came to Canada from Pinsk as a young boy with his mother Olga and brother
Mike, settling on a farm near Wandering River, Alberta, which had been
homesteaded by his father Joseph Zubko.
great difficulties, and with a natural mechanical genius for invention,
Nick became a pioneer of the Alberta motion picture industry.
worked for 14 years in the Department of Extension at the U of A, which
was at that time the audio-visual outpost of the university, specializing
in taking the message of the university to the world outside the
university by audio visual means.
the early fifties, he started Cine Audio Ltd.
which became the first 16mm film lab in Alberta, and a production and
post-production center that aided the pioneering efforts of Alberta
filmmakers. Nick was always there to solve technical problems, to lend
equipment or to give advice and encouragement. He had the ability of
adapting cameras or other equipment to do almost anything they were needed
his own right as a young man, he made a film titled “The Fisheries of
the Great Slave,” which became an award-winning film, processed and
edited from his home. He shot stock footage for Walt Disney Studios in
their formative years. He traveled to the Nahanni Valley for footage of
that legend-ridden area. He shot footage for the Glenbow Foundation, and
of subjects as varied as the creation of the Banff School of Fine Arts,
and the Sun Dance at the Gleichen Reserve. He worked with Dr. John
Callaghan, who originated the heart-lung machine, filming open heart
surgery, so that revolutionary methods could be demonstrated by the
technology of motion pictures to surgeons all over the world.
started the first 16mm film lab, building its initial film processor from
discarded surplus from the Italian government. He was an early advocate
for the creative and benevolent uses of technology, that has mushroomed
far beyond what he dreamt, into such things as the Internet, since he made his first film.
was the founding president of the Alberta Motion Pictures Industries
Association, that has since grown into a major force in the local
In 2002, he was posthumously awarded the David Billington Award by AMPIA.
is greatly missed by Joan Zubko, children Keltie (Doug Christie);
Josh; Zoltan (Diane Walker); Daryl; Scott; Grandchildren, Cadeyrn, Cole,
Kalonica and Wyatt, Gretta Niemann, and other friends and relatives.
following quotation describes my father's life quite aptly:
not the critic who counts, nor the observer who watches from a safe
distance. Wealth is created only by doers in the arena who are marred
with dirt, dust, blood, and sweat. These are producers who strike out
on their own, who know high highs, and low lows, great devotions, and
who overextend themselves for worthwhile causes. Without exception,
they fail more than they succeed and appreciate this reality even
before venturing out on their own. But when these producers of wealth
fail, they at least fail with style and grace, and their gut soon
recognizes that failure is only a resting place, not a place in which
to spend a life-time. Their places will never be with those nameless
souls who know neither victory nor defeat, who receive weekly pay-cheques
regardless of their week's performance, who are hired hands in the
labour in someone else's garden. These doers are producers and no
matter what their lot is at any given moment, they'll never take a
place beside the takers, for theirs is a unique place, alone, under