Not Just a “One-Horse Institution:” Following the Students of the North Dakota Agricultural College

With the Students of the North Dakota Agricultural College is a 1913 film produced by the Selig Polyscope Company and was distributed by the General Film Company. Aside from IMDb’s basic details, not much easily accessible information exists about this film. I am curious to learn more, but where to begin? After searching some larger… Read More Not Just a “One-Horse Institution:” Following the Students of the North Dakota Agricultural College

Adventures in Chasing Old Documentaries

Documentary production in the United States often appears bicoastal. On the east coast, the documentary corridor seems to run from Boston to Washington, D.C. On the west coast, it seems to run from San Francisco to San Diego. This loose classification has its problems, of course. Documentary powerhouse Kartemquin Films is firmly rooted in Chicago… Read More Adventures in Chasing Old Documentaries

Five 1930s Documentaries to Check Out

The 1930s saw significant changes in documentary production practices and purposes. During this decade, the development of sound brought both voiceover narration and talking heads. John Grierson’s visions for documentary and their purposes flourished in the United Kingdom, while propaganda flourished in other parts of the world. And just as new conventions were being established,… Read More Five 1930s Documentaries to Check Out

Five Antarctica Documentaries to Check Out

Antarctica remains one of the few underexplored areas of our planet. Its startling beauty and mystery belie dangerous cold and other perils. Neither stops explorers from traveling there, nor do they stop documentary makers from going with them. Check out these five documentaries about the southern-most continent. Encounters at the End of the World Directed… Read More Five Antarctica Documentaries to Check Out

‘Hard Earned’ Shows the Challenges of Making a Living and a Life

Economic stories that focus on numbers — employment rates, job creation rates, wages, and inflation — fail to show the real price, the human costs, of financial realities. Hard Earned, an upcoming documentary series from Kartemquin Films, tells stories about people working to make a living and working to make a life following the economic… Read More ‘Hard Earned’ Shows the Challenges of Making a Living and a Life

Five Comedy Documentaries to Check Out

Comedy is an important part of culture. Humor allows expression of controversial and taboo ideas in ways that some audiences can accept. Jokes bring hidden issues to public attention in ways other genres just can’t. Documentaries take comedy seriously. Well, documentaries take most everything seriously, but that doesn’t mean the form never shows its sense… Read More Five Comedy Documentaries to Check Out

Five Sport Documentaries to Check Out

Sport has been a subject of documentary since Edison’s and the Lumieres’ 1890s experiments. One of Edison’s first pieces is a boxing match between Mike Leonard and Jack Cushing. In the 1930s Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia showcased atheticism in the guise of propaganda. Today, ESPN’s 30 for 30 series has propelled sport documenatary to new popularity.… Read More Five Sport Documentaries to Check Out

Engaging the Battle for ‘Hearts and Minds’

For the years during the war and for almost a decade after, Vietnam remained an almost untouched subject in the American popular media. Extensive television coverage of men fighting in the bush provided a collective experience accompanied by newscasters’ observations, but not until the late in the 1970s did memoirs, novels, and films begin to… Read More Engaging the Battle for ‘Hearts and Minds’

‘Grizzly Man’ and the Filmmaker-Subject Relationship

Grizzly Man (2005) is as much about the filmmaker-subject relationship as it is about the subject himself. The subject is Timothy Treadwell, a bear enthusiast who spent 13 summers living among them and recording more than 100 hours of video with them and himself. Treadwell and his then-girlfriend Amie Huguenard met their untimely deaths when… Read More ‘Grizzly Man’ and the Filmmaker-Subject Relationship