About Zale Dalen

Zale Dalen, AKA David James Scott, started his career in the film business as a script writer (“Another Smith for Paradise” directed by Tom Shandell in 1972) assistant editor, soundman, editor, and sponsored/educational film director. His big break came in 1976 with the funding of his first feature film, “Skip Tracer”.  Since then he has directed four more Canadian features – “The Hounds of Notre Dame”, “Terminal City Ricochet”, “Expect No Mercy”, and “Passion” – two of which are considered Canadian classics, one of which was a job of work made for the exploitation market in third world countries, and one of which, “Passion”. is a work of pure genius that remains totally unrecognized. Along the way he directed two made for TV movies – “Anything to Survive” and “On Thin Ice, the Tai Babalonia Story” – and quite a few episodes of television series like Alfred Hitchcock, Wiseguy, Scene of the Crime, Friday’s Curse, Kung Fu the Legend Continues, Beachcombers and For the Record.

Zale has eclectic interests and a great number of practical skills for which he has no tickets, everything from electrical wiring, plumbing and drywall to bullwhip making.  He’s a lifelong learner and a Social Justice Warrior who hopes to become a good person some day. He’s currently practicing the piano, violin, mandolin, erhu (Chinese two stringed violin), banjo, harmonica, and trombone.

Here are a couple of links to introduce you to Zale and his work:

First, here’s an extensive interview.

And on a lighter note, here’s a webcomic review of Terminal City Ricochet.  How many directors get a web comic review of their movie, eh?

And here are some nice words about his work on the Saskatchewan Film for Expo ’86

There’s a lot more on the Internet about Zale and his work.  A Google search always turns up something new and surprising.  You should try it.

19 thoughts on “About Zale Dalen

    • I’ve been in China for almost nine years. Coming home this year and looking forward to seeing your plays. Congratulations on getting them happening. If you want to know all about my life in China you need to go to my other name, my birth name, David James Scott, and visit http://www.themaninchina.com
      I’ll send you an email just in case you don’t get this.

      Great to hear from you. I’d love to sit down with you and talk sometime in July or August.


  1. Dear Teacher Zha Le Da Len,
    A minivan is always a wise choice, though less delicious than real Ma Po or Chou Dof. I, your former colleague Zhou, was hoping you’d leave your well fattened GuoGuo behind [best part].

  2. Hi David-Zale,
    Welcome back to Canada. I have enjoyed checking in at your website over the years. Not to much recently but I looked yesterday and was surprised to see you back. My wife, Cheryl and I now live in Victoria. She works at UVic and I am semi-whatever. Lets get together for a nibble and a chat sometime.

  3. Hi Zale,
    It was a pleasure meeting you and chatting with you last night at the Surrey Board / National Film Board reception.

    And I was happy to see you introduced to our very own lower mainland Vodka.

    I hope your re-integration here goes well. If I can be of assistance to you in any way, let me know.

    Keep well!

    • Thanks, Gary. It was great to meet a few of the makers and shakers. I did feel like a bit of a dinosaur though. One of the young businessmen asked me how long I’ve been making movies. I asked him when he was born. 1980. Hah. I made my first feature film in 1976. Doesn’t seem possible.

  4. Don’t tell anybody, but

    … I got plans for XMAS.

    I got salt licks and apples, leg traps and cyanide laced Santa booze chocolates all ready to lay out on the roof for the 25th. If I could only remember the names of which bambi is buck and which is doe and figure out which way the old red bugger is gonna land sleighwise, I’d trap me the tastier fem venison for New Years. There’s got to be at least one non-naughty laowai in my building, so San Da has to land up top here. I’ll be standing outside all night; drunk, armed [slingshot with fake Chinese cluster bomblets] and waiting for a tortiere to bake in my little red oven.

    Hate to spoil your own festive preps, but sending foto evidence of old pirate me@62. Enough to ruin your lunch souffle?

    Miss you folks,

    Mr. Older Fox Joe

  5. Welcome back to the Wet Coast! Moira and I are now in Victoria, just down the road a piece from you. Send me an email addy and we can catch up.


  6. We have had some upheavals, or I’m sure I would have tracked you down some afore this. We decided, for a variety of reasons, that it was time to move back on land and not fight the low tide ramp to the floathome. It became rather a nightmare of realtors, bad housing markets, interim rental and much sadness. We moved to a “manufactured homes community” in South Surrey (almost White Rock) and buried our sorrows in renovating a
    “double wide” until we could call it home. With some time to kill, I ran across my file on your China adventure, only to discover that you weren’t there no more. If it suits you, let’s have your email address and discourse a bit further. Your new ventures sound like you are steering quite a different course.
    Cheers, Keith . . .

  7. Hi Zale,
    maybe you remember me from the old days at the NFB on Granville, working on various projects along with Ron Orieux, etc. I have lived for 15 years in Mexico now back in Montreal for a while. I am heading out to Vancouver, the island, pacific rim, sunshine coast etc for a couple of weeks with my Mexican wife. Where are you in BC? what are you up to? Kepp in touch with any of the old crowd?
    Barrie Howells

  8. “So… you want to be a film director/producer in the movies!” Then you got to read this. The life and times of just what an inspired director had to go through in a lifetime of low budgets, mistrust, back stabbing and flaming egos. Way to go Zale! Now you got to write the book. Totally enjoyed the read.

  9. “So… you want to be a film director/producer in the movies!” Then you got to read this. The life and times of just what an inspired director had to go through in a lifetime of low budgets, mistrust, back stabbing and flaming egos. Way to go Zale! Now you got to write the book. Totally enjoyed the read. “So In the End, What Am I?”, soon to preview in a theatre near you.

    • Thanks for the kind words, J. Douglas. I had totally forgotten that you actually worked with Phil Borsos. One of my role models sadly gone far too early. Great having dinner with you last night. Thanks for picking up the tab.

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