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!
Anders Bergstrom received his PhD at the June 12, 2017 convocation and his dissertation, entitled In Search of Lost Selves: Memory and Subjectivity in Transnational Art Cinema received the Award for Outstanding Work at the Graduate Level.
Anders’ dissertation addresses the thorny topic of the subject, that philosophical category central to conceptions of self and identity that emerged in the modern, post-classical era, but which has been placed under interrogation, if not wholly discarded, in contemporary discourses. This project offers an answer for why this term and related concepts persist and manifest in contemporary cultural forms such as the narrative film, in the representation and materialization of memory within. Through analysis and discussion of examples drawn from contemporary transnational cinema—including, among others, The Tree of Life (2011), Melancholia (2011), Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010), and Goodbye, Dragon Inn(2003)—the study addresses the role that art cinema practices play and have played in shaping our conceptions of selfhood.
Anders’ PhD was supervised by Dr. Russell J. A. Kilbourn, with Dr. Jing Jing Chang and Dr. Tamas Dobozy serving as committee members. Dr. John Caruana, from the Department of Philosophy at Ryerson University, attended as the external examiner at his defence.
Anders is in the process of revising his dissertation for publication and continuing to research and teach film studies. He recently taught a course on Hong Kong Cinema this spring at University of Toronto Mississauga, and will be returning to teach a course on East Asian Film at Laurier this fall.
Our best wishes and hearty congratulations to Anders!
Anders with wife, Rochelle in Paris.
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