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 including: Nana, George & me (1997), The Devil in the Holy Water (2002), Parting Words (2006), Baghdad Twist (2007), JOY! Portrait of a Nun (2012), The Length of the Alphabet (2013). In 2014, both the Cinémathèque québécoise and the Toronto Jewish Film Festival honoured him with a retrospective of his work. In 2016, he was selected for the prestigious Talents Program at the Berlinale. His work has screened at numerous events around the globe including: the Toronto International Film Festival, Tribeca Film Festival, DocuWeek, IDFA, MIX Brasil and the Torino Film Festival.
Balass recently completed production on the feature-length, gender-bending drama Venus, by writer/director Eisha Marjara. Together, they are developing Calorie, a new feature film set in Canada, India & Ireland, which was the only North American project chosen for the Goa Film Bazaar and which Balass will present at the 2017 International Financing Forum at TIFF. In addition, the team is developing a new tv series based on the characters from Venus. Balass also has two french-language features in development including: Akram, the surrealist (Akram le surréaliste) cowritten with the Iraqi Jewish writer Naïm Kattan and Chadi by cowriters: Jean-François Monette and Nabila Ben Youssef.
Joe Balass also organises the Journées du cinéma québécois en Italie, a festival dedicated to screening francophone Canadian work in Italy, now in its fifteenth edition.