One Man's Documentary: A Memoir of the Early Years of the National Film Board
Today the National Film Board has an international reputation as one of the great producers of documentary films. In its early formative years in the 1940s, when this reputation was being built, the NFB was also a place of intense creative energy and excitement, a period that has been called its "golden age." Fuelled by wartime enthusiasm and led by the legendary John Grierson, by 1945 the NFB had won its first of many Oscars and had become one of the largest film studios in the world.
Graham McInnes was part of the team of talented young men and women recruited by Grierson to build the NFB. A member of an unconventional family of writers and artists (his great-grandfather was the Pre-Raphaelite painter Edward Burne-Jones), McInnes had worked as a journalist at the CBC and "Saturday Night" before joining the NFB. After WW II, he became a diplomat (he was Canadais first ambassador to UNESCO) and a successful novelist. Although McInnes published three volumes of memoirs, this memoir of the birth of the NFB was not published in his lifetime.
"One Man's Documentary" is a lively account of one of the most exciting periods in Canadian filmmaking. With style and verve, McInnes paints vivid portraits of Grierson and the others who helped make the NFB an international institution. Film historian Gene Walz's introduction gives a full picture of the early history of the NFB as well as an account of McInnes's fascinating life.
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