Paskievich, John (Паскевич, Іван), b 24 April 1947 in Linz, Austria. (Photo: John Paskievich.) Photographer and filmmaker.The child of Ukrainian displaced persons, Paskievich immigrated with his family to Canada in 1953. He studied sociology and anthropology at the University of Manitoba (BA, 1968), with plans for continued study in the field. A post-graduation trip to Europe sparked his interest in photography, which he studied at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute (until 1973) upon his return to Canada. His first solo exhibit (1968), which focused on North End Winnipeg, Manitoba, received considerable notice and good reviews and was published as A Place Not Our Own (1968). It was followed by Waiting for the Ice-Cream Man: A Prison Journal (1968) and Urban Indians (1980), both done jointly with writer Larry Krotz. The images Paskievich gathered during a trip to the Eastern Bloc in 1980 formed the basis for his book A Voiceless Song: Photographs of the Slavic Lands (1983). In 2007 a collection of his earlier Winnipeg photographs was published as The North End.
In 1982 Paskievich began a switch from photography to film with the short Ted Baryluk’s Grocery, which examines an aging Ukrainian shopkeeper and a cast of characters from Winnipeg’s Point Charles district. The poignant and charming film received a Genie Award, the major Canadian cinema prize, and established a long relationship between Paskievich and the National Film Board of Canada. Since then Paskievich has directed a number of films, including The Old Believers (1988), If Only I Were an Indian (1996), and My Mother’s Village (2001), which deals with Paskievich return to an ancestral home in Ukraine as well as the experiences of children of post-Second World War Ukrainian immigrants in Canada. Paskievich’s latest work, Unspeakable (2006), concerns stutterers.
[This article was updated in 2009.]