Colin Low fonds [textual record, graphic material]
Record Information – Brief
Colin Low fonds [textual record, graphic material]
- Hierarchical level:
- Type of material:
- Textual material, Photographs, Art
- Found in:
- Archives / Collections and Fonds
- Item ID number:
- Context of this record:
Record Information – Details
- Fonds includes:
2 lower level description(s)View lower level description(s)
- Place of creation:
- No place, unknown, or undetermined
4.64 m of textual records.
ca. 435 drawings.
ca. 199 photographs : b&w and col.
- Language of material:
- Scope and content:
The fonds consists of records documenting the life and career of Colin Low at the National Film Board of Canada and as an independent filmmaker. Included are two series largely consisting of textual records: the Film project files series and the Correspondence and research files series, both arranged chronologically. These series include photographic material which is housed with the textual material. The photographs include research and development for films Low worked on, location shots, and photographs taken to document ideas and concepts for IMAX films. The photographs document the particular challenges of working with IMAX technology as a story telling media of which Low was a pioneer. Audio-visual material and additional graphic material is described in accession records 180632 and 187701.
- Additional name(s):
- Biography/Administrative history:
Low, Colin, 1926-2016 : Colin Low was born in 1926 and raised in Alberta, where his father managed a large cattle ranch. He attended the Calgary Institute of Technology and Art and joined the National Film Board (NFB) in Ottawa in 1945, beginning his career working with Norman McLaren on animated films. After spending a year in Europe learning more about film, Low was named Head of the Animation Department, where he remained until 1963. He directed the Oscar-nominated animated short, 'Romance of Transportation in Canada' (1953), as well as a number of non-animated films including 'Corral' (1954), which was inspired by his childhood on the ranch and won awards at Venice and Edinburgh. Other award-winning films were his 'City of Gold' (1957), about the Klondike gold rush, and 'Circle of the Sun' (1961), about the Blood Indians of Alberta. In 1967, Low was the director of the Fogo Island project, which produced a number of short films in collaboration with Memorial University on local responses to the Newfoundland government's plans to relocate people in remote communities. The success of the Fogo Island project led to the founding of the NFB's Challenge for Change Unit, which Low was asked to head. As a result of this work, he was invited to work with the American government's Office of Economic Opportunity in developing projects in the United States based on the Canadian model. When Low returned to the NFB, he was made Director of Regional Production, 1976-1979. In 1960, Low co-directed the film 'Universe', which created an animated picture of the universe as it would appear to a voyager in space, and which was credited with inspiring Stanley Kubrik's '2001: a Space Odyssey'. It marked the beginning of an interest in experimenting with the technical possibilities of film. In 1967, Low worked on the NFB's pavilion at Expo'67, Labyrinth, which featured film images shot from around the world projected onto large multiple screens past which the audience was led in a maze. Labyrinth's director, Roman Kroitor, went on to develop IMAX films with Graeme Ferguson and Robert Kerr, and Low, who remained with the NFB, was brought in on various IMAX projects, including 'Tiger Child' (1970) for the World's Fair in Osaka; 'Weather' (1979), an OMNIMAX film; 'Echoes of the Sun' (1984); 'Transitions' (1986), a 3-D film for the World's Fair in Vancouver; and 'Momentum' (1992) for the World's Fair in Seville. His involvement with IMAX continued with his son Stephen, who formed a company to produce IMAX films in 1986. Colin Low retired from the National Film Board in 1997 and his final film with the NFB, 'Moving Pictures', was released in 2000. His contributions to the National Film Board and the use of IMAX technology have been widely acknowledged. As well as receiving scores of prizes for his films over the years, he has received many personal awards and honours for his long career in Canadian film, including honorary doctorates from Memorial University and the Universities of Lethbridge and Calgary. He received the Grierson Award from the Canadian Film Awards in 1972, the Prix Albert-Tessier from the Québec government in 1997, and the Abel Gance Award from the Large Format Cinema Association in Los Angeles in 2002, for his work in pioneering large format cinema.
- Finding aid:
Textual records (Electronic) The finding aid is a file list of the textual records in containers 162-182. MSS2230 (90: Open)
- Additional information:
- General Note:
- Most of the records were kept by Colin Low as part of his personal files and were transferred to the National Archives in 2000 and 2001. A small amount of material photocopied from files held in the National Film Board archives by Low in 2000 was added by him to his own files because of its relevance to his career.
Ordering and Viewing Options
- Conditions of access:
Textual records: The recipient of copies is responsible for determining whether material is subject to copyright and for ascertaining the name of the person or organization holding copyright. The recipient is also responsible for determining whether any use of copyrighted material does or does not constitute an infringement of copyright under the Copyright Act.
Photographs: Various copyrights.
- Date modified: