Kelly Saxberg


Kelly Saxberg is a film producer, director, editor and cinematographer who has worked on over 100 films. She works in English, French, Spanish and Finnish.  Most recently she completed Long Walk Home: The Incredible Journey of Sheila Burnford, a 37minute documentary she produced, edited, filmed and co-directed. It is the first episode in a 6 part series called One Woman’s North. In 2016, she produced, shot and edited A.K.A. a feature documentary directed by Ron Harpelle about a serial imposter. In 2015, She was the cinematographer and producer of Guardians of Eternity, a documentary directed by France Benoit about the toxic legacy of the Giant mine in Yellowknife. She completed the French version Les Gardiens de l’éternité. In 2014, she produced, shot and edited Pulp Friction directed by Ron Harpelle, about globalization and the forestry communities Terrace Bay, Ontario, Kemijärvi, Finland and Fray Bentos, Uruguay.   In 2015, she completed the Spanish Version. She was the director/editor of The Big Blue a feature length documentary about Canadian writer Charlie Wilkins’ 52 day, 5000 kilometer row across the Atlantic Ocean. Kelly was the writer/ director/ editor of Under The Red Star, a feature length historical docu-drama shot on super 16 mm film in Finnish and English about the Finnish Labour Temple in Thunder Bay. She was producer, camera and editor for Hard Time, a 40 minute documentary that tells the story of Robert King, a member of the Angola 3 who spent 28 years in solitary confinement. “Life is But a Dream” was short film she directed and edited for the International Documentary Challenge. It was the only Canadian finalist of 12 to play at Hot Docs in 2010. Citoyens du Monde is a 6 hour French and English language documentary series she wrote and directed for broadcaster TFO and Les Productions Rivard. Shot in 15 countries, the series tackles Canada and international development from the point of view of researchers and scientists in the developing world. “Seeking Bimaadiziiwin” was her debut as a fiction director on a 30 minute drama that looks at depression and suicide among First Nations youth. It won Best Short film at the American Indian Film festival and several other awards. “Letters from Karelia,” was Kelly’s first feature length documentary about Canadians who moved to the Soviet Union in the 1930’s. It was also nominated for a Gemini for best history documentary in 2006. It won two Blizzards – Best Documentary and Kelly won Best Directing at the 2006 Manitoba Motion Picture Industry Awards. She won Best Director at Northern Character Film Festival in Murmansk, Russia. Her other films include “Dorothea Mitchell: A Reel Pioneer”, “Voyageurs Legacy: Our Story / Le printemps des voyageurs: La Genèse,” The award winning “Banana Split,” and the NFB production “Rosies of the North.” She also edited “The Fatal flower” a silent film shot originally in 1930, and finished by members of the film and video co-op “Flash Frame Film and Video Network” of which she is past chair and founding member.

Kelly has mentored dozens of emerging filmmakers in Thunder Bay through Flash Frame workshops and collaborative film projects since 2001. She organized 4 Docs North Doc Nord, 5 day intensive filmmaking workshops aimed at filmmakers from remote northern communities across the far north of Ontario. In 2016 she gained expertise in 360 VR video and projection mapping. She has now been a mentor for seven 360 workshops and collaborative productions. She is a collaborator on the SSHRC funded new media project

In 2005, Kelly and Ron Harpelle founded The Bay Street Film Festival with a mandate to celebrate and promote regional film. She is a past chair of the Board. She was elected Treasurer of the board of the Finlandia Association of Thunder Bay in 2014-2015. She is also a contract lecturer in the History Department at Lakehead University teaching History in Frame. Her project “One Woman’s North: The incredible Journey of Sheila Burnford” received a Northern Arts Grant and an NOHFC grant and is nearing completion.


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