Leacock was cinematographer for director Robert Flaherty’s last film, a drama about a Cajun boy commissioned by Shell Oil. Flaherty often shelved the shooting schedule to film reality, with an entire day spent shooting a cobweb. “It took me months to realize that Flaherty’s attitude was discipline of a meaningful kind,” recalled Leacock who said that to him was an experience of a lifetime!. “To this day I have never seen such a perfect web, whereas things that can be arranged can always be arranged.”
Widely regarded as the inventor of documentary cinema, Robert Flaherty approached filmmaking with an ethnographer’s eye. Born in 1884, Flaherty became the father-figure of documentary with his Nanook of the North, the first commercially successful feature length documentary film. Although nothing in his later life equaled its success, he continued making films such as Moana the film that became the reason for the introduction of the term ‘documentary’ from John Grierson.