|Paul Haggis & Mr. Will-W.|
London, Ontario-born Director/Screenwriter Paul Haggis began his career in the mid-70s writing Scripts for widely popular Television Series like Diff’rent Strokes, The Love Boat, One Day at a Time and my personal favourite, The Facts of Life. 2005 however was when he experienced a turning point in his career, receiving a nomination for Best Screenplay at the Oscars with Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby. That Film went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars. The following year, Haggis’ self-written and directed Film on Race Relations, Crash, went on to win the coveted award for Best Picture.
Since then, Haggis has gone on to helm the Scripts of many a well-known Film: Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of our Fathers, Casino Royale are just a few.
More recently, Haggis created quite a stir with a just-published piece in The New Yorker by Lawrence Wright, in which he publicly denounces Scientology, a faith he had followed for over 34 years. In the Exposé, we learn that Haggis actually has two Lesbian Daughters who became ostracized from his Church after he opposed Spokesman Tommy Davis' support of Proposition 8 in California, which we know disallowed Gay Marriage. Bravo. The Church also requires that its followers cut-off ties with those who dissociate themselves from Scientology – even if that means Family members.
Also revealed in the piece are shocking allegations of Abuse in the form of violent punishment (including Children as young as age twelve) for those who stray from the Church’s belief system. Above this, Haggis claims to have spent over $500k US in fees and donations to the Church in the years he practiced that Faith. Click here to read the shocking Article in full.
Haggis made an appearance tonight at the TIFF Bell Lightbox as part of their In Conversation Series. The appearance had him speaking before an intimate Audience of Fans, reflecting on his celebrated career while also giving them a chance to ask questions. Arriving about 15 minutes before 7:00 PM, he arrived with an Entourage which included his Wife of 14 years, Deborah Rennard. He stopped for a quick Photo with me before the Event began without any hesitation - all smiles, putting his arm around my shoulder. He of course, also personalized my copy of Crash on DVD.
A great Canadian and someone I'm proud to have met.
(Photo credit: Mr. Will-W.)