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Victoria Video Club

Reference / Historical Books

Alexander Dovzhenko: The poet as filmmaker
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These notebooks are important in two quite different ways. First is Dovzhenko’s picture of the Ukraine where he was a correspondent during the German invasion and occupation in W.W.II. Second is the record of his inner journey as film artist: his enthusiasms, his bouts of depression both because of political pressures and because of the innate nature of the film medium. There is a fact-filled introduction, extensive notes and a full filmography.
Marco Carynnyk

1973

MIT Press

ISBN 0-262-04037-9

323 pages
Anton Wilson's Cinema Workshop
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Anton Wilson’s Cinema Workshop column was once one the most popular features in American Cinematographer magazine. His conversational style combined with his practical experience as a cameraman has enabled him to present the most complex technical subjects in a readily accessible manner. His columns have covered the basics of virtually every aspect of cinematography, and he has reworked them here into a uniquely readable reference, which will be of value to the beginning student and seasoned pro alike. It is a book to be consulted, studied and enjoyed.
Anton Wilson

1983

ASC Holding Corp.

ISBN 0-935578-08-0

300 pages

Canadian Film - Perspectives on Canadian Culture

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Here is a historical overview of film in both English and French Canada, from its early use to encourage immigration and, in Quebec, to promote traditional fidelities, to its struggles to project a uniquely Canadian identity and experience. All major modes of film are discussed - the documentary tradition from the NFB’s wartime production to the award winners of the eighties, fictional film from Quebec’s New Wave and TV docudrama to the tax-shelter and era and regional film-making - as well as experimental and animated film, both of which have earned Canadians an international reputation.
David Clandfield

1987

Oxford University Press 1987

ISBN 0-19-54058-1

136 Pages

Documentary - A History of the Non-Fiction Film
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Now brought completely up to date, the new edition of this classic work on documentary films and filmmaking surveys the history of the genre from 1895 to the present day. With the myriad social upheavals over the past decade, documentaries have enjoyed an international renaissance; here Barnouw considers the medium in the light of an entirely new political and social climate. He examines as well the latest filmmaking technology, and the effects that video cassettes and cable television are having on the production of documentaries. And like the previous editions, Documentary is filled with photographs, many of them rare, collected during the author's travels around the world. Covering the full course of the documentary from Louis Lumiere's first effort to recent landmark productions such as Shoah, this book makes the growing importance of a unique blend of art and reality accessible and understandable to all film lovers.
Erik Barnouw

1983 rev.

Oxford University Press

0-19-503301-9

360 pages

The Documentary Conscience - A Casebook in Film Making
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Whether their work is intended for theaters, television broadcast, or specialized distribution, all of the filmmakers that Rosenthal interviews here are concerned with using film to focus public attention on pressing contemporary issues. He gets them to speak of their tenacious commitment to exposing these issues; of the manifold ethical problems of access, confidentiality, and point of view that arise in documentary; of the grinding difficulties of financing which only an ineradicable sense of mission enables these dedicated people to overcome. Their projects range from small, highly personal enterprises to the ambitious, complex British TV series “The World at War.” American, Canadian and British work is all represented

Alan Rosenthal

1980

University of California Press

ISBN 0-520-04022-8

436 pages

Film Theory and Criticism - Introductory Readings
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Since publication of the first edition in 1974, this has been the standard anthology of critical writing about film. With its expanded range of selections and extended historical coverage, this third edition features major additions of contemporary topics in film theory - including psychoanalytic, feminist and Marxist approaches and new essays on television, horror films and experimental movie making. The final section takes into account film’s relationship to its consumers: how films shape or reflect cultural attitudes, reinforce or reject dominant modes of cultural thinking, and stimulate or frustrate people’s need and drives. The best collection available on the disparate comments in the field of film theory and criticism is now even better.
Gerald Mast & Marshall Cohen

1985

Oxford University Press

ISBN 0-19-503573-9

852 pages

Grierson on Documentary - Edited with and Introduction by Hardy

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A collection of Grierson’s writings. Of all the founding fathers of British (indeed world) documentary, Grierson has always been the one most closely in touch with audiences, the most aware of the need to entertain as well as instruct. Serious, but never in the smallest degree solemn.

John Grierson

1979

Faber & Faber

ISBN 0-571-11367-2

232 pages
Home Movies - Tales from the Canadian Film World
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"In a series of entertaining and witty tales of movies, good, bad and forgotten, Martin Knelman looks at the financial, artistic and political complexities of Canadian movie-making."

Martin Knelman

1987 HC

Key Porter Books

ISBN 1-55013-049-8

248 pages
John Grierson, A Documentary Biography
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A fellow Scot, who knew Grierson from 1930, assesses his contribution to the cinema and the art of communication and gives a fascinating portrait of this extraordinary man.

Forsyth Hardy

1979

Faber and Faber Limited 1979

ISBN 0-571-10331-6

298 Pages
John Grierson and the National Film Board
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A study that admirably fills a hole in the history of Canada’s involvement in the war and documents the early days of an institution that has provided much of the rest of the world with its knowledge and perceptions of Canada, it skillfully combines an academic approach with a style and treatment for a general interest reader.

Gary Evans

1984

University of Toronto Press 1984

ISBN 0-8020-6613-5

329 Pages
John Grierson and NFB
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Grierson, often called “The Father of the Documentary”, is a major reason why Canadians can claim to make the world’s best documentary films. Founder and head of the NFB during W.W.II, he returned to Canada again at the end of his life to teach and inspire students at McGill University, just as he had inspired neophyte filmmakers a generation before. To honour him, experts and friends from Canada, Great Britain and the United States gathered at a symposium at McGill, a meeting that became a wide ranging, free-form meeting of brilliant minds. This recorded result is a fascinating and often philosophical forum on film and on life. It will engage and inform any one interested in film, in ideas, and in the development of Canadian intellectual life.

McGill University

1984

ECW Press

ISBN 0-920802-80-X

155 Pages
Kino-Eye - The Writings of Dziga Vertov
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Of all the great innovators of Soviet cinema, none speaks so directly to issues of our time as Verto. The radical complexity of his work - in both sound and silent forms - has given it a central place with contemporary theoretical inquiry. His writings, range from calculated manifestoes setting forth a new heroic version of film’s potential to dark rumination on the inactivity forced upon him by the growing bureaucratization of the Soviet state and its film industry. His theory was at every point elaborated in direct, vigorous relation with practice; his doctrine of kino-eye, breaking with film’s subject to traditional narrative purposes, was a passionate call to action.

Annette Michelson, (editor)

1984

University of California Press 1984

ISBN 0-520-04760-5

344 Pages
Making It: The Business of Film and TV Production in Canada
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The book chronicles the detailed procedures that the producer must follow, from initial script development to distribution, in order to make a film. The would-be professional, after reading it, would have a fairly specific idea about where to look for investment, the requirements demanded by government funding agencies, how to prepare a budget and the necessity of adhering to it, and how to negotiate rights with distributors.

Barbara Hehner, (editor)

1987

Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television & Doubleday Canada

ISBN 0-385-25118-1

328 pages
The Mission - A Film Journal
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This is Daniel Berrigan's journal of the making of the film ''The Mission'', directed by Roland Joffe and starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons, capturing the South American Jesuit Utopia of the 17th century and its politics, religious themes, ethics, and the consequences of human greed. With Berrigan's personal commentary and reflections on the making of the film, the enslavement and social repression of the Indians, the clash between Church and State over the area's vast resources, and the sad foreshadowing of modern political repression inherent in 17th century Missionary settlements and explorations. Berrigan spent several months consulting during the making of this feature film which won the Golden Palm Award for Best Film at Cannes in 1986.

Daniel Berrigan

1986 HC

Harper & Row

ISBN 0-06250-056-2

160 pages
New Challenges for Documentary
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Although this is not the single best book on documentary film, it is arguably the best collection of essays gathered on the subject. A wide range of viewpoints is represented, and the organization is logical and easily understood.

 

In compiling this anthology, Rosenthal turns to the thinking, writing, and filmmaking that show signs of new life for documentary. Writers have recently been inquiring into subtle questions of point of view and “voice”. Quasi-documentary forms (“docudrama”) have raised difficult questions of authenticity. Ethical questions surface in films that may breach privacy, cause embarrassment or even expose people to death squads. The book also includes a series of portraits of independent filmmakers, normally the innovators in documentary - whose concerns recently have ranged from radical or feminist issues to the gay movement, from the wars in Central America to nuclear perils.

Alan Rosenthal, (editor)

1988

Univ. of California Press

ISBN 0-520-05724-4

615 pages

The New Documentary in Action: Casebook in Film Making
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This casebook focuses exclusively on the nonfiction filmmaker: his revolutionary techniques, his particular conceptions of his work, his unique artistic strategies, his creative and practical problems. Delves into the nitty-gritty of documentaries: financing, network pressures, working methods and technical necessities, the psychological and aesthetic dilemmas of filming real people in real situations. A general introduction analyzes tendencies in documentary, discusses relations between fiction and nonfiction forms, and summarizes the effects of television on documentary.

Alan Rosenthal

1972

Univ of California Press

ISBN 0-520-02254-8

287 pages
Out of Africa - The Shooting Script
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In the Newmarket Shooting Script Series format, the facsimile screenplay of the film based on Isak Dinesen's work and life; winner of 7 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Screenplay, and Best Director; starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. Written exclusively for this edition, Pollack's introduction and notes reveal fascinating insights into the development of the film, characters, and story, and cite the nearly 70 instances in the script where scenes were eliminated, shortened, or otherwise restructured during the shooting and editing. Also included are photographs and production notes describing the meticulous preparations -- sets, locations, costumes -- that helped make the movie such a vivid experience.

Screenplay by Kurt Luedtke, Introduced and Annotated by Sydney Pollack

1987

Newmarket Press

ISBN 0-937858-84-6

169 pages
Self Portrait - Essays on the Canadian and Quebec Cinemas
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These twelve essays deal with specific aspects of Canadian Cinema - the films, the history and the politics. A chronology, indexes to filmmakers and films, and a select bibliography complete the book.

Pierre Veronneau (editor)

1980

Canadian Film Institute

ISBN 0-919096-20-4

257 pages
Take Two: A tribute to Film in Canada
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From the popular to the avant-garde, from the National Film Board to the independents, and from government censorship to government support, TAKE TWO brings together 27 articles that examine the exciting spectrum of film in Canada. Written by the country’s leading film critics and scholars, the articles cover current (1984) industry issues and include in-depth discussions of individual films and filmmakers, both Anglophone and francophone. Informative, often intriguing, sometimes controversial and hard hitting, it spotlights the Canadian cinema for all film enthusiasts.

Seth Feldman, (editor)

1984

Irwin Publishing

ISBN 0-7725-1506-9

310 pages
The Home Video Director's Handbook
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A complete guide to the art of making your own home videos, this book takes you step-by-step from the basic equipment and how to use it, right up to how to make videos of weddings, holidays and other family events. Packed with tips on how to achieve the best results, and ways to avoid the common pitfalls, it shows you how to make the most of the medium. With full-colour examples of what to look for through the camera, plus step-by-step diagrams of how to carry out special effects, it explains the full scope of video making.

Stuart Dollin, B. Mitchell

1986

Mitchell Toronto

ISBN 0-999-92209-2

159 pages
Thinking in Pictures: The Making of the Movie Matewan
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A novelist, film writer and independent director explains how he conceived, wrote, casted, funded, directed, designed, shot and edited a movie about a coal miners' strike and massacre in West Virginia in the 1920s. Coinciding with the release of Matewan, Sayles's book provides the reader, especially the student and would-be filmmaker, with a step-by-step account of the thinking and planning that go into developing a story idea and transmuting it into a meaningful creation full of emotional impact. Coming from a writer of fiction, this book is not dryly technological but rather involving and exciting. It is enhanced by details of choice, pacing, and tension and by the inclusion of the full original film script.

John Sayles

1987

Houghton Mifflin Co.

ISBN 0-395-45399-2

180 pages