Wednesday, September 22, 2010

40 after 40: John Banovich


John Banovich came to Douglas one summer in the ’80s to join the Music program. This lead to getting involved in the Handel’s Messiah choir, the College men’s choir and a couple of bands formed with other students. After playing some gigs over the summer, he came back to school and received a Music Diploma (1986) and an Associate of Arts in Computer Information Systems and Business (1987) before heading off to SFU. After completing his post secondary education, he started taking night school classes in film and bought his first camera, an Arriflex 16mm.

Banovich fondly recalls his youth, when he filled every spare moment not occupied studying with sports, music and an ad-hoc comedy group.

“College was a lens for me, if I can use film terminology, to focus my academics and activities,” says Banovich. “It was an awesome time of my life,” he adds.


In 1997, everything changed. Banovich was struck by a drunk driver while traveling north on King George Highway.

“I was killed and came back to life in that ambulance on the way to Royal Columbia Hospital,” he says.

He spent months at the Hospital, undergoing 60 reconstructive surgeries and rehabilitation to learn to walk again. He overcame those obstacles, however, and has gone on to a successful career in the film industry as an award-winning director and cinematographer of feature films, TV series and commercials, documentaries and music videos.

Banovich is also a motivational speaker for non-profit organizations, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Indeed, his inspirational recovery and volunteerism lead to his winning the MADD National Volunteer Award in 2003 and the Coast Mental Health Courage to Come Back Award in the Physical Rehabilitation category in 2008.

He is particularly passionate about sending his message to high school students, some who may be unsure of where they want to go in life.

“My advice has always been ‘Why don’t you go to a community college? You can study, learn and develop yourself. Find out what motivates, drives and excites you. College is a great place to get your feet wet.’”

40 after 40 is a series showcasing our amazing grads and employees in celebration of our 40th anniversary. Check back every Wednesday and Friday for another inspiring story. See more about our 40th on our Anniversary page.