Primedia Productions

ustinov on the orient express

  In 1981, producer/director W. Patterson Ferns and writer Richard Nielsen formed Primedia Productions Ltd. Their previous company, Nielsen-Ferns Ltd., had been created in 1972 when the two left their posts at CBC in order to focus on independent productions. In early 1985 Nielsen left Primedia to pursue his writing career and Pat Ferns took over the company.
  In the years prior to Primedia’s founding, Ferns initiated several co-production arrangements with international partners; although an unusual practice in the 1970s, such co-productions have become a mainstay of the contemporary Canadian television industry. Ferns was instrumental in the creation of an independent production department within the CBC and for acceptance of independent production by private broadcasters. His arguments in front of the CRTC and other representations have been credited with sowing the seeds from which the Broadcast Fund of Telefilm Canada was born. As a result of these efforts, he has been referred to as “the father of independent production” in Canada.
  Following his departure from Primedia, Neilsen founded Norflicks Productions Ltd. He has been granted a Michener Award, a Chetwynd Award and four Gemini Awards for his work.
  By the time Primedia folded in 1992, it had produced approximately 100 programs that had been seen around the world. Primedia’s programming falls into four general categories: performing arts programs, original TV drama, celebrity-hosted travelogues, and science programming.
  In 1994, Primedia was sold to Douglas Dales, president of Production Services Ltd., one of Canada’s largest motion picture equipment rental companies.

Sources: 

· Ferns Productions:  http://www.fernsproductions.com/MoreAboutPat.html

· Norflicks Productions Ltd. http://norflicks.com/

· Barthel, Kathy. “Pat Ferns: The father of independent production.” Playback (November 13 2000), http://playbackonline.ca/2000/11/13/30362-20001113/

· Enchin, Harvey. “Entertainment Briefs: Primedia Sold.” The Globe and Mail July 26, 1994, B5.

 

Accession No.: 
2006.010
Dates of creation: 
1944 - 2001
Physical description: 

0.9 m of textual records

1 photograph
· 1 photographic print

210 audio recordings
· 87 ¼in. magnetic tapes (ca. 34.5 hrs.)
· 10 ½in. magnetic tapes (ca. 3 hrs.)
· 12 – 1 in. magnetic tapes (ca. 6 hrs.)
· 89 – 2 in. magnetic tapes (ca. 32 hrs.)
· 12 DAT cassettes (ca. 12 hrs.)

2, 819 video recordings
· 619 – 1 in. magnetic tapes (ca. 117 hrs.)
· 318 ¾ in. magnetic tapes (ca. 199 hrs.)
· 304 Betacam cassettes (ca. 242.5 hrs.)
· 874 BetaSP cassettes (ca. 498.5 hrs.)
· 18 DigiBeta cassettes (ca. 14 hrs.)
· 5 DVCam cassettes (ca. 2 hrs.)
· 398 VHS cassettes (ca. 380 hrs.)
· 283 DVDs (ca. 261 hrs.)

390 cinefilms
· 299 16mm cinefilm rolls
· 91 35mm cinefilm rolls

Scope and content: 

This fonds is divided into 5 series according to format. These are: Textual Material, Photographic Materal, Audio Material, Video Material, and Cinefilms.

The first series, Textual Material, consists of scripts for various productions, as well as releasing and distribution agreements, contracts, rights and other administrative records.

The second series, Photographic Material, consists of one photograph from Talkabout.

The third series, Audio Material, consists of audio elements for many of Primedia’s productions (including Born Talking, Brain Sex, and Dinosaur).

The fourth series, Video Material, includes series, mini-series and individual programs produced by Primedia. Highlights include series such as Blood & Belonging (written and presented by Michael Ignatieff), dance performances (e.g. Newcomers, Alice, La Ronde, The Merry Widow, and Swan Lake) and theatre productions (e.g. Waiting for the Parade, Billy Bishop Goes to War, and the Stage on Screen series).

The fifth series, Cinefilms, consists of 16mm film from Labour of Love, Heaven on Earth, and the various Gerald Durrell programs. It also includes 35mm film, most of which is from the feature film When Gravity Fails.

This fonds includes textual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • The First Country Classic (Live musical performance, Television, 1983)
  • Quebec/Canada 1995 (Television, 1983)
  • Amateur Naturalist (Television, 1983)
  • Labour of Love (Television, 1984)
  • Durrell in Russia (Television, 1986)
  • Frontier (Television, 1986)
  • Ourselves and Other Animals (Television, 1987)
  • Going Home (Television, 1987)
  • Life Revolution (Television, 1988)
  • Big Top (Live dance performance Television,, 1988)
  • Heaven on Earth (Television, 1988)
  • Passion and Paradise (Television, 1989)
  • Polar Passage (Television, 1989)
  • Onegin (Live performance, Television, 1990)
  • A Haunting Harmony (Television, 1990)
  • Stage on Screen (Television, 1991)
  • Dinosaur (Television, 1991)
  • Ustinov on the Orient Express (Television, 1991)
  • The First Circle (Television, 1991)
  • Disabled Lives (Television, 1992)
  • Magic or Medicine (Television, 1992)
  • Brain Sex (Television, 1992)
  • Blood & Belonging (Television, 1993)

This fonds includes audiovisual material relating to a number of productions, including:

  • Billy Bishop Goes to War (Television, 1982)
  • Brian MacDonald’s Newcomers (Television, 1982)
  • The First Country Classic (Live musical performance, 1983)
  • Amateur Naturalist (Television, 1983)
  • Quebec/Canada 1995 (Television, 1983)
  • Waiting for the Parade (Live performance, Television, 1983)
  • Labour of Love (Television, 1984)
  • Durrell in Russia (Television, 1986)
  • Frontier (Television, 1986)
  • Ourselves and Other Animals (Television, 1987)
  • Transit 30/50 (Television, 1987)
  • Going Home (Television, 1987)
  • Big Top (Live dance performance, Television, 1988)
  • Glory Enough For All (Television, 1988)
  • Return Journey (Television, 1988)
  • Heaven on Earth (Television, 1988)
  • Life Revolution (Television, 1989)
  • Passion and Paradise (Television, 1989)
  • Alice (Live dance performance, 1989)
  • When Gravity Fails (Television, 1989)
  • Polar Passage (Television, 1989)
  • Karen Kain Prima Ballerina (Television, 1989)
  • What on Earth (Television, 1989)
  • Swan Lake (Live dance performance, Television, 1989?)
  • Born Talking (Television, 1990)
  • A Haunting Harmony (Television, 1990)
  • Onegin (Live performance, Television, 1990)
  • Dinosaur (Television, 1991)
  • The First Circle (Television, 1991)
  • Young Catherine (Television, 1991)
  • Ustinov on the Orient Express (Television, 1991)
  • Stage on Screen (Television, 1991)
  • Brain Sex (Television, 1992)
  • Disabled Lives (Television, 1992)
  • The Burning Season (Television, 1993)
  • Magic or Medicine (Television, 1993)
  • The Sea Wolf (Television, 1993)
  • Blood & Belonging (Television, 1993)
  • Anatomy of Love (Television, 1994)
Rights and access: 

A) No access restriction.
B) Material is subject to copyright restrictions; please consult an archivist.

Language: 
English / French