#tbt Take a jazzy jog with ‘Runner’


By Pat Mullen

It’s a balmy eight degrees in Toronto this morning, so why not take a jazzy jog down memory lane? Don Owen’s 1962 NFB short Runner is a Canuck classic worth revisiting in the sprint leading up to Canada’s 150th birthday.

“Don Owen was a dreamer and it is appropriate that toward the end of his life he found it less and less interesting to engage with the hustle and bustle of daily life,” wrote POV editor Marc Glassman while remembering the filmmaker last year. “He had been into meditation for decades and loved Eastern philosophy. When he stopped filmmaking, his artistic life continued. He worked on his memoirs, but his main pursuit was his art. His paintings were intense and colourful: landscapes of phantasmagoric forests and cities. Were they real or a dream?”

Runner profiles the young Canadian long-distance runner Bruce Kidd as he trains in the streets of Toronto at 19 years old. (Kidd eventually went on to win a gold and bronze medal at the 1962 Commonwealth Games, and competed with the 1964 Canadian Olympic team.)

This doc is also notable as one of many credits for sound effects player Kathleen Shannon in her prolific body of work that pre-dated her years heading Studio D. Adding to the jazzy rhythms of Runner are some poetic words of voiceover written and spoken by poet W.H. Auden. If only we could all speed through the city with such graceful strides!

Watch Runner below courtesy of the NFB:

Runner, Don Owen, provided by the National Film Board of Canada