1977, photo copyright Lois Siegel
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Born in Budapest on April 19, 1933, Hungarian refugee George Kaczender (pronounced KATZ en der) joined the National Film Board of Canada in 1957 as a young, experienced assistant director, where he teamed with Nicholas Balla, a producer whose parents were from Hungary as well. Challenged by a new language and culture, the filmmaker worked on more than 40 Film Board titles as editor or writer (during which time he edited cine16 favorites Nahanni and Rallye des Neiges), and in 1964, directed the first half-hour dramatic film ever for the Board, Phoebe, a brilliant portrayal of a pregnant teenager. Many of Kaczender’s films treat themes of transition and crisis, in the adolescent (The Game, You’re No Good --- starring Michael Sarrazin in his first role), the infant (World of Three), and the adult (Little White Crimes) worlds. Influenced by Federico Fellini, Kaczender’s film world was populated with extreme camera angles, occasional forays into surrealism (Phoebe), superior acting, and exacting editing.
In World of Three, we see and hear the world through the perspective of a three year old, incomprehensive as to why instructions are being given, needing to explore, and not understanding why his attempts to please his parents (Michael Learned and Peter Donat, with their real-life son Lucas) often fail, in a project in which Kaczender spent three weeks with the family during filming. In an attempt to regulate “controversial” sex education films, the Film Board was threatened with having to register as a “foreign agent”, adverse to US interests, and Kaczender’s film Phoebe was temporarily withheld from U.S. distribution (eventually, in 1971, it was picked up for distribution by Bill Deneen's Learning Corporation of America. Kaczender’s films on the growing pains of childhood and adolescence were not made specifically for the education market, yet became popular with educators for forceful dialogue and intelligent treatments of complex issues. As such, they are among the finest examples of affective sociodramatic educational film ever made.
George Kaczender appeared live in front of our AFA audiences on March 5, 1998 and answered questions from the audience following the showing of his films Phoebe, You're No Good, and World of Three.
passed away on August 24, 2016. He made a powerful contribution to North
American film with a unique insight that will remain timeless.
Kaczender directed and wrote the following films for the National Film Board of
His LCA films are:
Freud: The Hidden Nature in Man (1970), 29m
His feature films are:
George wrote two books: