b.h. Yael

b.h. Yael is a Toronto based filmmaker, video and installation artist. She is Professor and Chair of Integrated Media at the Ontario College of Art and Design, and past Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Art.

Yael's work has exhibited nationally and internationally and has shown in various settings, from festivals to galleries to various educational venues. Her work has also been purchased by several universities. Yael's film and video work has dealt with issues of identity, authority and family structures, while at the same time addressing the fragmentary nature of memory and belonging. More recent work focuses on activist initiatives, political fear, apocalypse and gender. The work most often involves non-linear and hybrid forms, including dramatized and fictional elements combined with first person narration, autobiographical and documentary perspectives.

Fresh Blood, A Consideration of Belonging dealt specifically with the many intersections of identity, including its racialized aspects within Jewish culture, and centred around a 'return' journey to Israel and to her mother's Iraqi culture. A follow up piece, In the Middle of the Street, is a documentation of peace actions in Israel/Palestine. A project currently in production is, 'a hot sandfilled wind' is a poetic activist piece, acknowledging that peace requires mutual recognition.

Other videos include
Seldom, Is Dad Dead Yet, and My Mother is a Dangerous Woman. Past installation works such as Home Rule and Bomb Shelters have exhibited with the Spontaneous Combustion Collective; You are Here was shown at the Images Festival of Independent Film and Video; and offering, a video projection dealing with fear, was exhibited at the Koffler Gallery as part of DIG/DUG.

In collaboration with Johanna Householder, Yael has produced
Approximations, a series of short works examining filmic representations of gender. The first, titled The Mission, is a shot for shot recreation - edited in camera - of the opening scene of Francis Coppola's 1979 landmark, Apocalypse Now. The Mission is a comedic piece which calls into question the gendering of redemption. A second piece in the Approximations series is, December 31, 2000, based on Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey. December 31, 2000 is an ironic and humourous reversal of domesticity and of a gendered apocalypse, pointing to the failure of the future.

b.h. Yael has produced work as part of various artist projects:
(of)fences, in response to the recent Quebec Summit of the Americas is part of the blahblahblah (Re)viewing Quebec artist project; Triskaidekaphobia, commissioned by Inside/Out, focuses on conversations with her son about phobias, theories of sexuality, and mothers; and pacts is a short web based piece pointing to the failure of peace negotitations produced for The Olive Project..

Yael is currently working on a video essay titled
Trading the Future which questions the ways in which secular culture has embraced 'apocalypse' as inevitable.

Yael has worked in the sphere of independent film and video since the mid 1980's.
As a past Coordinator of Programming at the Images Festival of Independent Film and Video, Yael was involved in the development of that festival in its first years; she also developed workshops and selected programming at Trinity Square Video.

Yael has sat on the Boards of Northern Visions (Images festival) and the Canadian Filmmakers Distribution Centre; she had also served on the Steering Committee of the Centre for Media and Culture in Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. She has worked on programming committees, such as A Space Gallery and the Euclid Theatre, and has sat on many arts council juries.

Artist Code: 264


No Lies

2017, 01:00 minutes, colour, English subtitles

Lessons for Polygamists

2017, 14:30 minutes, colour, English and French subtitles

Ken Tov Beseder

2010, 04:36 minutes, colour, Hebrew, Arabic & English

Trading the Future

2008, 59:00 minutes, colour, English

Palestine Trilogy: documentations in history

2006, 75:00 minutes, colour, English, Hebrew & Arabic

A Hot Sandfilled Wind

2006, 13:00 minutes, colour, English, Hebrew & Arabic

Even in the Desert

2006, 33:00 minutes, colour, English

Deir Yassin Remembered

2006, 28:00 minutes, colour, English


2005, 07:45 minutes, colour, English, Aramaic, Chinese


2003, 05:57 minutes, colour, English

Approximations (Parts 1 - 3)

2002, 18:41 minutes, colour, English

In the Middle of the Street

2002, 33:00 minutes, colour, English

The Lonely Lesbian

2002, 04:45 minutes, colour, English

Next to Last Tango

2001, 07:00 minutes, colour, English / French

December 31, 2000

2001, 07:20 minutes, colour, English

The Mission

2000, 04:21 minutes, colour, English

FRESH BLOOD, A Consideration of Belonging

1996, 55:00 minutes, colour, English

Ladies Shorts Tape 2

1995, 39:20 minutes, colour, English

Is Dad Dead Yet?

1991, 35:00 minutes, colour, English

My Mother Is A Dangerous Woman

1987, 16:00 minutes, colour, English

Jain Walks The Line

1986, 05:00 minutes, colour, English

You Belong To Me

1986, 06:00 minutes, colour, English

Why She Got Pregnant

1985, 05:00 minutes, colour, English

Critical Writing

B.H. Yael: Family States
by Mike Hoolboom. Toronto: converSalon, 2021.
Geopolitics & The Videos of b.h.Yael
by Richard Fung. Fierce: Women's Hot Blooded Film and Video, Mar. 10, 2010. Hamilton: McMaster Museum of Art, 2010.
Ardent Spaces, Formidable Environments
by Patricia R. Zimmerman. Fierce: Women's Hot Blooded Film/Video, Mar. 2010. Hamilton: McMaster Museum of Art, 2010.
Video Essay questions religious apocalypse
by Barbara Shainbaum. Jewish Tribune, Apr. 11, 2008.
Must do: if you only do five things this week
by National Post. The National Post, Mar. 29, 2008.
Lollipops and the Future: Two feature films at Images look to lure...
by Jessica Padykula., Apr. 7, 2008, v. 8, no. 2.
Strategic Approximation: Independent Videographers Revise the...
by Janice Hladki. Feminist Media Studies Journal, Mar. 2008, v. 6, no. 1.
Corporeal Pedagogy and Contemporary Video Art
by Stephanie Springgay. Art Education, Mar. 2008, v. 61, no. 2.
The Curatorial Incubator Round II
by Marty Spellerberg..
Johanna Householder: Ambiguous Redemptions
by Ian Carr-Harris. Caught In the Act: an anthology of performance art by Canadian women, 2004. Toronto: YYZ, 2004.
No Where Near the End, or, No notes Towards Trading the Future
by b.h. Yael. Fuse, Nov. 2002, v. 25, no. 4.
Art for Glob
by Richard Fung. Fuse, Nov. 2002, v. 25, no. 4.
Wide Impact
by Deirdre Hanna. NOW, Apr. 12, 2001, v. 20, no. 32.
1998 British Canadian Video Exchange, 1998. Toronto: Vtape, 1998.
1998 British Canadian Video Exchange, 1998. Toronto: V tape, 1998.
Fresh Blood: A Consideration of Belonging
by Sandra Haar. Fuse, Winter 1997, v. 20, no. 1.
Video artist reconstructs shifting Jewish identity: Fresh Blood...
by Cameron Bailey. Now, Sept. 19, 1996, v. 16, no. 3.
Home video makes Yael's tale a true saga: Roots quest covers...
by Peter Goddard. The Toronto Star, Sept. 19, 1996.
Desiring Daughters
by Renee Baert. Screen, Summer 1993, v. 34, no. 2.
This feminist film is drop-dead funny
by Craig MacInnis. The Toronto Star, Jan. 15, 1991.
Detonate!: (They Blew Up Real Good)
by Randi Spires. Fuse, Spring 1990, v. 13, no. 4.
Film & Video On The Level
by B.H. Yael. Fuse, Fall 1987.
The 1986 New Work Show
by Geoffery Shea. Cinema Canada, Nov. 1986.