The Idealist - Quotes

Lou Applebaum
Composer and former Director of the Ontario Arts Council

"We were in our twenties and intrigued by the possibilities and the potentials. Once that was dangled in front of us and had teased our imagination we just went to work. There was no one to say that this wasn't as good as that because there wasn't any "other". There were no standards to go by. We were it. Grierson had this instinctive ability to find people who were what you would call true public servants; people who wanted to do good. They wanted to make life better. They wanted to use whatever the informational tools were in order to improve society and film happened to be the one they could focus on. To me that is a true public servant. Whatever Jim did as a "teacher" was equally instinctive and self-generated. What Grierson managed to do and what Jim managed to instill in virtually everybody was that collective good so that we were all dedicated totally to improving society."

Tom Daly
former Executive Producer of Unit "B" and Studio "C" of the NFB

"We were a bunch of young people from different provinces across the country and Jim Beveridge was the being at the center of this swirling bunch. He gave us an organic sense of the humanity of the world and a sense of propriety and position, helping us to see our responsibility as public servants of government, as well as a sense of independence from it."

Red Burns
Chairperson of the Dept. of Interactive Telecommunications, New York University

"Jim was the soft side of Grierson. Grierson was very harsh and very hard on people and Jim was really someone who was able to soften and yet have a critical analysis. He was an intensely human person. Jim's gift is that he communicates without words. You pick up a value system without it ever being told to you. He gave a great deal without there being an awareness of that gift because he was able to make the connections with people and inspire people to think. And he did it with a lot of humour. As I recall, Grierson sort of sparked ideas but the development was really Jim's, Stuart's and Gudrun's all the people who came and made films. It was an environment that had a philosophy. If you understood the philosophy you then created something that fitted it."

George Stoney
Producer/Writer & Professor of Film, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

...it's easy enough to say Jim should have done this, that and the other thing. You see, I grew up in the south and when I lived there I could travel in the counties and ask questions without fear because I was a middle class white. I was never challenged on that. By the middle of the sixties I would have been challenged. Jim might not ever have been able to understand the southern nuance at that time. In fact, so much did it change with so little violence that when I look back on it, I just gasp. Any person who grew up in the south, born and grew up as I did, was absolutely amazed that we could have made so many social adjustments so quickly with so little physical violence."

Morton Parker
Producer/Director and Associate Professor of Film, New York University

"Jim's career was most unusual if you think about it. I can't think of anyone who would have his kind of resume. And it's absolutely in line with the kind of person he is. It doesn't emanate from luck or circumstance or by being in the right place at the right time. It's very unusual. I think, my God! Who else could do that? Who else has? And I don't know anybody who has done it with less hype because he does things so quietly. What a career to look back on!"

Ken Dancyger
Head of Studies, Undergraduate Division, Dept. of Film and Television, New York University

"Jim was capable of animating the big idea. He was always concerned with "rooting" and I think his students sensed that it wasn't American and it wasn't British. It was really Canadian. I think in certain ways when you come from a culture which says to keep to the middle, watch your step, don't give away too much, it was for Canadians, bold! And it was a very appealing kind of message. It said you're part of a bigger culture, a film culture. We had a feeling that we were doing something more important. And it's not a tangible thing but it's the type of thing that inspires people to do something or to stretch themselves more. It's the implication of possibilities instead of the idea that it's just a job or that filmmaking is some sort of criminal activity. It's more intellectual, it's richer, it's inspirational and how many of us are inspiring? Jim was one of those inspiring people. So that's a very special thing in a class, in a faculty, and in a university community. I think he projects what you hope leadership will be. It's a moral position, it's an intellectual position and it's a practical position. And he could do that. That's why he's so special compared to so many other people."

 

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