Tag Archives: National Film Board

The Road to Patriation

The Road to Patriation by Robert Duncan

This feature documentary retraces the century of haggling by successive federal and provincial governments to agree on a formula to bring home the Canadian Constitution from England. This film concentrates on the politicking and lobbying that finally led to its patriation in 1982. Five prime ministers had failed before Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau took up the challenge in the early 1970s. Principal players in this documentary are federal Minister of Justice Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister Trudeau, 10 provincial premiers and a host of journalists, politicians, lawyers, and diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic.

This was an incredible documentary to watch.  One of the best things I have seen in the last couple of years.

What’s Wrong with SCN?

SCN A couple of months ago the Saskatchewan Party announced that they were going to shut down or sell the Saskatchewan Communication Network.  I wanted to be really upset over this but I just can’t.

After almost 20 years of flipping to the SCN regularly, I have enjoyed a total of three local shows.  I watched the Big Dig, a documentary on the Saskatchewan watershed and the other day I watched a good documentary on the restoration of Convocation Hall.  I went to the SCN website and it took me an hour of searching Google, the SCN website, and the U of S website to find the link which is about to prove my point, it’s really hard to be a fan of the SCN.

I love local programming and film making but what the SCN is broadcasting almost never matches up with what SaskTel Max  is showing, the website is poor quality with a horrible search engine or a online store, and they seem to be ignoring social media (no Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo, or weblog) that I can find.  There is a website but it isn’t do anything for the network, the province, or the content creators.  Hire an intern, give them a Twitter account and a blog, develop a partnership with the National Film Board (scn.nfb.ca) or the CBC (scn.cbc.ca) for the backend and create a great online store where I can pay to download or purchase a DVD of what I watched.

My hope is that someone who understands modern media purchases the SCN and makes the network a lot more user friendly.  I love Saskatchewan content but they deserve a network that can present their work to the country and the world.

The worst thing that can happen is that the network shuts down but the second worst thing would be for the Saskatchewan government to fund them at subsistence funding levels they appear to be at now.  The SCN could be so much more but it needs a vision, funding, and management that can deliver a network that all of Saskatchewan wants to watch and takes Saskatchewan content to the world.

The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes

In honor of World Water Day, I present this post and video from 1968.

In this short documentary from conservationist Bill Mason, he illustrates that although the Great Lakes have had their ups and downs, nothing has been harder to take than what humans have done to them lately. In the film, a lone canoeist lives through the changes of geological history, through Ice Age and flood, only to find himself in the end trapped in a sea of scum.

Some background on the film from the NFB

The film was conceived and produced for the educational market. It was to be on the evolution of the Great Lakes (the working title was Evolution of the Great Lakes) and man’s impact on them. Mason agreed to a lighter approach for the film but was disappointed when the producer made several changes to his finished work. Test screenings proved to be very successful with children and teachers, who appreciated the humorous approach to the subject. The feedback was so positive that the film was blown up to 35 mm for theatrical distribution. Nevertheless, Mason was not happy with the finished product, feeling he had lost creative control over it.

All I could think of while watching this is that if this was bothering him back in 1968, it’s condition right now much really devastate him.

Of course if a musical educational video doesn’t capture your mood today, here is a full length documentary by Jacques Cousteau on the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The National Film Board Opens the Archives

I think we are all in agreement, that is the greatest Canadian short ever made.  I found it while checking out the National Film Board‘s new site which has high quality streaming videos for free.  Not only does this excite the historian in me, it excites the Residential Coordinator in me as the guys at the Centre love documentaries.  With a laptop, wifi connection and a television, there is a lot of good stuff to show that would quite difficult to get otherwise.