Honorary degree citation - Frank R. Crawley*
By: John Locke, June 1985
Mr. Chancellor, I have the honour to present to you Frank Radford "Budge" Crawley, a man who has taught generations of filmmakers and who has been a significant force in Canadian film.
"Budge" Crawley has been making award winning films since the 1930's. He was the leader of the group responsible for THE LOON'S NECKLACE, the recipient of the "Film of the Year Award" at the first Canadian Film Awards in 1949, and in 1952 Crawley Films' NEWFOUNDLAND SCENE won another Film of the Year Award. He was a pioneer in Canadian television, building a studio for the production of the 39 episodes of "The R.C.M.P. Series". During this period he was also responsible for "The St. Lawrence North Series" as well as a series of 130 five minute animated films. He led a film company which was astonishingly productive. The magazine "Cinema Canada" put it this way: "By 1969, Crawley Films had completed 1800 motion pictures, 600 TV commercials, 100 slide shows and garnered 180 national and international awards. The company was the busiest commercial producer of educational and documentary films in North America - second in the world!"
Three aspects of Mr. Crawley' s contributions are particularly note-worthy when viewed from our perspective as members of a university community. First, he was an educator of filmmakers long before cinema was accepted as a legitimate part of a university curriculum. Today a young filmmaker may want to enroll in Concordia' s Department of Cinema and Photography. Earlier generations of young filmmakers went to Ottawa to "enroll" in Crawley Films. His company provided the education and opportunity for generations of filmmakers.
A second contribution concerns his role in the development of a feature film industry in Canada. He played significant roles in the production of films which were part of the birth of the contemporary Canadian feature film industry. He was the guiding force behind THE LUCK OF GINGER COFFEE and THE ROWDY MAN. Also coming from Crawley Films were JANIS and THE MAN WHO SKIED DOWN EVEREST, which received an Academy Award in 1975 as the "Best Documentary Feature".
A third contribution of "Budge" Crawley may be the most important one of all: he is considered by many to be the father of independent film-making in Canada. He has successfully ccmpeted with the National Film Board of Canada, and his success can serve as a model for future filmmakers. He has shown that an individualist can work outside the system, and his example should not be forgotten by future filmmakers and artists. Mr. Crawley is a filmmaker to be remembered.
Mr. Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate, and by the authority of the Board of Governors, I present to you Frank Radford Crawley that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.