Monday, October 24, 2011

Vancouver: The Notman Family and UFV 2011

Joan and I were fortunate to stay with Deb and Hugh Notman, the last male 
descendant of the great William Notman, Canada’s most famous 
photographer of the 19th century. Above is a self-portrait of 
William Notman and a photograph of his studio.
Deb’s mother, former LA Consul General Joan Price Winser, 
had five brothers at BCS when I was there. Above is Deb Notman.
In this family picture: Heather Notman, (Hugh’s mother) Paul, Hugh, 
daughter Samantha, Chela Cleveland, daughter Morgan, 
and Deb (Price) Notman.
Prof. Molly Unger teaches Quebec history and cinema at Abbottsford 
University (the University of the Frazer Vallery),  which bought a ton 
of my books for study in class.
I chatted to Molly’s class, whom I found exceptionally bright. Molly’s husband 
Bob is a noted composer and musician.
I signed books at various Chapters (Broadway and Granville, and 
Robson and Howe) where they are on sale now. 
I was taken around to the stores by Ariana, the grand-daughter of the 
famous Michael Preece, the finest TV director in North America, 
who arranged for us to meet.

Below is an article about Paul on UFV Today, the blog of the University of the Frazer Valley.

Veteran Canadian filmmaker Paul Almond visits UFV
by Anne Russell on October 17, 2011
Paul Almond visited the History 322 class recently to show his film Act of the Heart.
Paul Almond is a landmark Canadian filmmaker who pioneered the development of the Canadian film industry in the 1950s. In over four decades of film-making he directed 120 dramas for Canadian, British and U.S. TV networks, and created the ground-breaking documentary “7Up”.

In 1970, Almond wrote and directed the feature film “Act of the Heart”, starring his then-wife Geneviève Bujold and Donald Sutherland. The film was the first venture of the fledgling organization that developed into Tele-Film Canada, and launched the careers of both Bujold and Sutherland. The film is important in Canadian history and culture because it uses the Quiet Revolution as the backdrop for the story of a young woman who comes to Montreal from rural Quebec, and encounters cultural, social, political and personal change. As an historical document, the film reflects the upheaval in Quebec in the 1970s, as well as the wider unrest caused by the events of the Vietnam war.

Almond’s films have won 12 Genies, he has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Directors’ Guild of Canada, and in 2000 was awarded the Order of Canada. A retrospective of his films toured Canada in 2001, and this month he was invited to speak at the Edmonton Film Festival, where “Act of the Heart” was screened as a classic of Canadian film.

Almond graciously accepted an invitation from UFV professor Molly Ungar to visit Hist 322 (Quebec History), show the film to the class, and then meet with students to discuss it. It was an extraordinary opportunity for students to view a film directly related to the area they are studying, but also to meet a creative, enthusiastic, and entertaining intellectual. In the class discussion that followed the film, students wanted to know about the directing process, the motive behind the ending of the film, what the film said about the 1970s, and whether the director would do anything differently in his life, if he were given the chance. Almond brought alive the private world of the writer and director, the Montreal creative scene of the time, as well as the environment of movie stars and deal-making that he knows so well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Victoria: Munro’s Books and a Sankaset 2011

 Our good friend, the distinguished diplomat Nicholas Etheridge (in the 
brown shirt, with Hugh Davidson) hosted a splendid “cinq a sept”, 
which we called “sankaset” on Monday Oct 3rd, 
with many of Victoria’s luminaries.
 Earlier in the day I lectured to four classes, extolling the thrills of 
The Alford Saga, Shigawake and the Gaspe Coast, at 
St Michael’s University School, where I made the motion picture 
Ups & Downs in 1983, so it felt a bit like my own alma mater.   
 Here’s the original poster for film and pictures of the cast and crew and 
one of the stars, Leslie Hope.
 Munro’s, one of Canada’s flagship bookstores, asked me to sign books.   
This was indeed an honour...
 ...especially as Dave Hill (the Manager) and his wife Carol welcomed me there, 
as did the owner, Jim Munro (in the striped jacket).
Of course, Jim came to the sankaset, as did Dave and Carol. Also the 
headmaster (for 12 years!) of SMU, Bob Snowdon and his
wife Joan, seen here with Jim... well as his head of the English Department, the superb novelist 
Terence Young and his poetess wife, Patricia, and teacher Tony Goodman, 
who arranged my SMU visit. 
 H.E. Jeremy Kinsman), Canada’s ambassador to many 
major countries, attended as did...
 ...H.E. Simon Wade and his wife Marie-Ev.
 Stephanie Leigh, a capable market gardener who brought flowers, is 
the daughter of my first wife Angela, a principal dancer 
with the National Ballet in the 50s and 60s.
 Prof Marie Vautier of University of Victoria, actually hails from the Gaspe 
Coast, as does Brad Dow, himself a direct descendant of the Deserter. 
Here is Jeremy Kinsman again with Bob Snowdon.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Prince Ruper BC: Down the Inland Passage 2011

 After a long tour across Canada, nothing could be nicer than the Northern 
Expedition, the brand new German-made BC Ferry which 
took us down BC’s Inland Passage. 
 Relaxing, peaceful, with a wonderful cabin and...
 ...great dining room and service to match. Every few minutes brought 
a breathtaking view, so I just include here a few photos we took, 
starting with the dock derricks at Port Arthur as we set off.
 We pass an abandonded village. And than back to the magnificent 
scenery and skies...