The Obituary of David Sobelman, Editor, Producer, & Film Director (1950 – 2022)



It is with sadness that we share the news that our admired and dear friend, David Sobelman, died at his home in Oakville on November 7, 2022, while recuperating from surgery. David was predeceased by his beloved wife, poet and professor, Rishma Dunlop. Born in Haifa of an old French Jewish family, David was the son of Rivka Aboutboul and Izhak Sobelman. His brother, Nadav Sivan (Rena Kahn) of Atlanta survives him. David’s early years were spent living and studying across Europe, in Holland, Germany, France, and England. In 1972, he immigrated to Canada to study film and literature at York University. David enjoyed a dynamic career in Toronto, not only as a screenwriter and editor, translator and poet (After The End), but as a writer-producer and independent director of film and television feature-length documentaries: Runaways: 24 Hours On The Streets, McLuhan’s Wake, and Samuel Bak: Painter Of Questions. His television series included Marshall McLuhan’s ABC, The Shuttle Years, and The Space Symphony. For this creative work he received a Gemini Award and a Prix Anik, and was awarded The Media Ecology’s Praxis Award, and the Governor General’s Michener Award for Broadcast Journalism. In a profound sense, David – from his beginnings – had set out to create himself, becoming a bon but melancholy vivant and scholar (he once taught courses in Thomas Aquinas at the University of Toronto); a kind of Baudelairean flaneur who was deeply rooted in isolation, an intellectual of acute philosophical awareness and unflinching integrity, who was open to thought-provoking shenanigans. In other words, he was a complicated, singular fellow.

Published by The Globe and Mail from Nov. 19 to Nov. 23, 2022.
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Online source:

One of David’s works, now still available online: –
McLuhan’s Wake (2003): The Video

Kevin McMahon (Director). Michael McMahon and Kristina McLaughlin (Primitive Producers).
Gerry Flahive (NFB Producer). David Sobelman (Writer & Co-producer).
Montreal, PQ: Primitive Entertainment in co-production with the National Film Board of Canada in association with TVONTARIO, 2003.

As he lay dying on the last day of 1980, Marshall McLuhan had every reason to believe he would soon be forgotten. His ideas about technology and its role in society had been dismissed by many Western intellectuals and his beloved study centre at the University of Toronto had been closed. His books were not selling and the mass media, having built him up as the oracle of our times, had lost interest. Worst of all, a massive stroke, suffered earlier in the year, had rendered him mute.

It was a tragically perfect end for a misunderstood prophet: rich in pathos and irony. For CNN was born the year McLuhan died and the world would soon come to viscerally understand two of his most famous and puzzling aphorisms: “the Global Village” and “the medium is the message”…
See the full video online at

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