Executive Reads: Paul Scherzer

Paul Scherzer is the CEO and founder of Six Island Productions. As a producer, he has worked on a host of award-winning features including Khaled (TIFF Canada Top Ten), A Wake (Best Director & Best Editing Award noms Directors Guild of Canada) and documentary LAND (nominated for a Social Justice Award, Santa Barbara International Film Festival). Paul has also LPd many documentaries including the internationally acclaimed Manufactured Landscapes. Prior to launching his own company, Paul worked for Telefilm and the NFB, and is a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre. Trouble in the Peace, one of Six Island’s latest productions, is opening theatrically across Canada; catch it in Toronto at The Royal on March 8.

The Long Emergency by James Howard Kunstler
I read Kunstler’s book right after producing a show called Code Green for CBC (the world’s first enviro-reality series, hosted by Canada’s Queen of Green Gill Deacon). Relating the cause of the collapse of empires ranging from Ancient Rome to WWII Germany to the loss of a stable fuel supply really changed the way I viewed history and our current global energy situation.   

Heat by George Monbiot
I became fascinated by the broader study of our planet’s energy economy, peak oil, and climate change, and read many titles on the subject. What’s different about Monbiot’s book is that he offers hope that it’s not too late to turn things around and that we can do something about climate change. It was after this book that we made the decision to give up the family car and commit to a smaller carbon footprint. We redesigned our lives to fit all daily activities into our immediate neighbourhood with the aim of cutting out driving all together. Not always so easy when you have two small kids with piano lessons, jiu jitsu and birthdays! It was hard but we made it work.  

Saboteurs: Wiebo Ludwig’s War Against Big Oil by Andrew Nikiforuk
This book really was part of the genesis of the documentary Trouble in the Peace. A non-fiction novel on the Wiebo Ludwig story in Alberta, I initially read this book while working on another film, LAND, and immediately realized this story could potentially become our next documentary project. Furthermore, when I told director Julian T. Pinder about it, he said he was also interested in the same region, but across the border in Northern BC where another pipeline bomber was making the news. When he finally got around to reading the book, Julian was convinced that the author could help us gain access into that world. I got in touch with the author, Nikiforuk, and persuaded him to come on board as a consultant and this brilliant documentary grew from there.