Doodle Film, presentation

Doodle Film, Presentation

Doodle Film was my first film. I had joined the National Film Board of Canada in the spring of 1967, and worked for about a year as assistant director and assistant editor on a film by another director. It was during the editing process of that film that I got the idea for Doodle Film. I had always been a compulsive doodler, and during the long hours I spent in the editing room with the director, who was editing his own film, I began doodling on whatever paper was at hand, and sticking many of my creations up on the wall. In due course this began to get on the director’s nerves. Not only was I cluttering up his creative environment, but there were no blank pieces of paper left on which he might make notes. He insisted that I take them down. It was then that it occurred to me that my doodles, and the act of doodling, might provide the basis for a film. My first thought was to try to produce a sort of Shakespearean “Ages of Man,” chronicling the various images an individual might commit to paper from childhood to senescence. Eventually I conceived of a character, a kind of Everyman named David Watt (I endowed him with my own initials), whose doodling evolved into a counter-cultural anti-establishment activity in microcosm, very much in tune with the 1960s. (I did much of my research in the cabinet where the NFB stored its vast array of bureaucratic forms.) In the end the doodles morphed into a simple smiling face that began to appear anywhere and everywhere, once David Watt himself had disappeared. (I conceived of the face before it became ubiquitous in the real world, but by the time the film came out it was indeed everywhere). The film appeared in a number of festivals, and was distributed internationally as a theatrical short and as an educational film with sociological implications. But on one occasion an NFB distribution representative in Australia was puzzled to come across it playing in a movie theatre as companion to a porno film. His Aussie friend solved the mystery by pointing his finger at the rep’s lap. “That’s your doodle, mate!” he declared. Moral of the story: never judge a film by its name. Below is the film’s original information sheet.   doodle-affiche   Back to movies list

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