Michael Davidson is an award-winning television Director, Producer and Director of Photography based in Toronto, Canada. As a Director and DOP he has filmed extensively around the world, in locations ranging from the war zone of Afghanistan to the remote reaches of Malaysia & China. He specializes in documentary / factual programming for broadcasters such as Discovery Channel and National Geographic.
In 2018 Michael returned to directing on Discovery’s Mighty Trains, travelling through Australia aboard the Indian Pacific Railway and to Thailand telling the story of the Death Railway (Bridge Over the River Kwai) & Burma Railway. He also directed multiple episodes for Discovery’s latest season of Mighty Ships featuring locations throughout Europe. Other highlights include producing and directing for the Liberal Party of Canada 2018 Convention and Liberal Party President Suzanne Cowan. In June, production began on the Canadian Comedy Feature VIJIKOL, filming in New Delhi, India. In 2018 Michael also began pre-production on the doc-feature, Cobalt: The New Gold Rush, filming late 2019, which explores mining cobalt in the Congo for production of lithium batteries in EVs.
In 2016-17 Michael directed and produced a variety of episodic work and a number of development projects, including a documentary series with the RCAF filming at 8-Wing Trenton and the C-130 429 Bison Squadron (director/producer/dop) and a survival series format Sisters of the Wild (director/producer/dop), shooting extensively for weeks in the remote Outback of Australia's Northern Territory. For Wild he filmed solo, following survivalists through challenging terrain and weather conditions as a self-sufficient camera unit while directing / producing the pilot episode. Michael also filmed (co-director) with Orbital ATK at Cape Canaveral documenting the deployment of CYGNSS (Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System) from the Stargazer Launch Aircraft and Pegasus-XL rocket (Bronze Medal Winner for Best Science & Technology Episode at the New York Festivals competition).
Other projects include documenting the weeks long mission of the Russian built and operated, Ilyushin-76 aircraft with Volga-Dnepr (director, co-dop) as they transported heavy machinery and mining equipment in -30C winter conditions to Baffin Island. Michael also travelled across the Andes in Ecuador on the prestigious Tren Crucero for Mighty Trains (director).
Michael continued to move between Director and DP roles, such as shooting the docudrama series Collision Course (dop) and directing on the first season of Discovery's Mighty Trains (director), travelling throughout Norway and Sweden to tell the story of the North Rail Express. In early 2017 he filmed with the US Navy VAW-120 Squadron (director) aboard the super-carrier USS George Washington, following a group of rookie C2 Greyhound pilots as they went through their carrier qualifications to join the fleet. Michael also returned to the docks of Dutch Harbor, Alaska and the Bering Sea while onboard the longliner Northern Leader for two-weeks filming the latest season of the successful series Mighty Ships (director). Michael and his four-man doc crew were onboard their vessel in the North Bering Sea when the strongest storm system ever recorded to hit the region swept through - a cyclone with a central low pressure of 924 millibars (more powerful than Hurricane Katrina). With winds gusting close to 200 km/h, and sea swells over fifty feet, they rode it out for days and kept filming.
In 2015-16 Michael shot and directed a wide range of projects, including Discovery Channel's Mighty Planes with the crew of NASA's Super Guppy aircraft while flying missions across the country transporting oversized components of an experimental NASA / Boeing hybrid wing-body aircraft, as well as flying missions with the RCAF Buffalo 422 Search & Rescue Squadron based in Comox, BC, documenting the delivery of the Maersk Interceptor oil drilling platform from construction in Singapore to launch in Norway for Mighty Ships and filming with TT racers on the Isle of Man for the series Megaspeed among many others. Michael co-directed a two-hour Discovery Channel special edition of Mighty Planes celebrating the 60th anniversary of the C-130, including filming with the US Special Forces aboard the MC-130 while air refueling V-22 Ospreys. He also DP’d multiple episodes of History Channel’s docudrama series UFOs Declassified and directed multiple episodes of the 4K series Undiscovered Vistas for the Love Nature Channel.
In 2014 Michael completed a two-hour special, which he directed and DP’d for Discovery Channel on the construction of a $900 million-dollar cruise ship at Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The filming process occurred over an 18-month schedule following the construction and design phase from the smallest engineering details to block building ship assembly and sea trials. Also in 2012/13 Michael worked on the Discovery series Nerve Center shooting at a diverse group of locations, directing episodes such as Cirque du Soleil’s KA show in Las Vegas, The Channel Tunnel, UPS Global Operations Center in Louisville KY, the Barrett Jackson car auction in Scottsdale AZ and DP’ing at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the Chip Ganassi Indy Racing Team. In the summer and fall of 2012 he filmed extensively with Donald Trump and the crew of his private 757, filming at locations ranging from NYC to Aberdeen Scotland while directing for the second season of Discovery Channel’s doc series Mighty Planes. Throughout 2011/12 Michael worked with the US Air Force, embedded with the 9th Airlift Squadron aboard the C5M Super Galaxy, directing at locations including Dover Air Force Base, Lockheed Martin in Marietta, GA and Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan.
Examples of other projects completed include filming with the crew of the Vancouver, BC based Martin Mars water bomber while on a mission fighting brush fires in Northern Mexico (director). He was embedded with MDSU2 (US Navy Mobile Diving & Salvage Unit) and OTF (Ocean Technology Foundation) while searching for the shipwreck of the Bonhomme Richard off the shores of Flamborough Head, UK (director/dop). At locations throughout Italy and Spain, Michael followed a team of international experts and scientists on their search for the lost city of Atlantis while filming National Geographic's doc Finding Atlantis(director/dop). He filmed with GeoSea on the jackup vessel Neptune, based off the Belgian Coast at the Thornton Bank Wind Farm documenting the installation of offshore REpower 5MW wind turbines (dop).
Other notable projects include, filming with the Canadian Coast Guard & the ArcticNet science / research team in the North Beaufort Sea and Northwest Passage (director/dop), examining the effects of climate change at the North Pole. For five weeks while in Lomé, Togo West Africa he shot and directed a doc chronicling the outreach mission of Africa Mercy, one of the world’s largest, most sophisticated hospital ships.
Additional projects include filming deep under the Pacific aboard the nuclear ballistic missile submarine SSBN USS Kentucky, as well as the super-carrier USS Nimitz with the VFA-14 'Tophatters' Strike Fighter Squadron, both for the Discovery Channel Gemini nominated series Mighty Ships (director/dop). His time onboard the USS Kentucky marked the first time a civilian crew had ever been allowed onboard a ballistic missile submarine while actively on mission patrol. Michael also completed multiple episodes of the popular series Monster Moves (producer/director/writer/dop) for UK pro co Windfall Films. His episode ‘Wooden Wonders’ garnered the series its first Gemini nomination.
Michael has been involved in series development on various projects with pro cos such as Boxing Cats, Cream, Cineflix, Windfall Films, Exploration Production and Force Four among others. Work from development to broadcast stage includes Discovery Channel's Greatest Know It All and the Bill Jamieson series Treasure Trader on History Channel. For Trader, Michael also DP’d the series pilot and directed various segments on the show.
Michael is certified BOSIET (Basic Offshore Safety Induction & Emergency Training), HUET (Helicopter Underwater Escape Training) PSAgA (Industrial Climbing Certificate), EBS (Emergency Breathing Systems) with additional training including: Sea Survival, Firefighting, First Aid, Offshore Boat Transfer & Boat to Wind Energy Installation Platforms.
Please contact Michael directly for a CV and complete list of credits.