Fonds UBCA-ARC-1538 - The Nature of David Suzuki fonds

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The Nature of David Suzuki fonds

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  • Multiple media

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  • Source of title proper: The title is based on the contents of the fonds.

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91 video tapes and other material.

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([ca. 1998])

Administrative history

Produced and directed by Peter Davis and Harvey McKinnon, The Nature of David Suzuki is a documentary created for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's biographical series, Life and Times. The first broadcast was in January 1998. This short film (44 minutes) is a biographical treatment of environmentalist David Suzuki that highlights significant events in his life, particularly his childhood years in a Japanese-Canadian internment camp. Suzuki reflects on his life and work, and the film includes appearances of family members, school friends, colleagues, and adversaries about his environmental work. In addition, the film contains interviews interspersed with still photographs and footage of Suzuki driving through childhood neighbourhoods and includes Suzuki's self-critical reflection on his life and work.
Peter Davis is a British-Canadian documentary film director with more than thirty titles to his credit, several of his films deal with African nations during the liberation and independence years, including South Africa: The White Laagger, Remember Nelson Mandela!, Winnie Mandela: The Apartheid Years and Side by Side: Women against AIDS in Zimbabwe. In addition, he directed the 1967 short film Anatomy of Violence, which reports on a London (UK) symposium on Liberation and Violence and includes American left-wing activists Paul Goodman, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X and Herbert Marcuse.
Harvey McKinnon is an inspirational speaker and trainer and has raised significant funds for various non-profit organizations. He has worked as a radio columnist for CBC Radio and has been published in numerous Canadian newspapers. In addition, McKinnon has produced or written several award-winning documentaries, including Side by Side: Women Against Aids, At Home in the Universe: The Life and Times of William Shatner, and The Black Sea in Crisis.

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Scope and content

Fonds consists of audiovisual material created or compiled during production of the film. It consists largely of interviews with Suzuki, members of his family and associates, filmed presentations by Suzuki, video clips from the CBC program, "The Nature of Things", and film of Suzuki and family members in various locations in British Columbia, Ontario and elsewhere. There are also stock shots and newscast clips related to environmental issues, and a copy of Suzuki’s debate with Philippe Rushton on the question of race and genetics.
The content of this fonds is housed on several different video and audio formats: Betacam SP, Hi-8, VHS, U-Matic tape (¾ in.), reel audio tape (¼ in.), audiocassette tape and DAT audio tape. Much of this audio and video material was used in the production of the final "cut" of the documentary, and content is represented across several of these formats, with audio content found in both audio and video formats. The larger volume of the content was recorded in the field (especially on Hi-8 and Betacam SP tape) and subsequently copied to VHS tape for editing. Detailed investigation of the VHS tapes against the Hi-8 and Betacam SP tapes will reveal whether the entire content of the latter has been copied to the former in all instances.
The original order of the content was preserved by format and the finding aid is organised on this principle. In addition, a second "intellectual" ordering of the content is provided as an appendix to the file listing: in that document the set of time-coded VHS tapes that were used for editing purposes have been utilised as the central feature of the fonds. It is hoped that this will permit researchers to see relationships that exist between the several formats.
The textual records were turned over to the University Archives by Peter Davis in 2015.

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Physical description

Includes 10 audiotapes, 1 3½" floppy disk, 1 CD (Born-digital photographs), 2 cm of textual records.

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