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 six 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, 1983
-“Yochien”, an ethnographic study of the Japanese pre-school, filmed in
Nagano, Japan, 1989
-“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, 2010
-“Happy Feet – a Township Story”, a documentary on the performing arts
uplift program in Langa Township, Cape Town, South Africa, filmed on
location in Langa, 2014
-“Hear My Music – The Dizu Plaatjies Story”, a documentary on the life and
music of southern Africa’s iconic performer and ethnomusicologist, filmed
in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, 2016
-“Cape Town Profiles”, a documentary series highlighting the life and work
of social activists in the new South Africa, filmed in Cape Town, 2017 – 2018
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 in Kyoto, Osaka and Nagano, and was awarded an advanced teaching license in shamisen and koto. Wendy has written two books: “Gambling Music of the Coast Salish Indians” (National Museum of Man) and “Northern Haida Songs” (University of Nebraska Press). Her choral arrangements have been published in the U.S. and Canada and she has recorded four CD’s of Jewish music with 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, Roaring Lion, 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 25th season. Next up is “Sweeney Todd” produced by The Snapshots Collective.
The recipient of two Jessie Award nominations and an Ovation! Award, Wendy has collaborated with her husband, Ron Stuart, on six documentary films shot in the Western Cape, South Africa.