BORN: MAY 8, 1961 CALGARY, CANADA
In the late 70s, high school student David Winning wrote and directed a short Super 8 millimeter drama inspired by the lead character "Babe" in John Schlesinger's "MARATHON MAN (1976)". Winning started making films in 1971 with a Kodak camera his father had given him on his 10th birthday. "GAME OVER", a science-fiction story about the last survivor of germ warfare, was shot on weekends in October and November 1977 on campus at the University of Calgary. Starring school friends Paul Brown and Scott Harley, the film became a "special drama" project and awarded the director five credits toward successful graduation at the end of the school year. Loaded with Kubrick tributes -- moody, and full of many empty hallway shots -- and layered with music from the Alan Parsons Project, Tangerine Dream and Manfred Mann; the film proved to be a labour of love with a complicated (for the time) optical sequence at the film's conclusion - constructed pain-stakingly by hand - and taking nearly four months to complete.
His first effort in 16mm with an actual crew was the short drama "SEQUENCE (1980)" shot on the Nakoda reserve near Cochrane, Alberta in the summer of 1979 and funded in part by a Canada Council Explorations Grant. The film starred long-time friend and collaborator Stan Edmonds as the fateful hero Rick in a "DELIVERANCE (1972)" inspired story of peril in the wilderness. Allen Desnoyers provided what the local paper called "a spare and haunting" piano score, probably as a tribute to John Carpenter's stylized soundtrack from "HALLOWEEN (1978)" The film was later blown up to 35mm and Cannon International released it as a pre-feature short in the United Kingdom.
In 1983, based on the success of "SEQUENCE", Winning, at 22, began work on his first feature effort; a similar expanded version of the earlier short. This time, again with the theme of peril in the woods, "STORM" began shooting in the forests near Bragg Creek, Alberta on August 22. With a cast of five, headed by David Palffy and Stan Kane - and a crew of only four; including DP Tim Hollings, soundman Per Asplund, assistant director Michael Kevis, and makeup artist Stan Edmonds - the group filmed the drama over four weeks and then retired to re-group and raise more money. The film was completed over the next three years -- total budget: $72,000 (CDN) -- and inspired attention and some rave reviews at festivals in 1986. The infamous Cannon Group screened the film in Milan, Italy and agreed to distribute it once more footage had been produced to add to the film's length of only 79 minutes. In January 1987, 23 additional minutes were filmed under the working title "STORM-AID". The debut feature was released by Cannon International in April 1988 and by Warner Home Video in 1989; selling over 20,000 cassettes. The film launched many careers and received several rave reviews; among them from Jay Scott, Globe & Mail, Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times as well as Hollywood Reporter, Toronto Star and CNN.
Winning turned his efforts to a second feature. The project "KILLER IMAGE" began to take shape in 1986 as a writing project between Winning and Stan Edmonds. The group realized the next step in feature production was going to have to involve some star power. Michael Ironside and veteran character actor M. Emmet Walsh were signed to star as brothers in the mystery-suspense tale about a photographers murder - and what events had been captured by the lens in his final moments.
movie was filmed in the STORM forest and in locations around Calgary,
Alberta in October 1990. John Pyper-Ferguson and Krista Errickson, co-starred.
Malofilm, a distributor from Montreal, and Pierre David, in Los Angeles,
were partially funding the project, along with seed-money from the Alberta
government; this time the budget was considerably higher. The film was
released on Paramount Home Video and received its US premiere as a finalist
at the 1992 Houston Film Festival.
Winning has a successful career as a feature film and television director; with currently Thirteen Features to his credit and over Ninety episodes of television -- including work on Twenty different series. His first two independent features led to an award-winning 20 year stint as guest Director for Paramount Pictures Television, MGM, Cannell Films, ABC Television, Hallmark, Nickelodeon, Disney, PAX, NBC and FOX. His episodic work has garnered international awards including many First Place Golds at the Houston Film Festivals, the 1995 Gold Hugo and Two Silver Hugo's from the Chicago International Film Festival, and four national GEMINI nominations for Best Director/Dramatic Series. In 1996, his third feature, the Lance Henriksen thriller "PROFILE FOR MURDER" premiered on HBO. Also on HBO, the release of the Kim Cattrall/Eric McCormack thriller "EXCEPTION TO THE RULE" for ARTISAN and LION'S GATE FILMS which won Gold at the 1997 Houston Film Festival. The film is available from Artisan.
He began directing network television at 27 for Paramount's "FRIDAY THE 13TH: THE SERIES". Then a two-season tour on Cannell's police series "STREET JUSTICE"; making a mark in the industry in Vancouver. From there he moved onto children's television; with four seasons on Nickelodeon's hit series "ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?" in Montreal and a simultaneous four seasons with Fox's "SWEET VALLEY HIGH" in Los Angeles. Two decades of episodic production led to work on the Showtime/Disney western anthology "DEAD MAN'S GUN", the USA Network series "MATRIX" with Carrie-Anne Moss, episodes of the comic book action series "NIGHTMAN" for Tribune, and the pilot and first six episodes of the UPN/FOX series "BREAKER HIGH" with Ryan Gosling.
In the summer of 1996 he re-teamed with Michael Ironside and Frederic Forrest for the Universal military thriller "ONE OF OUR OWN". Directing his first studio feature for 20th Century Fox, "TURBO: A POWER RANGERS MOVIE", became the 4TH Highest selling Video in the U.S. in August 1997 (BILLBOARD). Winning spent that fall shooting in Scotland with Jason Connery on the "MERLIN" project. Returning to Canada he directed the Patrick Duffy/Pam Dawber thriller "DON'T LOOK BEHIND YOU" which premiered to nearly 2 Million viewers on the Fox Family Channel. In the last decade, he has been dividing time between episodic work on Pax's Angel series "TWICE IN A LIFETIME", Jack London's "CALL OF THE WILD", "EARTH: FINAL CONFLICT" and 4 Seasons on Gene Roddenberry's "ANDROMEDA" starring Kevin Sorbo. Internationally, Winning also directed DINOTOPIA for the 2002 primetime fall ABC Television season; location shooting for three months in Budapest, Hungary. He received the 2002 National Award from the Director's Guild of Canada for Outstanding Achievement in Drama. In 2003, the ghost fantasy Mary Higgins Clark's HE SEES YOU WHEN YOU'RE SLEEPING starring Erika Eleniak, Cameron Bancroft and Greg Evigan. The STARGATE: ATLANTIS Season One episode for MGM, Childhoods End won 3 international awards for Direction; New York, Houston and Chicago. In 2006 his Lifetime movie PAST SINS premiered in the US; starring Lauralee Bell (Young & Restless) and Rebecca Jenkins. Recently he helmed a trilogy of monster movies for the SYFY Channel starring Bruce Dern, Kevin Sorbo and Robert Englund and the Vampire series BLOOD TIES for Lifetime. In 2010 he directed episodes of Space Channel's hit comedy/horror series TODD AND THE BOOK OF PURE EVIL -- and supervised and directed the far north webisode series YUKONIC! to be released in 2011.
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