Welcome to…

Local Film Cultures

What for others are deviations are, for me, the data which determine my course.

Walter Benjamin

What is Local Film Cultures?

The Local Film Cultures research project has been designed as an experiment in historiography that seeks to understand and account for Toronto’s unique film cultures. This pilot version of the course, offered by the Cinema Studies Institute (CSI) at Innis College, has focused on the cultural geographies of filmgoing between 1960 and 1990.  The aim was to produce a collaborative microhistory of a vital part of Toronto’s cultural past.  In the process, students built a historical narrative of film-related social practices that ranged from alternative sites of exhibition and “scenes” to industrial practices particular to Toronto.

Engaged in primary research of various kinds, students discovered sites of exhibition and consumption whose histories were buried in the City of Toronto Archives, in local newspapers, and in key documents housed at the Ontario Archives, in addition to conducting oral history video interviews, with secondary research providing helpful contextualizing frames.

The class of INI 469F would like to thank the following for their generous assistance:

Who is involved?

The Faculty of Arts and Science, for the bestowal of a CRIF grant that made the mounting of this course possible; CSI Acting Director Kay Armatage, for helping to pen the grant proposal; Jason Daye for his technical support; Len Ferstman for housing video equipment; Michael Keoshkerian for his informative tour of the Ontario Archives; Paul Moore, Eric Veillette, and Janine Marchessault for their edifying class visits; Joan Links and Len Ferstman for their research advice; Allyson Woodroofe for her stellar website design; Daniel Pauly for his copy-editing skills; Elysse Leonard and Katrina Lagace for their research acumen; Brian Coates for its administrative support; Former CSI Director and now Principle of Innis College Charlie Keil for his endorsement of the project; and the many interview subjects who volunteered their time to share their knowledge and experience.

This website is not an official University of Toronto publication; it comprises a student-composed study of Toronto’s unique film cultures.