Nelson MacDonald

About the Artist

a filmmaker from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada. His first short film THERE LIVED THE COLLIERS is a short 16mm experimental documentary about the wooden duplexes built one hundred and fifty years ago to house coal miners in his hometown. It premiered at the 2017 Edinburgh International Film Festival, and screened at The Architecture Film Festival of Rotterdam, Vancouver International Film Festival, Festival du nouveau cinéma, Open City Documentary Festival, Antimatter Media Art Festival, and Florida Experimental Film and Media Festival.

About the Works

In Nova Scotia between 1850 and 1920 thousands of wooden duplexes were built by coal companies to house the influx of workers. Now, decades since the mines have closed, the houses remain. This short experimental documentary shot on 16mm relies on images of the simple homes to suggest the personality, resilience, hardship and history of the working-class people who have inhabited this place for the last 150 years.

"There lived the colliers who worked in the little gin-pits two fields away. The brook ran under the alder trees, scarcely soiled by these small mines, whose coal was drawn to the surface by donkeys that plodded wearily in a circle round a gin. And all over the countryside were these same pits, some of which had been worked in the time of Charles II, the few colliers and the donkeys burrowing down like ants into the earth, making queer mounds and little black places among the cornfields and the meadows. And the cottages of these coal-miners, in blocks and pairs here and there, together with odd farms and homes of the stockingers, straying over the parish, formed the village."

- D.H. Lawrence, "Sons and Lovers", 1913.

Official Selection: Edinburgh International Film Festival, Vancouver International Film Festival, Festival du nouveau cinéma (Montreal), Antimatter Media Art Festival (Victoria), The Architecture Film Festival of Rotterdam, Dawson City International Film Festival, Northwest Film Forum (Seattle), Open City Documentary Festival (London), FLEXfest (Tampa), Fracto Experimental Film Encounter (Berlin), , The Unseen Festival (Denver), Kaunas International Film Festival (Lithuania).

Toronto Metropolitan Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.
Ryerson Department of  Architectural Science Toronto, CA.