Movie Showman

This short film portrays the NFB's itinerant projectionists during the ’40s and early ’50s who travelled throughout Canada, bringing films and discussions to rural communities. The film uses a mix of dramatic re-enactments with archival footage and interviews with veterans of the movie circuit to shed light on an important period in Canadian film history.

From the playlist : Manifesto for Interventionist Media - because Art is a Hammer

Manifesto Point # 10: Support the community partner in distribution and outreach. Spend 10% of the time making it and 90% of the time getting it out into the world. And just “showing it” is not necessarily a political goal unto itself. Work with the partners to harness the project’s momentum to effect real participation and real political change. As part of Grierson’s vision, the NFB spent its first two decades not only producing films, but vigorously distributing and projecting films across the country and animating discussions after the screenings. Movie Showman (1989) tells this charming story of the Board’s early itinerant projectionists, who travelled the country, showing films in townhalls, church basements, and animating discussions about the war effort and the future of agriculture throughout the 1940s and ’50s. Directed by Harvey Spak, this film is constructed from documentary footage as well as dramatized sequences set in northern Alberta.

— Katerina Cizek


Harvey Spak
Harvey Spak
Jerry Krepakevich
executive producer
Graydon McCrea
James Jeffrey
Peter Svab
Peter Svab
Hans Peter Strobl
Gord Marriott
Roger Deegan
Glenn Beck
Jim DeFelice
Kent Gallie
George Highsmith
Steven Hilton
James Iwasuk
Orest Kinasewich
Bob Koone
Maureen Rooney
Wilf Rowe