CM, RCA, LL.D (hon)
JAN 24, 1927 - OCT 24, 2015
Christopher passed away peacefully at ReachView Village long-term care facility in Uxbridge, with his devoted wife of 44 years, Barbara-Glen (nee Kennedy), and family members at his side. He is survived by his son, Brigadier General (ret.) Julian Chapman (Wendy); his twin brother, Francis (Penny); and four grandchildren: Christopher, Amelia, Robert and Alastair. Christopher was predeceased by his first wife, Aljean Pert; and by siblings, Philippa, Howard, Robert and Sally. He will be missed by his nieces and nephews.
Christopher was born in Toronto, the day after his twin, Francis (they were born either side of midnight), the son of distinguished Toronto architect Alfred Chapman and concert pianist Doris Chapman. He spent a year in England in the 1950s designing cars for the Ford Motor Company before returning to Canada and turning to making films.
As a filmmaker he won many awards including an Academy Award (Oscar), and an Etrog, the Canadian equivalent of the Oscar. Christopher was a writer, director, editor and cinematographer whose early films focused on nature and the environment. His first film, The Seasons, funded by Imperial Oil, won the Canadian Film of the Year in 1954. His film A Place to Stand received two Academy Award nominations and won the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short in 1968. Christopher was the first Canadian filmmaker to receive an Oscar outside of the National Film Board. Many will remember the film and its theme song 'Ontari-ari-ario'. A Place to Stand was also named Canadian Film of Year at the Canadian Film Awards (CFA).
The innovative creative and technical concepts he pioneered in that film influenced filmmakers worldwide, particularly the concept of 'multiple dynamic images', in which a number of small screens, all full motion, move around the large screen. He was awarded the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts medal for achievements in the art of cinematography and presented with the first Ontario Film Institute Award for his significant contribution to the development of Canadian film. He was the recipient of the 1967 Centennial Medal, the 1977 Jubilee Medal and the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Christopher was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1987, and awarded a Doctor of Laws by Ryerson University in 2000. Christopher served as president of both the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the Directors Guild of Canada. He was also a member of the The Loyal, Ancient and Honourable Order of the Unicorn, and of the Arts and Letters Club of Toronto.
Christopher was an artist of many visual talents, and after his distinguished filmmaking career, he turned to still photography. He produced a photographic series titled Reflected Images, with mural- size images that were exhibited extensively in Canada and abroad. One aspect of his legacy of which he was particularly proud was the establishment of the Land Fellowship, an early organization in the field of organic farming. He later made a film on the subject appropriately titled A Sense of Humus.
Following cremation, a private funeral service was held. Visitation will be at Low and Low Funeral Home, 23 Main St. South, Uxbridge, on Thursday, October 29th, 2:00-4:00 p.m. and 7:00-9:00 p.m. A celebration of Christopher's life will be held in Uxbridge at Wooden Sticks Golf Club, Sunday, November 15th, 2:00-4:00 p.m., to which all are invited. In memory of Christopher, and in grateful appreciation for two years of loving care, donations may be made to ReachView Village, 130 Reach St., Uxbridge ON L9P 1L3. The family also expresses gratitude to Drs. Terry Bryon , Michael Damus and Arun Mather.
Monday October 26, 2015
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