The Documentary Art of Filmmaker Michael Rubbo

The Documentary Art of Filmmaker Michael Rubbo

by D. B. Jones

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Michael Rubbo’s groundbreaking work has had a deep and enduring impact on documentary filmmaking worldwide, though his name has remained relatively unknown. In The Documentary Art of Michael Rubbo, author D.B. Jones traces Rubbo’s filmmaking from his days as a film student at Stanford, through his twenty years at the National Film Board of Canada, where Rubbo developed his distinct documentary style. Jones then describes Rubbo’s post-NFB venture into feature film directing, followed by Rubbo’s return to his native Australia, first as an executive with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and later as a director of feature-length documentaries and maker of short, personal films for YouTube. Exploring locales from Montreal to Vietnam, topics as diverse as plastic surgery and French Marxism, and from interviewing Margaret Atwood to documenting a failed attempt to interview Fidel Castro, Rubbo’s wide-ranging work establishes his innovative, personal, lyric, and spontaneous documentary style. In The Documentary Art of Michael Rubbo D.B. Jones reveals not only the depth of meaning in Rubbo’s films, but also the depth of their influence on filmmaking itself.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781552388730
Publisher: University of Calgary Press
Publication date: 02/01/2017
Series: Cinemas Off Centre , #4
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 262
File size: 14 MB
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About the Author

D.B. Jones has written, directed, or produced documentary films for American public broadcasting, Film Australia, Dutch National Television, and others. Jones is Distinguished Professor of Film at Drexel University, and has taught at La Trobe and Stanford. He is the author of Movies and Memoranda: An Interpretive History of the National Film Board of Canada (1982) and The Best Butler in the Business: Tom Daly and the National Film Board of Canada (1996).

Table of Contents



Introduction: Purpose and Method

1. Learning the Craft: The True Source of Knowledge These Days; Early Films at the NFB

2. Making it Personal: Sad Song of Yellow Skin

3. Nudging Things Along: Persistent and Finagling

4. Filmmaker Front and Centre: Wet Earth and Warm People

5. Family Matters: OK . . . Camera; The Streets of Siagon; Jalan, Jalan, The Man Who Can’t Stop

6. How it Works: Waiting for Fidel; I Am an Old Tree

7. Where the Action Isn’t: Log House; The Walls Come Tumbling Down; I Hate to Lose; Tigers and Teddy Bears

8. Something’s Happening: Solzhenitsyn’s Children . . . Are Making a Lot of Noise in Paris

9. Facial Expressions: Yes or No, Jean&ndsah;Guy Moreau; Daisy: The Story of a Facelift; Not Far from Bolgatanga

10. Long Shots: Margaret Atwood; once in August; Atwood and Family

11. A Break from "Realty": The Peanut Butter Solution; Tommy Tricker and the Stamp Traveller; Vincent and Met; The Return of Tommy Ticker

12. New Tools of the Trade: ABC; The Little Box That Sings; Much Ado About Something; All About Olive

13. Plein Air Documentary: YouTube Films; Bicycle Art; Painting with Film

Conclusion: Influince . . . Comparisons . . . Importance


Selected YouTube Films


Works Cited


What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

Nobody knows the NFB like D.B. Jones, and nobody writes about documentary like him either. This is a terrific book: punchy, detailed, and eye-opening.

—Jerry White, Dalhousie University

Customer Reviews