| 19 min

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The NFB's 27th Oscar®-nominated film.

Director Bill Mason's short film focuses on his friend and fellow filmmaker, Blake James. In his never-ending quest for freedom, Blake pilots his own plane. This film is Mason's view of his friend as a "hobo of the skies," but it is also an adventure that beckons the viewer to come along for the ride.

Bill Mason and Blake James had a long history together, first meeting at a commercial art studio in Winnipeg. They later worked together at Crawley films before both moving to the NFB. In Blake, Mason wanted to show the world how his good friend marched to the beat of a different drummer. The filming was often dangerous. On one occasion Mason was filming Blake from another airplane and lost him. He searched for him for a great many nervous minutes before discovering that Blake had landed on an Island in the St. Lawrence. Blake had forgotten to switch on his main fuel tank and was forced to land wherever he could. The film was shown theatrically in Canada and bought by an American distributor. Theatrical showings stateside led to an Oscar nomination in the live-action short category.

Albert Ohayon
From the playlist: Bill Mason: Beyond the wild, beyond the paddle

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Blake, Bill Mason, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Bill Mason
  • editing
    Bill Mason
  • producer
    Douglas Jackson
  • photography
    Bill Mason
    Blake James
  • sound
    Ted Haley
  • sound editing
    Bernard Bordeleau
  • re-recording
    Roger Lamoureux
  • music
    Blake James
    Laurent Coderre

  • explorenorth

    As a pilot, I loved the film, and it's wonderful to see that Blake's plane, a homebuilt MacGregor MG65, was delivered to the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre in Sault Ste. Marie a few weeks ago (September 2016).

    explorenorth, 1 Dec 2016
  • dwyllie49

    that film made me feel proud to be a canadian ,where else can you sit have a coffee and watch such great films about your country

    dwyllie49, 15 Jul 2012
  • Flex

    I watched this film at the Hyland on Yonge Street and liked it better than the feature that followed. Glad that it's available to view. Great then and still is. I'm going to pass this on to friends.

    Flex, 8 Apr 2011
  • Flex

    I remember watching this film at the Hyland theater on Yonge Street and thought it was better than the feature film that followed. Great film; still worth watching

    Flex, 8 Apr 2011
  • Flex

    Loved this movie now as I did when I first saw it at the theater on Yonge Street , as feature films used to follow shorts like this. Never forgot this one.

    Flex, 8 Apr 2011

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