Manfred Becker

Contract Faculty


Manfred grew up in postwar Germany. After studying journalism and film at the University of Dortmund, he arrived in Toronto in 1983 for a one-year practicum at a commercial production house. Within a year, Manfred became their sound editor and decided to stay in Canada. Soon after, he began his long association with the National Film Board, co-editing ‘The Journey’ with Academy Award winning director Peter Watkins (Berlinade, TIFF 1987).

In 1991, Manfred became principal editor for Barna-Alper Productions for their non- fiction work. He has earned producer and co-writer credits, and edited feature length documentaries for Canadian filmmakers Sturla Gunnarsson (‘Gerry & Louise’, TIFF, International Emmy, Genie Award 1996 among others), Nettie Wild (‘A place called Chiapas’, Berlinade, TIFF 1997, Genie Award, theatrical release in North America and Europe), and Paul Jay (‘Hitman Hart’, multiple Gemini Award Winner). Manfred’s work has been screened internationally in the cinema and on television.

In 2001, after years of helping others to sort out their creative mess in the cutting room, Manfred decided it was time to step into the light and create his own. He has directed and written a dozen documentaries for television, which have been screened at festivals around the world, and received numerous nominations and awards, like ‘fatherland’ (Munich Filmfest 2007, among others) which received the Donald Brittain Gemini for best social-political Documentary in Canada. In 2012, Manfred was one of eight chosen directors for a series of popular sports documentaries for Bell Media. He also serves as an advisor and web documentary director and writer for the NFB interactive website At Home/Chez Soi (FWA Award, IDFA 2012). Lately Manfred filmed in the Canadian Arctic on a documentary series for ARTE, the European arts channel.

In addition to directing his own, Manfred continues to edit and write for filmmakers Thomas Wallner (‘Guantanamo Trap’, 2011, and ‘Gardenia’, 2013) and works as story editor for Velcrow Ripper (‘ScaredSacred’, ‘Fierce Light’), Nettie Wild (‘Fix’), and many others. Manfred also teaches at the Film & Video Department of York and Ryerson Universities, where is currently writing his PhD in Culture and Communications, as well as the Seneca and Humber Colleges, and gives workshops on editing and story editing across the country. Manfred is a former executive member of the ‘Documentary Association of Canada’, juror at the Hot Docs Festival, served as editor of the film magazine POV, and programmer for the annual ‘Rendez-Vous with Madness’ film festival in Toronto.

After coming to Canada from his home country Germany on a phony work permit in the mid-80’s, Manfred soon worked alongside filmmaker Peter Watkins at the NFB on his epic The Journey (Berlinade, TIFF etc.) The 1990’s Manfred spend in dark edit suites helping others to sort out their story (Sturla Gunnarsson’s Gerrie and Louise, Nettie Wild’s A place called Chiapas, Paul Jay’s Hitman Hart).

Early in 2000 Manfred stepped into the light and created his own stories. Since then he has made eight documentaries, about psychoanalysis, the birth of state sponsored terrorism to dark tourism that have been seen by audiences around the globe and have been recognized with a number of awards. His personal film, fatherland premiered at HotDocs in 2007 and went on to receive the Donald Brittain Gemini.

Manfred is a former executive member of the Documentary Association of Canada, a juror at Hot Docs, served as editor of the film magazine POV, and was a programmer for the annual ‘Rendez-Vous with Madness’ film festival in Toronto.

Manfred also teaches film at York University where he is pursuing post-graduate work in media studies, and gives workshops around the country on various aspects of documentary filmmaking. He continues to write and/or edit for colleagues like Barry Stevens’ (Offspring, The Prosecutor) and Thomas Wallner (The Guantanamo Trap).