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Screening reality : how documentary filmmakers reimagined America / Jon Wilkman.

Wilkman, Jon, (author.).

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

0 current holds with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Moorhead Public Library 070.18 WIL (Text) 33500013219555 New Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9781635571035
  • ISBN: 1635571030
  • Physical Description: 503 pages. 8 unnumbered pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm
  • Publisher: New York, NY : Bloomsbury Publishing, 2020.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Prologue : Facing the facts -- The world on a screen -- Reality under fire and projected Americanism -- Bijou safaris and truthful lies -- Rebels, government agents, and reenactors -- War, peace, and propaganda, take two -- Fun facts, gawking mother nature, molding minds,and homemade history -- Small screens, big stories -- Zooming in -- For the people, by the people -- Three windows, one landscape -- Additional takes -- 60 minutes, mock and mega truth, the multiverse, and life through the looking glass -- Getting real in a golden age -- Epilogue : Virtual reality and then what?.
Summary, etc.:
"Even with claims of a new 'post-truth' era, documentary filmmaking has experienced a golden age. Today, more nonfiction movies are made and widely viewed than ever before, illuminating and compounding our increasingly fraught relationship with what's true in politics and culture. How did this happen? Providing answers, Screening Reality is a widescreen view of the rarely examined relationship between nonfiction movies and American history--how 'reality' has been discovered, defined, projected, televised, and streamed during more than one hundred years of dramatic change, through World Wars I and II, the dawn of mass media, the social and political turmoil of the sixties and seventies, and the communications revolution that led to a twenty-first century of empowered yet divided Americans"-- Provided by publisher.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2019 October #2
    *Starred Review* In Screening Reality, a many-faceted, dynamic, and thought-provoking history of nonfiction films in America, filmmaker and author Jon Wilkman elucidates the motivations of intrepid documentarians as they "struggled to capture and honestly portray the real world." With vivid profiles of diverse filmmakers and expert analysis of their work set within finely grained social and political contexts, Wilkman addresses aspects personal, technical, aesthetic, cultural, and ethical.As he illuminates the many forms documentaries have taken, Wilkman traces the perpetual contrast between filmmakers committed to truth and social justice versus those crafting propaganda. Henry Ford produced "industrials" to promote his automobiles and instructional films meant to "Americanize" his immigrant workforce. President Franklin Roosevelt commissioned documentaries for the public as part of the New Deal. Wilkman provides a remarkable history of the newsreel; the travelogue, pioneered by one of many documentarian husband-and-wife teams, Martin and Osa Johnson; and wildlife documentaries, launched by Carl Akeley, an innovative museum taxidermist. In a key segment, Wilkman dissects Robert Joseph Flaherty's seminal Nanook of the North (1922) and the debates it triggered about ethnographic truth-telling, scene manipulation, and reenactments, epitomizing a popular if murky style that became known as "docudrama."Wilkman dissects the dangerous filming of WWI, and the more sophisticated if equally risky efforts during WWII, including Hollywood directors documenting under fire, coverage of Black soldiers by African American filmmaker William D. Alexander, and long-banned films about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Wilkman charts the transformative arrival of television and the production of influential network documentary series, from See It Now to 60 Minutes. In opposition to these authoritatively narrated and edifying programs blossomed free-form, observational films by such cinema verité innovators as Albert and David Maysles and Frederick Wiseman. Wilkman's tracing of cutting-edge filmmakers includes a focus on women and directors of color, among them Barbara Kopple (Harlan County USA, 1976; American Dream, 1990), Henry Hampton, Jr. (Eyes on the Prize, 1987–90), and various Native American and Latinx filmmakers. Wilkman also discusses the work of LGBTQ documentarians, and examines the films and impact of Ken Burns, Michael Moore, Errol Morris, and such right-wing practitioners as Steve Bannon and Dinesh D'Souza.How authentic are documentaries? When does a filmmaker cross the line between veracity and phoniness, compassion and manipulation? Wilkman's mind-expanding investigation of the conundrums inherent in nonfiction filmmaking culminates in his examination of "docutainment," and its loose interpretation of facts, and reality TV, which not only further "changed what Americans expected from the truth," but also propelled reality-TV personality Donald J. Trump to the White House. In concluding this monumental exploration, Wilkman reminds us that "evidential truth" is essential to liberty and justice, and cautions: "Without a commitment to veracity over artful visuals and popular appeal, even a golden age can become counterfeit." Let the real be real; let truth ring true. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

Jon Wilkman is an author and award-winning filmmaker whose work has appeared on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, HBO and A&E. His seven-part Turner Classic Movies series, Moguls and Movie Stars: A History of Hollywood, was nominated for three Emmys. His previous book, Floodpath, was an Amazon Nonfiction Book of the Year. A founding member and three-term president of the International Documentary Association, Wilkman lives in Los Angeles.

Subject: Documentary films > United States > History and criticism.
Documentary films > Social aspects > United States.
Documentary films.
Documentary films > Social aspects.
United States.
Genre: Criticism, interpretation, etc.

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