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MacDonald Helps Tell The Flaherty’s Story


Professor of Art History Scott MacDonald is the co-author of The Flaherty: Decades in the Cause of Independent Cinema, recently published by Indiana University Press. The book tells the story of “one of the oldest continuously running nonprofit media arts institutions in the world, which has shaped the development of independent film, video and emerging forms in the United States over the past 60 years.”

The book traces the history of The Flaherty from its start as a private gathering of filmmakers through its evolution as an international network of individuals involved in independent cinema. MacDonald and his co-author, Ithaca College professor Patricia R. Zimmermann, use the words of legendary independent filmmakers to demonstrate how the relationships developed at the annual Flaherty seminar have been instrumental in transforming American media history.

The book’s chapters are organized by decade, each starting with the history of the The Flaherty for that time, written by Zimmermann. MacDonald helps tell the story of The Flaherty’s history and legacy with transcripts of discussions with major independent media figures including Frances Flaherty, Fred Wiseman, Jim McBride, Hollis Frampton, Barbara Kopple, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Peter Watkins, Marlon Riggs, Ken Jacobs, Mani Kaul, Bahman Ghobadi and many others.

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