Challenge for Change - A selection by Thomas Waugh, Ezra Winton, Michael Baker

Billy Crane Moves Away

| 17 min

This short documentary features Newfoundland fisherman Billy Crane, who speaks frankly on the state of the inshore fishery and how the lack of government support has contributed to the industry’s downfall. He is being forced to leave home to seek employment in Toronto. This film was made with the Challenge for Change program.

Billy Crane Moves Away features a Fogo resident explaining his decision to leave the cod fishery and the island for a factory job on the outskirts of Toronto.

Capturing the direct and plainspoken views of an islander for the express purpose of promoting a discussion of these topics within the community, it is perhaps the most representative film from Colin Low's pioneering Fogo series. In the mid-1970s Low was confronted by John Grierson in front of a class of his McGill undergraduates; he wanted to know, "What the value was of this film shot off Fogo Island. Was it good for television? Mass media? What did it say to Canada? What did it say to the world?"

These questions highlight the concerns of NFB and government ministry officials over the production of films targeting such specific audiences and addressing such local concerns. Yet the film illustrates the program's most innovative and influential dimension, namely the lasting value of the films to filmmakers and community organizers as training tools for similar ventures. This is to say nothing of the importance of the series as a document of the people, culture and language of the remote island community.