Donald Brittain: Filmmaker

Release Information
September 4, 1992
Montréal
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
September 4, 1992
unknown/inconnu
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
September 4, 1992
Montréal
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
September 4, 1992
unknown/inconnu
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
December 14, 1992
Montréal
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
December 14, 1992
unknown/inconnu
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
December 14, 1992
Montréal
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
December 14, 1992
unknown/inconnu
Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)
Budget
Distributors

Production Details

Executive Producer
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Producer
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Cikub Beake
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Adam Symansky
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Director
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Director of Photography
Kent Nason
Kent Nason
Kent Nason
Kent Nason
Kent Nason
Kent Nason
Writer
Kent Martin
Kent Martin
Editor
Hannele Halm
Hannele Halm
Hannele Halm
Hannele Halm
94 minutes, 1991

The life and career of Donald Brittain, particularly his contribution to documentary filmmaking in Canada, is reviewed. Interviews, archival photos and footage, and narration by Douglas Rain provide background on Brittain's childhood, his university days, his marriage in 1950 to Barbara Tuer (accidentally killed in 1953), his early career as a writer/reporter for The Ottawa Journal and his second marriage in 1963 to Brigitte Halbig. Brittain's creativity, his approach and dedication to filmmaking, his numerous awards, and his personality, including a serious drinking problem, are conveyed through interviews, narrative and footage of Brittain writing, directing and editing. Interview segments include Brittain's own wry self-assessment, comments by his wife Brigitte and by associates Tommy Van Dusen, Robert Huband, Roger Hart, Derek May, John Kemeny, Sean Moore, Soni Idelson, Marrin Canell, Adam Symansky, John N. Smith, Judith Merritt and Ann Medina. Excerpts from documentaries Brittain produced for the NFB between 1954 and 1968 include "Fighting Fires for Science" (1958), the award-winning "Fields of Sacrifice" (1963),, "Ladies and Gentlemen: Mr. Leonard Cohen" (1965), "Memorandum" (1966) on German atrocities and the controversial documentary "Bethune" (1964). Additional excerpts of Brittain's first freelance ventures include his contribution to the world's first IMAX film, "Tiger's Child" (1970) created for Expo '70 in Japan and the fiction feature "Fleur Bleue" (1970). Excerpts from freelance documentaries for the NFB and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation include: "Volcano: An Inquiry Into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry" (1976), "Paperland: The Bureaucrat Observed" (1979) and "The King Chronicle" (1988) completed just before Brittain's death in 1989. Noteworthy footage includes Brittain directing "Canada's Sweetheart: The Saga of Hal Banks" (1985), in which his use of dramatized segment marked an innovative approach to documentary film making.

Source: Library and Archives Canada - Canadian Feature Film Database (LAC)

Contributed Notes