Mary Fowles

Recipient of the 2022 Jack Webster Award for Excellence in Legal Journalism sponsored by the Law Society of British Columbia


Mary Fowles is an award-winning documentary storyteller whose work seeks to shed a light on dark corners, lend strength to quiet voices, and illuminate beauty. 

Mary grew up on Salt Spring Island, the homeland of the Penelakut, Saanich and Cowichan First Nations.

In the early 2000's Mary moved to Montreal where she lived for over a decade, studied religion at McGill University and later obtained a graduate degree in journalism from Concordia University focusing on documentary film and print journalism. 

In her last semester, Mary was one of four graduate students across Canada awarded with a journalism fellowship from Canada's International Development Research Centre.  This fellowship took her to Casablanca, Morocco where she interned at a cutting-edge political newsweekly. 

From this experience, Mary then wrote, produced and directed her first feature documentary titled Taxi Casablanca about the story of Casablanca's first female taxi driver. The subject of her film, Zakia Mezzour, had to fight for her right to work in a man's job in a religiously conservative country, as she transported local passengers to every corner of Casablanca.  A true labour of love, the film was was acquired by TV5 Quebec and attained high audience ratings. 

Mary's work and research has continued to delve deep into topics of concern to women. Her 2014 feature article Roused from a Dream reported on the the creation of the first women's lineage document in the Zen Buddhist tradition.  The article traced the history of women's contributions to the Zen tradition, and discussed how they were nevertheless entirely left out of the transmission of religious authority, while preference was always given to a male heir.  Qualified women with advanced skill were often erased from or demeaned in the recorded history, forming stereotypes and limiting opportunity.  The article was featured in Tricycle Magazine, the leading Buddhist review in the US.  

Her recent story for The Tyee published in February 2022 investigated the 2019 legal reforms around Canada's "choking law". It explored in depth how police, the healthcare system and the courts are struggling to catch up to the new law and prosecute a primarily invisible crime that affects women victims of domestic violence and coercive control. For this article she became a recipient of the 2022 Jack Webster Awards in the category of Excellence in Legal Journalism. 

Mary has been awarded many artist grants including production grants from both the Canada Council for the Arts, the Quebec Council for the Arts, CIDA, SODEC and others. 

In 2016 Mary filmed her short documentary film Welcome to Canada  in her home town of Vancouver, Canada. The film looked at the influx of Syrian refugees who were welcomed to Canada in the aftermath of war and explored the complexities of resettlement.  It premiered on the Atlantic and has been shown in festivals around the world. 

Mary has worked and lived for an extended time in both Morocco and Jamaica. In 2016 she move to Kingston Jamaica to work with Cuso International.  During this life-changing experience she worked in schools with young musicians in the centre of Kingston.  She also created numerous photo essays and developed her street photography portfolio in Jamaica.  

In 2022 her photography was published in a series of articles for the UK's Guardian Newspaper. 

In her spare time Mary works on documentary and street photography, travelling often between Victoria, Canada and Kingston, Jamaica which has become her second home.  

Curriculum Vitae     ~     Filmography                  

"It is word, sound, and power that breaks down the barriers of oppression, drives away transgression, and rules equality." - P. Tosh. 

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