PERSONAL: Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Education: University of British Columbia, B.A., 1988.
CAREER: Journalist. Vancouver Sun, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 1990—, began as a part-time staffer, became a reporter, copy editor, production editor, columnist, pop music critic, movie reviewer, and entertainment features writer. Ski instructor; competitive racer.
Weird Sex and Snowshoes: And Other Canadian Film Phenomena, Raincoast Books (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada), 2001.
Contributor to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation Radio One's Definitely Not the Opera and Home makers' Magazine.
SIDELIGHTS: Katherine Monk (a pseudonym) worked for the Vancouver Sun during summers while she was in college, then became a full-time staffer whose versatility adapted her to a number of positions, including film reviewer. It is this experience that she brings to Weird Sex and Snowshoes: And Other Canadian Film Phenomena, a study of the film industry in Canada. The book begins with ten chapters, each dealing with a different theme, and in the second section Monk includes 100 mini-reviews and ranks the movies with tiny maple leaves rather than stars.
Eye's Jason Anderson felt that in this volume Monk is "so busy bashing Hollywood that she fails to note how the work of Gary Burns or Bruce Sweeney owes more to the American indie scene than to any Canadian antecedents." Chris Blakeman, who reviewed the book for Take One, pointed to a number of "factual errors," including a history of the National Film Board of Canada. "And the errors just keep coming," wrote Blakeman. "The title is particularly offensive since the issue of 'weird sex' in Canadian film is a red herring at best, applicable to only a handful of films." Blakeman noted that Monk makes no mention of rising Vancouver filmmakers Mina Shum, Bruce Sweeney, and Lynn Stopkewich, "odd since she comes from Vancouver, and makes no reference to the group of Toronto filmmakers who radically transformed English-Canadian cinema in the 1980s." Blakeman also found that Monk fails to discuss the effect the American film industry has had on Canadian film's identity and lack of commercial success. "That's why we became a nation restricted to producing art-house films—'condemned to originality,' in the words of one of our greatest cineastes, Gilles Carle," said Blakeman, who noted that Carle isn't mentioned in Monk's book.
Included in Monk's books are profiles of Canadian-born filmmakers, such as Atom Egoyan, David Cronenberg, François Girard, Robert Lepage, and Anne Wheeler. Ross McKie of Quill & Quire called the profiles "first-rate," but felt Monk "reaches . . . by comparing, say, the American film Deliverance to our own Surfacing. Still, Monk's ideas never fail to demystify what so many viewers consider the baffling pastiche that is Canadian film." Library Journal's Andrea Slonosky called Weird Sex and Snowshoes "at once a history, an analysis, and a celebration of Canadian films and filmmakers."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Eye, January 3, 2002, Jason Anderson, review of Weird Sex and Snowshoes: And Other Canadian Film Phenomena.
Library Journal, April 1, 2002, Andrea Slonosky, review of Weird Sex and Snowshoes, p. 110.
Quill & Quire, September, 2001, Ross McKie, review of Weird Sex and Snowshoes, p. 48.
Take One, December, 2001, Chris Blakeman, review of Weird Sex and Snowshoes, p. 52.*