Inventory of the
John N. Smith fonds

Inventory #F0096

The digitization of this finding aid was made possible - in part or entirely - through the Canadian Culture Online Program of Canadian Heritage, the National Archives of Canada and the Canadian Council of Archives.


Fonds/Collection Number:F0096
Title:John N. Smith fonds
Extent:15.63 m of textual records
ca. 536 videocassettes
56 audio cassettes
ca. 434 photographs
ca. 114 DVDs
Biographical Sketch/
Administrative History:
John Newton Smith, filmmaker, was born in Montréal in 1943 and received a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in 1964. He first became involved in film-making while working towards a Master's of Political Science when he created a film for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) with a fellow student in 1967. In 1968, Smith went to work for CBC Toronto as a researcher. One year later, he moved to Hobel-Leiterman Productions where he worked as a producer/director for several television series on the CTV network. In 1972 he joined the National Film Board (NFB) as executive producer of its television unit. With its closure in the mid-1970s, Smith turned his attention to drama and produced several films for the NFB. He directed and co-wrote "Dieppe" and "The Boys of St. Vincent" for which he received a Gemini Award for Best Direction in a Dramatic Program in 1994. More recently, Smith has directed films and television miniseries such as "Dangerous Minds" (1995), "Random Passage" (2002), "Prairie Giant : The Tommy Douglas Story"(2006), "The Englishman's Boy"(2008) and "Love & Savagery"(2009). Smith has a long history of defending free speech and artists' rights. He protested the delay in broadcasting "The Boys of St.Vincent" fighting to expand the legal definition of freedom of expression for artists. He also fought efforts to have his miniseries "Prairie Giant : The Tommy Douglas Story" repressed, raising public awareness about de-facto censorship by CBC executives due to protests about the depiction of James Gardiner in the work.
Scope and Content:

The fonds consists of material related to John Smith's personal life and to his professional career as a writer, producer and director. It includes screenplays, draft notes for works in progress, shot lists, story boards, call lists and shooting schedules, casting and contact lists, correspondence, research files, press clippings, financial records, and selected printing elements for 16mm and 35mm productions, rough assemblies, rushes and outs on VHS and Beta videocassettes and DVDs.

The fonds is organized into the following series:

S00091Production files
S00093National Film Board files
S00094Canadian Broadcasting Corporation files
S00095Business files
S00096Personal files
Restrictions on
Access and Use:
Access to some textual records is restricted. Written permission to consult these files must be obtained from John N. Smith and directed to the University Archivist, York University. All moving image material is accessible only for research use. Copies of moving image material in the fonds are made for study purposes only and on an as-requested basis.
Finding Aid: Series-level descriptions with corresponding file lists are complete at this time. Individual accession file lists are available separately; see accruals note.
URL of Finding Aid:
Accruals: The fonds comprises the following accessions: 1994-039, 1996-002, 1998-012, 1999-018, 2001-030, 2006-007, 2010-034. Further accruals may be expected.
Related Records: Related records are available in the Bernard Zukerman fonds (F0202).
Immediate source of acquisition: Donated by John N. Smith in 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2006 and 2010.
Provenance Access Points:Smith, John Newton, 1943-.

Date of creation: 2002/04/08
Date of last revision: 2011/03/22
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