Biog & Contact

About Me

achtman-photo-web2

At age 4 my father took me to see Mary Poppins at the Westmount cinema in Montreal and my life changed forever. Other seminal influences include Barbra Streisand, Joni Mitchell, Patti Smith and John Cassavetes.

After graduating from Ryerson Theatre School in Toronto, I created several theatre works with Materia Prima, of which I was a co-founder, including Nazi/Jew/Queer (writer/performer) & Lebensborn(director) with Sabina Fella, which played at Buddies in Bad Times, Tarragon Xtra Space and the Parkhaus Theatr in Berlin and won a Dora award.

I appeared as an actor in numerous plays and cabarets at Buddies in Bad Times, including eight years of Cheap Queers as my glamorous alter ego, Marguerite, and with David Roche and David Bateman as All Davids Productions, directed the festival hits People are Horrible Wherever You Go, Parts 1 and 2. In 1997, I played one of three Peters in John Greyson’s feature filmUncut, as a Pierre Trudeau stalker.

Also in 1997, I began a series of poetry-based video works with Cool, featuring Sky Gilbert, which premiered at Inside/Out, Toronto.  With R.M. Vaughan I created a series of videos that screened at festivals across Canada and internationally, including M*A*S*H Notes for Private Kyle Brown and Feverfew. In 2003, a retrospective of our work was programmed at the Squeaky Wheel in Buffalo.

I’ve written and directed three narrative shorts: Doggie Bag (5 mins) and Welcome Stop (25 min.) and, most recently,  Awake, an existential comedy starring two blind actors, Margo Cargill and Alex Bulmer,  currently playing at international film festivals, including ones in India, UK, Canada, USA, Spain and Cambodia. I’m currently writing a follow-up that will also star Margo and Alex,  a road movie called April in the Country, set in Scotland’s Western Isles.

I’m also a director of filmpro, an East London-based digital arts organization based at Bow Arts.