Brothers Kevin McMahon and Michael McMahon were born and grew up in Niagara Falls. In 1990 they formed the documentary film company, Primitive Entertainment, in Toronto. The Falls, their first feature documentary, looked at the culture and environment of Niagara Falls. A critical and popular success, the film influenced a generation of Canadian documentary makers.
Kevin McMahon has since directed more than 20 films. His work focuses on environmental themes, viewed through subjects ranging from the cod fishery to nuclear weapons, the Arctic and the boreal forest. He is the author of the landmark documentary series’ The Polar Sea and Equator: A New World View. Kevin’s work has garnered awards and honors from film festivals around the world. He is a frequent mentor to younger filmmakers; in 2006 he was the first Official Mentor at the Hot Docs festival. In 2011, Kevin was named Canadian Eco Hero by the Planet in Focus film festival.
Michael McMahon oversees Primitive Entertainment’s selection and financing of projects. Internationally, Michael has forged partnerships with co-producers and investors in Europe, Australia and Japan. Michael served as the Co-Chair of the Board of Directors of Hot Docs from 2003 to 2018 and has been instrumental in the revitalization of Toronto’s historic Bloor Cinema, now the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema. He is a board member of DOC Ontario, and has served as the Documentary Producer Mentor at The Canadian Film Centre.
With 30 years’ experience producing premium non-fiction content, Primitive Entertainment’s work has earned more than 40 awards world-wide. Awards include the Grimme Online Award for Culture and Entertainment, a Webby Award for Best Individual Documentary, the SXSW Interactive award for Activism, Genie Awards for Best Short Documentary and Best Feature Length Documentary, multiple Gemini Awards including Best Performing Arts Series, and an Emmy Nomination for Outstanding Nature Programming, among many others.