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School for the Contemporary Arts fonds
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Oasis in the Desert

"A documentary look at storefront fundamentalism on Vancouver’s skid road. Shot in black and white by Ronald Precious, [the film] is a five minute portrait of Melinda Thorne, a black Chicago missionary who ministers to the down and outs in our own city." [Michael Walsh, "Student film mood: Calmness supplants revolution," ca. 1973 article]; "(Filmmaker’s first 16mm documentary film, shot in Double-X and Plus-X Negative.) The film deals with the work of one woman – Malinda [sic?] Thorne and her efforts to relieve some of the loneliness and despair experienced by those living in Vancouver’s Skidrow." [Spring Arts Festival, March 11-April 8, S.F.U. Film Workshop Productions 1973, program]. Precious (director) continues to work in film: He was also part of primary film crews during Greenpeace’s early days (1975-79):

After Friday

"Just how much can one man take?" [SFU 74/75 Film Workshop Showcase program]; "I can’t quite pinpoint why but this film felt stiff and nervous – part of it was some rather stilted acting from Richard Ouzounian – with lots of long pauses. There was some good photography. The opening scenes of the film were very effective – black and white still shots showing the brother as he is released from prison are interspersed with quick color cuts of the former inmate going into an arcade. There is also a fairly well paced chase scene, as an unknown gunman pursues a janitor via ancient elevators. The movie attempts to show the build up of fears which culminate in the madness and defeat of the inmate’s business man brother – but doesn’t quite succeed because of the inadequacy of the acting, trite dialogue and awkward scenes." [Handwritten notes (author unknown), 21 May 1975, in arrangement & description section of F-232 collection file]


"Generally I’m not too keen on amateur dramas in film this one makes it [sic]. The woman who plays the principle character is an excellent actress who is very sensitive to the entire mood of the film. It is set in mid winter in the interior of B.C. in an old farmhouse in mid winter [sic]. The husband leaves the woman alone for the day though she protests that a blizzard is coming. He says he will stop by a neighbour’s [sic] and ask him to drop by – he may be late and don’t wait for him after six. She spends the day painting the bedroom door and in the evening attempts to bring the cows in despite the sever storm. The neighbour drops by – and she makes supper – setting 3 places. The sense of isolation and fear of the storm is evoked through long silent scenes of the woman’s face, the empty plate – the drab room. The house is well chosen – old and dark, furnished in ‘early depression.’ The neighbour seduces the woman. She awakens in the middle of the night to a vision of her husband covered with snow, standing at the doorway. She decides that it must surely be a dream. The next morning we see her racing through the sow to her husband’s body which lies at the gate. His bare hand is marked with fresh paint." [Handwritten notes (author unknown), 21 May 1975, in arrangement & description section of F-232 collection file]; "Adapted from the Sinclair Ross story ‘The Painted Door’." [SFU 74/75 Film Workshop Showcase program]


"This was a film portrait of an old guy who lives in Gastown as he goes about his day. He is a street corner fiddler. The beginning shows him just walking the streets, talking to the occasional passerby, and therefore tends to get a bit draggy. The shots of people who pass by him as he fiddles, however, are quite good. There’s a lot of variety to the shots, good editing and some good portraits. The end was somewhat disconnected however, after his day fiddling, a very brief shot of him standing at a window drinking a beer." [Handwritten notes (author unknown), 21 May 1975, in arrangement & description section of F-232 collection file]; "Filmic study of 'Cowboy,' a well-known figure of Gastown." [SFU 74/75 Film Workshop Showcase program]


"(25 minutes) 16mm colour documentary educational film. Probably a crab would be filled with a sense of personal outrage if it could hear us class it wothout ado or apology, as a crustacean, and thus dispose of it. 'I am no such thing,' it would say; 'I am myself, myself alone.' William James. 'Claws?' is a crab's eye view of his world and our ... " [1977/78 SFU Film Workshop Productions program]

We're All Old

"(25 minutes) 16mm colour documentary. This film explores the world of a group of West Vancouver old people who have joined together to help each other. We learn of their hopes, and how they have changed the loneliness of aging into a time of humour and friendship." [1977/78 SFU Film Workshop Productions program]


"A high school student finds out there is no meaning to life." [Program for 1978/79 SFU Student Workshop Films showing, 15 June 1979]

1-Minute Films

Student film workshop? Director and editor, Sara Diamond. Film is made up of shots of still images drawing from modern culture as well as Renaissance paintings. [This description is in reference to OBJ-1393]

Programmed Response

Also held by "Moving Images Distribution" in 16mm format: "Programmed Response deals with elements of the urban environment that condition our responses. It focuses on the idea of Pavlovian conditioning and repetition - the repetition of street lights and bus door mechanisms, as well as aspects of media culture, such as classical narrative film, that program responses." 8 min., 1978 []

Two for Tea

"A surreal social commentary on contemporary lifestyles. Winner of the 1979 B.C. film festival." [Program for 1978/79 SFU Student Workshop Films showing, 15 June 1979]. Also held by "Moving Images Distribution in 16mm format: "Two for Tea evolves in a text/counter-textual structure that relates tothe narrative/anti-narrative debate of avant-garde film practice, and the issues raised regarding the positioning of the subject in an open or closed text ... The film begins with what appears to be a narrative on the banality of suburban life. Two women share mid-afternoon tea, a common practice in this South Vancouver suburb. This mannered feminine ritual also reveals the women'sexperience as a kind of a trophy ... They politely sip their tea, oblivious to the violence in the world around them or to the specific violation of those of their own gender. By framing the woman's "place" as private rather than public,the film explores this feminine social determination. A TV is used as a formaldevice to deconstruct the narrative's logical, linear coherence and closure.The surreal aspects of the later sequences invite the spectator to take an active part in the production of meaning. (M.I.)" 1979, 12 min. []

[A Woman Unemployed]

Film shows the increasing depression of a woman looking for work. She holds the Province newspaper and beside her is a sign indicating how long she has been out of work. Clips of still images spliced together make up the middle of the film. It ends with some disembodied hands cracking eggs with words written on them and then serving them to the woman - this makes her happy.

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