There’s only time
for a handful.

Handful of Films was founded by anthropologist and filmmaker Dr. Niobe Thompson, with the intent of producing exquisite, impactful, and handcrafted documentary and fiction films, one at a time.

Niobe Thompson

Dr. Niobe Thompson

Niobe Thompson

Niobe Thompson is a Canadian filmmaker living in Edmonton. The son of an artist and canoe builder, he grew up in northern Canada in a remote Cree community, before studying Russian and Anthropology at McGill and Cambridge. In 2008, he set academic research aside to make science and nature documentaries, and is now well known around the world for his engaging and accessible on-screen presence. John Doyle, writing in the Globe & Mail, called Niobe’s unique blend of adventure and science storytelling “indescribable, but brilliant.”

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Niobe on Location

Our Company

Handful of Films is a Canadian production company devoted to creating unique, entertaining and timeless films. Founded in 2018 by four-time Canadian screen award-winning anthropologist and filmmaker Dr. Niobe Thompson, we are a collective of film artists completely committed to each project, drawing on our passion for storytelling and a deep well of experience.

Handful Of Films Company

Our shared history stretches back over the past decade, when Niobe co-founded Clearwater Documentary, together creating 9 major broadcast and feature documentaries and winning national and international acclaim.

Our films bring to life episodes in the human journey, from our evolutionary origins to the complexity of our present, in documentary and dramatic form. Found variously behind and in front of the camera, Niobe combines the roles of producer, director and host, and is well known around the world for his engaging and accessible on-screen presence. He and his colleagues have developed a unique style of adventure and science storytelling the Globe & Mail calls “indescribable, but brilliant.”

In 2015, the 3-part human exploration of our human origins – The Great Human Odyssey – broadcast on CBC’s The Nature of Things and PBS NOVA, before reaching audiences in 52 countries. After winning Canadian Screen Awards for “Best Science and Nature Documentary” and “Best Original Music”, as well an Emmy Nomination for “Outstanding Science and Technology”, we launched Human Odyssey in feature form, as a live performance with symphony orchestras around North America.

In 2018, we bring three new projects to the screen. Equus – Story of the Horse takes us back to the origins of our partnership with this fascinating creature, and on a global journey into the world of horses today. Premiering in Canada on CBC “The Nature of Things” on September 23rd, this 3-part series will appear in the USA on PBS “Nature” and “NOVA”, and around the world on major public broadcasters.

In parallel, we are releasing two short films, each a story plucked from the world of horse cultures. Boy Nomad follows a 9-year old Kazakh boy as his joins his father on his first winter migration through the Altai Mountains. Fast Horse is about the Blackfoot cowboy Allison Red Crow, as he prepares his team for the Indian Relay, “the oldest extreme sport in North America.”

We have produced 7 one-offs and series for CBC “The Nature of Things”. We often work with PBS NOVA and “Nature”, the Smithsonian Channel, the National Film Board of Canada, and various documentary strands on European public broadcasters, including DR, ZDF, arte, and France Télévisions. Our earlier films include The Perfect Runner (2012), Code Breakers (2011), Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands (2011), Inuit Odyssey (2009).

In 2016, Dr. Niobe Thompson also collaborated with producers The National Film Board and ID:Productions to make a groundbreaking exploration of organ transplant medicine, entitled Vital Bonds & Mememto Mori. In these films, Niobe’s crew was the first in history to capture the death of a patient and the decision by his family to donate his organs. The project was instrumental in the campaign to improve organ donation rates in Canada.

With composer and conductor Darren Fung, Niobe presents select documentaries as live performances with symphony orchestras. Great Human Odyssey in Concert is currently touring in North America, and Equus In Concert will debut in 2019.

Learn more about Films in Concert

Our unique body of stock footage can be licensed through our exclusive agent, Nature Footage. We rent cinema cameras and high-end lenses through Upstart Cameras.

People

Daron

Daron Donahue

Daron Donahue is one of Canada’s most decorated documentary cinematographers, the recipient of both Gemini and Canadian Screen Awards for The Great Human Odyssey (2015) and Code Breakers (2011), as well as three Alberta Film Awards for The Perfect Runner (2012), Code Breakers (2011) and Inuit Odyssey (2009). Daron has over thirty years of experience as an expedition cinematographer, with past shoots in Afghanistan, Siberia, the Arabian Desert, the Kalahari, Papua New Guinea, Easter Island, Arctic Canada, and many other locations. He is currently the Director of Photographer for the 3-part series Equus – Story of the Horse. Daron is a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta.

aAron Munson

aAron Munson

aAron Munson has travelled to 25 countries on five continents as one of our senior cinematographers, with Director of Cinematography credits for The Great Human Odyssey, Equus – Story of the Horse, Boy Nomad, Fast Horse, and Vital Bonds. One of Canada’s most experienced expedition cinematographers, aAron is a multimedia artist, and his personal installation Isachsen is currently in gallery exhibition. His work has taken him from his personal studio, to war zones, high-Arctic weather stations, reindeer nomad camps in Siberia, and the Arabian Desert. aAron's projects tackle extreme human experiences, in documentary and dramatic form.

Brenda Terning

As our longest collaborating editor, Brenda’s work has brought us a series of major national and international awards, beginning with Inuit Odyssey in 2009 and most recently with the Emmy nominated and Canadian Screen Award winner The Great Human Odyssey. One of Canada’s leading documentary editors, Brenda received double nominations and a win at the 2017 Canadian Cinema Editor Awards for Vital Bonds. Her body of work includes multiple internationally broadcast documentaries, including Vital Bonds (CBC, PBS) Wolverine: Ghost of The Northern Forest (CBC, NAT GEO), The Great Human Odyssey (CBC, PBS) The Perfect Runner (CBC, Smithsonian Channel), and Tipping Point - Age of Oil Sands (CBC, NHK, Al Jazeera). As an independent filmmaker, Brenda has taken directors’ residency at the Canadian Film Centre and the Praxis Centre for screen writing. She is currently editing Equus – Story of the Horse.

Scott Parker

Scott has 30 years experience editing and directing music videos, commercials television, and in the past decade has focused his talents specifically on documentary work. His flexibility in cutting styles and his strong instincts for story have helped create award-winning, compelling films seen by audiences around the world. He edited the 2010 feature documentary Broke, which won the Donald Brittain Award for Social-Political Documentary at the Geminis. Scott is also creating innovative community-engaged films, leveraging his unique background in community work and media. When Scott is not immersed in the filmmaking process, he’s usually found roaming some empty quarter of wilderness.

Darren Fung

Our first collaboration with Darren led to one of the most successful musical scores of 2015, the Canadian Award Winner for Best Original Music: the 3-part series The Great Human Odyssey. Alongside filmmaker Niobe Thompson, he is now performing this production for audiences throughout North America with a critically acclaimed live orchestral version. With over 100 composition credits and three Canadian Screen Award nominations, Darren is one of the brightest lights of a new generation of film composers and orchestra conductors. His film scores have been heard at prestigious film festivals around the world, including Toronto, Cannes, and Sundance. Darren has just created our newest orchestral score, recorded live with members of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra and Pro Coro, for the three-part Equus – Story of the Horse.

Hans Olsen

Hans Olson is an editor/filmmaker with an interest in both documentary and fiction. He edited the NFB documentaries Birth of a Family and Things Arab Men Say, as well as the independent feature films, Until First Light and Figurine – a project which he also directed. Other directing credits include the NFB doc The Auctioneer and the short drama Champagne. Hans studied screenwriting at Langara College and was a Directors’ Lab resident at the Canadian Film Centre.

Krystal Moss

Krystal Moss graduated from MacEwan University's Design and Motion Image Program in 2008, and has been passionate about editing and post-production ever since. She joined the Clearwater team in 2014 for their behind-the-scenes project, "Making of a Film Score", which earned them an AMPIA award for Best Corporate/Promotional Production. When she isn't glued to her computer screen, Krystal is a dance instructor, coach, and performer, specializing in the dances of the Swing Era. Krystal is currently working alongside editors Brenda Terning and Scott Parker on Handful of Films' upcoming 3-part series, Equus.

Chuck Taylor & Gabie Nadeau

It's one thing to fly a drone and get some shots, but it's another thing to capture meaningful, cinematic content that complements a director's vision, and furthers the story being told. Chuck Taylor and Gabrielle Nadeau have been operating drones for the better part of a decade, and started their company before many people even knew what "drones" were. But before that, and still to this day, they remain filmmakers at heart. While Chuck began his career 12 years ago as a cinematographer, Gabrielle began hers as a director. Combining their technical know-how with their artistic eye, has lead this drone team to capturing breath-taking story driven aerial images all across the planet - many times as part of Niobe Thompson’s team.

www.skymotionvideo.com

Sandra Tober

Sandra Tober has over 15 years experience in the documentary film industry as a writer, director, producer, and now as Director of Business Affairs. After graduating from the University of Alberta (B.Sc.) and the Alberta College of Art and Design (B.F.A), she joined Karvonen Films Ltd. where she worked on over 30 documentaries, including such award winning projects as Land of the Ice Bear (1999) — a co-production with the National Film Board, Ancient Rainforest: land of giants (2002), and Circumpolar Bears (2005) — a co-production with Finland. Sandra has worked with Niobe Thompson since 2009, and was Production Manager for all his films since that time.

Our Crews on Location