by James Forrester
(Motion Magazine, Vol. 4, No. 3, August
Bill Mason, award winning Canadian filmmaker, whose feature film, Cry of the Wild, has become
one of the most financially successful films in Canada, was interviewed recently in his Gatineau
studio, overlooking Meach Lake. In an article in the April issue of Macleanís, John Hofsess
suggested that Cry of the Wild was a ďrevised, expanded versionĒ of the hour-long television
documentary Death of a Legend, which he described succinctly as ďjust another Canadian nature
movieĒ. This slanted article entitled, ďIn the footsteps of Walt DisneyĒ, seemed to be confusing
the creative responsibility of the filmmaker, Bill Mason, with the financial ability of the distributor,
Ralph Ellis. The primary focus of this interview is the relationship between these two films. I hope
it will present a more reasonable perspective of the various roles of filmmakers and businessmen
in Canadian cinema. As the interview progressed, it touched on many facets of the career of Bill
Mason, who is undoubtedly one of the most complete creative personalities in Canadian film
I would really like to know your side of the story, vis-a-vis Cry of the Wild and Death of a
Legend, but first of all, explain how you started to make the films and the relationship
between the two films.
Iím glad to do it now. Part of the confusion may be my own fault because Iíve avoided
interviews. Then I thought, well itís your own darn fault if you donít explain how it was made. I
hear Cry of the Wild written up as a version which it just isnít, so Iíd be happy to set the record
straight. Iíll start right from the beginning and this will be the first time that it has been given an
overall birdseye view, because it is very complicated.
Iíll start by saying the article itself did make me angry because it said that Ralph had made the film
which is not true. Ralph Ellis is the distributor of the film. He deserves more credit than just being
the distributor because he was really responsible for the film being turned into a feature film. But
let me start at the beginning ...
The Wildlife Service asked the Film Board if they would like to make a film on animals, then the
Board said, yes, and in the process of research they settled on the wolf as the subject. I knew this
was happening as it was mentioned around the Film Board for a year. Then one day the Film
Board phoned me and said would I like to make the film, so I said, ďWow, yes. This is a beautiful
subjectĒ. I could imagine charging all over the North and it would take at least a year. I read the
script and I was not too keen on it. So I wrote my own script, from what little I knew about
wolves, which was not much more than the average guy interested in wildlife. We submitted the
script to the Wildlife Service and they said it was fine. They liked it because it dealt not just with
wolves but with manís alienation from the natural world, using the wolf as a symbol of that
alienation. Once they OKíd it, I took a big gulp as I had signed a one-year contract but spread
over two, because I knew that this arrangement would give me two winters.
I had other things to do in between.
As I proceeded with the filming, I began to realize that people were fascinated with the fact that I
just got dropped off in the middle of nowhere and stayed there by myself. I took it very much for
granted because I like being out there. And I thought, well if people are interested in that, Iíll film
my experiences and make it up into a half hour television film. So I started to shoot while waiting
for the wolves, with a radio control device to film myself. And then I began to develop a story line
portraying how you live out there.
Then I put that aside and I edited up Death of a Legend. But I thought, why donít I stick all that
stuff into the film and make Death of a Legend into a feature. So I put it all together and showed
it to the Wildlife Service, but they were not very enthusiastic. They didnít say no, but I had such a
good rapport with their guy, Daryl Eagles and the fact that he didnít show any interest really
cooled me. So you can imagine my embarrassment in having put myself in the film anyway, and
the only way I would go with it was if he was wildly enthusiastic because I needed the
encouragement. So I completed Death of a Legend without the personal interest material. Then I
started right into editing the second film which is called Wolfpack. Now, while I was cutting
these, I was also working on footage from the personal point of view.
At that time did you envision it as a third film?
Remember Death of a Legend is number one, Wolfpack is number two, and what became Cry of
the Wild, as I didnít have a name for it yet, was the third.
What year was that?
1973. So now Iím using the outs from the outs, because all the best shots have been used in
Death of a Legend and the next best in Wolfpack, but I still had mountains of footage. I mean I
wore out a Beaulieu camera, at 150,000 feet of film on the whole project.
Then I had a meeting with the Board to suggest the feature and all the reactions were negative. I
cut it to an hour, showed it to the CBC and the NFB sold it to them as an hour special. Then
Ralph Ellis phoned me from KEG Productions and he asked if I would be interested in doing a
film on wolves for the Audubon Series. So this would have been film number four, but I showed
him the one hour television film for the CBC, which I was just completing. Ralph was very
excited and he was climbing the wall. He said that it was a feature film and did I have some more
footage I could use to make it up to an hour and a half. I said that it was already an hour and a
half and I had just finished cutting it to an hour.
So I went home and I got a call later saying the deal was on; KEG was getting the film back from
the CBC. Ellis now had his film and I was ecstatic because of the possibility of having the film
screened in 35mm with good sound, compared to 16mm. I was walking on cloud 9 at the
prospect. However, what I didnít do was just put all the stuff back in. I went back through the
outs again, and instead of just padding it back up, I tried to see if there were whole new
sequences. When I went back, I discovered all sorts of things that I Ďd overlooked; little
behavioural things, like the dominant male beating up the subordinate male when he tried to
approach the female. Little behavioural things with Sparky that Iíd missed. So the film turned out
having gone through this process of cutting down and then building back up again. I think it
turned out better for that reason. So I completed Cry of the Wild at an hour and a half. My
attitude at that stage was it can work, but itís going to need one incredible sound track and score.
I was lucky enough to get Larry Crosley to do the score. He actually did the sound track for the
first film I ever did, Wilderness Treasure, and Iíd always wanted him to do another one. He made
this film work; he made it come off the screen. It was just a little documentary but he completely
expanded it. When I first heard the score I just breathed a great sigh of relief. Heíd given the film
what it needed. Then the original song writer didnít come through and Bruce McKay who did the
Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes, was given very little time but the guy came up with a nice song.
Some of the philosophy coming out of the song isnít mine, but you shrug and say ďWell, you
know, I canít write it, so this is his feeling and these are his words.Ē This is not to degrade the
song. I like it, and it works in the film.
I noticed in a number of your films that you used songs to emphasize a theme.
Yes, I do. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. For instance, with Death of a Legend, letís just
say that Iím not happy with it. I really think it was a failure, I really do. I knew it was at the mix,
and I had a very poor rapport with my producer Barrie Howells. It was not a happy situation.
This was not the producer I work with now [Bill Brind]. We have an excellent rapport.
OK, So I finished Cry of the Wild, but then it was very frustrating because it took a long time to
get the thing launched. We did a test screening in Edmonton, and it was ďso soĒ, pretty good. But
I think that Ralph expected it to really go over big. I donít think he lost anything, but by the same
token he didnít clean up either. Up Ďtil now I know that everything Iíve said is absolutely factual,
however from this point on I wasnít directly involved in the distribution of the film, so I donít
have all the details.
How did the film get into the hands of American National Enterprises?
Somebody took it down to American National in Salt Lake and they said that they would take it,
but then they found out about Death of a Legend. When they saw it they said, ďLook, there are
shots in there that are just like the ones in Cry of the WildĒ. So we assured them that there was
only one duplicate shot; the shot of the big male looking into the den. That is the only duplicate
shot, but letís face it, the shots are very similar because they are the same wolves. They signed the
deal with Ralph Ellis and the NFB for distribution rights.
Many people have asked me if I am upset about the Americans buying the film and running it
throughout the US. Iím ecstatic that the film is getting seen by people. I donít care if theyíre
Americans or Canadians. The Americans have more problems with their diminishing wildlife, than
we have and a wolf is a wolf. I donít care if heís an American wolf or a Canadian wolf.
What did you get financially from the sale of Cry of the Wild?
When the film took off, I began to think maybe Iím entitled to something for several reasons. I
had invested a lot of time and it was made in an unusual way, so I thought I should get some kind
of small royalty. Mind you, I did submit my bill for the $2,000 to edit the film and because of a
feeling of good will the NFB suggested that they would give me a bonus of $5,000. I said, thanks,
but did you know that Iím out $9,000 in the equipment I bought to make the films and my
repairs! So they went over my income tax expense claims and have made compensations. I donít
get rich working for the Board but Iím not complaining. They give me total freedom to make the
films that I want to make.
What is your relationship to the National Film Board?
What was happening was that I would simply work on the films under contract until they were
right. Then I found out I couldnít make it as a freelancer. So I had a long talk with Newman and
he said that they would give me a three year exclusive contract. I just finished the contract this
month. They then asked me if I would come on staff.
The other thing that the Board did for me was to give me Ken Buck, a friend of mine, to work
with me for a year. He started shooting for me on canoe trips and it has worked out beautifully.
Is there any way that you think the Film Board could be improved?
I think that any organization can only be as good as the people who form the organization. The
Board is the kind of place which is good if youíre the kind of person who likes to work.
Fortunately, with the program committee, you have to push to get your ideas accepted.
If there is any difference between myself and some filmmakers, maybe itís because Iím not in love
with the medium. Iím in love with what it can say and I use it to express my feelings about things.
The thing about film that I find frustrating is the question of who really makes the film. I say, I
made Cry of the Wild with the help of a lot of talented people; Larry Crosley doing the music,
John Knight doing the sound and the technicians doing their best. But I still see it in that I
conceive the idea, write it, direct it, shoot it, edit it, animate it and do the commentary sometimes.
The Film Board made it possible. They gave me the wherewithal , but I still like to think that I
made the film. I donít know whether thatís selfish, but thatís the way I feel.
I found with some of the producers, I spent half my time just arguing with them. Thatís another
reason I decided to quit and then they gave me Bill Brind, for a producer. We have a very good
rapport and he understands the way I want to work.
Have you ever thought of going into independent production?
In the period when I was thinking of quitting, I was going to accept some investment money and
go into some films of my own because the royalty intrigued me. Iím very partial to the
documentary feature. I cannot understand why Canadians havenít seen that our expertise is in the
documentary film. Why havenít we said letís make documentary features like Hellstrom
Chronicle, The RA expedition and Blue Water, White Death. I think itís starting now. Ralph Ellis
really sees it. The only thing I worry about is if we churn out documentary features, the quality
could go down.
How did you get started making films?
I was an animator in Winnipeg, working for an advertising agency. Then I came to Crawleys and
worked as an animator for a while. And then I got the idea for Paddle to the Sea. I submitted that
to the Board. Previously I had made Wilderness Treasure for Pioneer Camps. If you saw this film,
it is the beginning of my interest in live film, and to go back before that I was the canoeist in Chris
Chapmanís first film Quetico. It was a fantastic experience meeting Chris and working with him.
Thatís where my inspiration came from, just watching him use a camera like a paint brush.
From watching your films, I get the impression that you like to work by yourself?
I worked for a very short time as a cameraman, but I canít work that way. I think even if I made a
feature film, Iíd have a very small mobile crew. My technique is to have everything that you need
on your back. If you canít get it in your knapsack then donít take it. My advice to younger
filmmakers is to buy a camera. I started with that beat up old Cine Special over there on the table
with the sides peeling off. Thatís the first camera that I bought. Itís primitive, itís been over
Niagara Falls twice, Iíve shot rapids with it, Iíve swamped the canoe with it, but it still goes. The
first film that I made, Wilderness Treasure, I shot it with the Cine Special and I had three lens; a
15, a 25 and a six inch. You know, thatís all I needed. The film I shot then, Iím still happy with it
today. So I say, ďLook, you donít need a lot of exotic equipment.Ē What you do need is a good
tripod head. If you buy a hundred feet of film this week, and a hundred feet next week, go ahead
and start your film. What I found is that just knowing that youíre making a film is what matters.
Itís dreaming about it, and itís writing your script. I find that if I can get a kid to say, ďIíve got
something I want to say.Ē Then I can say, ďNow do your storyboard, do your drawings, do your
sketches, and start.Ē Because thatís the process of making a film. I tell them, ďDonít worry about
where youíre going to get a camera, where youíre going to get film or how youíre going to get
the money to edit it.Ē Get your whole storyboard laid out, buy or borrow a camera, buy a couple
of hundred feet of film and start shooting it.
This is what we did on Wilderness Treasure. We finished the filming,
then I showed it to the
Inter-Varsity Board members, and they were wildly enthusiastic. Now I
said, ďWe have to have a
composed score, but we havenít got the money, so it might be a while
before itís complete.Ē It
was three years before there was enough money for an original score by
Larry Crosley. Inter-Varsity is a non-profit organization so it took a
long time to raise the money. And finally, we were
able to finish the film in 1962.
Do you always work from a storyboard?
Yes. I see everything in pictures. Words donít mean a thing to me. I can sit back and scan the
whole film. If you saw the storyboard for Death of a Legend you would be surprised at how close
its is to the film. I donít have too much patience with people who say that they just want to start
shooting and something magic is going to happen. The only time when thatís true is an
expedition, where you donít know whatís going to happen.
Are there any animated films available which youíve made?
I worked on the Wizard of Oz series at Crawleys, which is nothing to be proud of except it was a
lot of fun. It was a limited animation style, which is a nothing style, but the guys who were
working on it like Vic Atkinson, were great to work for.
I have an idea I would like to do on whales. I like the cartoon style animation, but I also like some
of the things Disney has done, when they have animated things that could never be filmed. Like
when the Sperm Whale goes to 3,000 feet to battle with the Giant Squid, and this is something
which will never be filmed. I can imagine animating a thing like that.
How much shooting have you done around here, just in the Gatineau?
There is another interesting aspect to film making, when youíre working out of the house and
thatís the incredible rapport Joyce (Billís wife) has with the work. She is totally involved and she
looks after everything related to finances. When I got the wolves, I said to Joyce, ďDo you mind if
we had a few wolves?Ē She said, ďWell, how many do you have in mind?Ē I said, ďYou know a
couple; just little ones.Ē They arrived when I was on Baffin Island and it was a month and a half
before I got home. And those wolves grew quickly in that time. As they grew Joyce would clean
the pens and one day she realized that she was working with these big monsters. Even when I
brought home this mated pair; Big Charlie was bigger than I am, she got used to the idea of
having them around. When you see the wolf films Joyce is in with them.
The only film I couldnít seem to get a single shot from here was for the Bowhead Whale film. I
use Meach Lake a lot for pick up shots, cutaways and things that just didnít work.
Obviously Blake James has been a big part of your films. What is your assessment of his
Much of the success of my films must be attributed to him. He began as a location assistant on
Paddle to the Sea. I used him as the lighthouse keeper and he did such a great job, I have used
him in every film, up to the Bowhead Whale film. Blake also did some filming of me in Cry of the
Wild. I am very indebted to him for the enthusiasm and effort he put into my films and for the
many times he risked his neck in the film Blake.
Do you see yourself as a filmmaker?
I think the one thing I neglected to tell you, is that I never consciously set out to be a filmmaker. I
was happy doing commercial art and animation and I was very happy painting. I was just starting
to get somewhere and I had started to find a way of portraying what I wanted to say about the
bush; a style that was totally spontaneous. I guess the best way to describe it is impressionism.
Turner is my hero, not the sunsets, but the Turner who did these wild violent storms and man as
part of the scene. I like that. I find that people give dimension to the land. Iíve never made a film
without people in it, and I always thought that I would. You see it was Chris Chapmanís film The
Seasons that turned me on to film making. Then one day I was looking back and realized that my
films always have someone in them, and that surprised me. I would still like to make a film
without anyone in it, but not right now.
Now I have this incredible compulsion to draw. Maybe thatís why Iíve put more work into these
storyboards than is needed. Although they are very rough and I could do them ten times better, I
reach a stage where I realize that I just canít afford to spend anymore time on them. They are still
only sketches, but I enjoy it. Every once in awhile I look at the kids and I realize that Iíve just got
to draw again. Darn it, Iím an artist and I donít want to spend the rest of my life making films, as
much as I enjoy it.
So you see yourself as primarily an artist?
I see myself as an artist who somehow got sidetracked into making films and having never
regretted it. The films work so why should I complain, and Iíve made a living at it. But there
again, maybe itís part of my nature in that, as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be
doing something other than what I was doing. I canít help it. Maybe after a year or two of
painting, Iíll want to get back to film making. The dilemma was that I kept getting offered films.
They kept appearing on the horizon and I kept taking them. Finally, this year was the first time
that Iíve been able to say, ďNoĒ, except for films which I didnít think would work and I wouldnít
even attempt. So this is the first time that Iíve said , ďNoĒ to films that Iíd love to make. Iíve got
to get that year of painting in, and I want to do some reading for my own enjoyment, because
everything I read is related to the subject that Iím working on. For instance, I know canoeing
better than I know anything else. Just look at the books on canoeing on these shelves. Yet I still
feel that there is so much that I donít know and until I finish the film, all I will be reading is canoe
books. What a pleasure it will be to just sit down and read.
I took a trip to England two months ago. They had a Turner exhibition on in London; fifteen
rooms of the stuff, six hundred and fifty paintings. I just marvelled at it. At that time, I bought
ever book theyíve ever printed on Turner. And Iím going to sit down and read everyone of those
What about making a film about Turner?
Nope. No interest whatsoever! I want to paint like Turner. Thatís one thing; I find it very
interesting how there are some subjects that I love, but I have no desire to make films on them.
Itís very strange and I donít know why that is, but itís the last thing I want to do. Turner just
inspires me to paint. Maybe thatís good. For instance, I love to play hockey but I have no desire
to make a film on hockey.
Have you ever thought of living in another country?
No, I donít think that I ever have. The only reason I could possibly see for doing that is to study
art. To go to the Louvre and to just soak it up or to London. When I was there, it was incredible.
That was the first time in my life that I spent eight days just sitting in the art galleries and that was
fantastic. But other than that Iím so much in love with this country. Iím very, very bitter about
what we are doing to it ...†
by James Forrester
(Canadian Review, September/October, 1975)
Mason, one of Canadaís most skilful filmmakers, lives in a house
overlooking Meach Lake, high in the Gatineau Hills. A fast flowing
rivulet courses down the hillside close to the laneway. Chain link
fences with tendrilled weeds growing over, perch on the summit; a quiet
reminder of the wolves which were raised here for a film project.
the house, amid a grove of trees stands his studio. The inside walls are
festooned with large photographs from Masonís films, storyboard
illustrations for a current film and a ceiling to floor-size map of
day when I was visiting, the lights in the studio flickered three times
in rapid succession. Mason excused himself and later returned,
explaining that this was part of a signal system he had worked out with
his wife. Otherwise, he was not to be disturbed while he works on the
Steenbeck editing table, which he uses to create his award winning
is one filmmaker who values his privacy. To some extent, this may
account for his neglect by the Canadian media generally. However, John
Hofsess wrote an article in the recent issue of Macleanís
magazine entitled, ďIn the Footsteps of Walt DisneyĒ, in which he
completely ignored Masonís accomplishments. The article was devoted
not to Mason, but to a Toronto businessman, who was the
Producer/Distributor of Masonís feature film, Cry of the Wild.
To be ignored is more of an affront than to be criticized.
his films have become very familiar to audiences, winning many awards
including two Academy Award nominations, while Mason is virtually
unknown outside the film making community.
the interview began, I was aware of his work in the area of live action
documentaries, which he has been making for the National Film Board
since the mid 1960's. It was only as the interview progressed, that the
full range of his creative activities came to light.
was born in Winnipeg in 1929. He studied fine art at the University of
Manitoba and subsequently worked as a commercial artist, in an
advertising firm. Then he became involved with animation through
television commercials, eventually moving to Ottawa to work as an
animator at Crawley Films.
worked on the Wizard of Oz series at Crawleyís which is nothing
to be proud of except it was a lot of fun. It was a limited animation
style, which is a nothing style, but it taught us to really bang the
stuff out. A lot of the animation that Iíve done on my own films is
diagrammatical, like The Rise and Fall of the Great Lakes.
first experience with live action film making came about because of his
intense interest in canoeing:
ďI was the canoeist in Chris Chapmanís film Quetico, which really
whetted my appetite. That was a fantastic experience meeting Chris and
working with him. Thatís where my inspiration came from, just watching
him use the camera like a paint brush. I would say that Iíve just gone
first film, Wilderness Treasure was produced for Inter-Varsity
Christian Fellowship and Pioneer Camps:
ďI had been going to these camps as a child and as I grew up and
took out canoe trips, I began to realize what a film that would make.
Briefly, I shot it and it was three years in completion, because we ran
out of money. So I edited it during the time I was at Crawley Films. And
then it did very well, won a couple of awards and that was really my
ticket to the Film Board.Ē
Initially, he went to the N.F.B. as an animator, working on film
clips. However, Mason soon began to realize a long standing project to
make Holling C. Hollingís book Paddle to the Sea into a film.
This film, which is one to the most popular N.F.B. shorts, relates the
story of a young boy who carves a wooden canoe called Paddle and sends
it down the Great Lakes to the Atlantic. Audiences are always intrigued
by the naturalness of the scenes, especially the ones involving animals
which encounter Paddle.
Blake James, a friend of his was cast as the lighthouse keeper in Paddle
to the Sea, and Mason was very please with the results:
ďHe did such a great job, I have used him in every film, up to the Bowhead
Whale film. Blake also did some of the filming of me in Cry of
the Wild. Much of the success of my films must be attributed to him.
I am indebted to him for the enthusiasm and effort he put into my films
and for the many times he risked his neck in the film Blake.Ē
and James worked together to create the madcap short, Rise and Fall
of the Great Lakes. Imagine James as a lone canoeist caught in an
oscillating time warp between the Great Lakes as they were shortly after
the ice age and now:
ďI couldnít just leave it as a film on the Great Lakes, so I
wrote humour into it. They said it sounded pretty risky; do it both ways
and if it works out, fine, but if it doesnít we still have a film. So,
I said, ďO.K.Ē and as we shot the film they saw that it was working
and we were home free.Ē
1968, he began working on Blake, which is a documentary on Blake
James, shot entirely in the Gatineau Hills. Many critics thought that
the film was fictional, but Mason insists that it was really a
documentary. To illustrate this, he relates the story of a crash which
took place during the filming in which James was not seriously hurt. In
the film, he appears as a romantic weekend flier, who enjoys skimming
the tree tops in his bi-plane. The photography, as in Masonís other
films is superb, with reflections of the passing plane in pools of
water, deep in the forest. Blake went on to be nominated for an Academy
Award in 1969.
next project began when the Wildlife Service approached the National
Film Board to do a film on wolves. The Board offered the job to Mason,
who would eventually produce not one, but three films:
ďI literally burned out a camera. I mean I wore out a Beaulieau
(check Spelling) at 150,000 feet of film. This is why I was able to make
so many films.Ē
Death of a Legend, an hour long television special, he exploded
the myths that have long existed about wolf savagery. The second film, Wolfpack,
is a theatrical short which has not been released yet, but deals with
the social structure of the wolf family. Finally, in Cry of the Wild,
Mason takes the audience out to the wilderness for a glimpse of life in
the open. Each film stands entirely on its own and there is only one
duplicate shot in any of the three films.
of the Wild has been seen by audiences throughout Canada and the
U.S.A., grossing something between five and eight million dollars along
the way. It is the most financially successful Canadian feature films to
asked Mason what he thought of his film being sold to an American
company, by the distributor and the N.F.B.:
ďFrom my point of view, as a filmmaker, Iím ecstatic that the
film is getting seen by people. I donít care if theyíre Americans or
Canadians. The Americans have more problems with their diminishing
wildlife than we have and a wolf is a wolf. I donít care if heís an
American wolf or a Canadian wolf.Ē
latest film, In Search of the Bowhead Whale, is also concerned
with ecology and the extinction of the whale. Unlike his other films,
which had storyboards laid out, as if he were making an animated film,
this film was shot as an expedition. After its presentation on
television, it was shown recently to raise funds for the Greenpeace
present, he is working on a series of four 30 minute films on canoeing,
as well as completing an older project entitled Planet Earth,
dealing with the creation of mountains.
the interview drew to a close, I realized that our conversation had
shifted from film to art and painting specifically. I noticed a familiar
print on the wall and he indicated that the 19th century English painter
J.M.W. Turner was his favourite artist:
ďNot the Turner who painted sunsets, but the Turner who did these
wild violent storms and man as a small part of the scene. I like that. I
find that people give dimension to the land.Ē
had decided to take a leave of absence for the N.F.B. and devote his
talent solely to painting for a couple of years. Recently, his painting Freeze-Up
was included in Visual Arts Ottawa, Survey Exhibition #1, a display of
the best work by artists in the Ottawa area:
ďI want to say through painting, the same things Iíve been saying
through film. Now I have this incredible compulsion to draw, again.
Maybe thatís why I put more work into these storyboards than is
needed. I say that Iím an artist, I want to stay an artist. I donít
want to spend the rest of my life making films, as much as I enjoy
he sums up his feeling toward film:
ďI see myself as an artist who somehow got sidetracked into making
films and having never regretted it. But there again, maybe itís part
of my nature, in that I always want to be doing something other than
what Iím doing. I canít help it. Maybe after a year or two of
painting, Iíll want to get back to filmmaking. The dilemma was, I kept
getting offered films. Finally, for the first time Iíve had the will
power to say ĎNoíĒ.
I would say, is a unique situation in Canada. Most filmmakers are either
unemployed or they are too busy lobbying the government to make films.
Bill Mason is neither. He is an extremely creative individual, who has
become frustrated with the medium of film. Unlike film, if you write a
book - itís your book. If you do a painting - itís your painting.
However, despite this, he has persevered and created some of the best
films produced in Canada. Ultimately, he seems to be a unique
combination of artist and idealist, which is rare anywhere, but
especially in the Canadian film industry.