Sunday, March 3, 2013

Canadian Media, Canadian History, Mockumentaries and Benedict Cumberbatch


A Canadian Suffragette?

I contacted a relation who works as a producer in the film industry, to ask his advice on my Canadian Suffrage/Conscription project, my maybe documentary or docudrama or drama, and he replied that, unfortunately, in Canada, the media wasn't interested in Real History. The only history getting produced is Ancient Alien 'mockumentaries' (my word) and cheap Antiques Roadshow Knock-offs.

I know. I said, I can see what my husband uses to decompress after work. If I am watching one of those cheapy programs with him, I can't help but criticize, "Did you actually listen to what that so-called expert said?  Nothing!! He rambled on and said nothing."

So, I've decided to do my suffrage story in 'dining room table' form. I've invented this form of media where a documentary is made using all the modern technologies you want, but there are two limitations. The final product must be filmed in real time on a dining room table. Child's play.

I did this one about my grandmother. (I'm just experimenting.)



The Minutes of the Montreal Suffrage Association. Not visually exciting.

The problem with this Canadian suffragist topic, there exists no images. There was no 'militant' movement in Canada, so no pictures. (Militancy was all about creating Photo Ops.)

And besides, in those days, the Montreal newspapers didn't have photos. Only the French tabloids had photos and our mostly Protestant Reformer Suffragists didn't want to play to that crowd..

This image of an Edwardian Woman at a writing desk at the top of the post  is pretty much a symbol of our movement. Just make her one of the elite of society, like Julia Parker Drummond. Actually, the symbol of the movement was a pretty Society Lady posing with a daughter, say around 8.



That was the picture the Montreal Local Council submitted to the newspapers to promote their 1913 suffrage exhibition. (This is Mrs. Weller, not Welles, who was on the Exec of the Montreal Suffrage Association, membership, I believe. She didn't have much pull. Carrie Derick and the Honoraries like Julia Parker Drummond and Dr. Symonds (Reverend) pulled the strings.. (I think,anyway.)



A book about the Montreal Council of Women's activities, mostly annual reports from 1915.

I've seen some pretty cheap and cheesy documentaries on the TV.  But cheap doesn't have to mean bad. It's all about research and script (or story).


If I had a bigger budget (a budget) I could do some re-enactments. Instead, I'm going to have to do a BBC radio 4, that is take my camera to RVC (McGill's Royal Victoria College which is now the Music School ) and paint word pictures with a script.

I have to go to the addresses where the Montreal Suffrage Association had their headquarters. Redpath library of McGill, an address on University and the Edinburgh cafe, which was across from St. James Methodist, (United) near Phillip's Square.

Maybe starting at Phillip's Square is the thing to do. After all, that's where there is a statue of Edward the Peacemaker, (and lazy orgy guy who had a special chair devised so he could be serviced by multiple prostitutes.)

Maybe I'll do that today. What else to do on a Sunday? But is my trusty Canon Camera charged?

The woman who presents the Food Program on BBC Radio 4 is terrific at painting word pictures, because she goes to a lot of food fairs and she has to describe the look and taste and texture of the food.

Anyway, I watched the rest of Parade's End on HBO yesterday. Liked it a lot. Parade's End is about WWI and suffragettes (so a lot like my project) but it was written in the 20's.. The story is about the definition of honour and virtue in a changing time and it had a least one really beautiful young actress in gorgeous era costumes.

You see, that's what people want to see. And they want a happy ending too.. This story had a happy ending, well of sorts, Love Conquered All.. although I listened to a BBC Radio 4 dramatization and didn't think it had a happy ending there. (Not sure).

Never read the books, just the Good Soldier. I recall enjoying that novel alot.

And I can see why Benedict Cumberbatch is such a rising star now. He is terrific in Parade's End.