Arla Saare

Arla Agnes Isabella Axelsdotter Saarukka, film editor (born 28 November 1915 in Finland; died 9 May 2013 in Vancouver, BC). Arla Saare was one of Canada’s first women film editors. After working as a cutter at the National Film Board, Saare worked for CBC TV in Toronto and Vancouver. She edited acclaimed films by Allan King, Harry Rasky and Don Owen and won two Canadian Film Awards.

Early Years and Education

Arla Saare came to Canada in 1924 with her family. She graduated from the Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art and Design) and started out as a technician at Vancouver General Hospital, developing x-rays in the radiology department.

NFB Career

In 1942, she joined the National Film Board as a cutter and later worked in the optical and special effects department (see also The Craft of Motion Picture Making). She worked as a negative cutter for Norman McLaren on such NFB films as’s C’est l’aviron (1943). By the end of the Second World War, she had become the head of her department.

Television Career

When CBC TV began broadcasting in 1952, she was hired as a picture editor in Toronto, cutting news and sports shows. She moved back to Vancouver in 1953 and served as head of CBUT’s editing department until 1967. In this capacity, she worked on Allan King’s first documentary, Skid Row (1957), as well as other notable television documentaries such as Tom Connochie’s Mission Boats (1958) and Gene Lawrence’s Totem (1959). She also mentored many young Vancouver filmmakers, including Daryl Duke, George Robertson and Philip Keatley.

Film Career

Saare won Canadian Film Awards for sound editing on The Shield (1972) and picture editing on Next Year in Jerusalem (1974). She worked with King on A Married Couple(1969), where she crafted 63 hours of footage into a two-hour film, with Don Owen on Richler of St. Urbain Street (1971), and with Harry Rasky on his Academy Award-nominated Homage to Chagall (1977). She also edited King’s Come on Children (1973), his1977 adaptation of W.O. Mitchell’s Who Has Seen the Wind, and Silence of the North (1981), for which she received a Genie Award nomination.

Her other films include Rasky’s Tennessee Williams' South (1973) and Arthur Miller on Home Ground (1979), as well as James Murray and Eric Till’s documentary television series The National Dream: Building the Impossible Railway (1974).