Academic Films for the Classroom. A History by Geoff Alexander

By Geoff Alexander

Exploring a realm of movie usually pushed aside as campy or contrived, this publication strains the heritage of school room academic motion pictures from the silent period in the course of the Eighties, while movie eventually started to lose floor to video-based and electronic media. It profiles 35 person educational filmmakers who performed a task in bringing those approximately 110,000 16mm motion pictures to school rooms throughout North the USA, paying specific recognition to auteur John Barnes and his mostly overlooked physique of labor. different themes comprise: the creation businesses contributing to the expansion and improvement of the tutorial movie style; the advanced historical past of post-Sputnik, federally-funded academic tasks which encouraged the expansion of the tutorial movie style; and the denouement of the style in study rooms and its resurgence on the web.

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In 1939, Bryan found himself to World War I (Sam Bryan). 32 Academic Films for the Classroom be the only neutral-country reporter left in Warsaw when the Nazis began their brutal threeweek Blitzkrieg attack on the city. Finding himself with 6,000 feet of unexposed film left after a trip to Switzerland and Holland, Bryan documented the fighting, misery, and courage of the population of the city. This eventually resulted in a book and documentary film of the same title (Siege, *1940). Nominated for an Academy Award, Siege lost on the technicality that it had not yet been shown in public theatres.

70 By the end of the 1950s, the Film Board had established itself as a force in documentary film, and NFBC films had become staples in Canadian classrooms. Soon, they would become important educational elements in United States classrooms as well, through distribution arrangements with companies such as the international Film Foundation and Learning Cor- One. The Formative Years of Educational Film 37 poration of America. The Film Board’s post–1960 activities in academic film will be addressed in Chapter Four.

Bryan’s films did not objectify his subjects, emphasizing instead the similarities of peoples rather than their differences. When addressing dissimilarities, Bryan tended to embrace rather than criticize them, contrary to the common practice of other film companies dealing in similar subject matter. IFF made films well into the 1970s, eventually led by Bryan’s son and fellow filmmaker, Sam Bryan. Julien Bryan’s filmmaking philosophy of embracing cultural diversity was to a great extent shared by the National Film Board of Canada, which also made many of the more effective multicultural films of the 1940–1960 era.

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