Cinema Diaspora

Did you know Il Padrino, the Italian-language version of The Godfather, played for weeks in Toronto and across Canada? This research recovers the stories of immigrant movie audiences across in Canada and beyond, and the “hidden circuits” of Foreign-language film distribution that provided movies from the “old country” to enclaves of Italians, Germans, Greek, Chinese, Indian, and other ethnic communities. Using census-track mapping of “mother tongue” and cinema locations, this project shows the existence of a “stereoscopic” double consciousness among these enclaves. Years before official multiculturalism became policy in Canada, these communities were both encouraged to enjoy their diasporic pop culture near their enclaves, and also welcomed into the mainstream in translated ads for movies downtown.

Hollywood-Madison Ave.

Did you know the famous Paramount trademarked star-encircled mountain was created by New York admen? This research recounts the history of early movie studios collaboration with advertising agencies, and the emergence of national-scale newspaper and magazine ad campaigns and standardized publicity and distribution circuits. An expanded version of this research may take things into the era of national radio programs sponsored by Hollywood and produced by Madison Ave. agencies, and end in the emergence in the 1960s of national wide releases supported by television spot ads.

Pan-American Electric Carnival

When cinema was a new medium, entrepreneurial showmen quickly developed distinct patterns of circulation and program formats. This research considers paradigmatic cases of early traveling cinema shows, within the context of dozens drawn from my ongoing, qualitative content and geographic mapping of thousands of unique instances of early cinema newspaper publicity across North America and beyond. A key case will be EL & GH Ireland Brothers’ Pan-American Electric Carnival, which traveled from Newfoundland to British Columbia within Canada, across the Southern U.S. and into the Caribbean, Central and South America.