22 September 2007


We just won the Rex Tasker Documentary Award for Best Atlantic Canadian Documentary at the Atlantic Film Festival yesterday!

And in August 'Scouts' won the Best Doc award at the UFVA conference in Texas.

We're hot!


10 August 2007

Atlantic Film Festival

A local review!

Halifax's own Ron Foley-MacDonald reviews Scouts here.

BTW, The homecoming for "Scouts are Cancelled" will be at the Atlantic Film Festival in Halifax, scheduled for Saturday September 22nd.

For tickets to Scouts and other info, to the Atlantic Film Festival site

Check out the other great film's at the festival site here.

Scouts Update

“It’s Brilliant.”
Glenn Sumi, Now, http://www.nowtoronto.com/blog/view_post.cfm?post=160

“Scouts are Cancelled is …. one of the best filmed poetry books ever …”
Todd Swift, Eyewear, http://toddswift.blogspot.com/2007/08/stiles-council.html

Just before our initial screening at Hot Docs, Scouts got a very nice full page review by the Toronto Weekly, Now and another one just recently in the Blog/Zine Eyewear.

A National Arts Program on CBC Radio in Canada did a 10 minute piece on Scouts. In it John Stiles (the subject of the doc) calls me a “wind-up artist.” VERY INTENSE interview where Stiles and I duke it out on National Radio.

Also there are some ONE MINUTE POEMS from the movie on my site and today I will put them on YouTube. (So modern!)

At the screening at Hot Docs a handful of Ithaca College students braved the border police and came to one of the screenings. It was great to have a cheering section!

After a zillion unreturned calls, letters and emails I have been promised a National Broadcast Deal on Canadian Television. (Yay!) Though there’s still plenty of room for me to mess this up.

If you still haven’t seen it I will send out my last 6 dvds as loaners to the first 6 people who email me back and promise to review & rate it online at The New York Times site. (So far only one rating and no reviews there.) And yes you have to review it even if you hate it!

Those who have seen it already -- the world awaits your insight!

Strange but true the movie is being TRANSLATED INTO ITALIAN for the Festivaletteratura in Italy in September – apparently the biggest literature festival in Italy that also has a film component.

And in recent news I’ve been invited to present Scouts and an older movie Dear Pam in the fall as a guest filmmaker at THE CANADIAN FILM INSTITUTE in Ottawa. Director Tom McSorley called Scouts “masterful.”

(Not quite true.)

And to top it off the movie got a very gracefully worded rejection letters from a couple of high profile film festivals, a not so gracefully worded rejection from an arts program on Finnish Television (Finland!) (she hated it!) and a surprising invitation and then a prompt but complimentary rejection note from The Weinstein Company (formerly Miramax.) The Sundance Channel also said “no thanks.”

17 April 2007

Toronto Star's review

Scouts Are Cancelled is one of the Toronto Star's 13 recommended films for the Hot Docs Film Festival."

Toronto Star, April 13th, 2007

Scouts Are Cancelled: Watching John Stiles performing his poetry – which largely evokes his childhood growing up in Nova Scotia's rural Annapolis Valley – is like watching someone lost in a trance. He squeezes his eyes shut, channels the voices of his speakers and loudly emits the sounds of growling dogs, wailing sirens and non-verbal whoops of joy and despair. An original artist with an unsurprisingly obtuse relationship with the world, he has become the subject of a film – made by his close friend John Scott – that is both true to the poet's art and understanding of the person's idiosyncrasies.--Geoff Pevere

See the actual article here:


23 March 2007

Synopsis of the film

Introduction to Scouts Are Cancelled. © 2/2007

Middle aged, way broke and with nothing to lose, Toronto telemarketer John Stiles hears the exasperated “hello” on the other end of the line:

“How yah doon anight?” he quips …

and with that simple phrase, Stiles invents an inspired rural-roots call centre performance art that changes his life dramatically. This new voice, first used to woo his cold calls, develops and evolves into energetic performances that he gives at Toronto’s open mike readings. Then comes two published books of poems and literary tours throughout Eastern Canada and New England.

And people love it! Whether he’s conjuring the work on stage or improvising it in the midst of a cold call, audiences fall in love with Stiles’ energizing performances that are animated with the sounds he makes of sirens, dogs, horns and the distinct characters and dialect of his home community in rural Nova Scotia.

Mainly in the moment, and on the road, SCOUTS ARE CANCELLED is a surprising and cinematic story of an underdog character who finds “his voice” as a telemarketer – and from there, his story takes us on a revealing journey, far, far away from that careful script that we are all supposed to follow.

We're In!

I’m very happy to announce that SCOUTS ARE CANCELLED, my first feature length documentary has been accepted to screen at North America’s largest and one of the world's premiere documentary film festivals.

SCOUTS will premiere on Wed. April 25th at 9:30 and screen again on Saturday April 28th at 7:45 as a part of The Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival in Toronto.

If you are nearby: PLEASE COME.


Please visit our still developing website:




to check in with the project.

Soon I will have short films and audio recordings available on the Magpie web site -- so bookmark it and check back.

All My Best,