High Grass Circus

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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Torben Schioler
Tony Ianzelo
William Brind
executive producer
Colin Low
Tony Ianzelo
Hans Oomes
Torben Schioler
sound editing
Donald Douglas
Donald Douglas
Michel Descombes


  • 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

  • “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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