Media Log: History, Theory, and Criticism of the Arts

March 19, 2021

History, Theory, and Criticism of the Art

Alfred Stieglitz—The Eloquent Eye

Alfred Stieglitz played a major role in introducing America to modern art, while championing the elevation of photography as an art form. Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, and Georgia O’Keeffe were just some of the American artists whom Stieglitz mentored through his three influential galleries in New York City. It was there that he also shocked the public by introducing avant-garde Europeans such as Henri Matisse, Paul Cézanne, Auguste Rodin, and Pablo Picasso. At the same time he was exhibiting the most advanced artists of the period, Stieglitz’s own impressive body of photographic work firmly established him as one of the leading twentieth-century artists. The program features a rare, exclusive interview with Georgia O’Keeffe, Stieglitz’s wife, and archival film of some of the other artistic giants he inspired, including Edward Steichen and John Marin.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: American Masters and Thirteen/WNET New York, NY
PRODUCERS: Perry Miller Adato, Muriel Soenens
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Perry Miller Adato
EDITORS: Kris Liem, Rebekah Baker, Kate Taverna
NARRATOR: Tovah Feldshuh

PRINT MATERIALS: Press kit, available through MPRM Public Relations and Thirteen/WNET New York

FORMAT: Video (90:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Available on YouTube

American Cinema
Documentary Series

This ten-part series explores the development of the American feature film from 1927 (the beginning of the sound era) to the present, as an art form, industry, barometer of culture, and one of the world’s most powerful systems of representation and communication. (* denotes NEH scripting and/or production support)

Program 1 *
The Hollywood Style
This program introduces the broad themes and stylistic conventions of classical Hollywood film, a combination of strong protagonists and story structure, with powerful emotional and technical effects.

INTERVIEWS: David Bordwell, Dede Allen, Allen Daviau, Howard Hawks, Lawrence Kasdan, Jack Lemmon, Joseph Mankiewicz, Roman Polanski, Sydney Pollack, Martin Scorsese, Richard Sylbert, Bertrand Tavernier, Robert Towne

PRODUCER: Molly Ornati
DIRECTOR: Lawrence Pitkethly
EDITOR: Corey Shaff
NARRATOR: Joe Morton

Program 2
The Star
Early on, Hollywood saw that recognizable talent could minimize the financial risks of film production. In this program, Joan Crawford and Julia Roberts provide case studies of the cultural phenomenon of stardom.

INTERVIEWS: Jeanine Basinger, Ted Allen, Richard Dyer, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Sidney Guilaroff, Jack Lemmon, Ray Liotta, Karl Malden, Rick Nicita, Julia Roberts, Henry Rogers, Stephen Schiff, Jane Russell, Eva Marie Saint, William Tuttle, Sylvia Wallace, John Waters, Arthur Wilde

PRODUCER: Danielle Gardner
DIRECTOR: Lawrence Pitkelthly
EDITOR: Corey Shaff
NARRATOR: Kathleen Turner

Program 3
Romantic Comedy
From Frank Capra’s It Happened One Night to such contemporary works as Pretty Woman, romantic comedies often mask keen social and psychological observations with breezy dialogue and ridiculous slapstick. This program explores the surface humor of such films, as well as their roots in questions of gender and sexuality.

INTERVIEWS: Thomas Schatz, Ed Sikov, Edward Bernds, Peter Bogdanovich, James Brooks, Nora Ephron, Molly Haskell, Amy Heckerling, Garry Marshall, Susan Seidelman, Robert Zemeckis

EDITOR: Gini Reticker
NARRATOR: Kathy Selverstone

Program 4
The Studio System
Using Paramount Pictures as a case study, this program probes the economics of mainstream filmmaking and surveys Hollywood’s past era of movie moguls and contract players and directors.

INTERVIEWS: Peter Bart, Richard Brandt, Henry Bumstead, Edward Dmytryk, Michael Eisner, Harrison Ford, Douglas Gomery, Charlton Heston, DeForest Kelley, Howard W. Koch, Charles Lang, Harold Michelson, Mace Neufeld, Phillip Noyce, Robert Parrish, Catherine Turney, Meta Wilde,

EDITOR: Anne Sopel
NARRATOR: Peter Coyote

Program 5 *
The Western
This program traces the history, aesthetic evolution, and sociological importance of one of American film’s most popular genres, from John Ford’s Stagecoach through the work of Arthur Penn, Sam Peckinpah, and Clint Eastwood.

INTERVIEWS: Thomas Schatz, Alfonzo Ortiz, Lindsay Anderson, Budd Boetticher, Niven Busch, Clint Eastwood, Elmore Leonard, Thomas McGuane, Arthur Penn, Henry Sheehan, John Sturges, Rudy Wurlitzer

PRODUCERS: Sasha Alpert, Lesley Karsten
DIRECTOR: Sasha Alpert
EDITOR: Rick SmigieIski, Peter Hammer, Jon Wing Lum
NARRATOR: Eli Wallach

Program 6 *
The Combat Film
This program describes the evolution of the World War II combat film (including those produced under directives from the federal government); the rise of the Vietnam film; the influence off actual newsreel documentaries on a fiction film genre; and the ways in which the combat film has filled social and political needs.

INTERVIEWS: Paul Fussell, Thomas Doherty, Lindsay Anderson, Leon Beck (U.S. Army), Forrest D. Dodd (U.S.M.C.), Douglas B. Evans (U.S.M.C.), Robert Fleishauer, Chris Freitus (U.S.M.C.), General Leonard Fribourg (U.S.M.C.), Samuel Fuller, Norm Hatch, Lt. General Anthony Lukeman (U.S.M.C), Gene Michaud, Tim O’Brien, Wayne Smith, Oliver Stone, Mark Sufrin, Bradley Vickers (U.S.M.C.), Richard Zanuck, Audris Shane Zidermanis (U.S.M.C.)

PRODUCER: Danielle Gardner
DIRECTOR: Lawrence Pitkethly
EDITORS: Chris Jenner, Christopher Tellefson
NARRATOR: Matthew Modine

Program 7 *
Film in the Television Age
This program explores the relationship between film and television, from the studios’ initial fear of television and the rise of the Hollywood spectacle film to today’s more integrated entertainment industry.

INTERVIEWS: Raymond Carney, Todd Gitlin, Robert Altman, Charles Champlin, Peter Falk, John Frankenheimer, Sidney Lumet, Delbert Mann, Arthur Penn, Jonas Rosenfield, Gena Rowlands, Gene Siskel, Haskell Wexler

PRODUCER: Elizabeth Foster
DIRECTOR: Alain Klarer
EDITOR: Rick Smigielski
NARRATOR: Cliff Robertson

Program 8 *
Film Noir
This program examines the genre of film noir—its roots in German Expressionism; its links to the Cold War, from nuclear threats to blacklisting; and the use of special lighting and camera angles to emphasize themes of corruption and urban decay.

INTERVIEWS: Ron Goulart, Paul Arthur, John Bailey, Albert Bezzerides, Kathryn Bigelow, Andre De Toth, Edward Dmytryk, Otto Friedrich, Martin Goldsmith, Jean-Pierre Gorin, Lawrence Kasdan, Joseph Lewis, Errol Morris, Janey Place, Abraham Polonsky, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Marie Windsor

PRODUCER: Sasha Alpert
DIRECTOR: Jeffrey Schon
EDITORS: Alan Berliner, Joelle Schon
NARRATOR: Richard Widmark

Program 9
The Film School Generation
In the 1960s and 1970s, a group of young mavericks—Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and others—tried to revolutionize the way American films were made and appreciated. This program explores the financial and cultural forces that made their success possible; the influence of classical Hollywood genres and new technology on their work; and their continuing evolution as idiosyncratic filmmakers with commercial clout.

INTERVIEWS: Peter Biskind, Peter Bart, David Brown, Gray Frederickson, Teri Garr, Paul Hirsch, Gary Kurtz, George Lucas, John Milius, Walter Murch, Lynda Myles, Fred Roos, Albert Ruddy, Paul Schrader, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Jonathan Taplin

PRODUCER: John Wyver
DIRECTOR: Steve Jenkins
EDITOR: Patrick McDonnell
NARRATOR: Mark Heenahan

Program 10
The Edge of Hollywood
Contemporary American independent cinema provides a forum for dissenting, unconventional filmmakers, many of whom are from minority communities. This program looks at the work of Spike Lee, Joel and Ethan Coen, Jim Jarmusch, Quentin Tarrantino, and others and how limited budgets can often encourage innovation and experimentation.

INTERVIEWS: Gregg Araki, Lawrence Bender, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Julie Dash, Carl Franklin, Nick Gomez, Bob Gosse, Jim Hoberman, Richard Jameson, Jim Jarmusch, Tom Kalin, Harvey Keitel, Todd McCarthy, Larry Meistrich, John Pierson, Sam Raimi, Joel Silver, Steven Soderbergh, Jim Stark, Quentin Tarantino, John Turturro, Christine Vachon

PRODUCER: Shana Swanson
DIRECTOR: Saskia Baron
EDITORS: Stephanie Paleweski
NARRATOR: Frances McDormand

Note: Three additional half-hour supplementary programs are included in the telecourse version of the series. They are:

Program 11
Film Language
examines just how a movie scene is orchestrated, as a Columbia University professor directs a three-minute scene, providing an intimate view of the elements that go into directorial decision making, from script analysis to set design and editing.

Program 12
Writing and Thinking About Film
features independent filmmaker John Sayles and a number of scholars in an analysis of Fritz Lang’s 1946 film Scarlet Street—a “hands-on” demonstration of practical film criticism.

Program 13
Classical Hollywood Style Today
probes Hollywood’s influence on both American life and world culture through interviews with contemporary filmmakers, scholars, critics, and studio-era veterans.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: New York Center for Visual History, New York, NY, in association with KCET, Los Angeles, CA, and BBC, UK
SENIOR ADVISORY CONSULTANT: Jeanine Basinger (Wesleyan University)
HOST: John Lithgow

AWARDS: Worldfest (Houston), Gold Award for Romantic Comedy and Age of Hollywood

PRINT MATERIALS: Companion book, American Cinema: One Hundred Years of Filmmaking by Jeanine Basinger (Rizzoli, 1994); companion textbook, American Cinema/American Culture by John Belton (McGraw-Hill, 1994); American Cinema: Study Guide, by Ed Sikov (McGraw-Hill, 1994); American Cinema: Faculty Guide, by Ed Sikov (McGraw-Hill, 1994); call 1-800-722-4726 to order all print materials

FORMAT: Video, 10 (60:00) programs plus 3 (30:00) telecourse-related programs

DISTRIBUTORS: The Annenberg/CPB Project (telecourse)

American Masters: This is Bob Hope…

During his eight-decade career, Bob Hope was the only performer to achieve top-rated success in every form of mass entertainment: Vaudeville, Broadway, movies, radio, television, popular song, and personal appearances, including hosting the Academy Awards a record nineteen times and his annual USO Christmas military tours. Written, directed, and produced by John Scheinfeld (The U.S. vs. John LennonChasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary), American Masters: This is Bob Hope... presents a candid look at a remarkable life with unprecedented access to Hope’s personal archives, including writings voiced by Billy Crystal and clips from Hope’s body of work to reveal a gifted and very human individual who recognized the power of fame, embraced its responsibilities, and handled celebrity with extraordinary wit and grace. The documentary also features new interviews with Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, daughter Linda Hope, Kermit the Frog, film critic/historian Leonard Maltin, Conan O’Brien, Tom Selleck, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens, and biographer Richard Zoglin (Hope: Entertainer of the Century).

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Thirteen Productions LLC, New York, NY



PRODUCERS: John Scheinfeild, Dave Harding, Richard Gurman, Richard Zoglin, James Hardy

DIRECTOR/WRITER: John Scheinfeild


EDITOR: Peter S. Lynch, II

CAST: Billy Crystal, Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Margaret Cho, Larry Gelbart, Linda Hope, Kermit The Frog, Mort Lachman, Leonard Maltin, Robert L. Mills, Timothy Naftali, Conan O’Brien, Sherwood Schwartz, Tom Selleck, Mel Shavelson, Brooke Shields, Connie Stevens Richard Zoglin

PRINT MATERIAL: Online Press kit and photos

FORMAT: DVD (120 min)



American Popular Song Series on Fresh Air
Documentary Radio

This series explores American popular song as a reflection of cultural issues and historical themes in America from turn-of-the-century African American vaudeville and revues to the golden age of the Hollywood movie musical in the 1930s and 1940s. The series features conversations with scholars and performers as well as in-studio performances and archival recordings.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Terry Gross, Danny Miller
PRODUCER: Ann Marie Baldonado
DIRECTOR: Roberta Shorrock
WRITER: Terry Gross
EDITOR: Ann Marie Baldonado
NARRATOR: Terry Gross
RECORDING ENGINEER: Jim Czak/Nola Recording Studios

FORMAT: Video 5 x one-hour programs

American Roots Music

This series traces the development of uniquely American music forms throughout the twentieth century including blues, gospel, country, bluegrass, Cajun, zydeco, tejano and Native American by interweaving rare archival footage and photographs of the legends of American music with newly filmed performances and interviews of living legends and leading scholars.

Episode 1
When First Unto This Country

traces the emergence of roots music in America from its European and African origins through its maturation into American musical genres such as spirituals, blues, country, and gospel.

Episode 2
This Land is Your Land

explores a period in which different strands of roots music become commercialized and visible through movies, television, radio, and records. Concurrently, “folk music” is redefined to include newly written music for songs that often deal with social causes.

Episode 3
The Times They Are A-Changin’

traces the continuing emergence of American roots music through a national awareness catalyzed by the folk and blues revivals. Gospel music’s golden years are also explored in this episode, from the Golden Gate Quartet to Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, and the crossover success of the Staple Singers. In addition, urban migration from the Mississippi Delta to Chicago fosters the electrification of the blues, producing such giants as Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.

Episode 4
All My Children of the Sun

focuses on the reassessment of diverse ethnic music previously excluded from American “folk” music and their inclusion in a redefined “American roots music.” This episode describes the flourishing of Cajun culture in southwest Louisiana, the popularization of tejano music in south Texas, and the evolution of Native American music forms.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Ginger Group Productions, Inc., New York, NY
PRODUCERS: Jim Brown, Sam Pollard, Jeff Rosen
WRITER: Charles Wolfe
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Bob Boccaccio SOC, Peter Pilafian, Bob Fiore
EDITORS: Sam Pollard, Paul Petrissans, Anand Kamalakar, Garrett Levin
NARRATOR: Kris Kristofferson

PRINT MATERIALS: for press releases, photos, etc. contact Ginger Group Productions: 212-505-0138 or @email.

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Association for Independent Music Award; “Best Historical Recording” for the American Roots Music 4-CD box set; U.S. International Film and Video Festival; First Place “Gold Camera Award” in the Music Documentary Category for Episode Two; This Land is Your Land

FORMAT: Video 4 programs 56:46 each

American Routes: Giants of Jazz: Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane
Documentary Radio

The story of Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane is typically told in a line-up of session dates, club appearances, and landmark performances. But what of their lives outside the session or club? What can the geography of their life in music, where they lived and where they grew up, tell us about the great players we know?  From their humble beginnings to their triumphs on the world stage, we trace their individual and inspired paths to creativity.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: American Routes, New Orleans, LA
PRODUCERS: Maureen Loughran, Kaori Macyama, Bill Deputy, Margaret Howze
WRITERS: Maureen Loughran, Margaret Howze                                
EDITORS: Maureen Loughran, Kaori Macyama, Margaret Howze
CAST: In the Coltrane portion of the program, Nick Spitzer interviews Jimmy and Tootie Heath from Philadelphia, free jazz tenor saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, critic Nat Hentoff, Coltrane’s classic quartet pianist McCoy Tyner, and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane. In the Monk hour of the program, Mr. Spitzer interviews Monk biographer Robin DG Kelley, son “TS” Monk, saxophonist Sonny Rollins, pianist Randy Weston, and the drummer from Monk’s 1960s quartet, Ben Riley.
FORMAT: DVD (2 hours)
DESCRIPTIONS: Public Radio Media Exchange (PRX)

American Routes Humanities Features: Songs and Stories from Down Home to Uptown
Documentary Radio

A weekly two-hour public radio program, American Routes presents and interprets a wide range of American vernacular music as an expression of our varied cultures and their histories. It also presents music as a reflection of and stimulus to a sense of participation in American culture at the national level. Careful sequencing and commentary on the music, along with documentary humanities features of diverse styles and voices, provide a critical perspective for examining the cultural, social and historical relationships on which the music is based.

YEAR PRODUCED: 2004 (onging)
PRODUCERS: Kaori Maeyama; Jason Rhein, Lauren Callihan, Natalie Jones
DIRECTOR: Mary Beth Kirchner
EDITOR: Scott McCraw

PRINT MATERIAL: press packs/ program info/promotional postcards promoting individual shows - Available through Lauren Callihan at American Routes

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: 2004 Deems-Taylor ASCAP award

FORMAT: Two hour
DISTRIBUTORS: Public Radio Media Exchange (PRX)

American Routes: Routes to a Creative Future-Cultural Sustainability and the Usable Past
Documentary Radio

As communities across the nation suffered the growing pains of loss, change or rebuilding brought on by recent recession, we found that is especially useful to extend some of what we have witnessed and learned about the role of individual, family, neighborhood, city and region-based vernacular cultures in building cultural continuity and creativity into the future. It is partly in metaphoric and practical reference to the intangible cultural benefits associated with recovery from a man-made and natural catastrophe in New Orleans in 2005—followed by an economic situation that impacted communities nationwide—that Nick Spitzer and the production team at American Routes undertook a series concerning the importance of memory and continuity of cultural assets central to social and economic recovery of communities across America. Traditions such as jazz funerals and cultural assets such as museums that celebrate a local art form are discussed in this American Routes series as the foundations that sustain a community following disaster.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: American Routes, New Orleans, LA


EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Nick Spitzer                                    

PRDUCERS: Maureen Loughran, Kaori Maeyama, Bill Deputy

WRITERS: Maureen Loughran, Margaret Howze                                             

EDITORS: Maureen Loughran, Kaori Maeyama, Nick Spitzer


FORMAT: Radio (2 hours)

DISTRIBUTOR: Public Radio Exchange (PRX), Ken Mills Agency

American Routes: Routes to Genius
Documentary Radio

American Routes presents and interprets a wide range of America’s vernacular music as an expression of its varied cultures and their histories. It presents music as a reflection of and stimulus to a sense of participation in American culture at the national level. Careful sequencing and commentary on the music, along with documentary humanities features of diverse styles and voices, provide a critical perspective for examining the cultural, social, and historical relationships on which the music is based. In each program, host Dr. Nick Spitzer takes listeners on an aural journey presenting an eclectic selection of twentieth-century American vernacular music in relationship both to its historical and social origins (its “roots”) and to other musical forms with which the music and musicians interact as they migrate (its “routes”). The producers work interpretively to demonstrate how music—and the people who make it—express both cultural continuities and discontinuities, reflecting the many regional, class, era, and gender variations that make up American identity.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: American Routes, New Orleans, LA
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Mary Beth Kirchner, Nick Spitzer
PRODUCERS: Matt Sakakeeny, Margaret Howze, Molly Petersen
HOST: Nick Spitzer

PRINT MATERIALS: Press kits and press clippings


FORMAT: Audio 2 hour/weekly
DISTRIBUTORS: Public Radio Media Exchange (PRX)

American Routes: Routes to Recovery
Radio Documentary Series

Routes to Recovery is a series within the American Routes weekly public radio program, focusing on the theme of economic and social recovery through culture in a variety of settings - all expressed in the words and music of artists and workers. Using a wide range of vernacular musical expressions, the program investigates the cultural sources for how and where the obvious social and economic troubles of life may be reconciled in cultural and artistic terms. Program host Nick Spitzer speaks with a diverse array of people to understand the ways in which they are coping with the current moment.  Program topics range from the place of cowboy culture in the West today and the outlook for its future survival; a investigation of how the National Folk Festival, an institution over 70 years old, has engaged community cultural expression and generated a local public discourse on the economic and cultural future of the communities it visits; a revisit to the program’s own hometown, New Orleans, five years after the devastation of floods on the city in the wake of Hurricane Katrina; and an exploration of two important American cities: Philadelphia and Detroit.

Program 1

Five Years After the Storm

It has been five years since the arrival of Hurricane Katrina and failure of the Federal Levee system in New Orleans.  American Routes speaks with local activists, musicians, culture bearers and concerned residents to gauge the progress of individual and collective recovery in the city and region.  Rebirth Brass Band’s Derrick Tabb talks about his after-school band program "The Roots of Music," they visit the Musician's Village in the 9th Ward to meet New Orleans R&B drummer Smokey Johnson and his neighbor, avant-garde cellist Helen Gillet; then head out into the bayous south of New Orleans with blues guitarist Tab Benoit to talk about his work to save the wetlands.  They also have a conversation with Eric Overmyer and Lolis Eric Elie from HBO’s “Treme,” about the ability of fiction to tell difficult truths and how their program places culture at the center of the discussion.

Program 2


American Routes travels to the City of Brotherly Love and hangs out on the musical street corners with some of Philadelphia’s finest, including bobby-soxer idol Bobby Rydell, hip hop drummer and city champion Questlove of the Roots, and the city’s mayor, Michael Nutter, who can also claim fame as a disco DJ.  They visit famous operatic cafes and sit in with a neighborhood jazz organ trio.  Plus catch a choir rehearsal at one of the city’s historic churches and a conversation with a mother-daughter klezmer duo.

Program 3

The 2010 National Heritage Fellowship Concert and Celebration

American Routes join the 2010 honorees, recorded live in concert from Washington, D.C., including bluegrass bandleader and Del McCoury, Ghanian drum master Yacub Addy and fiddler Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor.

Program 4

Motor City Music of Detroit

American Routes cruises the musical map of Detroit, catching the sights and sounds of the Motor City. From Hamtramck to Dearborn, they meet the proud people who made the cars and played the bars. Jazz modernist Yusef Lateef tells of his time on the assembly line. Smokey Robinson talks about growing up with Motown's future stars.  They learn how to construct a hit record from Motown studio insiders, then visit a raccoon hunters club, known for bluegrass jams.

Program 5

Second Lines and Black Pots: American Routes Live in Louisiana

American Routes brings a sampling of great live music from its home state: Louisiana. They stop by the soon to be legendary BlackPot Festival in Lafayette for some new flavors of Cajun and Creole tunes, as well as some old favorites by special guests.  Then they walk through the streets of New Orleans with the Prince of Wales Social Aid and Pleasure Club during their annual second line parade.

Program 6

Crossover Dreams: Latin Music in America

American Routes samples the sabor latino in American music.  Join them for conversation with Los Lobos on their mix of American pop and Mexican traditions.  They visit Los Cenzontles, a community arts center in San Francisco dedicated to the teaching of Mexican music, and drop by a Philadelphia radio show spinning salsa hits for the neighborhood.  Then, they sit in with pianist and bandleader Oscar Hernández of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra for some Nuyorican beats and salsa moves.

Program 7

South to Louisiana

American Routes heads west from the New Orleans studio to Southwestern French Louisiana. For a small area on the map, this area of the state has produced a huge amount of music. They speak with swamp popper Rod Bernard about his breakout hit, "This Could Go On Forever." Guitarist Lil' Buck Sinegal recalls the heyday of Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band. There's a historic interview with the late fiddler that helped break Cajun music to the world, Dewey Balfa.

Program 8

The National Folk Festival

Celebrate the National Folk Festival with American Routes. For over 70 years, the National Folk Festival has traveled from coast to coast, bringing the music of the people to the people.  They head to the old mining town of Butte, Montana, to meet the folks who recently put on the show and the city that came out to see them.  Then they mine the archives and listen in on classic moments from past National Folk Festivals.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: American Routes, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
PRODUCERS: Maureen Loughran, Kaori Maeyama, Bill Deputy, Joel Rose
NARRATOR: Nick Spitzer

FORMAT: Audio 8 120:00 programs
DISTRIBUTOR: Public Radio Media Exchange (PRX)

The Artist Was a Woman

The Artist Was a Woman examines the lives and works of women artists who lived between 1550 and 1950 and surveys the contributions women have made to artistic movements.

PRODUCERS: Suzanne Bauman, Mary Bell
DIRECTOR: Suzanne Bauman
NARRATOR: Jane Alexander

FORMAT: Video (58:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Filmakers Library

Artists at Work: A Film on the New Deal Art Projects

Artists At Work is a portrait of the WPA’s Federal Art Project and other New Deal programs that supported artists during the 1930s.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: New Deal Films, Inc., and The Film Fund, New York, NY
WRITER: Peter Lance
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ted Churchill, Charles Gustafson, Judy Irola, James Szalapski, Jerry Pantzer, Kip Durrin
ANIMATION PHOTOGRAPHY: Lawrence Quartararo, Anthony Quartararo
EDITOR: Charles Marcus
NARRATOR: Morgan Freeman

AWARDS: American Film and Video Festival, Blue Ribbon; CINE Golden Eagle; Chicago International Film Festival, Silver Plaque; San Francisco Film Festival, Honorable Mention

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (35:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: New Deal Films, Inc.

Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life

From the 1940s to the 1960s, Billy Strayhorn was one of the forces behind the sound of the renowned Duke Ellington Orchestra. Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life tells the story of this pioneering African American composer, arranger and pianist. Strayhorn helped produce a body of work that has no rival in originality and range—from unforgettable tunes and jazz melodies to orchestral suites and soundtracks. He was the sole composer of many classic compositions, including the Ellington theme song, “Take The ‘A’ Train,” and the widely recorded “Lush Life.” Yet at the time of his death in 1967 at age 51 from esophageal cancer, most people were unfamiliar with his musical accomplishments and genius. Today, historians and scholars agree that Billy Strayhorn remains one of the most under-recognized American composers in history. Born in 1915, Strayhorn chose to live openly as a gay black man. It was perhaps this decision—and his lifelong devotion to Ellington—which contributed to his near anonymity as a major American composer. Ironically, Strayhorn is the composer of many of the world’s most defining and recognizable jazz standards. Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life not only emphasizes the vast contributions Strayhorn made to Ellington’s oeuvre, but also features his own newly discovered compositions, with world premieres of his music featuring singers Elvis Costello and Dianne Reeves, pianists Hank Jones and Bill Charlap, saxophonist Joe Lovano and guitarist Russell Malone. With interviews, performances and archival footage, Billy Strayhorn: Lush Life showcases Strayhorn’s gifts and illuminates the issues that deprived him of deserved recognition.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Robert Levi films, Inc., New York, NY
PRODUCERS: Josh Blum, George Seminara
DIRECTOR: Robert Levi
WRITERS: Robert Levi, Robert Seidman
CINEMATOGRAPHY: David Sperling, Fred Murphy
EDITORS: Ray Hubley, Robert Levi
HOST: Terrence Howard
NARRATOR: Keith David

PRINT MATERIALS: Robert Levi Films, Inc., New York, NY

AWARDS/FESTIVAL: Premiere Screening on PBS’s Independent Lens

FORMAT: Video/DVD (83:00)


Broadway: The American Musical
Documentary Series

This series tells two stories: the 100-year history of musical theater and the story of its relationship to twentieth-century American life. Throughout the course of the six episodes, the full arc of Broadway’s epic story is represented, from the immigrant experience at the turn of the century, when a melting pot of voices gave rise to a popular new form of entertainment, to the big budget world of the new millennium where global successes and revivals of classic favorites compete side by side. The programs spotlight legendary moments of Broadway history in rare clips and interviews: comedienne Fanny Brice’s heart-grabbing performance of “My Man”; color footage of an early Ziegfeld Follies; George Gershwin’s sojourn to Folly Island, where he began to compose his legendary score for Porgy and Bess; the thrill of Oklahoma!’s opening night; My Fair Lady’s enduring success as an Eisenhower-era Cinderella story; the counterculture clash of the Hair cast running amok on “The Ed Sullivan Show”; Julie Taymor’s visionary re-imagining of The Lion King; and a behind-the-scenes look at Wicked’s opening night.

PRODUCERS: Jeff Dupre, Michael Kantor, Sally Rosenthal
DIRECTOR: Michael Kantor
WRITERS: Marc Fields, Michael Kantor, Laurence Maslon, JoAnn Young
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Buddy Squires, Mead Hunt, Ulli Bonnekamp, Jeff Dupre, Tom Hurwitz, Steve Kazmierski, Amy Rice, Manny Gutierrez, Mills Clark, Bernard McWilliams
EDITORS: Kris Liem, Adam Zucker, Nancy Novack
NARRATOR: Julie Andrews
CAST: Nancy Anderson, John Cullum, Chris Ferry, Jonathan Freeman, Leland Gantt, Michael C. Hall, John Herrera, Joe Holt, Gene Jones, Jane Krakowski, Ron McClarty, John McMartin, Audra McDonald, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Stephen Spinella, Mary Testa, Andrew, Weems, Jeffrey Wright, Chip Zien, Timothy Breese, Richard Costas, Paul Daley, Teri DiGianfelice, Rich DiMinno, Byron Easley, Chris Ferry, Nina Goldman, Jack Haken, Amy Hall, Michelle Kittrell, Bernard McWilliams, Lou Martarano, Kenna Morris, Michelle Pampena, Ipsita Paul, Lacy Darryl Phillips, Stacie Precia, Ed Puntin, Karina Ringeisen, Kara Sandberg, Jennifer Savelli, Kristen Sullivan, Michael Weinstein

PRINT MATERIALS: press materials & print education guide available through Thirteen/WNET New York; 469 page companion book available through Bulfinch Press. Note: 5-disc companion CD available via Columbia Broadway Masterworks and single-disc highlights disc available via Decca Broadway. Three-disc DVD set, featuring 5 hours of additional material, available via PBS Home Video. Companion web site available at

FORMAT: Video 6x60 mins
DISTRIBUTOR: Educational Broadcasting Corporation

Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood

When Adolf Hitler became Chancellor of Germany in 1933, one of his earliest actions was to ban Jews from working in that country’s film industry, praised as the most creative cinema in the world. Men and women who had created landmarks of movie history fled their homeland in the ensuing months and years. Many of them went to Hollywood. Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood traces the experiences of the exiles who took refuge in Hollywood and examines their impact on both the German and the American cinemas. In Germany, they had created such groundbreaking pictures as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, The Blue Angel, and M-The Murderers Among Us. In Hollywood, their influence ranged from the horror genre and film noir to comedy and drama. With their lush compositions, they changed the role of music in the motion picture. They even made westerns. More than 800 film professionals escaped to Hollywood in the years between 1933 and 1939. They include actors Felix Bressart, Hedy Lamarr and Peter Lorre; directors Fritz Lang, Henry Koster, Billy Wilder and Fred Zinnemann; composers Frederick Hollander, Hans Salter and Franz Waxman; and cinematographer Rudy Mate. Not every exile found success in Hollywood; most never regained the fame they had known in Europe. Many had to seek work outside the industry. Still others would fail in America, financially dependent on the generosity of fellow Germans, among them actress Marlene Dietrich and director Ernst Lubitsch. A few returned to Germany after the war — but not many. The majority had set upon the road taken by many refugees, that of integrating into the American culture – and giving an element of themselves back to that culture. By the 1950s the émigrés’ output reflected a degree of professional integration in Hollywood perhaps unimagined when they had all dreamt of California as a destination. Their films number among the classics of the American cinema.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Film Odyssey, Inc., Washington, DC


EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Karen Thomas, Margaret Smilow



EDITOR: Anny Meza

NARRATOR: Sigourney Weaver

FORMAT: Video/DVD (2 hours)


Cities for People

Cities for People considers the space and the quality of life left in a city after the buildings are built. It was filmed in San Antonio, Savannah, San Francisco, Atlanta, Boston, and New York, as well as in historic and modern locations in Italy.

MUSIC: John Lewis
NARRATOR: Cloris Leachman

AWARDS: San Francisco International Film Festival, Golden Gate Award; Broadcast Media Award; Ohio State Award

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (49:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: University of California, Extension Media Center

Diego Rivera: I Paint What I See

This film examines the life and work of Mexican artist Diego Rivera (1886–1957). It traces his life from childhood through his Cubist period, his leading role in the Mexican mural renaissance, his fame as a muralist in the USA, and his later years. The film explores Rivera’s life and work, including his relationship with Frida Kahlo and the destruction of his famous mural at Rockefeller Center. Shot on location in Mexico and the United States, the film includes archival film and photographs, much of which has not been seen before. The text is drawn from the writings of Rivera and Kahlo and from other historical texts. Using Rivera’s own words, the film brings to life the difficulty he faced in his transition from studio artist to public and political artist, and the conflicts that arose from that point onward.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: New Deal Films Inc., Brooklyn, and the New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY
PRODUCERS: Mary Lance, Eric Breitbart
DIRECTOR: Mary Lance
WRITER: Eric Breitbart
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Eric Breitbart, Nancy Schreiber, Emiko Omori, Miguel Ehrenberg
EDITOR: Sara Fishko
NARRATOR: John Hutton
VOICES: Julio Medina, Rosana de Soto, Joe Barett, Philip Bosco, Steve Culp, Margaret Hall, Ron Parady, Larry Robinson, Ted Sorel, Donald Symington

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: CINE Golden Eagle; Biennial of Films on Art, Paris, Special Jury Prize, Best Biographical Film; National Educational Film and Video Festival, Bronze Apple; Chicago International Film Festival, Gold Plaque; Cork (Ireland) Film Festival, Certificate of Merit; Festival dei Popoli, Florence, Italy; American Film and Video Festival; International Festival of Films on Art, Montreal; The Documentary Festival of New York; Leipzig (Germany) International Film Festival; Melbourne (Australia) Film Festival

FORMAT: Video (58:00); DVD (includes a 19-minute sequence of silent archival footage of Rivera paining the “Detroit Industry” murals, 1932–33.)

DISTRIBUTOR: New Deal Films, Inc.

Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lightning

Explore, through her granddaughter’s eyes, the life story of the photographer who took the iconic photograph “Migrant Mother.” Never seen before photos, film footage, interviews, family memories, and journals reveal the artist who challenged America to know itself. Lange’s enduring images document five turbulent decades of American history, including the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, World War II, Japanese American Internment camps, and early environmentalism.Yet, few know the story, struggles, and profound body of work of the woman behind the camera. Lange’s granddaughter, award-winning cinematographer Dyanna Taylor, directs and narrates this intimate documentary as it explores Lange’s life, probes the nature of her muses—two great men and the camera itself —and her uncompromising vision. Taylor, who learned to see the visual world at her grandmother’s feet, weaves Lange’s preparations for her career retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art into a universal story of a woman’s struggle to live a creative life.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Raven Rouge, Inc., Santa Fe, NM, and Katahdin Foundation, Berkeley, CA


EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Lisa Thomas, Michael Kantor, Susan Lacy

PRODUCERS: Dyanna Taylor, Roberta Grossman


CINEMATOGRAPHY: Dyanna Taylor, Philip Greene

EDITOR: David Leach

NARRATOR: Dyanna Taylor

CAST: Dorothea Lange, Paul S. Taylor, Richard Conrad, John Szarkowski

INTERVIEWS:  Linda S. Gordon, Sandra Phillips, Richard Steven Street, Anne Whiston Spirn, Clair Brown, Rondal Partridge, Elizabeth Partridge, Jan Goggans, Rebecca Jenkins, David Weiman, Paul Kitagaki

PRINTED MATERIALS: Companion Book:  Dorothea Lange: Grab A Hunk of Lightning, Chronicle Books Educational Materials through PBS American Masters

FORMAT: DVD (1:48 minutes)


Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo

This film considers Duke Ellington’s musical development and quest for national prominence in the context of America’s changing racial attitudes and perceptions.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: New York Foundation for the Arts, New York, NY
YEAR PRODUCED: 1991 (premiere on The American Experience)
PRODUCERS: David Schmerler, Andrew Reichsman
CONSULTING PRODUCERS: Jaqueline Schearer, Edward Gray
WRITERS: Robert S. Levi, Geoffrey C. Ward
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Larry Banks, Neil Reichline, Brian Clery
EDITORS: Ken Levis, Ken Eluto
HOST/NARRATOR: Paul Winfield

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: National Emmy Award, Outstanding Individual Achievement in Research; Writers Guild of America, Nominee, Best Teleplay in a Nonfiction Format; CINE Golden Eagle; American Film and Video Festival, Blue Ribbon, Biography; National Educational Film and Video Festival, Silver Apple; Banff Film and Television Festival, Finalist; American Film Institute Festival (L.A.), Finalist; London, Berlin, Munich, Hamburg, and Florence Film Festivals

AUDIO MATERIAL: Companion album, Duke Ellington: Reminiscing in Tempo (Columbia Legacy-Sony Music, available in record stores)

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (90:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: contact Robert S. Levi Films, Inc.

D.W. Griffith: Father of Film
Documentary Series

This three-part series chronicles the life and work of the pioneer director of such groundbreaking films as Intolerance, Hearts of the World, Broken Blossoms, Way Down East, and the still-controversial The Birth of a Nation.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: American Masters/Thirteen/WNET, New York, NY and Thames Television, London, England
YEAR PRODUCED: 1993 (first broadcast on American Masters)
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Denny Furey, John Hanlon, Ken Lowe, John Slagle
EDITOR: Mike Peatfield
NARRATOR: Sam Wanamaker (U.S. version); Lindsay Anderson (U.K. version)
INTERVIEWS: John Hope Franklin, Russell Merritt, Eileen Bowser, Lillian Gish, Blanche Sweet, Evelyn Baldwin Griffith Kunze, Karl Brown, Anita Loos, Francis Oglesby, William Walker

AWARDS: National Emmy Nominee, Outstanding Informational Special

FORMAT: Video, 3 (60:00) programs

DISTRIBUTOR: D.L.T. Entertainment, Ltd.

EAMES: The Architect and the Painter

The husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames are widely regarded as America’s most important designers. Perhaps best remembered for their mid-century plywood and fiberglass furniture, the Eames Office also created a mind-bending variety of other products, from splints for wounded military during World War II, to photography, interiors, multi-media exhibits, graphics, games, films and toys. But their personal lives and influence of significant events in American life – from the development of modernism, to the rise of the computer age – has been less widely understood. Narrated by James Franco, EAMES: The Architect and the Painter is the first film since their death dedicated to these creative geniuses and their work.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: Quest Productions and Bread and Butter Films, Berkeley, CA
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS: Bill Jersey, Jason Cohn
WRITER: Jason Cohn
EDITOR: Don Bernier
NARRATOR: James Franco
CAST: Eames Demetrios (Eames Grandson), Lucia Eames (Charles Eames daughter), Paul Schrader, Kevin Roche, Jeannine Oppewall, Deborah Sussman, Gordon Ashby, C. Ford Peatross, Don Albrecht, Tina Beebe, Ralph Caplan, Joe Giovannini, Thomas S. Hines, Margaret McAleeer, Marilyn Neuhart, Zeke Seligsohn, Bill Tondreau, Judith Wechsler, Bob Blaich, Sam Grawe, John Neuhart, Pat Kirkham, Jed Perl, Richard Wright, Richard Saul Wurman

PRINT MATERIALS: See EAMES related website at and at

FORMAT: DVD (84:00)
DISTRIBUTOR: First Run Features

Free to Dance: The Black Tradition in American Modern Dance

Free to Dance chronicles the pivotal role African American dancers and choreographers have played in the development of modern dance as an American art form. Their movement language has pervaded the culture, helping to define not just modern dance but American vernacular and popular styles as well. This is the largely untold story of the exchanges, borrowings, and sharings in dance and movement among black and white Americans. Set against the cultural, social, and economic backdrop of American life from 1900, it is also a remarkable tale of against-the-odds struggle by African American dancers and choreographers for recognition and acceptance as highly talented and passionate performers.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: American Dance Festival, Inc., Durham, NC
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Charles L. Reinhart, Stephanie Reinhart
PRODUCER: Madison D. Lacy
DIRECTORS: Madison D. Lacy, Horace Ove, Gary Halvorsen
WRITERS: Madison D. Lacy, Adam Zucker
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Don Linzer, Bobby Shepherd, Buddy Squires
EDITORS: Adam Zucker, Rachel Reichman, Keir Pearson
NARRATOR: Blair Underwood

PRINT MATERIALS: WNET Dance in America Spring 2001 Booklet, ADF Booklets; The Black Tradition in Modern Dance; African American Genius in Modern Dance

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Emmy, Artistic and Cultural Programming; Pan African Film Festival; Festival of Films on Art/Montreal; Margaret Mead Film Festival

FORMAT: Video 3 programs 60:00 each

DISTRIBUTOR: Thirteen/WNET. For educational distribution: National Black Programming Consortium

High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music

This film traces the history and cultural origins of bluegrass music from the 19th century to the present, with special emphasis on the contributions and musical legacy of Bill Monro.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: Northside Films, Brooklyn, NY in collaboration with Hampshire College, MA
PRODUCERS: Rachel Liebling, Andrew Serwer
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Rachel Liebling
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Buddy Squires, Allen Moore
EDITOR: Toby Shimin
MUSICIANS INCLUDE: Bill Monroe, Mac Wiseman, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, The Osborne Brothers, The Seldom Scene, Alison Krauss, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, and others.

AWARDS: Atlanta Film Festival, Best Feature Documentary; American Film Festival, Red Ribbon; CINE Golden Eagle; Houston International Film Festival, Silver Award for Feature Documentary

FORMAT: Video (95:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Northside Films

I’ll Make Me A World: A Century of African American Arts

I’ll Make Me A World celebrates the extraordinary achievements of twentieth-century African American artists who forever changed us as a nation and a culture. The series tells stories of struggle and creativity, featuring the sounds of jazz, blues, soul, and rap that the world identifies as America’s music; poetry and fiction that challenge our ideas of race and our ideals of democracy; images that capture our conflicts and our common ties; and dance, theater, and films that have thrilled and inspired a century of audience.

Program I
Lift Every Voice (1900–24)
looks at the trials and triumphs of the first generation of African Americans born into freedom. Bert Williams and George Walker, who forged careers as vaudeville stars, struggle to transcend the stereotypes of the minstrel tradition as they reclaim genuine elements of black culture and win a mainstream audience. In New Orleans, talented musicians create the exuberant sound that the entire world comes to recognize as original American music: jazz. And a powerful new medium—film—allows Oscar Micheaux to make motion pictures that reflect the complexities of black life during an era of entrenched racial segregation and conflict.

Program II
Without Fear or Shame (1920–37)
takes viewers from the First World War through the Jazz Age and into the years of the Great Depression. These are year of massive migration from South to North, unprecedented white fascination with “Negro” entertainment and arts, and the day of a “New Negro” in politics and culture, infused by the energies of such leaders as W.E.B. Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph, and Marcus Garvey. Focusing on the creative movement known as the Harlem Renaissance, the program highlights Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, and the women blues singers who bring their Southern style North. The hour also examines how conflicts arise over what art should express, when community leaders seek to use art in the struggle for racial justice. Some African Americans argue that art should present blacks in the best possible light, but many young artists want their work to reflect the complex reality of life in the black community. And to their mutual dismay, many white patrons see black art only as an expression of primitivism.

Program III
Bright Like A Sun (1935–54)
continues the series’ story through the years of the Great Depression and World War II. The challenging experiences move African American artists to adopt and expand their creative visions, producing work with new energy and autonomy. Paul Robeson, the legendary singer and star of stage and screen, uses his artistry and fame to fight for social justice in the U.S. and abroad. Sculptor Augusta Savage builds a vibrant art school in Harlem where young African American talent can be nurtured, although she risks her own career to do so. And on the music scene, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, and other young musicians begin to play bebop, the innovative jazz style that becomes the hallmark of American “cool,” and a recognized musical genre.

Program IV
The Dream Keepers (1940–65)
looks at African American artists in the turbulent years after World War II, as growing demand for equal rights are met with intense resistance. Yet, while racial barriers are being steadily broken, a stunning series of African American “firsts” in the arts and other areas of society marks America at mid century. This episode explores the impact of these developments upon the nation. Lorraine Hansberry’s remarkable Broadway debut, A Raisin In The Sun—extremely popular with both black and white audiences—is one sign of the era’s pro-integration impulse. Some fields, however, remain closed to African Americans, as evidenced by the lives and bittersweet careers of ballet dancers Delores Browne and Raven Wilkinson. James Baldwin, the artist who epitomizes the conflicts of the era, choose exile in Paris as he struggles to launch his literary career, but events in the United States eventually compel his return to lend his presence and voice to the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement.

Program V
Not A Rhyme Time (1963–86)
begins in the 1960s, a time of integration and creative “crossover” when black artists make inroads in Hollywood, on Broadway and in popular music, most notably via the Motown sound. As Motown dominates the radio airwaves, a cultural revolution begins, with artists challenging the aesthetics, power, and ultimately the very existence of a so-called “mainstream.” Painter Romare Bearden embraces the energy of collage as a means to capture the pulse of African American communities, and poet Gwendolyn Brooks begins exploring new forms and ideas in her work as the Black Arts Movement makes itself known. By the 1980s, writer Alice Walker wins a Pulitzer Prize, is featured on the cover of Time magazine, and finds herself at the center of a maelstrom of controversy concerning the images of black women and family life she presents in the novel The Color Purple.

Program VI
The Freedom You Will Take (1985–the present)
looks at the contemporary cultural landscape, which has been transformed by the power of African American film, performance, dance, rap music, and the spoken word art forms. Spike Lee becomes a hero to black artists in many genres and ushers in a new chapter of American independent cinema. Choreographer Bill T. Jones stages Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land, a controversial work challenging stereotypical views of race, sexuality, and fear. And in a new American style dubbed “hip-hop,” young musicians, poets, and other creative talents express the hopes and challenges that will carry America into the next millennium.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Henry Hampton, Sam Pollard
PRODUCERS: Sam Pollard, Betty Ciccarelli, Tracy Strain, Denise Greene
WRITER: Sheila Curran Bernard
EDITORS: Betty Ciccarelli, Eric Hanley, David Carnochan
NARRATOR: Vanessa L. Williams
INTERVIEWS: Quincy Jones, Alice Walker, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jacob Lawrence, Spike Lee, Faith Ringgold, Wynton Marsalis, Gwendolyn Brooks, Uta Hagen, Ben Vereen, Bill T. Jones, Gunther Schuller

AWARDS: The Organization of American Historians 2000 Erik Barnouw Award

FORMAT: Video 6 (60:00) episodes

DISTRIBUTOR: (None at this time)

Isamu Noguchi: Stones and Paper

Isamu Noguchi (1904–88) was one of America’s greatest sculptors. He counted himself among “that increasing number of not-exactly-belonging people.” His father was Japanese, his mother Scottish-American, and he spent part of his childhood in each one’s country. He understudied with Constantin Brancusi in Paris and launched his career with a series of portrait busts of prominent New Yorkers. He created sets for Martha Graham’s dance troupe and designed furniture, fountains, and public spaces. Working in Japan, he updated the paper lantern into a line of modern lamps. He ended up working with Japanese granite, a medium too stubborn ever to abandon its character as part of a mountain.

PRODUCER: Steve Burns
WRITER: Sharon Wood
EDITOR: William Smock
NARRATOR: Linda Hunt

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Best Portrait, Montreal International Festival of Films on Art, 1998; CINE Golden Eagle; Hawaii International Film Festival; San Francisco, New York; Vancouver; and Toronto Asian Film Festivals

PRINT MATERIALS: Press kit from Pictures and Words

FORMAT: Video (60:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Films for the Humanities and Sciences


This film examines the Isenheim altarpiece, completed about 1515, and the period in which it was produced.

EDITOR: Gabriella Christiani

FORMAT: Video (28:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: (none at this time)


From Schubert to Strauss, Bach to Brahms, Mozart to…Billy Joel, Itzhak Perlman’s violin playing transcends mere performance to evoke the celebrations and struggles of real life; “praying with the violin,” says renowned Tel Aviv violinmaker Amnon Weinstein. Alison Chernick’s documentary looks beyond the musician to see the polio survivor whose parents emigrated from Poland to Israel and the young man who struggled to be taken seriously as a music student when schools saw only his disability. Itzhak himself is funny, irreverent, and self-deprecating, and here his life story unspools in conversations with masterful musicians, family and friends, and, most endearingly, his devoted wife of fifty years.





CINEMATOGRAPHY: Christopher Gallo, Mikko Timonen, Chris Dapkins, Daniel Kedem

EDITOR: Helen Yum

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Opening Night Film: Hamptons International Film Festival 2017; Official Selection: DOC NYC 2017; Best of Fest: Palm Springs International Film Festival 2018; Audience Award: Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2018

FORMAT: DVD 82 mins

DISTRIBUTOR: Greenwich Entertainment

PBS/American Masters:

James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty

An art star, dandy, instigator, and radical artistic visionary, James McNeill Whistler introduced ideas and forms that were avant garde for their time. James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty examines the life of the man and the course of his career. Academy Award-winner Kevin Kline provides the voice of Whistler, and Anjelica Huston narrates the film. Whistler was known as a caustic wit and man-about-town in his adopted home of London. The film takes a close look at that life, and at how the nineteenth-century artist pioneered a new way of thinking about art that supported beauty in and of itself as a work’s most essential value, what we know today as “art for art’s sake.” Featuring nearly 200 etchings, paintings, and historical photographs, James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty provides a look at Whistler’s art and his adventuresome personality. The documentary employs unique animations and layered builds of the artist’s great works. Re-enactments show scenes from Whistler’s life and the behind-the-scenes work on the creation of several of his famous paintings, including “Arrangement in Grey and Black No.1” — popularly known as “Whistler’s Mother” — one of the most iconic works of art in history. Also featured are “The White Girl,” “The Balcony,” and the creation of the famed “The Peacock Room,” a masterpiece of decorative arts. In the film, leading art historians guide viewers through the moments that defined Whistler as a visionary American artist and champion of beauty.



EXECUTIVE PRODUCER: Karen Thomas                                    

PRDUCER/DIRECTOR/WRITER: Karen Thomas                                                      


EDITOR: Adam Lingo

NARRATOR: Anjelica Huston                           

CAST: Kevin Kline, Anna McNeill, Penny Fuller, Macready Massey, Daniel Arbon                                             

PRINTED MATERIALS: The website supports James McNeill Whistler & The Case for Beauty with downloadable lesson plans for grades 8-12; museum materials, essays on Whistler’s art and life, a comparative chronology, visual gallery, list of museums including Whistler’s work, and more.

FORMAT: DVD (60:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: PBS Video:; (International): TVF International (as Whistler: For Art’s Sake)


This is a 10-part documentary film series that chronicles the history of this most American of art forms. It is simultaneously a celebration of the music and a social and cultural history of 20th-century America. The film traces the music’s evolution from its beginnings in New Orleans through the Jazz Age, two World Wars, the Great Depression, the conformist 1950s, the turbulent 1960s and beyond. Jazz traces the music across generations of innovators who refashioned it to the tempo of their times, celebrating the achievements and telling the extraordinary stories of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Charlie Parker, Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and many others. The story of Jazz is told by musicians, critics, writers, fans, promoters and historians. The film includes more than 75 interviews, 2,000 film clips thousands of archival photographs and nearly 500 pieces of music.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Florentine Films and WETA, Washington, DC, in association with the BBC
PRODUCERS: Peter Miller, Victoria Gohl
WRITER: Geoffrey C. Ward
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Buddy Squires, Ken Burns
EDITOR: Paul Barnes, Sandra Marie Christie, Lewis Erskine, Erik Ewers, Sarah E. Hill, Craig Mellish, Tricia Reidy, Shannon Robards, Aaron Vega
NARRATOR: Keith David
VOICES: Adam Arkin, Vernel Bagneris, Philip Bosco, Tom Bower, Matthew Broderick, Hodding Carter III, Kevin Conway, Harry Conick, Jr., Bruce Davidson, Ann Duquesnay, Charles Durning, Keith Lee Grant, Eric George, Derek Jacobi, Samuel L. Jackson, Cherry Jones, Anthony LaPaglia, Eriq LaSalle, Delroy Lindo, Amy Madigan, Wendy Makkena, Joe Morton, James Naughton, Kevin Ramsey, Studs Terkel, Courtney B. Vance

INTERVIEWS: Lester Bowie, Dave Brubeck, Doc Cheatham, Jimmy Cobb, James Lincoln Collier, Johnny Collins, Stanley Crouch, Michael Cuscuna, Helen Oakley Dance, Francis Davis, Ossie Davis, Gerald Early, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Mercedes Ellington, Gary Giddins, Matt Glaser, Lorraine Gordon, Lionel Hampton, Herbie Hancock, Charlie Haden, Jon Hendricks, Nat Hentoff, Milt Hinton, Phoebe Jacobs, Margo Jefferson, Jerry Jerome, Vicki Joseph, Joe Lovano, Gene Lees, Stan Levey, Abbey Lincoln, Frankie Manning, James Maher, Branford Marsalis, Wynton Marsalis, Jackie McLean, Jay McShann, Norma Miller, Dan Morgenstern, Albert Murray, Buck O’Neil, Chan Parker, Bruce Boyd Raeburn, Joshua Redman, Jimmy Rowles, Msgr. John Sanders, Phil Schaap, Artie Shaw, Arvell Shaw, Joya Sherrill, Dick Sudhalter, Bertrand Tavernier, Studs Terkel, Clark Terry, Quincy Troupe, Benny Waters, George Wein, Cassandra Wilson

PRINTED MATERIALS: Press kit, viewer’s guide, study guide available through Dan Klores Communications

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Telluride Film Festival, 2000; Festival International de Programmes Audovisuels, Paris, January 2001; Nominated, Banff Rockie Award, 2001; 2001 Television Critics Association Award, Outstanding Achievement, News & Information; 2001 Emmy Nominations: Outstanding Non-Fiction Series; Outstanding Picture Editing for Non-Fiction Programming; Outstanding Cinematography for Non-Fiction Programming; Outstanding Sound Editing for Non-Fiction Programming; Outstanding Sound Mixing for Non-Fiction Programming; Winner of ASCAP Deems Taylor Award, 2001; Five CD Soundtrack has gone Platinum, 2001

FORMAT: Video Episodes 8 - 120 & 2 - 90 mins

The Jazz Loft

The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith is the first film to make use of the sprawling archive of photographs and audio tapes created by Smith in the derelict Manhattan building that became his home and studio from 1957 on through the 60s.  By the mid-50s Smith had achieved international stardom as a photo-essayist for Life magazine, known for his deeply humanistic essays such as “Country Doctorand “Spanish Village.”  But the desire for creative freedom, as well as a sense of frustration with his conventional family life, led Smith away from the suburbs and into Manhattan to 821 Sixth Avenue. There, he found a beat-up haven for jazz musicians who streamed in by the hundreds to jam, rehearse, and hang out.  Smith moved in, wired the building for sound, and kept his cameras at the ready for eight years as music, stories, conflicts, and dramas unfolded. He documented jazz stars there, most notably Thelonious Monk and Zoot Sims but also endless hours of more routine music and everyday life. The film emerges as a double portrait: The place, described as awful and smelly but full of creative fervor—and Smith himself, an unstable genius full of his own conflicts and obsessions.  For eight years, the man and the place overlapped with remarkable results.



EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: WNYC in Association with Lumiere Productions

PRODUCERS: Sara Fishko, Calvin Skaggs, Sam Stephenson



EDITORS: Jonathan J. Johnson, Susan Peehl, Dave Smith, Alan Lowe

CAST: David Amram, Carla Bley, Ron Free, T.S. Monk, Jason Moran,

Ben Ratliff, Phil Woods, and others                                                       

PRINT MATERIALS: Press Kit available from WNYC and/or filmbuff

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: New Orleans Film Festival; DOC NYC Film Festival; International Film Festival; Rotterdam Copenhagen Jazz Film Festival; Florida Film Festival; Cleveland International Film Festival; Buenos Aires International Film Festival; Full Frame Film Festival                                                     

FORMAT: DVD (88:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: WNYC, and filmbuff,

Leonard Bernstein: An American Life
Documentary Series Radio

A meticulously researched account of the life, times, and work of the musician, conductor, teacher and author, the series looks at Bernstein’s accomplishments in total—as a unique product of twentieth-century America. Based on an oral history collection of nearly one hundred exclusive interviews, the show also makes extensive use of interviews with Bernstein and unpublished letters, drawn from the collection at The Library of Congress. The series looks at Bernstein not as a classical musician who forayed into popular forms on the side but as a true American musician who embraced nearly all forms of American music. Letters read by actors trace the course of Bernstein’s extraordinary life—from his days as a student at the Boston Latin School, through Harvard and the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, to his uncanny debut with the New York Philharmonic at age twenty-five, his early successes on Broadway with On the Town and Wonderful Town, his work with playwright Lillian Hellman on the topical musical Candide, the creation of his three symphonies, his collaborations on West Side Story, his directorship of the New York Philharmonic, the extraordinary detail involved in his conducting both modern music and the classics, and his teaching on television with the Omnibus programs and the legendary Young People’s Concerts.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Culture Works, Philadelphia, PA
PRODUCERS: Steve Rowland, Larry Abrams
DIRECTOR: Steve Rowland
WRITER: Larry Abrams
EDITORS: Steve Rowland, Tony Dec
NARRATOR: Susan Sarandon
VOICES: Alec Baldwin, Schuyler Chapin, Maria Tucci, and Jamie Bernstein

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Peabody Award; Gold Cup and Best of Show; World Medal; NY Festivals

FORMAT: Radio 11 hours

Mae West: Dirty Blonde

Mae West: Dirty Blonde is the first major documentary film to explore Mae West’s life and career as she “climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong” to become a writer, performer, and subversive agitator for social change. West achieved great acclaim in every entertainment medium that existed during her lifetime, spanning eight decades of the twentieth century. A full-time actress at seven, a vaudevillian at fourteen, a dancing sensation at twenty-five, a Broadway playwright at thirty-three, a silver screen ingénue at forty, a Vegas nightclub act at sixty-two, a recording artist at seventy-three, a camp icon at eighty-five—West left no format unconquered. She possessed creative and economic powers unheard of for a female entertainer in the 1930s and still rare today. Though she was a comedian, West grappled with some of the more complex social issues of the twentieth century, including race and class tensions, and imbued even her most salacious plotlines with commentary about gender conformity, societal restrictions, and what she perceived as moral hypocrisy.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Thirteen Productions LLC, New York, NY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Bette Midler, Michael Kantor
DIRECTORS/PRODUCERS: Sally Rosenthal, Julia Marchesi
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Sandra Chandler, Svetlana Cvetko, Martina Radwan, Claudia Raschke, Yamit Shimonovitz, Emily Topper
EDITOR: Kris Liem

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this film did not have any festival screenings. It was the first-runner-up finalist for the 2019 Library of Congress Levine/Ken Burns Prize for Film.

FORMAT: DVD 90 minutes

Mary Pickford

In the early days of silent film, Mary Pickford soared to global fame, becoming the world’s first international superstar. An actress of extraordinary talent, she was also a sophisticated businesswoman who helped shape a culture of celebrity that defines America today. Her glamorous marriage to Hollywood heartthrob, Douglas Fairbanks, thrilled fans around the world. With Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin, and director D.W. Griffith, she founded United Artists and pushed the artistry of silent film to new heights. But when talking pictures appeared, Pickford’s golden touch faltered, and she became the first to pay the price of extravagant fame. Using home movies, archive footage, and, of course, her own films, Mary Pickford is a complex, poignant portrait of the most powerful and adored woman in the history of movies, “America’s Sweetheart.”

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Ambrica Productions, New York, NY
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Mark Samels, Judith Vecchione
PRODUCERS: Kathryn Dietz, Sue Williams
EDITORS: Howard Sharp
NARRATOR: Laura Linney
CAST: Victoria Flexner, Sarah Hutt, Jesse Sweet

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Chicago International Film Festival, winner Gold Plaque, Best of History/Biography; Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, official selection; The Female Eye Film Festival, Toronto, Canada; Hugo Award, Gold Plaque for best Documentary/History at the Chicago International Film Festival; CINE Golden Eagle

FORMAT: Video 82:00 mins
DISTRIBUTOR: PBS Video and SND Films (International)

Old Traditions, New Sounds
Documentary Radio Series

This series profiles different ethnic folk artists who, in addition to being masters of their native traditional music, have also incorporated newer, popular American sounds into their repertoire and performance style. Folk revivalist/songwriter Judy Collins hosts the series.

Program 1
Sid Beckerman
of Brooklyn, New York, is a traditional Yiddish (klezmer) clarinetist who also plays American dance standards.

Program 2
Carmine Ferraro
is a Southern Italian traditional singer, now of Westerly, Rhode Island, who also performs pop songs with an Italian-American band.

Program 3
Souren Baronian
is an Armenian clarinetist of New York City who incorporates jazz elements into traditional styles of Middle Eastern music.

Program 4
Martin Mulhaire
now of Queens, New York, is an Irish button accordionist turned electric guitarist who is a member of an Irish-American show band.

Program 5
Syl Groeschl
is a German-American musician from Northeastern Wisconsin who specializes in both traditional polka band music and contemporary standard pieces.

Program 6
Jose Gutierrez
of Los Angeles, California, is a traditional jarochoharpist from Veracruz, Mexico, whose repertoire includes a variety of popular Mexican music.

Program 7
Thuli Dumakude
is a traditional South African (Zulu) singer who also performs contemporary songs.

Program 8
Sang Won Park
is a Korean kayagum player who also experiments with avant-garde compositions.

Program 9
Simon Shaheen
is a Palestinian violinist and oud player who merges his native Arab musical tradition with Western classical influences.

Program 10
Man Chhoeuy
is a Cambodian traditional musician now living in Long Beach, California, who also plays keyboards in a Cambodian pop band. (Dith Pran of The Killing Fields hosts this program)

Program 11
Foday Musa Suso
is a Mandingo kora player and griot (oral historian) from West Africa who merges his native traditional music with American rock, jazz, and punk. A Chicago resident, Suso frequently performs with Philip Glass and Herbie Hancock.

Program 12
Garry Robichaud
is a master old-style French-Canadian fiddler who also performs in a country western band.

Program 13
Lora Chiorah-Dye,
who lives in Seattle, Washington, plays traditional Mbira music from Zimbabwe and leads a nine-piece contemporary marimba band.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: World Music Institute, New York, NY
PRODUCER: Rebecca Miller
EDITORS: Becca Pulliam, Lou Giansante
HOST: Judy Collins

FORMAT: Audiocassette 13 (30:00) programs. The series is also available with an additional half-hour per program of uninterrupted performance by the artist

DISTRIBUTOR: (none at this time) 

Orozco: Man of Fire

In the depths of the Great Depression, Mexican muralist José Clemente Orozco and fellow painters Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros captured the imagination of a struggling nation, inspiring President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to put American artists to work on public walls during the 1930s. A leader of the Mexican Mural Renaissance, Orozco’s dramatic life, iconoclastic personality, and dynamic painting had a profound impact on American art. His bold frescoes at Pomona College, New School University, Dartmouth College, and New York’s Museum of Modern Art still convey their powerful message to contemporary viewers. An exceptional figure who survived the loss of his left hand and the destruction of more than half of his early work by U.S. border agents, Orozco’s travels back and forth across the U.S.-Mexico border evoke the larger Mexican migrant-immigrant experience and have provocative parallels to present times.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Paradigm Productions Inc., Berkeley CA
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Sylvia Komatsu, Rob Tranchin, Sally Jo Fifer
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS/WRITERS: Laurie Coyle and Rick Tejada-Flores
EDITOR: Ken Schneider
NARRATOR: Anjelica Huston
CAST: Damian Alcazar, Will Barnet, Elizabeth Catlett, Carlos Fuentes, Laura Gonzalez Matute, Gobin Stair, John Wilson

PRINT MATERIALS: Discussion Guide from

FORMAT: Audio: (60:00)
DISTRIBUTORS: Paradigm Productions

The Painter’s World: Changing Constants of Art from the Renaissance to the Present
Documentary Series

The six programs in The Painter’s World trace the development of themes, conventions, conditions, and institutions that have affected the practice and appreciation of Western painting from the Renaissance to the present.

Program 1
The Artist and The Nude
traces the representation of the human body and changing ideals of beauty.

SCRIPT CONSULTANTS: Adam Gopnik, Jehane Kuhn
EDITOR: Alexandra Anthony
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mark Koninckx, Nicola Pecorini
NARRATOR: Diane D’Aquilla
AWARD: CINE Golden Eagle

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (28:00)

Program 2
The Arrested Moment
explores how movement and the passage of time remain one of the greatest tests of a painter’s skill. It features artist and photographer David Hockney.

EDITOR: Alexandra Anthony
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Steve Ascher, Jonathan David, Robb Moss
ANIMATION CAMERA: Ed Joyce, Ken Morse, Ed Searles

AWARD: Cine Golden Eagle

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (28:00)

Program 3
shows how modern portraiture has been affected by both changing conventions and the invention of photography.

WRITERS: Linda Nochlin, Judith Wechsler
EDITOR: Alexandra Anthony
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Alistair Cameron, Robb Moss, Michel Negroponte
ANIMATION CAMERA: Ed Joyce, Ken Morse, Ed Searles

AWARD: American Film and Video Festival, Red Ribbon; CINE Golden Eagle

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (28:00)

Program 4
The Training of Painters
explores the relationship between prevailing techniques and styles in art and corresponding art school doctrine and curricula.

PRODUCERS: Mike Dibb, Penny Forster
EDITOR: Jane Wood
CINEMOTAGRAPHY: Alistair Cameron

AWARD: American Film and Video Festival, Finalist

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (28:00)

Program 5
traces the development of abstract art through the works of its major innovators: Paul Cezanne, Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Piet Mondrian, Vassily Kandinsky, and Jackson Pollock. It features painter Frank Stella.

WRITERS: Henri Zerner, Judith Wechsler
EDITOR: Polly Moseley
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Robb Moss, Michel Negroponte

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (28:00)

Program 6
Painting and the Public: Patronage, Museums, and the Art Market
explores the history of art collecting and the evolution of art museums as popular public places.

PRODUCER: Linda Zuck
SCHOLARLY CONSULTANTS: Francis Haskell, Daniel Robbins
EDITOR: Polly Moseley
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mark Koninckx, Michel Negroponte

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (28:00)

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, MA; Channel Four/London; and Judith Wechsler, Inc., Brookline, MA

FORMAT: 16mm, Video 6 (28:00) programs

DISTRIBUTOR: Coronet/MTI Film and Video, Inc.

Paris: The Luminous Years

From 1905 to 1930, decisive years for our contemporary culture, Paris was the epicenter of a storm of modernism.  Catalyst and magnet for radical innovation and experiment, the city on the Seine was a gathering point for young creative talent from Michigan to Moscow, from Brooklyn to Barcelona. In twenty-five years they revolutionized the arts of the Western world, creating "new and fascinating forms that have become a rich part of our lives today."  On-camera, dramatic and historic moments come alive in rare archival interviews, as they are recalled by participants in these legendary events, including Marc Chagall, Joan Miro, Igor Stravinsky, Jean Cocteau, Aaron Copland, Marcel Duchamp, Janet Flanner, Tristan Tzara and Sylvia Beach.  In the art world's first international avant-garde, the film spotlights keys figures, tracing who came to Paris and why, their friendships, collaborations and rivalries, what they made there and how being in Paris during the luminous years transformed them and their work.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: Thirteen/WNET, New York, NY, and The Eloquent Image, LLC, Westport, CT
PRODUCERS: Perry Miller Adato, Junko Tsunashima, Kristin Lovejoy
DIRECTOR/WRITER: Perry Miller Adato
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Martial Barrault, Wolfgang Held
EDITOR: Kris Liem
NARRATOR: Concetta Tomei

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Cine Golden Eagle – 2011; Houston Worldfest 2011 – Special Jury Award “Remi” FIFA – Montreal Film Festival – Official Selection

FORMAT: Video/DVD (1:56:46)

The Persistence of Surrealism

This film examines the origins, nature, and persistence of the surrealist movement in painting and other fields, from its nineteenth-century roots through the impact of World War I and the ideas of Darwin, Einstein, and Freud.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Malone-Gill Projects, Inc., New York, NY
WRITERS: Jack J. Roth, Peter Newington, George Melly
NARRATOR: George Melly

AWARD: CINE Golden Eagle

FORMAT: 16mm (90:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: contact (none at this time)

Porgy and Bess: An American Voice

Tells the story of this remarkable and controversial American opera through the people who were involved in its many productions, from its 1935 premiere to its most recent revivals. The full sweep of American race relations during the period spanned by the opera’s historical odyssey is brought to bear upon the creation of Porgy and Bess and the opera’s successive productions.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
PRODUCER: James A. Standifer
DIRECTOR: Nigel Noble
WRITERS: Gloria Naylor, Ed Apfel
EDITOR: Ann Collins
CAST: Robert Brunner, Jonathan Brody, Karen Parks, Christopher Jones, Terry Platt, Fouchena Sheppard, Sheri McLain

PRINT MATERIAL: Viewer/Educators’ Guide from Burrelle’s Information Services

FORMAT: Video (90:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: (none at this time) Please visit:  World Catalog 

The Rape of Europa

The Rape of Europa is an epic journey through seven countries into the violent whirlwind of fanaticism, greed, and warfare that threatened to wipe out the artistic heritage of Europe. For twelve long years, the Nazis looted and destroyed art on a scale unprecedented in history. Fighting back, heroic young museum officials and art historians from America and across Europe mounted a miraculous campaign to rescue and return the millions of art works displaced by the war. Today the legacy of this tragic history continues to play out as families of looted collectors recover major works of art, conservators repair battle damage, and nations fight over the fate of ill-gotten spoils of war. Joan Allen narrates this breathtaking chronicle about the battle over the very survival of centuries of western culture.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Actual Films, San Francisco, CA, and Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland, OR
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS/WRITERS: Richard Berge, Nicole Newnham, Bonni Cohen
EDITOR: Josh Peterson
NARRATOR: Joan Allen

PRINT MATERIALS: Press kit, posters, postcards, reviews, sales sheets, available through: Menemsha Films, 213 Rose Avenue, 2nd Floor Venice CA 90291; Press kit and production photos available at

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Boston Jewish Film Festival—Audience Award, Best Documentary; River Run International Film Festival—Audience Award, Best Documentary; Atlanta Jewish Film Festival—Audience Award, Best Documentary; New York Jewish Film Festival; Full Frame Documentary Film Festival; San Francisco International Film Festival; Palm Springs International Film Festival; Jerusalem International Film Festival; Doc NZ International Film Festival; Krakow International Film Festival; AFI Dallas International Film Festival; Cleveland International Film Festival; Writers Guild of America Award Nomination—Best Documentary Screenplay

FORMAT: 35mm, HDCam, Digital Betacam, DVD (1:57:02)
DISTRIBUTORS: Menemsha Films and PBS

Routes of Rhythm with Harry Belafonte

Routes of Rhythm with Harry Belafonte traces the five-hundred-year odyssey of Afro-Cuban music from its origins in Spain and Africa (Program 1) through its blending with Caribbean forms (Program 2) to the sounds of modern artists in the United States and around the world (Program 3).

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Cultural Research and Communication, Inc., Santa Monica, CA
PRODUCERS/DIRECTORS: Howard Dratch and Eugene Rosow
WRITERS: Linda Post, Howard Dratch, Eugene Rosow
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Les Blank and others
EDITOR: Eugene Rosow
HOST: Harry Belafonte
PERFORMANCES BY: Xavier Cugat, Desi Arnaz, Carmen Miranda, Dizzy Gillespie, Perez Prado, Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Fred Astaire, Rita Hayworth, Gloria Estefan, Ruben Blades, Conjunto Libre, King Sunny Ade, Los Van Van, Irakere, Issac Oveido, and Son de la Loma, among others

AUDIO MATERIAL: Routes of Rhythm Volume l: A Carnival of Cuban Music and Routes of Rhythm Volume 2: Cuban Dance Party (Rounder Records, available in record stores)

FORMAT: Video 3 (58:00) programs

DISTRIBUTOR: (none at this time)

Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me

American Masters—Sammy Davis, Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me is the first major film documentary to examine Davis’ vast talent and his journey for identity through the shifting tides of civil rights and racial progress during twentieth-century America. Sammy Davis, Jr. had a career so vast and multifaceted that it was dizzying in its scope and scale, while his life was complex, complicated, and contradictory. Davis strove to achieve the American Dream while overcoming racial prejudice and navigating shifting political territory. He was the veteran of increasingly outdated show business traditions trying to stay relevant; he frequently found himself bracketed by the bigotry of white America and the distaste of black America; he was the most public black figure to embrace Judaism, thereby yoking his identity to another persecuted minority. Featuring new interviews with such luminaries as Billy Crystal, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg and Kim Novak, with never-before-seen photographs from Davis’ vast personal collection and excerpts from his electric performances in television, film, and concert, the film explores the life and art of a uniquely gifted entertainer whose trajectory blazed across the major flashpoints of American society from the Depression through the 1980s.




PRODUCERS: Sally Rosenthal, Michael Kantor

DIRECTOR: Sam Pollard

WRITER: Laurence Maslon

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mead Hunt, Allan Palmer

EDITOR: Steve Wechsler

CAST: Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal, Quincy Jones, Norman Lear, Jerry Lewis, Kim Novak

PRINT MATERIAL: Material is available on the American Masters website and

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: Full Frame Documentary Film Festival 2017, Official Selection;

Toronto Film Festival 2017, Official Selection; Chicago International Film Festival 2017, Audience Award; DocNYC 2017; AFI Fest 2017; Philadelphia International Film Festival 2017; Indie Memphis Film Festival 2017; St. Louis International Film Festival 2017; Atlanta Jewish Film Festival 2018; Opening Night Presentation Victoria International Film Festival 2018; Best Documentary Award Seattle Jewish Film Festival 2018; Audience Choice Award for Best Documentary Film Louisiana International Film Festival 2018;  Best Feature Documentary Denver Jewish Film Festival 2018; Pan African Film and Arts Festival 2018; Best Documentary Feature and Jury Prize: Audience Award

FORMAT: DVD 100 minutes


Say Amen, Somebody

This film depicts gospel music as a vital force in black culture through the lives and work of some of its pioneers.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Folk Traditions, Inc., New York, NY
PRODUCER: Karen Nierenberg
EDITOR: Paul Barnes
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ed Lachman, Don Lenzer

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: American Film and Video Festival, Blue Ribbon; Ten Best of the Year lists: People Magazine, Chicago Sun Times, Los Angeles Herald Examiner, Rolling Stone, At the Movies, Entertainment Tonight; New York Film Festival; Telluride Film Festival; Toronto Festival of Festivals; London Film Festival

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (103:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: (none at this time)

The Stations of Bach

Through his music and commentary by contemporary Bach scholars, this film presents the life and work of German composer and musician Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750).

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: Timely Productions and Music for Television, Inc., New York, NY
PRODUCERS: Marc Bauman, Irma Commanday Bauman
DIRECTOR: Kirk Browning
WRITER: Arthur Waldhorn
SOUND: Peter Miller
EDITOR: Nicole Houwer
HOST/NARRATOR: James Buswell

FORMAT: Video (90:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Filmakers Library

Strange Fruit
Radio Documentary

A photograph of two men lynched in Marion, Indiana, in 1930 inspired Abel Meeropol's poem "Strange Fruit," which was later made famous by Billie Holiday. But a third man was also supposed to be lynched that day. James Cameron had a noose around his neck when, at the last minute, he made an improbable escape. This is the story behind the story of the famous song.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Joe Richman, Anayansi Diaz-Cortes
EDITOR: Deborah George

PRINT MATERIALS: Transcripts available through contacting Radio Diaries

FORMAT: Audio 13:00

Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle

This three-hour documentary series explores the “American art form” of the comic book superhero and its complex interrelation with American culture over the last 75 years. It chronicles how these disposable diversions—“all in color for a dime”—evolved into a multi-billion-dollar industry that is now an influential part of our national identity.  Focusing on the colorful characters, their talented creators, and the cultural context that brought them forth, the documentary highlights the never-ending battles that went on, both on the page—where paragons of American ingenuity and courage fought against gangsters, Nazis, commies, and all sort of supervillains—and off, where the comic book industry battled for respect, freedom of expression, relevance and, during the McCarthy, its very existence.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Ghost Light Films, Scarsdale, NY


PRODUCERS: Michael Kantor, Sally Rosenthal

DIRECTOR:  Michael Kantor

WRITERS: Michael Kantor, Laurence Maslon

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mead Hunt, Allan Palmer

EDITORS: Kris Liem, Pamela S. Arnold, A.C.E.

HOST/NARRATOR: Liev Schreiber

CAST: Adam West, Lynda Carter, Stan Lee, Jerry Robinson, Joe Simon, Michael Chabon, Jules Feiffer, Jennette Kahn, Trina Robbins, William H. Foster III, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns

FORMAT: DVD and Blu-Ray (3 x 1 hour)


To Tell the Truth
Documentary Series

Episode 2

Working for Change: Documenting Hard Times (1929–41)

To expose the worst effects of the Great Depression, documentarians developed a new form, the social documentary. The Film and Photo League sounded the alarm on economic conditions at a time when mainstream media were still insisting prosperity was just around the corner. Police night-stick blows often added shakiness to their footage as they captured evictions, breadlines, and mass protests. After FDR’s election, Pare Lorentz convinced the New Deal administration to pay for a film about the Dust Bowl. Working—and arguing—with veterans of the Film and Photo League, he crafted the classic Plow That Broke the Plains. Lorentz’s films had it both ways, parlaying a strong (and government-funded) social critique into a box-office hit. English documentary pioneer John Grierson likewise found backing from the government and produced enduring and original portraits of the working class. In keeping with his Tory sponsor’s agenda, though, these films all showed a well-oiled, highly-functional social machine—fulfilling Grierson’s aim as a Social Democrat to unite British society. Back in the U.S., documentarians formed Frontier Films, the first independent, non-profit film production company in the U.S. Their mission was to investigate some of the major American labor struggles of the 1930s—until Pearl Harbor changed everyone’s focus.

Episode 3

The Strategy of Truth: Documentary Goes to War (1933–45)

Government propaganda is often said to reflect a society’s dominant values. But it can also reveal what officials feel they need to convince a skeptical public of. In the first major war to unfold on celluloid, documentarians around the globe were enlisted to make some tough sells. How would you convince Germans, for example, that “the Jewish problem” requires a “Final

Solution”? Or bring class-bound Britons together as equal partners to endure and combat an

unprecedented Blitz? And what would galvanize traditional isolationist Americans to go defend a patch of land thousands of miles from home? Last into the war, the U.S. launched perhaps the biggest and most sophisticated campaign. A mix of seasoned documentarians and Hollywood heavy-hitters discovered how to use Nazi propaganda against itself, in an effort that became know as the “Strategy of Truth.” But even when the cause is just, it can be a tall order making the truth fulfill the mission. On one particularly thorny assignment—a film designed to reconcile African Americans to strict military segregation—the collision of strategy and truth yielded some surprising and momentous results.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION:  Lumiere Productions, New York, NY 


EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Calvin Skaggs, David Van Taylor

PRODUCER: Ali Pomeroy

DIRECTORS: Calvin Skaggs, David Van Taylor


EDITORS: Cindy Kaplan-Rooney, Omry Maoz

NARRATOR: Alec Baldwin

FORMAT: DVD 56 minutes each

DISTRIBUTOR: Icarus Films;

Thomas Hart Benton

This is a cinematic portrait of Thomas Hart Benton (1889–1975), the Midwestern regionalist painter who became one of America’s most popular and controversial artists.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: Florentine Films, Walpole, NH and WGBH Educational Foundation, Boston, MA
PRODUCERS: Ken Burns, Julie Dunfey
WRITER: Geoffrey C. Ward
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Ken Burns, Buddy Squires
EDITOR: Donna Marino
NARRATOR: Jason Robards

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: CINE Golden Eagle; American Film and Video Festival, Blue Ribbon; National Educational Film and Video Festival, Gold Apple; Baltimore Film Competition, First Prize

FORMAT: Video (86:00)


Umm Kulthum, A Voice Like Egypt

Umm Kulthum had the musicality of Ella Fitzgerald, the public presence of Eleanor Roosevelt, and the audience of Elvis Presley. Four million people were on the streets of Cairo for her funeral in 1975. She had become a powerful symbol, first of the aspirations of her country, Egypt, and then of the entire Arab world. Born a peasant at the turn of the century, the great singer became the confidant of presidents and kings. The film puts Umm Kulthum’s life in the context of the epic story of twentieth-century Egypt as it shook off colonialism and confronted modernity. From the Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz to a 12-year-old girl in an outdoor restaurant, people speak about the role Umm Kulthum’s music has played in their lives.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Filmmakers Collaborative, Waltham, MA
PRODUCERS: Michal Goldman, Barbara Holecek
NARRATOR: Omar Sharif

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: New York Film Festival (1996); Golden Plaque, Documentary History/Biography, Chicago International Film Festival, 1997; FirstFrame Editing Award, New England Film and Video Festival, 1997

PRINT MATERIALS: A press kit is available through Filmmakers Collaborative. The distributor also has a press kit.

FORMAT: Video (60:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: Arab Film Distribution

Voulkos and Company

Voulkos and Company examines the process by which a large, cast bronze sculpture is brought to completion in the studio environment of contemporary sculptor Peter Voulkos (b. 1924).

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: University Extension Film Production, University of California, Berkeley

FORMAT: 16mm (60:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: (none at this time) 

Walter Winchell: The Power of Gossip

Walter Winchell: The Power of Gossip explores the cultural impact of the iconic gossip columnist-turned-commentator and traces the fascinating arc of his life and career. The phenomenon he pioneered: gossip, celebrity, politics and news—all rolled into one—created nothing less than a new form of journalism. At his zenith, Winchell’s combined newspaper and radio audience rose to fifty million—two thirds of American adults. But an alliance with Joseph McCarthy and feuds with Josephine Baker and Ed Sullivan turned Winchell’s audience against him and forced him into obscurity. His name today is largely forgotten, yet his rise and fall is the origin story of today’s fast paced, celebrity-driven, politically charged media landscape.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Ben Loeterman Productions, Inc., Brookline, MA
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Stephen McCarthy, Jason Longo
EDITOR: Peter Rhodes
NARRATOR: Whoopi Goldberg
CAST: Stanley Tucci


FORMAT: DVD 60 min
DISTRIBUTOR: PBS Distribution (PBSd)
Film website:

Who Killed the Federal Theatre?

This television special chronicles the birth, life, and death of a depression-era government subsidy of the arts that almost launched a permanent national theatre in America. The Federal Theatre project brought together the most creative talents in the nation including Orson Welles, John Houseman, Hallie Flanagan, Sinclair Lewis, Studs Terkel, Arthur Miller, and Katherine Dunham. Together they brought theatre to over 25 million Americans, many of whom had never seen a live production. Four years after its birth, the Federal Theatre Project died, deprived of government funding by a Congress that feared the left-of-center politics embedded in some plays, reflecting the turbulent politics of the 1930s.

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Bonnie Nelson Schwartz, Ira H. Klugerman
DIRECTORS: Ira H. Klugerman, Martin Toub
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Martin Toub, Bryan Reichhardt, David Arnold, Art FitzSimmons
EDITOR: Dan Rose
NARRATOR: Judd Hirsch

PRINT MATERIALS: Companion Book: Voices of the Federal Theatre (University of Wisconsin Press); “The Living Newspaper” (Educational Film Center)

FORMAT: Video 90 mins
DISTRIBUTOR: Educational Film Center

Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues

Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues examines the talent and artistic legacy of a generation of women blues performers, recounting the stories of Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, Alberta Hunter, and Marie Smith.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATION: Calliope Film Resources, Arlin


PRODUCERS: Christine Dall, Carol Doyle Van Valkenburgh



EDITOR: Jeanne Jordan

NARRATOR: Vinie Borrows

AWARDS/FESTIVALS: American Film and Video Festival, Red Ribbon; New England Film Festival, Jury Award; Sydney International Film Festival; Mannheim International Film Festival; CINE Golden Eagle; American Library Association, Selected Films for Young Adults

FORMAT: 16mm, Video (60:00)

DISTRIBUTOR: California Newsreel

Woody Guthrie: Aint Got No Home
Documentary Series

Blowing out of the American’s Dust Bowl, Woody Guthrie is the prototype of the American singer-songwriter and perhaps our nation’s greatest folksinger. Born into a comfortable Oklahoma family, he was thrust into poverty through both family tragedy and the nation’s misfortune. As he traveled the country during the Great Depression he began to write topical songs, first about the tragedy of the Dust Bowl and then more broadly about workers in general. By combining traditional American vernacular musical forms (ballads, gospel, blues) with topical lyrics he started a new form of American music. In a relatively brief career cut short by debilitating illness, a wildly prolific Guthrie wrote thousands of songs, tens of thousands of pages of prose, and hundreds of works of visual art. In doing so he left a record of some of the nation’s most difficult and contentious times—the Dust Bowl and Depression, the Second World War, the rise of the labor movement—written from the point of view of working men and women. Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home traces Guthrie’s life from his birth in Oklahoma to his death in New York. In doing so it examines this complex and fascinating individual as his life played out against the nation’s history.

PRODUCTION ORGANIZATIONS: Peter Frumkin Production, LLC, Cambridge, MA and Center for Independent Documentary, Sharon, MA
EDITOR: Dick Bartlett
NARRATOR: Peter Coyote

FORMAT: Video and DVD 90 mins
DISTRIBUTORS: (none at this time)