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Film Studies: National Cinemas

This guide highlights selected resources for various national cinemas.

Introduction to Canadian film

Early film production consisted of a number of short documentaries about life on the plains of Manitoba made from 1897 by British-born James Freer. These were quickly followed by a series of films promoting Canada or Canadian products commissioned by the Bioscope Company of Canada. The success of the first Canadian feature film, Evangeline (William Cavanaugh and Edward P. Sullivan, 1913) led to the establishment of film companies in a number of cities and the production of a small number of comedy, adventure, and war films. Canada’s nascent film industry developed further during World War I, with a dedicated Canadian newsreel and, in 1917, the construction of a film studio in Trenton, Ontario. During this time producer, writer, and actress Nell Shipman had success with Back to God’s Country (David Hartford, 1919) and a number of Canadian actors, including Mary Pickford, Fay Wray, Walter Pidgeon, and Norma Shearer, embarked on successful careers in Hollywood. During the 1920s local production stalled in the face of fierce US competition, and in the 1930s only thirteen feature films were produced, with Canada in effect a ‘branch plant’ for the US studio system and a producer of, and exploitable market for, British quota quickies. In 1939 the government-funded National Film Board (NFB) was set up with a remit to cultivate a distinct national film culture. The NFB enjoyed limited success with feature film production but has been extremely successful in fostering a documentary and animation tradition with strong international links. During this period a distinct and political regional cinema also developed in the French-speaking province of Quebec.   ...

Kuhn, A., & Westwell, G. (2020). Canada, film in. In A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 15 Aug. 2022

Searching the online catalog

You can use the subject heading below to find resources in the online catalog. The call number range is also included. These can be found on Baker Stack Level 4.

Introductory reading(s)

Selected book titles

Finding journal articles

Articles and other writings about Canadian film can be found in many publications. Our collection includes 2 journals which look at Canadian film exclusively. You can use Film & Television Literature Index to find articles or use the search box at the top of the page. Below are the titles we have in our Library's collection.

Selected movie titles

Find more Canadian films in the library's collections.