UXBRIDGE: The local arts community lost one of its most revered members last week with the passing of Christopher Chapman, an Oscar winning film maker and one of the founders of Uxbridge’s annual Celebration of the Arts Festival.
Mr. Chapman passed away peacefully at ReachCiew Village on Saturday, Oct. 24, with his wife of 44 years, Barbara-Glen and family at his side. He leaves behind a tremendous artistic legacy, both locally and nationally.
Born in Toronto on Jan. 24, 1927, the day after his twin Francis as they were delivered on opposing sides of midnight, Mr. Chapman’s life was devoted to artistic pursuits, following in the footsteps of his father Alfred Chapman, an architect and mother Doris, a concert pianist.
In the 1950’s Mr. Chapman moved to England, where he spent time designing automobiles for Ford, before returning home to Canada to follow his passion of film making.
In 1968, his film ‘A Place to Stand’ was nominated for a pair of Oscars, ultimately taking home the Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short. It was a historical occasion, as he became the first Canadian outside of the National Film Board to win Hollywood’s highest honour. That same year at the Canadian Film Awards, it also claimed the title of Canadian Film of the Year.
In 1985, over a scotch at the Hobby Horse Arms, Mr. Chapman, along with Tom Baker and Ron Tindley founded the Uxbridge Celebration of the Arts. The annual local showcase of film, theatre, visual arts and music has grown into a week-long event that draws talented artists from across the country to Uxbridge every September.
In 2009, Mr. Chapman was honoured with a special gala as part of Celebration of the Arts, along with a screening of ‘A Place to Stand’.
Additionally, his Oscar statuette has been an honoured guest at numerous arts events in Uxbridge, most recently at the Roxy Theatres Short Film Festival in early October.
“Typical of Christopher's unassuming personality - he used the Oscar as a door-stop in his house,” added Wynn Walters, a fellow Uxbridge arts mainstay and longtime friend of Mr. Chapman.
Next month, the community is invited to a celebration of Mr. Chapman’s life at Wooden Sticks on Sunday, Nov. 15, from 2 to 4 p.m.