series and documentaries. His films have won more than fourteen awards at select film festivals and competitions to date.
Shbib was born in Damascus in 1959 to a German mother and a Syrian father, and emigrated to Canada with his family at a very early age. Having spent his youth living and working with his family on a Charolais beef ranch in the Eastern Townships (Quebec), he intended to pursue a career in science. However, after graduating from Montreal's McGill University with a degree in Microbiology and Immunology, his passion for film changed his plans and he subsequently attended Montreal's Concordia University and earned his BFA degree in Film Production. He has stated that he has been largely inspired by Paradjanov, Fassbinder, Pasolini, Deren, Tarkovski and Fellini.
Never one to shy away from controversy and prone, in fact, to stirring it up, Shbib felt that independent Canadian filmmakers were not being given their due. He organized a tour in 1986 of ten independent Canadian feature films and ten short films and traveled with them to 60 cities throughout the United States and Europe. He also organized public demonstrations in order to gain funds for indie filmmakers in the 1980’s and once even stripped at the Toronto Film Festival to protest on behalf of alternative film financing. Finally, frustrated by the bureaucracy involved in making a film in his homeland, Shbib headed for the sunnier shores of the American west coast where he began making films in his own inimitable style. After 9/11 his travels were hampered by constant searches at airports, so he moved to Stanstead, (QC) close to his childhood farm. There he opened a film training program and has pursued his doctoral dissertation as a candidate at McGill University in Communications. Shbib has a Masters degree in Communication at McGill University. Shbib has been a painter of abstract art since 1974 and has sold over 600 works (www.aliendog.net). In 1999 and 2000, Shbib created and produced one of the first groundbreaking webisodic shows: Aliendog.net. Nominated for a Pixie Award, Aliendog streamed over 200 five-minute dramatic webshows. Shbib is now producing films in Europe and Canada (see www.oneira.com and www.sunsetpictures.ca ).
Though his past films have been described as a combination of "German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Archie Comics" and "Bertolt Brecht directing 'Risky Business'" Shbib feels that his films are nowhere near as daunting as they first appear. His romantic comedies JULIA HAS TWO LOVERS and LANA IN LOVE, were premiered at the prestigious Berlin Film Festival and received critical acclaim at both the 1991 Montreal Film Festival and the New Orleans Film Festival and were then released worldwide. Another of his comedies, LOVE $ GREED, was in competition and one of the highlights at the 1991 Montreal Film Festival. Shbib also released a series of six feature films titled The SENSES, which were extremely well received by moviegoers and also by the press, and have been aired on Radio Canada and several television networks worldwide. Shbib has a penchant for his less commercial works EVIXION, Or D’Ur and CLAIR OBSCUR. He is now preparing for the distribution of STRAWBERRIES AND WINE, LAST CHAPTER and THE WEDDING MURDERS.
His unique directing style both attracts and inspires actors and crew to follow him from project to project. Upon casting his films, Shbib notes: “each actor is well aware before the start of production of what to expect in a small budget production and enjoys to work with actors that master improvisation. It is a challenge to all, but the end result is that I have a unique story and natural performances from the actors”.
Shbib insists on his independence driven by his passion for film when undertaking a project. At a time when independent filmmakers are scrambling to raise funds for their films, Shbib's prudent shooting schedules enable him to freely direct and produce the modestly budgeted movies that he enjoys making. He also works for his daughter’s company Sunset Pictures (www.sunsetpictures.ca) and more recently produced for her the theatrical feature FRAUDS IN LOVE directed by the notorious Indie filmmaker Adam Coleman Howard. His latest collaboration with his daughter Maïa Nadon-Chbib is a feature titled THE LAST CHAPTER.
Chbib is currently producing a long-form documentary: BORDER TOWN which follows the tribulations of a small border town community in Quebec through vignettes of local entrepreneurs and artists. Completion is scheduled for June of 2012. Shbib has also been shooting an eight part miniseries titled GRANITE FORKS about human trafficking.