Local Film Cultures

What for others are deviations are, for me, the data which determine my course.

Walter Benjamin

What is Local Film Cultures?

The Local Film Cultures research project has been designed as an experiment in historiography that seeks to understand and account for Toronto’s unique film cultures. This pilot version of the course, offered by the Cinema Studies Institute, has focused on the cultural geographies of filmgoing between 1960 and 1990. The aim was to produce a collaborative microhistory of a vital part of Toronto’s cultural past. In the process, students built a historical narrative of film-related social practices that ranged from alternative sites of exhibition and “scenes” to industrial practices particular to Toronto.

Engaged in primary research of various kinds, students discovered sites of exhibition and consumption whose histories were buried in the City of Toronto Archives, in local newspapers, and in key documents housed at the Ontario Archives, in addition to conducting oral history video interviews, with secondary research providing helpful contextualizing frames.

Local Film Cultures website