MIT 2000 Reading Summaries for Film Week (Druick, Armatage, Magder)

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Western University
Media, Information and Technoculture
Media, Information and Technoculture 2000F/G
Daniel Robinson

Reading Summaries “The National Film Board and Government” Zoe Druick This reading discusses how the National Film Board of Canada has been able to survive since it is not heavily commercialized like Hollywood or Bollywood films. Documentaries were produced by the board in order to consolidate “middle-ground opinion in Canada and about Canada” (259). The board was established in 1939 and played a heavy role in getting government information and propaganda to the public during the war.After controversy regarding the board’s “unfair advantage in securing government contracts… [and] its allegedly politically dubious connections to communism” the board suffered budget cuts. In the 1950’s it was able to remake itself as an “educational film provider” (260). Over the years the board embraced new technologies like IMAX, and supported minority and First Nations filmmakers. Today, the board “continues to fund documentary and educational films” (260). The film board’s main purpose was to chronicle the development of urbanization and industrialization, which it did up until 1964. They produced a record of experiences that would later be lost due to modernity. Druick explains how bar graphs, maps, photos and movies are all linked “to the conception of the population as an aggregate of different classes and groups with a variety of regulatory civil needs” (263). The way in which films were able to record history was important in creating modern states and citizens. Actors were used in films to represent a “typical” member of a certain class. In this way, societal norms could be created and certain cultural identities could be “fixed”. The people in the films represented statistics of the population. “From The Firl from God’s Country: Nell Shipman and the Silent Cinema” Kay Armatage This reading discusses the life of Nell Shipman, a Canadian actress, director and writer heavily involved with her films. Her most popular film was Back to God’s Country (1919) where she played the heroine, saving her husband and bringing justice to the villains. Instead of selling her films in Canada, she would
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