Executive Reads: Ed Barreveld

Ed Barreveld is CEO of Storyline Entertainment, a Toronto-based, award-winning producer of factual programming. Ed co-founded the company in 2000 and has been the sole principal since 2004, focusing on auteur-driven, socially relevant documentaries on a variety of topics. Earlier this year his film, The World Before Her, won best feature documentary prizes at Hot Docs and the Tribeca Film Festival. He is currently working on the release of The Real Sherlock Holmes and The Real Inglorious Bastards and has a number of new films in the hopper. 

The following three books have directly or indirectly inspired his work and life. 

A sobering look at the long term effects of 20th-century war, I optioned this book to produce our first feature documentary, which ended up getting a Gemini nomination and launched my career as an independent filmmaker. I was hooked from the very first page and blown away at how Webster makes a convincing case that wars don’t end when soldiers go home. One of the pleasures of making the film was to meet some of the people profiled in the book and traveling to some very interesting places.

KARAKTER – Ferdinand Bordewijk
I grew up in The Netherlands and read this book in high school. Set in pre-war Rotterdam, the city of my birth, the protagonist’s contentious relationship with his parents and his drive to succeed at all costs really resonated with me. Though the book is dark and merciless, it was impossible to put down and I love the twist that concludes the story. The film Character, based on the book, won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1998. 

THE SNAIL AND THE WHALE – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
I bought this delightful book for my young daughter and love reading it to her. Beautifully illustrated by Axel Scheffler, a snail and a whale explore the world and, through their friendship, we learn that limitations are only in our mind and that the world is a wonderful place to explore. It’s such a great message – and not only for kids! Donaldson’s use of rhyme and alliteration make this a pleasure to read.