Photo of Janis Cole, mfa
Janis Cole
Professor, Faculty of Art Emerita/Emeritus
Faculty of Art, Graduate Studies
416-977-6000, Ext. 1947

Area(s) of Expertise

Filmmaking, Documentary,, Screenwriting, Cinema Theory,, Film Critique and Review


Janis Cole began teaching at OCAD in 1990. She teaches two levels of Screenwriting for Film and Video, and Media Research Projects in the Integrated Media Program. She teaches Narrative Stategies:Media and Time-based Media in First Year Studies. She came to OCAD with an active fifteen-year, international, award-winning documentary film practice and script writing career. She runs a film production company in Toronto, writes for publications including POV, Montage and Sketch, and reviews films for Now magazine. Her work in film has spanned four decades and resulted in more than a dozen critically aclaimed, award-winning films. She has worked as a producer, director, writer and editor of documentary, dramatic and experimental film and video. After making the successful transition to long-form television writer she wrote the Gemini award winning movie of the week Dangerous Offender for the CBC, which also earned the Writers Guild of Canada Top Ten Award in writing. At the same time she continues to make independent short films through the artist-run centres. Most recently she mounted a three channel video installation at Trinity Square Video and earned reviews in NOW magazine, Metro News, Things of Desire and Canada AM, CTV. By embracing all film disciplines and the emerging digital media art forms, she continually expands her capabilities, experimenting with genres, techniques, formats, distribution and exhibition methods. A common theme running through her work is empathy for the human condition in all walks of life. Her drive to succeed as an artist fuels her ongoing commitment as a film educator.


2009 Master of Fine Arts, Documentary Media, Ryerson University (Awarded with Distinction). 1977 Film Major, Media Arts, Sheridan College, Oakville.

Professional Experience

Filmmaker 1975 to present

Screenwriter 1994 to present

Script Editor, Story Editor, Screenwriter Mentor, Film Consultant 1996 to present

Film Educator 1990 to present

Writer of film commentary and movie reviews 2004 to present

Selected Exhibitions

2019 P4W: Prison for Woman screens at Arkipel International Film Festival, Jakarta Indonesia, 2018 Hookers on Davie two screenings at NY Independant Film Forum, 2017 P4W:Prison for Women screens at Hot Docs Film Festival, 2017 Hookers on Davie screens at Toronto Queer Film Festival, 2017 Minimum Charge No Cover screens at AGO’s Jackman Hall, 2016, Minimum Charge No Cover screens at Images Film Festival, 2014, Hookers on Davie screens at Cinema Political, 2009, twenty-fifth anniversary fundraising screening of Hookers on Davie in Vancouver. 2009, Trinity Square Video curates a five-week run of Cole's multi-channel video installation Remember Their Names. 2007, Cinemateque Ontario curates a special screening of the (AV Trust Funded) newly struck 16mm film print of P4W: Prison for Women, Cole's Genie Award winning feature documentary. 2000 and 2007, Minimum Charge No Cover curated at INSIDE/out Lesbian & Gay Festival. 2004 to 2007, Hookers on Davie and P4W on the Documentary Channel. 1996, Dangerous Offender on CBC. 1996-2009, Dangerous Offender on Showcase and the independent Film Channel. 2000, 1990, 1988, 1985, 1981, programmed in the Toronto International Film Festival. 1990 - 1999, Calling The Shots on TVO and CITY TV. 1984, Cineplex theatrical run of Hookers on Davie in several Canadian cities. 1982, theatrical run of P4W in Toronto.

Awards \ Grants

Writers Guild Top Ten Award for Dangerous Offender screenplay. Bronze Plaque for scriptwriting, The Columbus Festival. Toronto Arts Award for Achievement in Media. Best Short Film Award, Toronto International Film Festival. Red Ribbon Award, American Film Festival (3x's). Theatrical Producer Achievement Award, CTA. Women On The Move, Toronto Sun. Gold Plaque, Chicago Film Festival. Genie Award for Best Theatrical Documentary (P4W: Prison for Women). Best of The Festival and Best in the Human Condition Category, Yorkton Film Festival.


Writer and Contributing Editor for POV, Canada's leading documentary publication. Writer for Now Magazine and other publications.

Selected Publications

Calling The Shots: Interviews with Female Directors, Quarry Press, 1993 POV Magazine and other publications, feature articles on documentary filmmakers, 2002 to present

Professional Affiliations / Boards / Juries

WGC (Writer's Guild of Canada). DOC (Documentary Organization of Canada). LIFT (Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto). CFMDC (Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre). OCADFA (OCAD Faculty Association). Committee Member, Recreation and Culture, subcommittee for Municipality of Highlands East. From 1977 to the present, adjudicator for artist run centre competitions, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, Canada Council, Halibuton County Development Corporation and Rogers Documentary Fund.