September 27th, 2012 by James David Moran
Everyone connected closely with AAS knows our old orientation film, produced in 1987 for the 175th anniversary celebration and hosted and narrated by Walter Cronkite. (If you haven’t seen it, it’s still available on our website.) Although this film has served us well over the years, we believe that it’s time the Society shows how it has grown and diversified in the last quarter-century, and how it fits into the quickly-changing twenty-first century. Thus, the Society has produced a new orientation film for our bicentennial year that shows the diversity and extensiveness of our collections and describes the accessibility, inspiration and transformation that many readers have experienced working at AAS. Click on the video below to see it now. It will also be shown at AAS events and during our tours of Antiquarian Hall.
As Director of Outreach, I wrote and served as executive producer of the project. I worked with Lawrence Hott and Diane Garey of Hott Productions/Florentine Films. Larry and Diane, who are also married, began working together in 1978, as members of the Florentine Films consortium. They formed Florentine Films/Hott Productions in 1981. Since then they have produced nearly two dozen films for national PBS broadcast including most recently The War of 1812, Divided Highways, John James Audubon: Drawn from Life, Niagara, and The Adirondacks, among many other films. Their awards include an Emmy, two Academy Award nominations, a duPont -Columbia Journalism Award, the Erik Barnouw History Award, the George Foster Peabody Award, five American Film Festival Blue Ribbons, and 14 CINE Golden Eagles.
The new film features many AAS members and friends who speak powerfully of what the Society and its collections mean to them and the nation. These people include such well-known AAS members as Jill Lepore, Nathaniel Philbrick and David McCullough. In addition the film features former fellows Honorée Jeffers and Ilyon Woo, scholarly AAS members William Fowler and Scott Casper and AAS council member William Reese.
Stay tuned for another post coming soon featuring six short modules that were produced along with the film that describe various aspects of the Society’s collections and activities in greater depth, including Access, Preservation, Collections, Scholarly Programs, K-12 Programs, and Fellowships.