Thursday, August 20, 2009

Billy Crane Moves Away - NFB film from 1967 now online

by Colin Low, 1967, 17 min 48 s

This short documentary features Newfoundland fisherman Billy Crane, who speaks frankly on the state of the inshore fishery and how the lack of government support has contributed to the industry’s downfall. He is being forced to leave home to seek employment in Toronto.

Billy Crane Moves Away is one of 27 films made during the legendary Fogo Island Experiment of the Challenge for Change project in the late ’60s. Fogo is heralded as one of the program’s great successes. In the late ’60’s, the government of Newfoundland had unilaterally decided that the small villagers of remote Fogo should leave the island, but the people didn’t want to go. Talks had broken down, and an NFB Challenge for Change filmmaker, Colin Low, along with an academic from Memorial University, came to the island to use film as an experiment. They would film life on the island, show the footage back to the villagers and then to the government. They also filmed the bureaucrats watching and responding to the films, and then showed that back to the community.

By using film as a way to participate in mediation and dialogue between two groups who were no longer talking face-to-face, the Challenge for Change process was credited with helping all sides come up with a viable solution: the creation of a co-op fishing cannery.

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