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Tom Daly

Producer, Editor, Executive Producer
(b. April 25, 1918 Toronto, Ontario)

Tom Daly is one of the most significant, creative figures in the history of the National Film Board. He is most famous for his contributions as head of the NFB’s Unit B, but Daly was also widely acknowledged as a brilliant editor. His talent, sensitivity and energy as a producer inspired his colleagues to their best work.

After graduating from the University of Toronto, Daly joined the NFB in 1940 as a production assistant. He established the Board's stock shot library, which was used extensively for the World in Action series films (1942–1945), made entirely with existing footage. He directed his first film — Our Northern Neighbour (1943) — as part of the World in Action series. His first producer credit is for the film Atlantic Crossroads (1945), which he also directed and edited as part of the Canada Carries On series.

During WWII, Daly researched and edited several more films in these series. He produced Who Will Teach Your Child? (1948), which received a Canadian Film Award for best theatrical short, one of the first of many awards bestowed on films he produced or edited.

Daly rose to the position of executive producer of Unit B in 1951. One of the Board's larger units (about 40 people), Unit B was responsible for films on science and the arts, animation as well as experimental films, educational films and films sponsored by government departments. This catch-all unit was considered less significant at the time than sections like Unit C (theatrical films); however, under Daly’s keen guidance, Unit B developed into the NFB's most honoured creative arm. Under Daly's leadership, such filmmakers as Wolf Koenig, Colin Low, Roman Kroitor, Stanley Jackson, Gerald Potterton, Bob Verrall, Don Owen, Arthur Lipsett and Norman McLaren thrived, developing new approaches to documentary and anima­tion, witnessed in the Candid Eye series of made-for-television documentaries, for example. Their innovative films of the 1950s and 1960s garnered international recognition and received nominations and awards worldwide.

Unit B films were recognizable in tone and ideology: a nostalgic affirmation of the past; a detached, even sardonic, view of reality; an almost existential attitude toward individual human actions and social development; and, perhaps paradoxically, an emphasis on the importance of group effort.

Though the unit system was abandoned by the NFB in 1964 in favour of production "pools," the Unit B team continued informally. They built and designed the Labyrinth pavilion for Expo ’67, where they released their work Labyrinth (1967, edited by Daly), a film that was perhaps the most complete statement of the Unit B aesthetic. Labyrinth was later adapted and released as In the Labyrinth in 1979.

Daly's role at Unit B has been com­pared to that of André Bazin, pioneering French film theorist, critic and co-founder of Cahiers du cinéma, who greatly influenced many young filmmakers and the development of the Nouvelle Vague, or French New Wave. The Australian filmmaker Bruce Moir, who directed Mr. Symbol Man, a 1974 NFB/Film Australia documentary co-production produced by Daly, neatly summarized the producer’s special talents: "On the one hand, he was reassuring because he kept removing preconceived limits which I had in my head. I think the final film has a lot of Tom Daly in it, though he never made a direct suggestion for any cut."

Daly continued to work as a program producer with the NFB and is widely recognized by filmmakers as a remarkable guide and teacher. He retired in 1984 with a legacy of more than 300 films produced during 40 years of dedicated service.

Film and video work includes

Battle of Europe, 1944 (writer; editor; producer)
Inside France, 1944 (director; editor)
Road to the Reich, 1944 (director; editor; producer)
Atlantic Crossroads, 1945 (director; editor; producer)
Gateway to Asia, 1945 (director; editor; producer)
Guilty Men, 1945 (director; writer; producer)
Ordeal by Ice, 1945 (director; editor; producer)
Canada - World Trader, 1946 (producer)
The Challenge of Housing, 1946 (producer)
Out of the Ruins, 1946 (producer)
Canadian International Trade Fair, 1948 (producer)
Hungry Minds, 1948 (director; producer)
Who Will Teach Your Child?, 1948 (producer)
Yellowknife Canada, 1948 (producer)
Children's Concert, 1949 (editor)
Come to the Fair, 1949 (producer)
Family Circles, 1949 (producer)
Science at Your Service, 1949 (editor; producer)
Teeth Are to Keep, 1949 (producer)
4 Songs by 4 Gentlemen, 1950 (executive producer)
Family Tree, 1950 (producer)
Feelings of Depression, 1950 (producer)
A Friend at the Door, 1950 (producer)
How to Build an Igloo, 1950 (producer)
Making Primitive Stone Tools, 1950 (producer)
On Stage, 1950 (producer)
The Unadulterated Truth, 1950 (producer)
Breakdown, 1951 (executive producer)
Canada's Awakening North, 1951 (producer)
Caribou Hunters, 1951 (producer)
Fighting Forest Fires with Hand Tools, 1951 (producer)
Folksong Fantasy, 1951 (producer)
The Longhouse People, 1951 (producer)
Pen Point Percussion, 1951 (producer)
Sing a Little, 1951 (producer)
Sur le pont d'Avignon, 1951 (producer)
V For Volunteers, 1951 (producer)
Age of the Beaver, 1952 (producer)
Lismer, 1952 (producer)
Trade Fair, 1952 (producer)
Warp and Weft, 1952 (producer)
Dick Hickey - Blacksmith, 1953 (executive producer)
Canadian Notebook, 1953 (producer)
Fighting Forest Fires with Power Pumps, 1953 (producer)
The Newcomers, 1953 (producer)
Poison Ivy Picnic, 1953 (producer)
Rescue Party, 1953 (producer)
A Shocking Affair, 1953 (executive producer)
Shyness, 1953 (producer)
Varley, 1953 (producer)
Winter in Canada, 1953 (producer)
The Homeless Ones, 1954 (executive producer)
Look Before You Leap, 1954 (executive producer)
The Magnificent, 1954 (editor)
Mountains of the West, 1954 (producer)
One Little lndian, 1954 (producer)
Paul Tomkowicz: Street Railway Switchman, 1954 (editor; producer)
Physical Regions of Canada, 1954 (producer)
Riches of the Earth, 1954 (editor; producer)
Salt Cod, 1954 (producer)
A Thousand Million Years, 1954 (producer)
Farm Calendar, 1955 (producer)
Gold, 1955 (producer)
Grain Handling in Canada, 1955 (producer)
To Serve the Mind, 1955 (producer)
Iron From the North, 1955 (producer)
The Jolifou Inn, 1955 (producer)
Look Alert Stay Unhurt, 1955 (editor)
No Longer Vanishing, 1955 (producer)
The Structure of Unions, 1955 (executive producer)
Canadian Venture, 1956 (producer)
Forest Fire Suppression, 1956 (producer)
The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Lowlands, 1956 (producer)
Introducing Canada, 1956 (director; editor; writer; producer)
Blue Vanguard, 1957 (producer)
Canadian Profile, 1957 (producer)
The Great Plains, 1957 (producer)
Looking Beyond: Story of a Film Council, 1957 (producer)
The Precambrian Shield, 1957 (producer)
Profile of a Problem Drinker, 1957 (producer)
Putting It Straight, 1957 (producer)
Blood and Fire, 1958 (executive producer)
The Canadians, 1959 (director; editor; producer)
Country Threshing, 1958 (executive producer)
The Days Before Christmas, 1958 (executive producer)
Face of the High Arctic, 1958 (executive producer)
A Foreign Language, 1958 (producer)
High Arctic: Life on the Land, 1958 (executive producer)
The Living Stone, 1958 (producer)
Memory of Summer, 1958 (executive producer)
Police, 1958 (producer)
Pilgrimage, 1958 (editor; executive producer)
Railroaders, 1958 (producer)
Smoke and Weather, 1958 (producer)
Stigma, 1958 (producer)
Trans Canada Summer, 1958 (producer)
A Is for Architecture, 1959 (editor; producer)
The Back-Breaking Leaf, 1959 (producer)
City Out of Time, 1959 (producer)
Emergency Ward, 1959 (executive producer)
The End of the Line, 1959 (executive producer)
Fifty Miles from Poona, 1959 (editor; producer)
Fishermen, 1959 (executive producer)
Glenn Gould - Off the Record, 1959 (executive producer)
Glenn Gould - On the Record, 1959 (executive producer)
Pangnirtung, 1959 (producer)
Radiation, 1959 (executive producer)
Arctic Outpost, 1960 (producer)
The Cars in Your Life, 1960 (producer)
I Was a Ninety Pound Weakling, 1960 (executive producer)
Interview with Linus Pauling, 1960 (executive producer)
Life in the Woodlot, 1960 (executive producer)
Microscopic Fungi, 1960 (executive producer)
Roughnecks, 1960 (producer)
Cattle Ranch, 1961 (producer)
Do You Know the Milky Way, 1961 (executive producer)
Festival in Puerto Rico, 1961 (producer)
New York Lightboard, 1961 (producer)
O Canada (Coat of Arms), 1961 (executive producer)
The Price of Fire, 1961 (executive producer)
Snow, 1961 (executive producer)
Trout Stream, 1961 (producer)
University, 1961 (executive producer)
A Christmas Fantasy, 1962 (producer)
The Climates of North America, 1962 (executive producer)
The Joy of Winter, 1962 (producer)
Kindergarten, 1962 (producer)
The Living Machine, 1962 (producer)
The Peep Show, 1962 (executive poducer)
Pot-Pourri, 1962 (producer)
Runner, 1962 (producer)
Christmas Cracker, 1963 (producer)
Experimental Film, 1963 (producer)
The Gates of Italy, 1963 (producer)
The Great Toy Robbery, 1963 (executive producer)
The Origins of Weather, 1963 (executive producer)
Pipers and A', 1963 (producer)
The Ride, 1963 (executive producer)
Sky, 1963 (producer)
The World of David Milne, 1963 (producer)
2187, 1964 (producer)
Above the Horizons, 1964 (producer)
Antogonish, 1964 (producer)
Country Auction, 1964 (producer)
The Edge of the Barrens, 1964 (executive producer)
Eskimo Artist - Kenojuak, 1964 (producer)
An Essay on Science, 1964 (producer)
Jet Pilot, 1964 (producer)
Legault's Place, 1964 (producer)
The Persistent Seed, 1964 (producer)
Toronto Jazz, 1964 (producer)
Two-and-a-Half, 1964 (producer)
Experienced Hands, 1965 (producer)
The Forest, 1965 (producer)
Satan's Choice, 1965 (producer)
The Sea Got in Your Blood, 1965 (producer)
Two Men of Montreal, 1965 (producer)
Antonio, 1966 (producer)
Helicopter Canada, 1966 (producer)
Island Observed, 1966 (producer)
Kurelek, 1966 (producer)
Take It From the Top, 1966 (producer)
Niagara Falls, 1967 (producer)
Poen, 1967 (producer)
The Changing Forest, 1968 (executive producer)
Fluxes, 1968 (producer)
Sir! Sir!, 1968 (producer)
McBus, 1969 (producer)
Danny and Nicky, 1969 (executive producer)
If He Is Devoured I Win, 1969 (producer)
Mrs. Ryan's Drama Class, 1969 (producer)
Swedish Canadian Co-production series, 1969-1970 (producer)
Where Have All the Farms Gone?, 1969 (producer)
The Winds of Fogo, 1969 (producer)
Espolio, 1970 (producer)
A Film for Max, 1970 (producer)
Girls of Mountain Street, 1970 (producer)
Half - Half - ThreeQuarters - Full, 1970 (producer)
Here's to Harry's Grandfather!, 1970 (producer)
Legend, 1970 (producer)
November, 1970 (producer)
A Rosewood Daydream, 1970 (executive producer)
Pillar of Wisdom, 1970 (producer)
The Wish, 1970 (producer)
Anger after Death, 1971 (producer)
Atomic Juggernaut, 1971 (producer)
Dance Class, 1971 (producer)
Garden, 1971 (producer)
God Help the Man Who Would Part with His Land, 1971 (producer)
Improv, 1971 (producer)
The Mechanical Knee, 1971 (producer)
Norman Jewison, Filmmaker, 1971 (executive producer)
Once . . . Agadir, 1971 (producer)
Pandora, 1971 (producer)
Paper Boy, 1971 (producer)
Pearly Yeats, 1971 (producer)
Persistent and Finagling, 1971 (producer)
Saskatchewan - 45° Below, 1971 (producer)
The Sea, 1971 (producer)
Summer's Nearly Over, 1971 (producer)
This Is a Photograph, 1971 (producer)
Three Guesses, 1971 (producer)
Wet Earth and Warm People, 1971 (producer)
Bannerfilm, 1972 (producer)
Beware, Beware, My Beauty Fair, 1972 (executive producer)
Centaur, 1972 (producer)
Cold Journey, 1972 (editor)
Cold Pizza, 1972 (executive producer)
Cowboy and Indian, 1972 (producer)
The Huntsman, 1972 (executive producer)
Light to Starboard, 1972 (executive producer)
Louisbourg, 1972 (producer)
Mirage, 1972 (producer)
The Modest Death of Callum McLead, 1972 (producer)
One Hand Clapping, 1972 (producer)
The Sloane Affair, 1972 (producer)
Accident, 1973 (producer)
Child series, 1973-1978 (producer)
Coming Home, 1973 (producer)
Downhill, 1973 (producer)
Jalan Jalan: A Journey in Sudanese Java, 1973 (producer)
The Man Who Can't Stop, 1973 (producer)
The Streets of Saigon, 1973 (producer)
Tickets s.v.p.!, 1973 (producer)
In Praise of Hands, 1974 (producer)
Mr. Symbol Man, 1974 (producer)
The Players, 1974 (producer)
Running Time, 1974 (producer)
Sananguagat: Inuit Masterworks, 1974 (producer)
A Source of Wonder... the Calgary Zoo, 1974 (producer)
Thunderbirds in China, 1974 (producer)
Waiting for Fidel, 1974 (producer)
Alberta Girls, 1975 (producer)
Los Canadienses, 1975 (producer)
Crafts series, 1975-1976 (producer)
Descent, 1975 (producer)
Face, 1975 (producer)
The Forest Watchers, 1975 (producer)
Hinchinbrook Diary, 1975 (producer)
I Am an Old Tree, 1975 (producer)
Lumsden, 1975 (producer)
Musicanada, 1975 (producer)
No Way They Want to Slow Down, 1975 (producer)
Symbol Boy, 1975 (producer)
Coaches, 1976 (producer)
The Great Clean-up, 1976 (producer)
The Sword of the Lord, 1976 (producer)
Back Alley Blue, 1977 (producer)
I Hate to Lose, 1977 (producer)
I'll Go Again, 1977 (producer)
One Man, 1977 (producer)
River (Planet Earth), 1977 (producer)
You're Eating for Two, 1977 (producer)
An Easy Pill to Swallow, 1978 (producer)
In the Labyrinth, 1979 (editor; producer; adapted from Labyrinth, 1967)
Alternate version: In the Labyrinth, 1979, single screen version of Labyrinth (producer)
It Wasn't Easy, 1978 (producer)
Meditation in Motion, 1978 (producer)
'round and 'round, 1978 (producer)
Tigers and Teddy Bears, 1978 (producer)
Travel Log, 1978 (producer)
North China Commune, 1979 (producer)
North China Factory, 1979 (producer)
A Pinto for the Prince, 1979 (producer)
China, A Land Transformed, 1980 (producer)
Co Hoedeman, Animator, 1980 (producer)
From the Ashes of War, 1980 (producer)
The Last Days of Living, 1980 (producer)
The Lost Pharaoh, 1980 (producer)
Stages, 1980 (producer)
Earl Birney: Portrait of a Poet, 1981 (producer)
Off the Wall, 1981 (producer)
F.R. Scott: Rhyme and Reason, 1982 (producer)
Reflections on Suffering, 1982 (producer)
Standing Alone, 1982 (editor; producer)
Time for Caring, 1982 (producer)
Singing: A Joy in Any Language, 1983 (producer)
Musical Magic: Gilbert and Sullivan in Stratford, 1984 (producer)
The Road to Patriation, 1984 (producer)