Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Horn of Plenty

Here in Toronto we have the horn of plenty when it comes to film and media resources. Toronto is the centre of English television and movie production for Canada.  While both Montreal and Vancouver both have big production centres and of course Montreal is the home of French broadcasting, Toronto is the home of the most network and distribution companies.

We have four universities with film/media programs.

University of Toronto

As well we have five colleges that offer film/television/media programs.

A number of private/public organizations providing training and support.

Toronto Reference Library

Most of these organizations have information that is available for researchers.  The schools all have libraries with deep research materials in the media and film studies. The Toronto Reference Library is one of the best research libraries in the world. A number of these organizations also make many films available to the public.  T.I.F.F. and Hot Docs offer a great variety through their permanent theatres in downtown Toronto. The NFB (National Film Board) has over 2000 titles available on-line.

Now having said all this, what do libraries mean to me personally?  Books have been a gigantic part of my life since I learned to read. Libraries have been part of my life almost as far back as I can remember.  The first time they impacted on my love of films was in Grade 10. I was at the Chinguacousy main branch doing research for a high school paper. The librarian’s desk was in the middle of the library’s second floor where most of the non-fiction books were kept.  I noticed a stack of films on a table in the librarian’s office and asked why they had so many films.  She told me that the NFB made their films available through libraries across Canada.  I then found out that with my library card I could check out up to ten films and a 16mm projector.  That moment was the beginning of film weekends.  Every few months, my friends and I would pick up a projector and a pile of films and hangout in the basement for the weekend watching these films over and over again.

This exposed me to some of the great filmmakers of the NFB.

Norman McLaren the Scottish born animator/filmmaker was one of the greatest innovators doing shorts for the NFB. Films like Pas de deux and Ballet Adagio were two films we watched over and over.

Ryan Larkin was another animator pushing the envelope with his films that seemed to be one line that kept changing or blobs of colour that morph into motion studies of people walking.

Or the ubiquitous City of Gold, a film based on still photos that today we call the, “Ken Burns” effect, of course Ken was only three or four when this film was made.

And finally conservationist Bill Mason made the geography film that changed the way many children learned about the area around the Great Lakes in 1968.  Comedy and crazy visual effects made this film a favourite at our film weekends.

In conclusion, the library is not only a place to find stored books. They are places of learning and research. For me they were another trigger on the way to a film career.

1 comment:

  1. This is totally going to help me as well. Thank you Chuck!