Paddle to the Sea

Paddle to the Sea

                                Paddle to the Sea
| 27 min

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The NFB's 23rd Oscar®-nominated film.

Based on Holling C. Holling's book of the same name, Paddle to the Sea is Bill Mason's film adaptation of the classic tale of an Indigenous boy who sets out to carve a man and a canoe. Calling the man "Paddle to the Sea," he sets his carving down on a frozen stream to await spring’s arrival. The film follows the adventures that befall the canoe on its long odyssey from Lake Superior to the sea.

Bill Mason looked at securing film rights to the book Paddle to the Sea by Holling C. Holling as early as 1960. It was originally intended for the non-theatrical (educational) market, but was eventually blown up to 35 mm and distributed theatrically, which led to an Oscar nomination in the best short subject category. Parts of the film were shot near Mason’s home at Meech Lake.

Albert Ohayon
De la sélection : Bill Mason: Beyond the wild, beyond the paddle

...i saw this film in a primary school gymnasium in the early seventies...i had just moved to Canada from was the first time i had seen an actual reel of film projected onto a screen...i remember the slow meditation of the film...and the flickering light...

David Bryant
De la sélection : David Bryant (Godspeed You! Black Emperor)

Les évaluations professionnelles et les guides pédagogiques sont réservés aux abonnés CAMPUS.


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Paddle to the Sea, Bill Mason, offert par l'Office national du film du Canada

Largeur de la vidéo :

par Réinitialiser
  • réalisateur
    Bill Mason
  • photographie
    Bill Mason
  • producteur
    Julian Biggs
  • producteur associé
    Stanley Jackson
  • montage
    Bill Mason
  • commentaire
    Stanley Jackson
  • None
    Louis Applebaum
  • montage sonore
    Don Wellington
  • enregistrement sonore
    Ron Alexander
    Roger Lamoureux
  • assistant de production
    Blake James

  • lmcedit

    It was so much fun to watch this again - I forgot that my grandfather, Don Wellington, was the sound editor.

    lmcedit, 29 Jul 2020
  • Andy W.

    I absolutely love this film. Fond memories watching it in grade school in 1972. Thank you.

    Andy W., 7 Avr 2020
  • None

    I'd heard about this film but had never seen it until now. Thank-you so much for making it available - it was wonderful. Now I'll be able to show it to my two grandsons who I know will enjoy it as much as I did.

    None, 10 Mar 2020
  • Captionsplease

    is there a version with English captions/subtitles please

    Captionsplease, 14 Jan 2017
  • Buzzwinkle

    Saw it back in 71' when I was a kid. Loved it then so much. Still do today.

    Buzzwinkle, 2 Aoû 2016
  • Jenn_in_Scotland

    We must have seen this film twice a year as kids in the '70's (North Vancouver). Once to keep us amused during the church Annual General Meeting and once at school. It never grows old. I usually name it when I'm asked what my favourite film is though sometimes I say 32 Short Films about Glenn Gould.

    Jenn_in_Scotland, 10 Jul 2016
  • ecotone

    Such a joy to find this film. I live in the state of Victoria Australia and in about 1962 I was lucky enough to read the story as a state school child of 6 years of age. I have never forgotten the story and it has been stuck away in my mind for all this time. I too carved many "Paddle To The Seas" at that time as a result of the inspiration of the story. Original story a credit to the author and the film a credit to the film maker. Remembered with great affection!

    ecotone, 20 Aoû 2015
  • Dogbay1966

    As an adult i find myself recalling my youth in the early 70's. I seemed to always recall a movie about a canoe going across Canada. After the first Google search I found this old link to my early days. I was able to capture a special moment with my 7 year old watching it all over again. Thanks !

    Dogbay1966, 7 Avr 2015
  • chkf

    I once stopped into a highway "trading post" shop near Pancake Bay on Lake Superior, and among all the classic wood carvings, they sold painted plaster reproductions of "Paddle", obviously a must have for the BM fan. Not sure if any surviving models from the film ever made it to a museum but the Canadian Canoe Museum in Peterborough would be one place to look.

    chkf, 27 Fév 2014
  • tomslick

    I live far from any ocean or any sea in Amarillo Texas. However I've always been enthralled with this story. I had only read the book long long ago and was not even aware there was a film. After being locked away in my mind for many many years I dreamed of this book the other night. This morning I googled it and look what I found. One delightful film that made all my memories come rushing back. Thank you for restoring such a fantastic childhood memory on the film such a long time ago.

    tomslick, 6 Jan 2014
  • Dragoon

    I grew up near Thunder Bay in the 70's and made many a crude wooden boat, imagining them making their way to the sea because of this film. Should be shown in school still. May get one or two kids off their smart phones!

    Dragoon, 19 Jan 2013
  • CndnTXAN

    was lucky enough to see in my youth..instilled wanderlust ...Should be watched in schools/homes today to instil breadth of even a small part of Canada..esp in era of 'twitter'& 24 news /entertainment cycle ...

    CndnTXAN, 24 Jui 2012
  • Jaq

    Not only is this a great - and Oscar winning - short film, but it's based on a wonderful book (of the same name). The book is a lesson in the formation and geology of the region, but wondrously told; you'll hardly know you've just been educated. ;)

    Jaq, 23 Avr 2012
  • Hanggliderpilot

    Loved this film in elementary school and purchased a VCR tape 10 years ago. I wore it out lending it to all my friends with children! Is there any information available on the making of the movie? I have always wondered how many models were lost during filming!

    Hanggliderpilot, 26 Fév 2012
  • nlartist

    I remember seeing this film as a young boy in elementary school, it was a pleasure viewing it again. Whatever happened to the carving? Where is it now?

    nlartist, 24 Déc 2011
  • PMD

    toshiromifune “But seriously, is he in a museum or archive?” He is at the Museum of Civilization. Well at least one of him, Bill Mason made a couple of them for the movie. I believe that not all of him were carved since a mould also exists.

    PMD, 6 Oct 2011
  • AnonNFBfan

    What a nice retelling! I first read this book in a one-room school house landlocked on the prairies in the late fifties. Though I was wise enough to see that it was a sugar-coated geography lesson about the St. Lawrence seaway, the tiny carved figure dwarfed by the gigantic forces around it appealed to my prairie soul. Decades later I tracked the book down down and bought my own copy. I've come a long way over the years, but Paddle to the Sea, where are you now? And what of the boy that carved you?

    AnonNFBfan, 3 Oct 2011
  • reid

    Interesting! I remember seeing this in elementary school in the early 1970s, and thinking it was rather contrived, and maybe a little silly. I don't know if I'm wiser now, or just more sentimental, but it definitely has charms I overlooked before. I'm glad I got a second look at it!

    reid, 2 Oct 2011
  • kruscito

    @edwinyoung - It's not exactly a place to buy toy canoes, but here's a pretty cool little website that shows you how to make them from scratch:

    kruscito, 7 Sep 2011
  • edwinyoung

    Hi. I remember this film very well from elementary school and just recently watched it again as an adult. Does anyone know if replica toy canoes are available for purchase? Thanks! Ed

    edwinyoung, 7 Sep 2011
  • Ornithorynque

    Le 27 août 2011, j'ai découvert l'un de ces bateaux sur la rive de l'Île d'Orléans. Une indication, un numéro, m'indiqua la provenance de Little Red. Ce dernier dut passer par la ville de Québec, par Montréal, par Toronto, par le lac Huron et par le lac Supérieur. Une aventure de 2 500 km qui prit naissance à Marquette, au Michigan, où je rejoignis Judith Smith, une enseignante à la retraite. Je mettrai des photos en ligne au cours des prochaines semaines.

    Ornithorynque, 5 Sep 2011
  • cperreault

    Bonjour Luc, La version française de ce film sera ajoutée en septembre 2011 sur - pendant la semaine du 12 septembre pour être plus précise. C'était déjà dans nos plans de la rendre accessible rapidement. Merci de votre intérêt!

    cperreault, 9 Aoû 2011
  • Luc

    Dommage que la version francaise "vogue à la mer" n'est pas disponible, ni en ligne, ni en DVD......pourtant la version anglaise "paddle to the sea" elle, est disponible ici. Pourquoi ?

    Luc, 9 Aoû 2011
  • north56sask

    one of my all time favs from childhood memories...we enjoyed all the nfb films that arrived in our little reservation school in northern sask...priceless.

    north56sask, 17 Fév 2011
  • highhillfarm

    Paddle to the Sea was one of the first books that I read from the public library when I was very young. I have seen the movie before but really enjoyed it again now that I'm in my mid 60's. It brings back fond memories.

    highhillfarm, 4 Fév 2011
  • nostalgia

    I remember seeing this film in grade school several times in the late 70s. Then in the 90's I had the pleasure of meeting Bill through his daughter Becky who was teaching canoeing. I saw several Paddle models at their house on Meech Lake in the Gatineaus. It took me a few minutes to realise what I was looking at. I love this film and I am introducing my kids to it now.

    nostalgia, 23 Jan 2011
  • jmatlin

    @toshiromifune - I honestly don't know. Good question, though.

    jmatlin, 7 Sep 2010
  • toshiromifune

    But seriously, is he in a museum or archive?

    toshiromifune, 7 Sep 2010
  • toshiromifune

    Does anyone know what became of paddle? I haven't seen him in any bit roles lately!

    toshiromifune, 7 Sep 2010
  • jeffster

    Wow! I remember seeing this film in the theatre before the feature. It is telling that i don't remember the feature, but i remember paddle to the sea!

    jeffster, 7 Jul 2010

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