Frederick Kroetsch

Top 40 Under 40 2015

Photography Curtis Comeau

Age: 37

Job Title: Co-owner and Producer, Open Sky Pictures

Why He’s Top 40: He is telling Edmontonians’ stories in positive ways that he hopes will inspire others to make changes for the better.

If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “As a documentarian, I want Edmonton to continue in whatever direction it’s headed. I just want to be there to film whatever it’s going to do.”

Frederick Kroetsch gets to see Alberta through a different lens than most people.

The filmmaker’s current television projects with his production company, Open Sky Pictures, include Invincible, a reality series about globetrotting quadruple amputee Daniel Ennett; Queer Places, a documentary series focused on the lives of LGBT people in rural Alberta; and KittenTV, a series showing playful kittens who are up for adoption. He explains that all the shows he’s working on have positive goals.

“It’s fun to make inspiring programming, because everyone wants to help and everyone feels good about what they’re doing,” Kroetsch says. “I attended the country’s only gay rodeo. I got to follow around one of Fort McMurray’s only drag performers.”

I get to experience parts of Alberta a lot of people don’t even know exist and I get to share it all over the world.”

Kroetsch founded Open Sky Pictures with his production partner, Kurt Spenrath, in 2012 while filming a reality series focused on controversial pro wrestler Teddy Hart. The series never aired, but the connections Kroetsch made in the wrestling world inspired him to make the documentary, The Match, about Alberta’s Prairie Wrestling Alliance. It won the first-ever BravoFACTUAL Award in 2013.

After Invincible was picked up by Telescopic, he quit his day job with CTV Two. 

Kroetsch explains that his five years with CTV Two taught him that there is a lot more going on in Alberta than many realize. This inspired him to film documentaries around the world, including The Universal Language, Journeys of Hope: A Voyage to Kenya, and Happytown. His films were entered in several film festivals, winning numerous awards.

In 2013, Kroetsch travelled throughout Africa and South America with A Better World Canada, documenting the Alberta-based group’s relief efforts. He also filmed a Habitat Studio house-building project in Honduras.

 “It was a perfect combination because I got to work for a good cause and share a great story,” Kroetsch says. “I feel lucky that these are the kinds of stories I get to share for a living.”

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