David Rimmer

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David Rimmer
Born (1942-01-20) January 20, 1942 (age 75)
Vancouver, British Columbia
Occupation Film director
Years active 1967 - Present

David Rimmer (born January 20, 1942 in Vancouver, British Columbia) is a Canadian experimental film director.[1]


David Rimmer studied economics and mathematics at the University of British Columbia and graduated in 1963. For the next two years he traveled around the world, which led him to decide that he was not interested on pursuing a career in business. When he returned to Canada in 1965 he did a make-up year at the University of British Columbia in order to receive a degree in English. In 1967 he took a short filmmaking course from Stan Fox, a producer at CBC. With Fox's support and a supply of rough film stock from CBC, he made his first film, Knowplace, which was broadcast on CBC. Inspired by Stan Brakhage's films and writings, he made his first important experimental films, Square Inch Field and Migration, in 1968 and 1969 respectively.

Rimmer moved temporarily to New York City from 1971 to 1974, and worked with such vanguard artists as Yvonne Rainer.[2] When he again returned to Canada in 1974 he created Canadian Pacific (1974) and Canadian Pacific II (1975), two of his landmark films.[3] Since 1979, with the release of Al Neil / A Portrait, he has made innovative documentaries sometimes in film and sometimes in video. In the early eighties, Rimmer took a four-year hiatus from filmmaking to teach film and video at Simon Fraser University. Rimmer still continues to work in the avant-garde and has worked extensively with contact and optical printing as well as videographics. He is recognized as one of the most important experimental filmmakers working in Canada today.[4]

Gene Youngblood of ArtsCanada magazine has said "[Rimmer's] Surfacing on the Thames is a brilliant film which, in its way, belongs in the same class as Snow's Wavelength. I've never seen anything like it ... the ultimate metaphysical movie."[5] In 2011 David Rimmer won the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.


Since 2012, Rimmer's extant film originals have been housed in the collection of the Academy Film Archive in Los Angeles, where numerous of his works have been preserved and restored.[6]


  • Knowplace (Co-Directed with Sylvia Spring and Bob Herbison, 1967)
  • Head/End (1967)
  • Square Inch Field (1968)
  • Migration (1969)
  • Landscape (1969)
  • Surfacing on the Thames (1970)
  • Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper (1970)
  • Blue Movie (1970)
  • The Dance (1970)
  • Forest Industry (Feature length, 1970)
  • Treefall (1970)
  • Seashore (1971)
  • Real Italian Pizza (1971)
  • Watching for the Queen (1973)
  • Fracture (1973)
  • Canadian Pacific (1974)
  • Canadian Pacific II (1975)
  • Al Neil / A Portrait (1979)
  • Narrows Inlet (1980)
  • Shades of Red (Co-Directed with Paula Ross, 1982)
  • Bricolage (1984)
  • Sisyphus (1984)
  • Along the Road to Altamira (1986)
  • As Seen on TV (1986)
  • Roadshow (1988)
  • Divine Mannequin (1989)
  • Black Cat, White Cat It's a Good Cat if it Catches the Mouse (1989)
  • Beaubourg Boogie-Woogie (1992)
  • Local Knowledge (1992)
  • Perestroyka (1992)
  • Tiger (1994)
  • Under the Lizards (Feature length, 1994) (aka Pod Jaszczurami)
  • Codes of Conduct (1997)
  • Jack Wise - Language of the Brush (1998)
  • Traces of Emily Carr (1999)
  • Early Hand-Painted (Series of 10 shorts, 2002)
  • An Eye for an Eye (2003)
  • Gathering Storm (2003)
  • On the Road to Kandahar (2003)
  • Padayatra: Walking Meditation (2005)
  • Digital Psyche (2007)
  • Collective (2008)


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