About Cultural Odyssey Films
Cultural Odyssey Films was established ten years ago to provide a platform for the production and distribution of documentary films about contemporary cultural groups and individuals committed to social change.
Based in Vancouver, Canada and Cape Town, South Africa, the company has produced eight documentaries, focusing mainly on social activists in the post-apartheid society of the Western Cape.
The ethnographic approach is central to the films, and conveys the reality of each subject and their story from their own lived experience. The narratives are presented in the voices of the subjects, through unstructured interviews that emphasize their underlying cultural assumptions.
Viewers are challenged to enter the subject’s world, and grasp their worldview. Despite the influence of globalization on public perceptions, the films challenge the notion of cultural homogenization.
Our ethical position is to faithfully record and share the experiences and views of the subjects of our films. We have a commitment to present a balanced picture that captures the demographic and normative diversity of our subjects.
The documentaries have been broadcast on cable channels throughout southern Africa, screened at film festivals in the U.S., Canada, and South Africa and licensed for use at universities in North America and South Africa.
Cultural Odyssey Films is Ronald C. Stuart (Ron) and Wendy Bross Stuart (Wendy), husband and wife with extensive experience in music, theatre and film production.
Born in the New York area and educated at McGill University and the University of British Columbia, he has taught Anthropology and Sociology at the University of B.C. and at Columbia College for over 40 years. Research includes field work among the Coast Salish First Nation of B.C., and in Japan, during periods of residence between 1972 and 1989. Ron has been involved in international education in both Japan and Canada, and directed the first study-abroad program for Japanese students in Vancouver in 1978. He has been active in promoting cultural exchange, and served as consultant to Shingakukai Corporation of Nagano, Japan for ten years.
Ron has produced several CD’s and numerous concerts in collaboration with his wife, Wendy B. Stuart. Their company, WRS Productions, is active locally in event production and collaboration with other producers. He was the founder and artistic director of the Jewish Music Society of British Columbia, and served as co-artistic director of the World Sacred Music Festival of Vancouver from 2000 – 2003.
He is a graduate of the Vancouver Film School, and has produced and directed several documentary films:
– “Culture Contact”, an educational series for use in the intercultural classroom, filmed in Vancouver, Canada
– “Yochien”, an ethnographic study of the Japanese pre-school, filmed in Nagano, Japan
– “From Russia & Kazakhstan With Love”, a study of the cultural adjustment of Russian-speaking students in tertiary education in Vancouver, filmed on location at Columbia College
Wendy Bross Stuart
Born and raised in New York, Wendy is an ethnomusicologist, music director, composer/arranger, collaborative pianist and vocal coach. A graduate of McGill University and the University of British Columbia, she studied traditional Japanese music for koto and shamisen for several years – in Kyoto, Osaka and Nagano, and was awarded an advanced teaching license in shamisen.
Wendy has written two books: “Gambling Music of the Coast Salish Indians” (National Museum of Man) and “Northern Haida Songs” (University of Nebraska Press). About 20 of her choral arrangements have been published in the U.S. and Canada. She has recorded four CD’s of Jewish music with the late soprano, Claire Klein Osipov.
Wendy’s theatre credits include thirteen seasons as music director/conductor at Theatre Under The Stars (Vancouver) as well as music director/pianist for productions of The Arts Club, The Electric Company, Famous Artists and GTI, Touchstone Theatre, Blackbird Theatre and WRS Productions. She is a co-founder of Gotta Sing! Gotta Dance! – Perry Ehrlich’s musical theatre program for talented youth – soon entering its 26th season.
Wendy is the recipient of three Jessie Awards, two Jessie Award nominations, an Ovation! Award for Longtime Musical Theatre Contribution, and the GVPTA Career Achievement Award (2020).
In 2019, Wendy and her husband, Ron Stuart, were appointed Life Fellows of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre Society for Education and Remembrance. Wendy and Ron have completed eight documentary films shot in the Western Cape, South Africa. They are now working on a new film project in Western Canada.