Compass Productions founder Joe Balass resides in Montreal where he works in both fiction and documentary. He has produced and directed a number of award-winning films and videos including: Nana, George & me (1997), The Devil in the Holy Water (2002), Parting Words (2006), Baghdad Twist (2007). His films often touch on themes related to identity, religion, and sexuality. He expresses a very spontaneous blend of humour and seriousness in his work. His last feature JOY! Portrait of a Nun (2012) with one of the founders of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, had a successful theatrical run and is now out on DVD and available for download. He recently completed the television documentary The Length of the Alphabet (2013) for Radio-Canada. He is currently producting the english-language, gender-bending drama, Venus with director Eisha Marjara, as well as Akram, the surrealist (Akram le surréaliste) a french-language fiction feature with the Iraqi Jewish writer Naïm Kattan.
Balass’ work has screened at the Toronto International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, DocuWeek, IDFA, MIX Brasil and the Torino Film Festival. He was the winner of the Artv Springboard Award at the International Festival of Films on Art and the Télé-Québec Award for Best Documentary at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois. In 2014, both the Toronto Jewish Film Festival and the Cinémathèque québécoise honoured him with a retrospective of his work.
Joe Balass also organises the Journées du cinéma québécois en Italie, a festival dedicated to screening francophone Canadian work in Italy, now in its thirteenth edition.