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John Grierson

John Grierson

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Also Known As: Died: February 19, 1972
Born: April 25, 1898 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: United Kingdom Profession: producer, director, lecturer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A pioneering figure in nonfiction filmmaking, Grierson was the first to use the term "documentary," in a review of Robert Flaherty's "Moana" (1926). Returing to Britain in 1927 after a stint in the US, he petitioned the Empire Marketing Board to investigate the propaganda potential of film and was commissioned to form a unit within the organization. Inspired by the success of his first effort, "Drifters" (1929), a study of North Sea fishermen, he amassed a talented group of proteges whose work he encouraged and supervised. When the EMB was dissolved in 1933 Grierson's unit moved to the General Post Office (GPO), where their work included the outstanding "Night Mail" (1936). In 1937 Grierson established the Film Centre consultancy, serving as an advisor on, among other projects, the European editions of the US series, "The March of Time". He also set up supervisory film panels in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Scotland. Although Grierson would only direct one more film, "The Fishing Banks of Skye" (1935), he remained a driving force behind documentary movements worldwide. He also continued writing influential essays on documentary cinema, which were later collected in the volume "Grierson on...

A pioneering figure in nonfiction filmmaking, Grierson was the first to use the term "documentary," in a review of Robert Flaherty's "Moana" (1926). Returing to Britain in 1927 after a stint in the US, he petitioned the Empire Marketing Board to investigate the propaganda potential of film and was commissioned to form a unit within the organization. Inspired by the success of his first effort, "Drifters" (1929), a study of North Sea fishermen, he amassed a talented group of proteges whose work he encouraged and supervised.

When the EMB was dissolved in 1933 Grierson's unit moved to the General Post Office (GPO), where their work included the outstanding "Night Mail" (1936). In 1937 Grierson established the Film Centre consultancy, serving as an advisor on, among other projects, the European editions of the US series, "The March of Time". He also set up supervisory film panels in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Scotland.

Although Grierson would only direct one more film, "The Fishing Banks of Skye" (1935), he remained a driving force behind documentary movements worldwide. He also continued writing influential essays on documentary cinema, which were later collected in the volume "Grierson on Documentary" (1946).

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Grierson (1972) Himself
2.
 Nightmail (1936) Narration (W H Auden Verse)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1924:
Received a Rockefeller Research Fellowship to study effects of communication media on public opinion in USA
1926:
First to use the term "documentary" in film review of "Moana"
1928:
Returned to Great Britain
1928:
Founded film unit at the Empire Marketing Board (EMB)
1929:
Film directing debut, "Drifters"
1933:
Moved film unit to General Post Office (GPO)
1937:
Founded Film Centre Advisory Organization for documentary filmmakers
1939:
Founded National Film Board of Canada
:
Appointed Film Commissioner by Canadian Government
1945:
Formed The World Today Inc. production company in USA
1946:
Appointed director of Mass Media at UNESCO
1948:
Became Controller of Films at the Central Office of Information in London
1957:
Host of weekly British television show "This Wonderful World"
1968:
Taught at McGill University in Canada
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Glasgow University: -

Family close complete family listing

sister:
Marion Grierson. Documentarian. Died in October 1998.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Grierson on Documentary"

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