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Year: 1979
Runtime: 13 min
Director: Phillip Borsos
Executive Producer: John Taylor
Cinematographer: Ron Orieux
Editor: Raymond Hall
Sound: Ralph Parker
Music: Michael Conway-Baker
Production Company: National Film Board of Canada, Mercury Pictures
The methods of a traditional blacksmith, a hyper-efficient, state-of-the-art factory and a similar but more primitive nineteenth-century operation are contrasted in this wonderfully fluid and compulsively watchable documentary about the manufacture of nails. Almost symphonic in its construction of images, Nails continued director Phillip Borsos’s fascination with the gulf between the skilled labour of traditional tradespeople and more modern, mechanized processes that was evident in his earlier, award-winning short films Cooperage (1976) and Spartree (1977). Nails was nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Short and won the Genie Award for Outstanding Theatrical Short.

By: Andrew McIntosh

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