Skip Tracer

Skip Tracer

Release date:


Running time:

93 minutes


Available on DVD

Closed Captioned:


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  • Audience level:
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Zale Dalen's classic in B.C. cinema has a special resonance today as economists and government officials raise alarm over record rates of consumer debt. The film is a character study of a professional debt collector working for a shady finance loan company in Vancouver. As the agency's top collector, John Collins (David Peterson) is intent on employing well-honed brutal tactics to retain his title as "Man of the Year" in debt collection. With an uncompromising focus on his job, tracking down debtors, little else occupies his life, and he stops at nothing. The arrival of a new employee precipitates a crisis of confidence, and Collins realizes he is as much a victim of the system as the debtors he tracks.

Skip Tracer won international praise for its skilful presentation of the day-to-day world of debt collection as well as its caustic critique of consumer values. Colin Browne describes it as "One of the most satisfying features ever made on the West Coast." A low budget feature, skilfully shot in 16mm and blown up to 35mm, Skip Tracer received critical acclaim from festivals that include Cannes, London, New York, Montreal, Toronto, Edinburgh, Sidney, Moscow and Thessalonika.

Moving Images Distribution gratefully acknowledges technical assistance from Vtape for the digital migration of this film from the one-inch videotape format that enabled its release on DVD.

"...In Dalen's film the city of Vancouver is a character. It's an urban labyrinth filled with car lots, parking lots, cheap buildings, tacky offices, noisy streets, junky building sites, unhappy suburbs and tawdry bars. Like no other feature shot in Vancouver, Dalen has managed to portray a part of the city's soul and to make it resonate throughout his story."          
                                             - Colin Browne, School of Contemporary Arts, SFU

Award(s): Etrog, Candian Film Awards

Festivals: New York Film Festival; Chicago Film Festival; Denver Film Festival; London Film Festival; Moscow Film Festival

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