Abhish S. Birla

Producer • Director • Editor

 

Abhish S. Birla  has over 20 years of experience. He has produced international documentaries and documentary series for White Mountain Films, National Geographic International, the History Channel, and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Abhish is accomplished in several capacities, and has received numerous awards and nominations for production, direction, editing, and sound from Canadian and American guilds. His work on Indigenous peoples, endangered species, and historical and cultural figures has led him to supervise crews in North America, Europe, and South Asia.

Awards and recognition include:

  • Golden Sheaf Award for the CBC production "The Hunters' Sons"

  • Canadian Screen Award for the CBC series "Les Ruraux du 21è (21st Century Family Farms)"

  • Canadian Screen Award nominations for the National Geographic series "Deadly Arts"

  • Canadian Screen Award nominations for the CBC feature documentary "Song of the River"

Selected Highlights

Aboriginal People's Television Network

DECOLONIZATION DANCE

Writer / Director

As a teenager, James Jones was a gang member living on the streets of Edmonton.

 

Hoop dancing helped him escape that world. Banned for generations, traditional ceremonies, including dancing are seeing a rebirth in indigenous communities.

 

Today James is a rising star, dancing with A Tribe Called Red, performing and competing on the world stage.

 

He is also using traditional dance to help indigenous youth stay out of gangs and off the streets.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

THE SONG OF THE RIVER
Writer / Producer / Director

🏆 🏆 🏆  Best Feature Documentary  Director Nomination - Canadian Screen Awards

 

"The Song of the River" is a feature documentary that explores the modern history of the James Bay Cree through the eyes of former Grand Chief, Matthew Mukash.

The feature examines the precarious relationship between those who seek to live in harmony with nature and those who seek to profit from it.

For centuries the James Bay Cree were a nomadic people who lived off the land, often in isolation from Quebec and Canada.

 

Since the 1970's the province of Quebec sought to create and then expand a massive hydro-electric power network. Each new development was met with protest from the Cree as their ability to hunt and trap is greatly diminished with each dammed river and ever increasing areas of flooded land.

IMAX

JOURNEY TO MECCA

Line Producer

🏆 🏆 🏆 Le Prix Du Public Most Popular Film at Le Géode Film Festival, Paris

 

Journey to Mecca is an IMAX® dramatic and documentary feature that tells the amazing story of Ibn Battuta, the greatest explorer of the Old World, following his first pilgrimage between 1325 and 1326 from Tangier to Mecca.

His perilous journey resonates with adventure while presenting an unforgettable picture of Islamic civilization during the 14th century, culminating with Battuta's first Hajj. The story is book-ended by a close-up look at the contemporary Hajj, a pilgrimage to Mecca that draws three million Muslims from around the world.

K2 Communications / Primesco

INDIA: KINGDOM OF THE TIGER
Sound Recordist / Editor

🏆 🏆 🏆 Golden Reel Award Nominee - Best Sound Editing

 

Follow in the footsteps of Jim Corbett, the famed English hunter-naturalist, as he races to save an Indian village from the terror of a man-eating tiger.

 

Along his journey he expresses his passion for tigers and explores the issues of tiger conservation.

 

The film is also a historical epic depicting India from 1910 to the modern era. Starring critically acclaimed Indian actress Smriti Mishra and Christopher Heyerdahi.

National Geographic / History Television

DEADLY ARTS - SAVATE

Editor / Line Producer

🏆 🏆 🏆 Winner - Best Editing for a Documentary Series - Canadian Screen Awards

Line Producer and Editor on the same episode of an international series? 

Well this was the last episode we shot and by then, I was the only one anyone on the team wanted to talk to. So with my editing background, they insisted I do it, and I'm glad 🏆 they did! 

(Sorry for the terrible reference video - I think some things went down with the owners and distributors and it's now hard to find! Bummer because it's beautifully shot around the world and the martial arts masters were extraordinary!)

Société Radio-Canada TV / CBC

Les ruraux du 21è

Producer / Showrunner

🏆 🏆 🏆 Winner

- Best Documentary Series - Canadian Screen Awards

This was a real gem of a series about the challenges and decline of family farming in Quebec. 

I developed it with Ideacom, SRC came on board and with my team in place we spent a year with four amazing families with different farms. 

With very little promotion, we got huge ratings and eventually won the top documentary prize.