What can you learn about filmmaking from home movies and amateur films in the Royal BC Museum collections?
Lifelong passion has to start somewhere, and for a young Vancouverite called Stanley Fox, it began in 1946, when he was 18 years old. A friend loaned Fox a movie camera and immediately his keen interest in filmmaking was sparked. Fox soon joined the Vancouver Film Society and started making home movies and keeping a journal of the films he saw.
Fox’s first 16mm amateur footage captured moving images of his city. Within a few years he was creating short experimental films and documentaries, two of which (In the Daytime and Suite Two: A Memo to Oscar) won honourable mentions in the amateur category in the first years of the Canadian Film Awards (1949 and 1950). These films are now held by the BC Archives.
Fox eventually turned his passion for movies into a career in film and television. Throughout this long career, he played an important role in teaching and fostering generations of younger filmmakers.
When he began making movies, Fox had to use rolls of film that ran for only two to four minutes. Once the footage was taken, the film had to be chemically processed and then painstakingly edited by cutting the original film and reattaching it in the appropriate order (a process called splicing). Today, with digital cameras, it’s much simpler to record and edit movies. Chances are you’ve made a movie yourself. Have you ever thought of becoming a filmmaker? Making home movies is a good way to start.
What can you discover about amateur filmmaking through the career of Stanley Fox, an important figure in the history of Canadian film?