High Grass Circus

High Grass Circus


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This feature-length documentary offers an inside look into the workings of a travelling circus. In 1976, directors Tony Ianzelo and Torben Schioler followed the various people involved with the Royal Brothers' Circus as they set up their tents and put on their show. Fascinating to watch, the film captures the 24-hour-a-day brand of magic that the circus evokes while revealing the nature of the people who run it.

For more background information on this film, please visit the NFB.ca blog.

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High Grass Circus, Torben Schioler & Tony Ianzelo, provided by the National Film Board of Canada

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  • director
    Torben Schioler
    Tony Ianzelo
  • producer
    William Brind
  • executive producer
    Colin Low
  • photography
    Tony Ianzelo
  • sound
    Hans Oomes
  • editing
    Torben Schioler
  • sound editing
    Donald Douglas
  • music
    Donald Douglas
  • re-recording
    Michel Descombes

  • zee.lowell

    A beautiful film that shows real Canadian past and how I remember it when I was young. Shame how we and society have changed.

    zee.lowell, 9 Apr 2017
  • whatthe

    I can't abide a film who's content involves the abuse of animals. Sad. I understand this film is from a different era but it should be removed from the NFB collection because by showing it, they are basically saying that the animal abuse is acceptable. I will be erasing any connection I have to the NFB now.

    whatthe, 23 Jul 2016
  • waynewaldron

    Johnnie and Al were both honest men who cared about their families and friends.The same caring was shown to everyone and all the animals on the show.Life was an adventure in the 70's,and my time spent with Royal Bros. will be cherished for the rest of my life.Many thanks to the NFB for the memories.You guy's threw a heck of a party at the end of filming!!Gotta say though,the unedited version was a lot better for those of us who were there.

    waynewaldron, 26 Jun 2012
  • cinecritic

    caninecasbah, you're taking a documentary film out of historical context and judging its content by your current standards. This film is a wonderful example of the direct cinema style, no agenda, no narration, and blissfully, not the usual NFB "victim film" or "disease film" that they tended to produce a lot of later on. Calling it archaic is missing the point, it's a time capsule of something that no longer exists in small town Canada.

    cinecritic, 27 Sep 2011
  • caninecasbah

    Circuses of this ilk were and are abusive to the animals in their charge - Elephants need others to be happy - animals are not products for our humor. This archaic film is gross and highlights why MOST progressive Circuses no longer have WILD animals as a sideshow item

    caninecasbah, 31 Aug 2011

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