John Kastner (1946 – November 21, 2019) was a four-time Emmy Award-winning Canadian documentary filmmaker whose later work focused on the Canadian criminal justice system. His films included the documentaries Out of Mind, Out of Sight (2014), a film about patients at the Brockville Mental Health Centre, named best Canadian feature documentary at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival; NCR: Not Criminally Responsible (2013), exploring the personal impact of the mental disorder defence in Canada; Life with Murder (2010), The Lifer and the Lady and Parole Dance, and the 1986 made-for-television drama Turning to Stone, set in the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario.
- Sharing the Secret (1981)
- The Lifer and the Lady (1984)
- Hunting Bobby Oatway (1997)
- Rage Against the Darkness (2004)
- Monster in the Family (2007)
- Life with Murder (2010)
- NCR: Not Criminally Responsible (2013)
- Out of Mind, Out of Sight (2014)
- Not Criminally Responsible: Wedding Secrets (2016)
Early in his career, Kastner occasionally took a break from making documentary films on serious topics with lighter fare, which included co-hosting a short-lived children's series for CTV in the early 1980s, Just Kidding, as well as doing comedy segments for the CBC-TV late-night talk show 90 Minutes Live.
Awards and honours
Kaster won four Emmy Awards. He won International Emmys for his 1978 film Four Women, a look at breast cancer for the CBC-TV investigative news series The Fifth Estate; the 1980 documentary Fighting Back, about young people with leukemia; and the 2011 film Life With Murder. He also received a News & Documentary Emmy Award for The Lifer and the Lady.
Life with Murder also won the Donald Brittain Award for best social/political documentary at the 2011 Gemini Awards, a Special Jury Prize at the Houston Worldfest Film Festival and the awards for Best Political Documentary and Special Achievement in Directing at the Chicago International Film Festival.
Lifetime achievement awards
Kastner received the Academy Achievement Award at the 22nd annual Gemini Awards, for his contributions to Canadian television journalism. In 2012, he was the subject of a "Focus On" retrospective at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival.
- Laskaris, Kathryn (2 May 2014). "Hot Docs: John Kastner's Out of Mind, Out of Sight takes $10,000 prize". Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 May 2014.
- Jones, Allison (19 April 2013). "Film explores the meaning of 'not criminally responsible'". The Canadian Press. Toronto: Globe and Mail. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
- Taylor, Noel (24 February 1986). "Review". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Hot Docs film festival to fete Michel Brault, John Kastner". Toronto Star. 31 January 2012. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Worron, Trish (8 August 1983). "Kaster turns to kids for relief from rigours of documentaries". Ottawa Citizen. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Massarella, Linda (18 September 2011). "Emmy winner Kastner hard at work". London Free Press. QMI Agency. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Vlessing, Etan (22 November 2011). "John Kastner's Life With Murder wins International Emmy". Playback. Brunico Communications. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "26th Annual Gemini Awards Culminate with Star-Studded Broadcast Gala" (PDF). Press release. Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television. 7 September 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 April 2013. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "Mr. Dressup finally earns the type of recognition he has so long deserved". National Post. CanWest MediaWorks Publications Inc. 5 October 2007. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- "HOT DOCS HONOURS LOCAL DOC ICON JOHN KASTNER WITH FOCUS ON RETROSPECTIVE". Press release. Hot Docs. 20 March 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2013.
- Martin Knelman "Peter Kastner, 64: Actor recalled for role as rebel", Toronto Star, 20 September 2008. The Rick Salutin article in the Globe and Mail takes issue with this obituary.