The Idealist - Quotes
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."
former Executive Producer of Unit "B" and Studio "C" of the
"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."
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."
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."
Producer/Director and Associate Professor of Film, New York
"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!"
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."