This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.
OTTAWA, October 27, 2008 -On the occasion of UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is proud to pay tribute to the late Bill O'Farrell (1954-2008) and his team of film conservators at LAC, who meticulouslyreconstructed the lost film Nass River Indians (1928). The work was completed by the team in 2000 in the LACPreservation Centre, a state of the art restoration, conservation and preservation facility in Gatineau.
The reconstruction of this Associated Screen News production was based on footage only known to exist in two shorter Associated Screen News films recut from Nass River Indians for commercial release, Saving the Sagas (1927) and Fish and Medicine Men (1928), of which prints are preserved at LAC.
Nass River Indians, a 17 minute film reconstructed from footage and intertitles shot by James Sibley Watson Jr., documents the activities of Marius Barbeau and Ernest MacMillan among the Nisga'a of the Nass River region of British Columbia in 1928. Barbeau, a reknowned ethnologist at the former National Museum of Canada and MacMillan, then principal of the Toronto Conservatory of Music, are depicted transcribing songs and making wax cylinder recordings of the rites, songs and dances of the Nisga'a people. The work done by Barbeau and MacMillan and subsequently by Library and Archives Canada's film conservators demonstrates the importance of recording and preserving history in the making.
Library and Archives Canada collects and preserves Canada's documentary heritage and makes it accessible to all Canadians, including 71,000 hours of short and full-length films dating back to 1897 and 270,000 hours of video and sound recordings. LAC is also a founding member of the Audiovisual Preservation Trust of Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and enhancing access to Canada's audiovisual heritage.
The UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage Day was created to bring global awareness to the importance of preserving the world's sound recordings and moving images. For a peek at some other historic films held in LAC's collection, please visit www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/silverscreen/.