And The Oscar for Best Documentary Feature Goes to… Michael Hamilton

Do not be surprised one day, if your hear that famous line as it is directed to former Fort McMurray resident Michael Hamilton.

Hamilton, 51, has a long list of directing credits in the world of short or feature documentaries and TV series.

Concentrating mainly on the sports genre, you may recognize Nash A Documentary Film (2013) which highlighted the career of Canadian Steve Nash, a two-time NBA MVP while earning NBA All Star status eight times during his 18 year-career.

More recent work include The Bailey Experience (2019) which focused on Canadian Olympic gold medal 100 metre sprinter Donovan Bailey.

Hamilton’s talents are not restricted to the athletic endevaour as a recent project “I Am MLK Jr.”, captured the 2019 Leo Award for the Best Feature Length Documentary.

The Leo Awards celebrate the best in British Columbia film and television industry.

At 1 hour 35 minutes “I Am MLK Jr. explores the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact on civil rights through present day.”

It features amongst others, interviews with civil rights icons Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and John Lewis.

Other illustrious individuals who have sat down to chat over the years include:  David Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin, Carl Lewis, Bob Costas, Vin Diesel, Mickey Rourke, Lennox Lewis, President Barack Obama, Lou Ferrigno, Owen Wilson…

Hold a second?

President Barack Obama!

Hamilton interviewed Obama, an avid basketball fan, for the Nash documentary.

Of his meeting with then sitting President Obama, Hamilton recalls: “It will always go down as the most epic interview I have ever done. It was super surreal and it was done in the White House at his residence and we literally only had five minutes. He talked about Steve (Nash) and about how humble he was and yet had a winning attitude.

“I thought I would be nervous talking to him (Obama) but I wasn’t. Waiting for him I was nervous but in the end it was just a conversation between two people.”

Hamilton, who attended Fort McMurray Composite High School and was a key ingredient on the Miner’s basketball team that placed third at the 1985-86 Alberta Schools Athletic Association boys basketball championships, said his one-on-one sit down with  NBA superstar Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was also surreal.

“We all know how intense he was on the basketball court and I had heard rumours that he could be a tough interview and not give you much time. He was engaging, affable and well-spoken….that surprised me a bit.”

Of his time in Fort McMurray and the importance of the sport of basketball to his career, if any, Hamilton replied: “At that age you are a kid (Hamilton’s family moved from Jamaica to Fort McMurray when he was entering Grade 5) and that is when you kind of find yourself. Also growing up in a smaller community, although I hear it has changed a lot, you get to do things with everybody and you become close knit.

”Playing basketball and sports in general, kind of gives you the foundation in not only film making but life. As you know basketball is super competitive and so is film making…and that is why I think it allowed me to transition into film making. Plus, I was always a creative person”

Other sports documentaries on his resume include Facing Schwarzenegger (2016), Hail Mary (2012), Boys of the Bigs (2008).

He is currently in production of Built For This: The Michael Bisping Story which follows “38 year-old UFC middleweight Michael Bisping.”

Thinking ahead, Hamilton has also landed the “shopping rights” for the autobiography of basketball’s trouble star Lamar Odom.

“For me I want to tell stories that are amazing,” concluded Hamilton.

Catch you on the rebound!


Michael Hamilton with Mickey Rourke
Hamilton beside the poster for I Am MLK Jnr.
Michael with Nick Cannon
Hamilton with Vin Diesel.