Reel history : film production at the Lakehead, 1911-1931
Beaulieu, Michel S
Master of Arts
SubjectAmateur films (Ontario, Thunder Bay history)
Motion picture industry (Canada, History)
Silent films (Ontario, Thunder Bay history)
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During the early twentieth century the former cities of Fort William and Port Arthur were home to a burgeoning film industry both regional and foreign in nature. Between 1911 and 1931 the twin cities enjoyed a romance with the North American motion picture film industry and produced several historically significant films. Filmmakers at the Lakehead created one of the first films documenting street life in a Canadian city, a series of amateur feature length films, including the first made in Canada, two Hollywood feature films; and was home to both Robert Flaherty, one of the most important documentary filmmakers in history, and Dorothea Mitchell, the first independent woman filmmaker in Canadian history. The films produced in and about the Lakehead region serve as visual records of the social and cultural development in Northwestern Ontario during the first decades of the twentieth-century. Using the existing literature on early film production in Canada and numerous archival sources, this thesis is an examination of these films and the motives of the individuals and organizations responsible for their creation.