Producing over $500 million of production, including 20 feature films with stars such as Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Ray Liota, Ashton Kutcher, Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeifer and Ashley Judd, Insight is one of the most prolific film and televising production companies in Canada.
Opening its doors in 1990 as a specialist production company operated out of Kirk Shaw’s one-bedroom apartment in Vancouver, Insight was originally conceived as an audio tour company catering exclusively to the international museum industry. After quickly building an award winning reputation for excellence with world-class clients such as the Smithsonian, Museum of Man and the Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, demand for Insight’s production expertise soon expanded to include video and interactive media.
Insight changed direction in 1993 after Kirk Shaw won a National Screen Institute of Canada competition allowing him to make the dramatic short film, Quiet Morning. Directly exposed to the television world, work-shopping his short-film with leading Canadian writers, Directors, producers and broadcasters, Kirk was bitten by the film bug. Shaw soon extended Insight’s clientele beyond museums into broadcast television, producing the long running automotive consumer television series, Driver’s Seat by actually purchasing national air time and then selling commercial spots to major players in the automotive industry. This success led to Kirk producing several other lifestyle series and Insight’s first national documentary series for History Television in 1998.
In 2000, Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK commissioned Insight to produce a feature length documentary, Easter Island, Eyes of the Moai for their HD satellite service. This project provided Insight with unique expertise in the HD format just as North American broadcasters began their rapid expansion into HD. With the knowhow, equipment and proficiency gained from the NHK doc, Insight emerged as one of the leading companies in North America equipped to produce and post content in the HD format allowing the company to pioneer television movies on HD. Insight’s first HD movie production was the science fiction film, Maximum Surge (Walter Koenig, Yasmine Bleeth) shot in 2000.
Over the next five years, Insight led the HD revolution, producing a variety of lifestyle, documentary, TV movies and television series. In tandem with the expansion of production, Insight Film Studios adapted the 1940’s Hollywood Studio production model to fit the demands of the 21st century market. The company built up an unprecedented infrastructure including the full range of production equipment, support vehicles, postproduction suites and a large full time staff dedicated to producing Insight projects.
With production revenue surpassing $100 million, in 2005, Insight produced its first US dramatic television series on HD, Young Blades and delivered the first of many feature films, When a Man Falls in the Forest (Sharon Stone and Timothy Hutton.)
Propelling Insight’s revenues to $157 million, in 2007, two Insight dramatic series aired on US television, Blood Ties for Lifetime and Painkiller Jane, on the SyFy Network. 20 made-for-television movies were delivered along with several features including, Battle in Seattle starring Charlize Theron. That year, Playback Magazine ranked Insight Film Studios as Canada’s single largest production company.
In 2008, Insight production peaked with 42 delivered, generating $180 million in revenue and culminating with the premier on US TV of the Insight produced comedy series, Under One Roof starring Flava Flav. Also in 2008, Insight shot and produced the North American sequences for the academy award winning, The Hurt Locker and, as in the previous year, Insight took Playback Magazine’s top spot as Canada’s largest production company.
Today Insight’s Kirk Shaw is focused on producing a few high budget features by actively developing and packaging new content with strong profit potential. A hands-on EP, Shaw tailors cast, funding sources and filming locations around the globe to the unique requirements of each feature or series he packages. Kirk also provides key short term funding and investment support to back pay-or-play deals for actors, cash-flow prep and to secure optimum distribution arrangements.