Richard Bell (born March 17, 1975) is a Canadian writer and director.
Richard grew up in the suburbs of Vancouver, the son of an English father and a Trindadian mother, and the middle child in a family of three boys. Richard's talents were nurtured from an early age, as he was placed in his elementary school's "enrichment program". It was here that Richard first acquainted himself with the school's camcorder, a rather new piece of technology in public schools at the time. Richard relished the opportunity to write little scripts and shoot them, then hang posters in the hallways and stage "premieres" in the school gymnasium. He directed two shorts, Technology Shock, about a robot who lands on earth to learn more about its technology, and 1999, a film about the Russian invasion of Canada and the start of WWIII. The completion of a third film, Deadly Transmission was thwarted by his enrichment teacher when she discovered the day's shoot involved blowing up a model of the villain's headquarters with a cache of firecrackers.
Elementary school also afforded Richard the opportunity to act in many school plays; his favourite role was playing the Lion in his grade four's class production of The Wizard of Oz.
Richard pursued drama in junior and senior high school. Roles included playing Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, Harding in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Berger in Hair, and John Proctor in The Crucible. At this time, Richard enjoyed making short video comedies featuring his high school friends. He graduated as Valedictorian of Terry Fox Senior Secondary in 1993.
Richard trained as an actor and playwright at Studio 58, the only conservatory-style theatre training program in Western Canada. He struggled through classes where he had to play characters from Shaw, Shakespeare, Shepherd, and Wilde, yet always excelled when he performed his own characters and creations in the school's "Performance Labs". He also embraced any opportunity he got to make videos for his school assignments. He graduated the infamously difficult program, with only three others, in 1998.
After graduating theatre school, Richard decided that he wanted to pursue his first love, film, at any cost. From 1998 to 2000, he wrote, filmed and directed Two Brothers, a movie he shot with a borrowed video camera for a paltry 545.00 dollars. Richard spent two years travelling the world, promoting the flick and making appearances at whatever film festival would take his movie. After a screening went particularly well in Philadelphia, Richard was approached by TLA Releasing, which offered to release the film on DVD. Two Brothers went on to gross a respectable profit, with Richard receiving a humble cut.
Two Brothers gave Richard the contacts, credibility and leverage he needed to raise $800, 000 to make his first feature, Eighteen. The film follows Pip, an eighteen year old runaway whose life is changed when he listens to a tape containing his grandfather's WWII memoirs. Richard stated in interviews that he was inspired to write the film after his older brother and he received the same gift from their grandad. Richard assembled British actors Ian McKellen (as the voice of the grandfather) and Alan Cumming, and Canadian stars Brendan Fletcher, Carly Pope and Thea Gill for the project. An encounter with Vancouver Symphony director Bramwell Tovey convinced the maestro to compose Eighteen’s soundtrack, and soon thereafter he and VSO president Jeff Alexander brought the entire symphony onboard. Eighteen did the film festival circuit and was released on DVD (also by TLAVideo.com) on June 27, 2006. It is currently screening on Here! Channel in the US, Movie Central and The Movie Network in Canada; it made its Canadian broadcast television premiere on City TV on March 1, 2008.
Richard is currently adapting Joanne Proulx's novel Anthem of a Reluctant Prophet for producer Michel Shane, the executive producer of Catch Me If You Can and I, Robot. The project is being developed by Telefilm and Astral Media, through the Harold Greenberg Fund.
As a screen-writer, Richard continues to be mentored by L.A. based scribe Donald Martin. He is represented by agent Perry Zimel at Oscars, Abrams and Zimel, in Toronto, Canada.
In 2007, Richard was nominated for a Genie Award for co-writing the song In a Heartbeat for his film Eighteen, with composer Bramwell Tovey. Vancouver newspaper Xtra! West awarded him the Best Visual Artist for the same film at their annual Hero Awards that year.