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Donald Brittain


B: June 10, 1928 in Ottawa, Ontario
D: July 21, 1989 in Montréal, Québec

Donald Brittain started out as a journalist and after a number of years with the Ottawa Journal he joined The National Film Board in 1955. A unique combination of talents he was a documentary producer-director who most often wrote his own scripts and narrated them too. His awards, 15 Genie and Canadian Film Awards in all, include 3 Genies for Paperland: The Bureaucrat Observed; ACTRA Awards for The Most Dangerous Spy and A Blanket of Ice in 1981; another ACTRA Award for Something to Celebrate, 1983; 2 Geminis for Canada’s Sweetheart: The Saga of Hal C. Banks, 1985, which was also named Best Canadian Production at the 1985 Toronto Festival of Festivals; 2 Geminis for The Final Battle in 1986. These are his credits as a director. The 1965 film, Ladies and Gentleman…Mr Leonard Cohen was co-directed with Don Owen. Shortly before his death, he had started work on Family: A Loving Look at CBC Radio. The project was competed in 1991 by Robert Duncan. A year after his passing, Brittain was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in recognition of “his masterful visual records of our social and cultural past.”