By Sean Graham
As we kick off Northern History Week, we thought it would be fun to go back and look at some of the earliest films depicting life in northern Canada. In this episode of the History Slam podcast, I chat with Tom McSorley of the Canadian Film Institute about one of the most famous films of the 1920s, Nanook of the North, and one of the lost films of the 1920s, Nell Shipman’s Grub-Stake. We talk about each film’s legacy, issues of cultural appropriation, and problems associated with film production in the industry’s early days. We also talk about how each film has been reframed as part of Northern Scene.
Sean Graham is a doctoral candidate at the University of Ottawa where he is currently working on a project that examines the early years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. He has previously studied at Nipissing University, the University of the West Indies, and the University of Regina and like any red-blooded Canadian his ultimate dream is to be a curling champion while living on a diet of beer and poutine.