Ben Donoghue is a filmmaker and arts administrator of settler heritage based in Toronto, Canada. His practice explores the relationships between the biopolitical subject, colonization, landscape, macro-economic phenomena, and the built environment. He has exhibited at galleries, festivals and screenings across Canada and the United States.
Donoghue’s production practice includes making film, installation and dialogic works for both cinemas and galleries; publishing artist books and zines; administering projects and spaces in both arts and social justice contexts; designing and building custom machines for film installations and production.
In his arts administration work Donoghue is best known as the Executive Director of the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) from 2007 – 2013. During his tenure at LIFT he cultivated the organization’s support for celluloid based filmmaking alongside its initial engagements with digital cinema production and presentation; built the current 6,500 sq ft facility at 1137 Dupont Street; created LIFT’s community outreach program; doubled its educational offerings; created a new arm of the organization focused on specialized technical consulting. He currently works as the Director of the Media Arts Network of Ontario/Réseau des arts mediatiques de l’Ontario, an arts service organization advocating for and serving all media arts collectives, organizations and through them artists in Ontario. Prior to working at MANO he was a founding board member and past vice-chair of MANO where he served on the board from 2009 -2013.
Donoghue served on the board of 8Fest, a unique Toronto based small gauge film festival from 2007 – 2013. This endeavor expanded on his work as a founding collective member and then board member of the Project 8 film festival in Vancouver B.C. from 2005-2007. In other small format work he founded the Super 8 and 16mm film program at the Purple Thistle Centre in Vancoucer and ran a weekly hand-processing drop-in from 2005 – 2007, taught Super 8 and 16mm filmmaking and hand-processing at the Gulf Islands Film School from 2004 – 2007 and instructed numerous community and institutional workshops.
In addition he currently works as a collective member of Indigenous Routes, an emerging organization focused on developing training, production and collaborative platforms for transmedia (digital, online, mobile and gaming) production and dissemination within a regional, national and international community of Indigenous artists and cultural workers. indigenousroutes.ca
Ben was a founding collective member of MICE Magazine and the 4:3 Collective and worked on the project from 2014-2017.
In his curatorial and commissioning practice Donoghue has organizaed numerous exhibitions. These include Cinema and Disjunction, a commission of first films about architecture in 35mm by Daniel Young, Christian Giroux and Adrian Blackwell. Lost Secrets of the Royal a commission of new gallery based works (co-curated with Heather Keung) using an archive of incomplete and decaying 35mm prints from the Hong Kong cinema of the ’70s and ’80s. 30 x 30 a commission of 29 new films and videos by 30 filmmakers and artists for the 30th anniversary of LIFT.
In addition to consulting work and collective projects Donoghue is currently working on completing a many year film emulsion research project, 2-4 16mm films, and one 2x16mm installation project in various stages of production and post.
His first feature Pierre Radisson – Fjord and Gulf premiered at the Images Festival in April 2017.
The support of the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council have made his current and past projects possible.