After toiling for weeks in a tiny garret, he finally completed the editing of what he felt was a fine motion picture. Then, he lit a celebratory cigarette -- and dropped the match on the floor. In an instant the room was an inferno. Every inch of the highly flammable celluloid was destroyed and a badly burned Flaherty narrowly escaped death by jumping through a window onto the fire escape.
[Flaherty redoubled his determination to produce a film about Eskimo life "that people will never forget." With a sponsor (the French fur company Revillon Freres) and $50,000, he embarked upon a 16-month expedition halfway to the North Pole. The result was the critically acclaimed documentary Nanook of the North (1922).]
["A film," Flaherty once remarked, "is the longest distance between two points." After traveling the world making documentaries, Flaherty posted a Celtic motto above the fireplace in his Vermont home (Black Mountain Farm). Its meaning? "Wander No More."]