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Guide to the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar Archive
1949 - 2011
 MSS.326

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Fales Library and Special Collections

Collection processed by Julia Kim, 2013; Laura Newsome, 2014

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on March 23, 2018
Description is in English.

Historical Note

The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar is the longest continuously running film event in North America. Named after director Robert Flaherty, The Seminar began in 1955 when Flaherty’s widow, Frances, convened a group of filmmakers, critics, curators, musicians, and other film enthusiasts at the Flaherty farm in Vermont. For more than fifty years the Flaherty Seminar has been firmly established as a one-of-a-kind institution that seeks to encourage filmmakers and other artists to explore the potential of the moving image. The films of such directors as Robert Drew, Louis Malle, the Maysles brothers, Mira Nair, Satyajit Ray, John Cassavetes, Yasujiro Ozu, Pedro Costa and Robert M. Young were shown at the Seminar before they were known generally in the American film community.

The weeklong Seminar brings together over 160 filmmakers, artists, curators, scholars, students, and film enthusiasts to celebrate the power of the moving image. Registration is open to the public and participants gather for a communal living experience that includes meals, social hours, special events, and at least three screening sessions daily followed by discussion. A different programmer is selected each year to shape the Seminar’s theme and objective, which relates to a regional or national cinema, examines a stylistic feature, or responds to current world events. The Seminar is an intimate and intense experience where the traditional barriers between maker and audience are gradually obliterated. The structure of the event ensures that participants have greater access to the featured artists than would be found at festivals or conferences.

Source:

The Flaherty

Biographical Note

Robert Flaherty (1884-1951) was an American filmmaker who created the documentary films  Nanook of the North (1922),  Moana (1926),  Man of Aran (1934), and  Louisiana Story (1948). He is credited with originating the docufiction and ethnofiction film genres. The Flaherty Seminar, named in his honor, is an annual film event established by his widow and filmmaking partner Frances at the Flaherty farm in Vermont in 1955. Each weeklong Seminar held since then brings together filmmakers, artists, curators, scholars, students, and film enthusiasts for special events, social hours, and daily film screenings followed by discussions. A different programmer is selected each year to shape the Seminar’s theme and objective. In its over fifty-year history the Flaherty Seminar, which now meets in upstate New York, has encouraged filmmakers to celebrate the legacy of Robert Flaherty’s filmmaking and to explore the potential of the moving image.  Sources: About the Flaherty Seminar The Flaherty Donates the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar Audio Collection to NYU Fales Library and Special Collections