Born in Chicago and raised in the US, England and Canada, Michael McNamara presently lives in Toronto, Canada where he works as a filmmaker, screenwriter and director. In February 2002, he launched a new production company, Markham Street Films, with his partner Judy Holm, specializing in projects that are edgy, smart, provocative and funny. McNamara received a 2004 Gemini nomination for writing Radio Revolution: The Rise and Fall of the Big 8 (History Television Canada), which he also directed and narrated. The Film went on to win the 2004 Best History Program Gemini. In 2004 he also directed and co-wrote Flatly Stacked (TVO and the Documentary Channel), directed and co-wrote Meet the Sumdees for Vision TV and directed and wrote Penis Dementia: the Search for the Perfect Penis and Stacked Like Me (Discovery Channel, Life Network, Canal Vie). McNamara wrote and directed Driven by Vision, seasons 1 and 2, a 17 part series for Vision TV, for which he won a Gemini for Best Direction in a Documentary Series. He went on to write and direct the Gemini winning feature doc 100 Films & a Funeral (Documentary Channel), and is currently directing Acquainted With the Night, also for documentary, Who Killed Feminism (CBC) and Fan Boy Confessional (Space).
McNamara directed, edited, co-produced and co-wrote the documentary on aging fashion models, Wrinkle, for CBC Newsworld's Rough Cuts, for which he received a 2001 Gemini nomination for Best Director of a Documentary. In 2002, Michael McNamara co-produced, wrote and directed Hearing Voices: The Lives & Times of Rich Little, and in 2000 he wrote and directed The Life and Times of Robert Munsch, achieving top ratings on both shows for CBC’s flagship biography series. He was also a director on the popular Life Network "docu-soap" series Birth Stories. McNamara was nominated for a 1999 Best Director Gemini Award for his work on Network Television's first Gay & Lesbian sketch comedy special, Showtime / CBC Network's In Thru the Out Door, which was also nominated for a Gemini in the Best Music or Variet Program category. His concert documentary, My Foolish Heart: The Holly Cole Trio, won the 1993 Best Music Program Gemini along with many international awards, as did Jane Siberry: I Muse Aloud, which also earned him a Best Editing Gemini.
McNamara was the sole director and a co-writer of the popular 166-part children’s televison series Polka Dot Shorts which was seen in 32 other countries including Ireland, Korea, Israel, and China. The series wib a 2000 Gemini for Best Pre-School Program. McNamara also co-wrote and directed episodes of the children’s live-action and animated series Elliot Moose for Nelvana Productions.
John Scott: Art & Justice, his short documentary about the notorious Canadian artist, was an official selection of the 1998 Toronto International Film Festival and the Cork Film Festival and was nominated for Best Short Film at the 1999 Hot Docs Festival.
McNamara’s first feature film, The Cockroach that Ate Cincinnati won critical acclaim at many international film festivals in Canada, the US, and the UK, and earned a Best Actor Genie nomination for it’s star, Alan Williams. The film premiered on Canadian television on Bravo! in February 1998. His next feature, Sleepyhead, written by Noel Baker (Hard Core Logo) and based on a story by Baker and Michael O’Hara, is in development. Together with partner Judy Holm, through their company Markham Street Films Inc., Michael produced the feature Victorial Day for first-time writer/director David Bezmozgis. Victoria Day premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival.
McNamara is currently developing the novel Heaven is Small as a feature film.