Private Project

Gift of the Artist

Through a dreamy visual narrative, Gift of the Artist moves artfully through the work, thoughts and impressions of a diverse group of sculptors who explore their craft at the extraordinary Al Green Sculpture Studio in Toronto, founded by entrepreneur, philanthropist and sculptor Al Green in 2000, and maintained as a gift.

The film explores the artists' feelings, impressions and motivation for their work, taking us through their process as they share life stories and appreciation for this unique and special inclusive place, and the exceptional man that brought it to life. The film's contemplative beauty is enhanced by a compelling original score, as Gift of the Artist invites you to immerse yourself in this transformative world.

  • Ron Chapman
    REVIVA69: The Concert That Rocked the World: From Earth To Sky: Shelter, The Poet of Havana, Who the F$%K is Arthur Fogel, The Forbidden Shore, Carlos Varela Live in Havana
  • Phyllis Ellis
  • Ron Chapman
  • Wes Legg
  • Rich Pell
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
  • Runtime:
    20 minutes 57 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 23, 2023
  • Production Budget:
    50,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital, 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Ron Chapman

Director and producer Ron Chapman is an award-winning Toronto filmmaker.

His feature documentaries have garnered acclaim worldwide and have aired on major networks and platforms. They include: Who the F**K is Arthur Fogel (2013), featuring Lady Gaga, U2, The Police, Madonna, Rush, and key music industry insiders; The Poet of Havana (2015) with Carlos Varela, Benicio Del Toro, Jackson Browne; and The Forbidden Shore (2017), an in-depth exploration of Cuba's top musical artists. Shelter (202), an inspirational story about a unique group of immigrants, From Earth to Sky (2021), the story of seven Indigenous architects from Turtle Island, had its world-broadcast premiere on TVO, June 21st 2021, National Indigenous Peoples Day. Carlos Varela: Live in Havana (2021), a concert film, along with a special limited edition boxed set including The Poet of Havana, Carlos Varela Live in Havana, and a double album of the live concert. Gift Of The Artist (2022), and REVIVAL69: The Concert That Rocked The World (2023) a music documentary investigating 1969's The Toronto Rock N Roll Revival - what Rolling Stone called "the second most important event in rock history" - with John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band, Bo Diddly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, Gene Vincent, The Doors, Chicago.

Ron has had a lifetime of creative entrepreneurship, starting out as a musician, he became an artist manager, record producer, club owner, and concert promoter; and evolved to develop his own film production company, and advertising agency, where he produced and directed commercials for international brands. His album of original songs, As Worlds Collide, is on Current Records, with the single and video "Turn Away".

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Director Statement

When I first learned of and visited this studio, i was taken by what an unusual and unique structure and mandate they operated under. Its existence provided such an incredible opportunity for both aspiring and accomplished artists, and i had no idea that such a facility existed in our city, or for that matter , in our country.

As I began talking with and getting to know the artists, I was moved by their compelling and diverse stories, coming from all ages, backgrounds and walks of life, the extraordinary shared experience being the impact that this unique and welcoming environment has had on each student and artist's life.

All of this was made possible by one remarkable person, Al Green, a visionary who embraced inclusiveness and accessibility in a world where art and the pursuit and practice of it isn’t always within reach.
Al Green's passion for sculpture and his desire to share it, combined with his tenacity in creating... creating buildings, spaces and opportunities, and ensuring that the AGSS would continue to flourish and grow, long after he was gone.
I was so impressed at the discovery of this place, founded on such rare and generous criteria, I was compelled to find a way to share what I felt was an amazing gift to the city, that has and continues to contribute to the growth of its culture and the best way for me to accomplish that objective, is to do what i do and make a film about it.

As I did my research it became evident that this was in its way more than a studio, a haven for the artists, a world unto itself, refuge from the quotidian, that gave them the opportunity to explore their inner world and manifest it through their creation, through their art.

The sensibility I discovered in their process is what I then applied to the making of the film, which takes place only inside the actual studio space and never ventures outside of that special world, and so brings the viewer in to experience it in the same way that these artists explore, observe and mould their creations.
I wanted to use the camera as a sculpture uses their hands, to build "the sculpture" that would be this film. I used lighting, haze and filters to create a dream like environment and slow motion effect to immerse the viewer further in the process and the magic of creation, offering a sense of an otherly world apart that represents the inner world of the artist.

The approach with the musical score was to challenge the musicians to create in an equally unique way reflecting that of the sculptors. I gathered a group of the country's most talented jazz musicians and, while viewing sections of the film, had them improvise live with the images to create an instinctual and fluid connection with the imagery, effectively, an audio backdrop to enhance the sense of creativity and discovery.

Al Green's perspective and approach of inclusiveness was ahead of its time; it embraced, brought together and created interaction between novice and expert, hobbyist and professional to the benefit of each; it invited all to participate in art-making, regardless of age, race, background and made it possible for all.