Bjerring Parker, Gudrun
Gudrun Bjerring Parker, nee Bjerring, film writer, editor, director, producer (b at Winnipeg 16 March 1920). Gudrun Bjerring Parker is a pioneering woman director. She began her career with the NATIONAL FILM BOARD in 1942. Her first films were each 5 minutes long and made to interest children in healthful foods. She moved to Montréal with the NFB in 1956. Her documentary subjects reflected her interest in music, culture and children's education. She became head of the NFB's educational unit, and often collaborated successfully with her husband Morten PARKER, who was responsible for the NFB's labour films.
Some of her more notable films are Listen to the Prairies (1945), which she wrote, directed and produced, about Manitoba's annual music festival; Who Will Teach Your Child? (1948), which she produced, about the teacher's role in a child's development (it won the Canadian Film Award [CFA] for theatrical short in 1949); Children's Concert (1949), which she produced and directed (it received an honourable mention at the 1950 CFAs); Family Circles (1949), about the interplay of home and school influences on a child's development, co-written with her husband (it won the CFA for non-theatrical short in 1950); Royal Journey (1951), about the future Queen Elizabeth's first trip to Canada, co-directed with David Bairstow and Roger Blais (it was released theatrically in more than 40 countries, was the NFB's most popular film to date, and won the 1952 CFA for best feature film and the BAFTA, the British equivalent of the Oscars, for best documentary); and Opera School (1952), a film she directed about a young singer preparing for a career in opera at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto (the film won the 1952 CFA for theatrical short). She produced The Stratford Adventure (1954), an account of the first year of the famous STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL in Ontario. The film was directed by her husband and won CFAs for film of the year and best feature film. It was nominated for an Oscar for best short documentary.
She left the NFB in 1953 to raise a family, returning to filmmaking in 1963 and co-founding Parker Film Associates with her husband. She also continued to direct, write and produce films for the private sector. Later she taught film studies at Vanier College in Montréal. In 2005, Gudrun Bjerring Parker was appointed an officer of the ORDER OF CANADA.