Harris, Les, 1947-

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Authorized form of name

Harris, Les, 1947-

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Other form(s) of name

  • Harris, Leslie Philip, 1947-

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Dates of existence

1947-01-04 -


Leslie Philip Harris, known as Les Harris, born 4 January 1947 in England, began his career as a local reporter for BBC Radio Sheffield in 1967 while still attending Sheffield University. He was accepted as a trainee to BBC TV's Film Editing course in London in 1968. He became an Assistant Film Editor and then a Film Editor at BBCTV before leaving the Corporation in 1972. That year he established Leshar Films for his film editing and directing projects, and also Leshar Film Sales Limited, a film distribution (to television) corporation. At this time he also began work on the documentary Chabot Solo part 1: 1914-1918 on early aviator Charles Chabot. Chabot Solo part 1 and its two sequel documentaries, Chabot Solo part 2: 1918-1939 and Chabot Solo part 3: 1939-1975 were released to television world-wide over a short period between 1974 to 1975 with BBCTV being the lead broadcaster. Part 3 was shot mainly in Newfoundland, and all post-production work was done in Canada. Soon thereafter, Harris founded Canamedia Productions Limited to facilitate his future independent work in Canada. When he immigrated to Toronto in 1976 he had a year’s contract to direct and produce the ‘Country Canada’ programme for the CBC’s Agriculture and Resources Department. CTV’s W5 then hired Harris through Canamedia as a Senior Field Producer where he covered stories on a wide-range of subjects and produced hosts Henry Champ, Jim Reed and Helen Hutchinson. During this time, he produced a segment for W5 on the newly certified Canadian amphibious aircraft, the Trident TriGull. Harris left CTV to produce his documentary Escape from Iran: The Inside Story and then the TV movie Escape from Iran: The Canadian Caper. Broadcast as a simulcast in Canada and the USA in 1981, Caper was the first ever prime-time Canadian movie production to be commissioned by an American network (CBS TV). Harris fought to get recognition for Pat Taylor, wife of Ambassador Ken Taylor, and Zena Sheardown, wife of Chief Immigration Officer John Sheardown, for their roles in safely hiding the "houseguests" in Tehran – both were finally awarded the Order of Canada. With a few limited exceptions, Harris has worked exclusively on Canamedia projects, winning such awards as the George Foster Peabody Award for his documentary Threads Of Hope, the Banff TV Festival Rocky award; Gold and Silver medals from the International Film and TV Festival of New York; three Geminis; the Canadian Film and Television Producers Association’s Best Production of the Year; and, was nominated for an International Emmy. For example, Harris produced, directed, edited, narrated and wrote the 1989 documentary, By the Seat of their Pants, on Canadian bush pilots, which also won a Gemini among other awards. In order to help finance the film productions, a distribution division of Canamedia Productions was established to license Canadian TV programs to worldwide TV. The production company led by Harris was also one of the three co-founders of the cable children’s television network, YTV. When regulations changed in 1998, the production and distribution activities of Canamedia were divided in order to form two new companies: Canamedia Film Productions Inc. and Canamedia Inc. During this period, Harris produced and directed the documentary Alien Obsession for Canamedia Film Productions Inc. and produced Faces of a Vanishing World for the US Ovation Network. Both the production and distribution company were sold in 2010 to Access Media, now called Distribution Access, but prior to the sale, Harris re-acquired the copyright of all the films he produced through Canamedia over his career. Although officially retired, Harris continues to work as a filmmaker and is currently just finishing filming a documentary in Costa Rica called The Ultimate Challenge: Survival of the Great Green about saving a parrot species called the Great Green Macaw.


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Rules and/or conventions used

Following RAD Rule 22.1B, the authorized form of name comes from the most prevalent form in his works.


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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Adele Torrance, 2018. French editing by Céline Mongeau, Larocque Linguistic Services, 2018-10.




-CASM Archives, Les Harris fonds.
-Harris, Les. (13 June 2017). Re Further questions [E-mail].
-Harris, Les. (25 May 2017). Re Canamedia info + RIGHTs [E-mail].
-Harris, Les. (25 May 2017). Re Canamedia info [E-mail].
-Harris, Les. (5 May 2017). Les Harris Resume [E-mail].

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