Cinemax C-402 Super 8 camera (Japan, 1971-76)
Brownie no. 2 box cameras (Canada, 1901-35)
A roll of exposed film. What images might it hold?
Polaroid Land Camera Model 80 Highlander (USA, 1954-57)
No. 1 Pocket Kodak (Canada, 1926-32)
A little bit of Laurier history came home on June 27, 2017, when Film Studies accepted the donation of a collection of historic cameras from WLU alumna Melanie Reed.
The collection includes over 100 pieces of photographic equipment, from film and still cameras to lenses, print copiers, camera cases, and rolls of film. Some of the first cameras ever produced for the mass market can be found in this collection, such the famous “Brownie” No. 2 box cameras produced by Kodak starting in 1901 and the “Pocket Kodak” folding cameras of the 1910s and 1920s. The collection features cameras from every decade of the 20th century and from many countries around the world, including Canada, the US, England, France, Germany, the USSR, Japan, and Hong Kong.
Along with the history of film and photography, this collection also evokes a piece of Laurier history, as it was donated in gratitude to Dr. Wilhelm E. Nassau -or, as he was known around campus back in the day, “Willy Nassau.” Nassau was born in Vienna in 1922 and began his career in the European film industry, most notably working on the Oscar-winning 1949 thriller The Third Man, directed by Carol Reed and starring Orson Welles. In 1969, Nassau came to WLU (then Waterloo Lutheran University), where he worked as Director of Audio-Visual Resources and as a teacher of technical courses for many years. Melanie Reed, a former student of his, fondly remembers “Willy Nassau” as a man who was incredibly passionate about film and innovative in teaching. She recalls, for instance, students having to take pictures for his course with cameras they made themselves. Pieces from Nassau’s own vast collection of historic camera equipment can now be found in the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. He inspired Melanie to begin collecting historic cameras herself, and eventually to donate her collection to the Film Studies program.
This compact yet comprehensive collection gives us a picture of the past here at Laurier, and wherever these cameras have traveled!
Alex Williams introduces his film
Audience members join in a discussion of The Pass System following the screening
The final installment of this winter’s Tracking Shots 3 Aboriginal Film Series was a screening of The Pass System (2015) on March 23rd. Toronto-based filmmaker Alex Williams was on hand to introduce and discuss his documentary, which draws on archival research and interviews with academics and elders to illuminate the history of Canada’s enforced (and illegal) segregation of Indigenous peoples on reserves, especially in the years following the Northwest Resistance of 1885. The system required First Nations people to obtain a pass from the local Indian Agent to leave the reserve for any reason, and although it was introduced as a ‘temporary security measure’ it persisted for decades. Stories about this system’s implementation and effects deserve to be more widely known, and we were fortunate to have Alex and local elder Elaine Endanawas on hand to share their insights. The film generated a thoughtful discussion among attendees about how to reckon with this history of restricted mobility and its implications for reconciliation. This year, the series presented a total of eight films ranging from shorts to full-length features. Thanks to all who came out to see these new works and share in the conversation!
Congratulations to all the students in English and Film Studies who have won departmental awards and scholarships this year! The list of award recipients is as follows:
Campbell/Verduyn Prize for Film: Grace Jansen In De Wal
Jim Clark Prize for Drama: Brittany Lazar
Chris Heard Memorial Writing Prize: Danielle LeDuc
Pauline Carole Leavine Scholarship in English: Caroline Weiner, Erin McHarge
Hugh MacLachlan Scholarship: Lindsay Meaning
Barbara Parker Memorial Scholarship: Danielle LeDuc, Denise Springett
Princess Cinema Award: Amanda Mckelvey
Flora Roy Scholarships: Erin McHarge, Aaron Rupert, Carina Rampelt
Paul Tiessen Scholarship in Film: Emily Sider
Weldon and Misser Prize in Poetry: Sarah Best
Ashley Little – 2017 Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence
Audience Photo – Taking Flight
Maria Kouznetsova – WLU Waterloo
ESA Executive Members – from left to right: Daniella Cavallini, Heather Hattle, Manreet Lachhar
On Thursday, March 16th, Laurier’s current Edna Staebler Writer-in-Residence Ashley Little and the English Students’ Association co-hosted Taking Flight: A Celebration of Creative Writing. Ashley kicked off the evening by reading one of her newest stories titled “Plaza,” followed by readings from the finalists and winners of the ESA’s Second Annual Creative Writing Contest. The contest received many excellent submissions, and all of the runners-up and winners of the contest were on hand to share their work. In the poetry category, the Runners-up were Kyleen McGragh of the Brantford Campus and Jenna Hazard of the Waterloo campus, while Maria Kouznetsova from Waterloo won for her musically-inflected journey through local surroundings titled “Six Impressions of the Walk to Hepcat Swing.”
In the prose category, the Runners-up were Hastings Gresser from the Brantford campus and Jenna Hazard from Waterloo, while second-year English student Sarah Ali (Waterloo) took top honours for her highly inventive transnational piece, “Culling Campaign.”
Following a short intermission, refreshments, and a generous door prize draw sponsored by the ESA, the mic was opened up for other readers, and the audience was treated to a diverse array of creative work by students ranging from first year through to senior levels. Thanks to all who came out to celebrate our campus literary talent!
Dr. Mariam Pirbhai taught her new graduate course, South Asian Canadian Literature, in Fall 2016, in which students were introduced to literary figures and social media artists, and their representations of significant events and issues pertaining to this diaspora, including the Komagata Maru incident of 1914 and the Air India tragedy of 1985. MA student Khadijah Plummer wrote a paper on Farzana Doctor’s recently published novel All-Inclusive, loosely based on the Air India tragedy, and the paper has received an honourable mention on the author’s blog! See link below!
MA students Khadjiah Plummer and Catherine Brunskill will be drawing on work produced for this graduate course, as guest speakers in Dr. Pirbhai’s undergraduate course, Multiculturalism and Literature, in which they have been invited to give presentations on second generation South Asian Canadian vloggers and social media artists, Humble the Poet and Maria Qamar.
Catherine Brunskill’s paper on Ondaatje’s Running in the Family and Badami’s Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? has also been accepted as a paper to be presented at CACLALS for Congress 2017.
Come one, come all to a celebration of creative writing in English and Film Studies! Writer-in-Residence Ashley Little will be on hand to read and speak with aspiring authors at Laurier. For more details, see the poster below.
Good news, poets and prose writers! The deadline for the English Students Association’s second annual writing contest has been extended until Wednesday March 8th. To enter, see details in the poster below.