Book cover image for: Documentary Art of Filmmaker Michael Rubbo

The Documentary Art of Filmmaker Michael Rubbo


D.B. Jones

$34.95 CAD / $34.95 USD

262 pages, 50 illustrations

6 x 9 inches

978-1-55238-870-9 (Paperback)

978-1-55238-872-3 (Institutional PDF)

978-1-55238-873-0 (ePub)

978-1-55238-874-7 (mobi)

Cinemas Off Centre

February 2017

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About the Book

Michael Rubbo’s groundbreaking work has had a deep and enduring impact on documentary filmmaking worldwide, though his name has remained relatively unknown. In The Documentary Art of Michael Rubbo, author D.B. Jones traces Rubbo’s filmmaking from his days as a film student at Stanford, through his twenty years at the National Film Board of Canada, where Rubbo developed his distinct documentary style. Jones then describes Rubbo’s post-NFB venture into feature film directing, followed by Rubbo’s return to his native Australia, first as an executive with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and later as a director of feature-length documentaries and maker of short, personal films for YouTube.

Exploring locales from Montreal to Vietnam, topics as diverse as plastic surgery and French Marxism, and from interviewing Margaret Atwood to documenting a failed attempt to interview Fidel Castro, Rubbo’s wide-ranging work establishes his innovative, personal, lyric, and spontaneous documentary style. In The Documentary Art of Michael Rubbo D.B. Jones reveals not only the depth of meaning in Rubbo’s films, but also the depth of their influence on filmmaking itself.

D.B. Jones has written, directed, or produced documentary films for American public broadcasting, Film Australia, Dutch National Television, and others. Jones is Distinguished Professor of Film at Drexel University, and has taught at La Trobe and Stanford. He is the author of Movies and Memoranda: An Interpretive History of the National Film Board of Canada (1982) and The Best Butler in the Business: Tom Daly and the National Film Board of Canada (1996).

Praise for The Documentary Art of Filmmaker Michael Rubbo: 

Nobody knows the NFB like D.B. Jones, and nobody writes about documentary like him either. This is a terrific book: punchy, detailed, and eye-opening.

-Jerry White, Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in European Studies, Department of English, Dalhousie University

Michael Rubbo brought to documentary filmmaking … the voice of a filmmaker who entered the reality he was recording – doing so with unfailingly intellectual curiosity, good humor, and compassion. Rubbo’s films … underscore the importance of cultural and political differences. But more importantly, they allow us to appreciate those profound aspects of our shared humanity.

-Karen Cooper, Director, Film Forum NYC