Ontario Archives: New Visuals and New Contacts – Thu November 13, 2014

This was a really busy and productive week for my film project, but not in all the ways that I had planned.  I never got to start working on the Treatment nor any original art or permissions.  However, I did get more outdoor footage and also made some progress on music.

I decided to take advantage of the – sort-of – long Remembrance Day weekend and booked the video camera again from Friday to Tuesday.  Then on the spur of the moment, my husband, John, and I decided to go to Toronto and to stay over until Monday.  Ontario Archives in Toronto is not open on Sundays, so with the Toronto plan in mind, I rushed and got registered at the archives, and got a bunch of archival photographs from the Alvin McCurdy fonds pulled.

So over the weekend I got film footage of fields, trees, water, and some Canada Geese using whatever brief periods of sun that presented themselves.  On Sunday morning I got up just after dawn and got some good footage and as well, I got some decent sunset footage on Monday and Tuesday.

On Monday morning at the Archives in Toronto I was able to spend some time looking at the microfilmed letters from the Mary Ann Shadd Cary collection (which are the same as the letters in Chatham).  I also was able to go through several boxes of old photographs from the Alvin McCurdy fonds and get digital images of them.

I also took the opportunity to talk to one of the archivists at the Ontario Archives.  I offered her the finding aid that I had created for the Shadd letters and she was very excited about that.  I also told her about my film project and asked about finding an archivist who is knowledgeable about my topic to do an on-camera interview.  She was very keen about that, and I have subsequently sent an email to her to get the process under way to identify the right person to do that interview.  The archivist I spoke to seemed to think that this would be a good opportunity for the Archive from a publicity standpoint.  She also pointed me to a professor of film studies at York University named Roger McTair who for many years, up until 2007, was a partner in a film company that did several documentary films about Black history in Canada.

Finally, I spoke to a professional pianist that I know a little about the possibility of helping me with some music for the film.  She would not be able to compose original music, however, I have been considering using some 19th century hymns from the Baptist or Methodist church, and she would certainly be able to play them, including creating some variations on musical themes, and recording them for my film.

So all up, it was a very productive week.  Next week I want to start to think about the Treatment, and to look for sound effects and more archival images.  I also want to hunt around for some appropriate hymns that my pianist friend could play.

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