Mar 23, 2017

Newsreel Shorts by Associated Screen Studios, April 2nd and 3rd Bytowne Cinema

Associated Screen Studios was a major producer of informative shorts that played in cinemas of the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s, before television took over the news business. We have unearthed 8 fascinating examples for this compilation, including a 1933 film on Grey Owl, shorts on canines in the police force and on the sport of curling in the 1950s, a 1932 retrospective on events of the previous 10 years, and even a 1950s report on what jobs hockey players had to hold down during the off-season. All on 35mm film!

Newsreels include:

Grey Owl's Strange Guests, 1933

Headline News 1950

The Roaring Game (about curling), 1951

Canine Crime Busters (about police dogs), 1952

There too, Go I (about the Red Cross during the Second World War), 1941

Sitzmarks the Spot (about downhill skiing), 1948

Back in '22 (looking back 10 years at what happening in 1922), 1932

Hockey Star Summers (what hockey stars do during the summer to supplement their incomes), 1950

Jan 27, 2017

The Man Who Skied Down Everest, March 12-13th on 35MM film.

The Man Who Skied Down Everest, March 12th 1pm and March 13th 9:15pm, Bytowne Cinema.

The Man Who Skied Down Everest, produced by Ottawa's own Crawley Films, is a monumental movie in more ways than one. Founded by Budge Crawley in the late 1940's, Crawley Films grew into Canada's largest independent film studio, and even rivaled the NFB for cinematic output. It produced everything from Canada's second animated feature film (Return to Oz) in 1962, to industrial films, tv commercials, feature films and documentaries. Based in Ottawa/Gatineau, with a studio in Old Chelsea and a branch office in Toronto, it produced over 5000 films and won numerous awards over its 43 year history, including the Academy Award for Best Feature Length Documentary in 1976 for The Man Who Skied Down Everest (the first Academy Award ever won by a Canadian feature film).  This film follows Japanese adventurer Yuichiro Miura as he attempts to ski down the tallest mountain in the world. Very popular with both audiences and critics of the time,  this is a film that deserves being seen on the big screen.

A beautiful 35mm reprint from 2010 will be screened courtesy of Library and Archives Canada

Dec 25, 2016

The Viking on 35mm, Jan. 15-16th Bytowne Cinema

The Viking (1931) on 35mm, screening Jan. 15th 2pm and Jan. 16th 9:10pm at the Bytowne Cinema

Preceded by an Associated Screen News Short from 1931. 

Two Newfoundlanders – good guy Luke Oarum (Charles Starrett) and bully Jed Nelson (Arthur Vinton) – compete for the love of Mary Jo (Louise Huntington). Not wanting to leave Luke alone with Mary Jo, Jed ensures that his rival comes seal hunting with him on a ship skippered by Captain Barker (Bob Bartlett), even though Luke has a reputation as a 'jinker' – someone who brings bad luck to his shipmates.

After several misadventures on board ship – for which Jed always makes Luke appear responsible – the two become isolated on the ice during the hunt. Jed attempts to kill Luke, but when a fierce storm cuts them off from the ship and Jed becomes snowblind, Luke leads him back to land by crossing the ice-floes on foot. They arrive back in town just as a memorial service for them is being held. Jed tells how Luke saved his life and Luke wins the hand of Mary Jo.

This extraordinary portrait of the Newfoundland people’s 'dramatic struggle for existence' was produced by the Delaware-incorporated Newfoundland-Labrador Film Company, headed by twenty-eight-year-old Yale graduate Varick Frissell, an explorer and documentary filmmaker who by the age of twenty-three had already explored the interior of Labrador by canoe. The role of the ship’s captain was played by legendary Capt. Bob Abram Bartlett, the Newfoundlander who had captained Robert Peary’s 1908-09 expedition to the North Pole.

Not only was The Viking one of the first talkies, it was also the first location shoot outside Hollywood financed by Paramount Studios and, most notably, the first film to record sound and dialogue on location – on the ice-floes themselves, no less. Though Frissell shot all the extensive actuality scenes involving life aboard ship and the seal hunt, Paramount insisted that Hollywood director George Melford (Dracula) direct the fiction scenes. When test screenings confirmed Frissell’s concern that the overt melodrama of these sequences conflicted with and detracted from the power of the actuality content, he returned to Newfoundland to shoot more footage that would replace many of the clunky romantic scenes. He set sail on the Viking in March 1931, but six days later the ship exploded, killing twenty-seven men including Frissell and all but one of his crew. The cause of the explosion was never determined and Frissell’s body was never found – despite a handsome reward offered by his wealthy family.

The film was released in its initial form, including the awkwardly staged love scenes that do indeed detract from the authentic portrait that Frissell had wanted. To capitalize on the publicity, the film’s title was changed from White Thunder to The Viking and was advertised as 'the picture that cost the lives of the producers, Varick Frissel, and twenty-five members of the crew.' It enjoyed a good deal of success in the early thirties, then faded into obscurity.

Though The Viking is technically not a Canadian film, its particular mix of dramatic fiction with footage of the wild, hostile and foreboding landscape imbues it with an especially Canadian spirit and style that distinguishes it from many of the legally Canadian quota quickies' of the same era. It has much in common with the work of Robert Flaherty and is comparable to the contemporaneous The Silent Enemy in that the environment becomes a principal character in the drama.

– Andrew McIntosh, Canadian Film Encyclopedia

Apr 19, 2016

Check back in early 2017 for our new screenings series.

Check back in early 2017 for our new screenings series. Everything will be on film - 16/35/70mm!

Jan 21, 2016

Terminal Device plays Feb. 4th, 7pm Bytowne Cinema

Terminal Device, 2k DCP, 68mins, Directed by Ross Turnbull

Bytowne Cinema, Feb. 4th 7pm Co-presented with the MEGAPHONO Festival

A personal essay film, Terminal Device mixes autobiography, film critique, recreated scenes, and archival footage. When viewed through the oft-sinister, pop cultural lens of one-armed-man films, the director’s story as a lifelong amputee gains unexpected resonance.

Whether the nefarious comic villain, Captain Hook, the relatively benign outsider, Edward Scissorhands, or the monsters in various B-grade horror films, handless characters and their scary prosthetics consistently skew the narrative. A densely entertaining, subjective work that reworks mainstream cinema images in the manner of films like Room 237, The Clock, and 24 Hour Psycho, Terminal Device theorizes, describes and shows what it is to be one of the men with hooks.

Director Ross Turnbull will be present for a short Q&A after the screening

Nov 17, 2015

Isabel by Paul Almond Bytowne Cinema Jan. 20th


Directed by Paul Almond
Bytowne Cinema, Jan. 20th
1968, Rated PG, 110mins, 35mm print!

dir: Paul Almond, 108mins, 1968, 35mm print (PG)

Starring Geneviève Bujold, Therese Cadorette, Gerard Parkes, Marc Strange, and Al Waxman.

Isabel is an intense and spooky psychological thriller written,
produced, and directed by Paul Almond. It stars the luminously
beautiful Geneviève Bujold as a young woman who returns to her
childhood home in the Gaspé region of Quebec to attend a funeral.
There, she starts experiencing a series of supernatural visions
forcing her to confront the dark secrets of her family's past. Her
co-stars include Therese Cadorette (La Famille Plouffe) as her sister Estelle, Gerard Parkes (The Boondock Saints) as her eccentric uncle Matthew, Marc Strange (The Forest Rangers) as a mysterious stranger,  and a young Al Waxman (The King of Kensington) as a creepy childhood

Isabel was the first Canadian feature film funded and distributed by
Paramount Pictures. Upon its release it received mostly stellar
notices and was favorably compared to the works of Ingmar Bergman and
Alfred Hitchcock, both for its stunning, stark photography, and its
dark psychological themes of sexual repression and violence. New York
Magazine film critic Judith Crist called it a "A beautiful and
exciting film...brilliantly cinematic". It won five prizes at the
Canadian Film Awards, including four of the top ones: Best Actress
(Bujold), Best Actor (Gerard Parkes), Best Editing and Best
Photography. The Directors Guild of America also nominated Almond for
their Best Director Award.

At the time of Isabel's release director Almond was best known as a
veteran TV producer and director who had worked in extensively in
Canada, England, and the United States. Over his long career he
directed six feature films and over 130 television TV shows and
teleplays, including a version of MacBeth starring Sean Connery. In
England he was the creator and director of the first film in the "7Up"
documentary series. The production of Isabel in the late 1960's was
his attempt to build a sophisticated art cinema in Canada comparable
to what was going on in Europe. Isabel was the first of a loose
trilogy of films including The Act of the Heart (1970) and Journey
(1972). Almond was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Directors
Guild of Canada in 2007.

During the 1970's Isabel lived on in screenings on CBC, but it slowly
fell into obscurity. Despite its acclaim, it remains unavailable on
streaming services or DVD. This screening will be projected from an
archival 35mm film print from the collection of Library and Archives
Canada, screened with permission from Paramount Pictures and presented

by the Lost Dominion Screening Collective.

Oct 1, 2015

Kandahar Journals, Nov. 11th Bytowne Cinema

Kandahar Journals (2015, Canada 76 minutes)

Bytowne Cinema, Nov.11th, 9:10pm, 2015
Directed by Louie Palu and Devin Gallagher
Written by Murray Brewster
Murray Brewster and Louie Palu will be in attendance
Produced by Louie Palu in association with the documentary Channel
Q&A with Louie Palu and Murray Brewster after the show.

Tickets can be bought at The Bytowne Cinema box office starting at approx 4pm on Nov. 11th.
Photo © Louie Palu

Kandahar Journals is the story of a photojournalist who reflects on
the events behind his psychological transformation after covering
frontline combat in Kandahar, Afghanistan from 2006 to 2010.

April 2006. Photojournalist Louie Palu, finds himself in the midst of
body parts and the smell of burned flesh. On his first visit to
Kandahar he is covering a suicide bombing. Arriving in the country as
the wars violence spirals out of control, Louie is unaware that he
will spend the next five years covering the conflict. He begins
writing a series of journals reflecting on his personal experience and
what the war looked like and felt to him.

This film explores a photojournalist’s firsthand account of his
psychological state while covering a war. The film follows Louie’s
journey covering the war in Kandahar from 2006 to 2010 and its
aftermath. The narrative spine of the story is built around Louie’s
personal journals written in Kandahar. The visual narrative weaves
back and forth from the chaos and experiential side of the war using
combat footage shot and directed by Louie to the banality of everyday
life back home in North America directed by Devin Gallagher. These two
narratives have been combined into a single film to give a personal
and up-close view into the experience of a combat photographer. The
film pivots between these two contrasting experiences which Louie
struggles to bridge. Over the years Louie meets soldiers, civilians
and is witness to violence and trauma, all of which is weaved into the

Directed by both Louie and his co-director Devin Gallagher the film
explores Louie’s lifelong interest in understanding war connected to
his family's experience and his formative years as a photographer.
Over time Louie is transformed by the war as the violence increases.
The longer he covers the war, the more he realizes the disconnection
that exists with the public back home, the war and himself. By the end
of the film he must come to terms with the impossibility of
photography to convey the reality of war because it is a personal

This film includes footage of combat, physical injury, and death. Some
visitors may find this material disturbing and unsuitable for children

Writer Murray Brewster will introduce the film.

Q&A with Louie Palu and Murray Brewster after the show.

POV Magazine article with Louie Palu

More on the film here