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Canadian Film Encyclopedia

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Piers Handling first floated the idea of a Canadian encyclopedia of film in 2000. We agreed that there were very few research tools on Canadian cinema and the existing ones had not been updated in quite some time. And while the Film Reference Library had been collecting film information in a consistent and concentrated manner, access to this rich resource had always required a visit to the Library. We felt that the most useful format for such a publication was an online version, which would allow for greater flexibility since it could be updated and added to as desired. It also allows for immediate input from users. The encyclopedia is a work in progress that will evolve with new scholarship in the field of Canadian cinema.

Piers had worked on The Film Companion edited by Peter Morris (last published in 1984) and, in 2001, the University of Toronto published Take One’s Essential Guide to Canadian Film, edited by Wyndham Wise, which updated much of TFC’s material to 2000 and expanded on it. We agreed that both sources would form a solid foundation for the online encyclopedia project.

University of Toronto Press graciously agreed to give online rights to use Take One’s Essential Guide to Canadian Film and Peter Morris gave permission to use The Film Companion as the starting point for the work. My thanks to Wyndham Wise for sharing his research; the University of Toronto Press for taking the plunge with us in our first online publishing venture; and Peter Morris for agreeing to take on the role of consulting editor.

We knew this would be a costly undertaking. Fortunately, the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC) agreed to fund the development of the encyclopedia. We want to thank the OMDC for committing monies to support this venture, and to the AVTrust for new monies in 2004 for the completion of 300 more entries.

Once the project was off the ground, the Canadian Film Encyclopedia Advisory Committee was formed to help us navigate these new waters. We want to thank Kass Banning, Piers Handling, Peter Harcourt, Peter Morris, Christine Ramsay, Pierre Véronneau and Wyndham Wise for assisting us with this ambitious project.

In 2004, the TIFFG's publication department and library brought the publication in-house.  Thanks go to Nick Davies, Manager of Publications, Andrew McIntosh, CFE Coordinator, and Jim Reid, CFE Copy Editor and to Rosanne Pavicic, Library Website Coordinator, Eve Goldin, Client Services Manager, Hubert Toh, Scanning Coordinator, and Elisa Coish, Library Assistant, who produced the filmographies.  Thanks also to Peter Morris, consulting editor, and Piers Handling, editor of the CFE.

–Sylvia Frank, director, Film Reference Library