A documentary filmmaker for over thirty years and a teacher of filmmaking and video production for as many years, Michael Markee has taught and made films and videos with a passion for much of his life.
The first commercial documentary he made was on Oregon poet laureate, William Stafford, entitled “What The River Says.” Beginning his career as an English teacher, Markee worked with teacher and poet Vince Wixon on this and another documentary on Stafford entitled “The Life of The Poem.” After Stafford’s death in 1993, Markee made a third documentary about Stafford, “The Methow River Poems,” a video about Bill’s involvement in writing poems for signs along the Washington Northern Cascade highway.
Markee’s next project was again with Vince Wixon and TTTD Productions, a documentary on Japanese American poet and professor, Lawson Inada. Lawson had spent four years in internment camps as a child during World War Two and this experience led to the award winning documentary, “What It Means To Be Free.”
In 2000 Markee retired from teaching, forming his own company, Markee Productions and began a two and a half year project working with artists and artisans from Salem Oregon as they transformed a two and a half story stainless steel ball formerly used in the paper-making process into a work of art. “Creating A New World,” the documentary was released in 2004.
When he was working on the “Eco-Earth Globe” project, Markee met Jay Dusard who was teaching a photography workshop in Bishop Califonia and a friendship developed that led to a three year project that was finished in the summer of 2005, “Jay Dusard: Keeping The West Western.” Being a photographer himself, Markee found working with Jay Dusard a constant education from one of the great master black and white photographers and darkroom printers of the world.
“Every project is an eduction,” Markee says. Currently he is working on the fourth draft of a novel and is considering writing a couple of screenplays as well as looking for the next documentary project.