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A National Preserve of Documentary Films about American Roots Cultures
streamed with essays about the traditions and filmmaking. The site includes transcriptions, study and teaching guides, suggested readings, and links to related websites.  

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 God Given: Cultural Treasures from Armenia
 
Selected Films

The Films of Jack Ofield

Jack Ofield's films often capture significant indigenous craftsmen and "cultural carriers" just before they vanish forever. Getting there in time was always a challenge. Documentary filmmaking followed from writing and directing plays to a film career at the National Film Board of Canada. He was a series writer-director for ABC and CBS, and produced many se...

The Films of Jack Ofield

Jack Ofield's films often capture significant indigenous craftsmen and "cultural carriers" just before they vanish forever. Getting there in time was always a challenge. Documentary filmmaking followed from writing and directing plays to a film career at the National Film Board of Canada. He was a series writer-director for ABC and CBS, and produced many series and programs for PBS. His short film showcase "The Short List" ran for 17 years on public and cable TV. Today, in California he continues as an award-winning animator and filmmaker and is now working on his eleventh animated film. He is Emeritus Professor of Film, San Diego State University, member of the Directors Guild of America and a Directing Fellow of the American Film Institute.

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Adirondack Minstrel

Lawrence Older [1912-1982] is a relaxed, direct and engaging performer who spent the majority of his life working in the woods. His songs and fiddle tunes are mostly from his family tradition and are representative of the local melodies and the rich musical tradition of America's northeastern states.

Music, Work, Regional / Northeast / 1976
20 minutes | Read More | Preview

Basketmaker: Elizabeth Proper
1973 16-mm film of Elizabeth Proper, the last of the white oak basketmakers in a community near Taconic Hills in eastern New York State.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Women / Northeast / 1973
07 minutes | Read More

The Last Shovel Maker

Harvey Ward, age 87, carves beautiful grained shovels with a double edged axe.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Aging / Middle Atlantic / 1974
10 minutes | Read More | Preview

Queena Stovall: Life's Narrow Space

Dubbed the “Grandma Moses of Virginia,” Emma Serena Dillard “Queena” Stovall (December 20, 1888–June 27, 1980) painted scenes of people and activities in rural Virginia.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Customs, Family, Rural Life / South / 1983
06 minutes | Read More

Mario Sanchez: Painter of Memories

Mario Sanchez is a self-taught artist. In a series of wood reliefs, hand-chiseled on cedar boards, he paints memories of his childhood in Key West, Florida, recording for posterity a distinctive part of the American scene.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Hispanic Culture / South / 1983
14 minutes | Read More | Preview

One Big Union: Ralph Fasanella

Ralph Fasanella was born on Labor Day, 1914 in New York's Little Italy neighborhood to Joe the Iceman and Ginevre the Buttonhole Maker from Bari, Italy. His rough childhood among impoverished immigrants, service in the Lincoln Brigade during the Spanish Civil War, labor union activism and committed humanitarianism are captured in his panoramic paintings of New York and, especially, of New England industrial mills and striking workers.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Social Justice/Protest / Northeast / 1983
12 minutes | Read More | Preview

Onondaga: The Lacrosse Stick Makers
An Onondaga father and son make lacrosse sticks in the traditional way.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Sports/Hunting, Native American / Northeast / 1973
06 minutes | Read More

River

Life and lore along the legendary Hudson River with a special appearance by Pete Seeger.

Regional, Social Justice/Protest / Northeast / 1980
16 minutes | Read More | Preview

Smithy

Delbert Smith, 88, a hereditary blacksmith, illuminates life around the forge.

Arts & Crafts, Traditional, Work, Rural Life, Aging / Northeast / 1974
05 minutes | Read More

Tinker: John Forshee
John Forshee was born about 1883 and died in 1974 at Cincinnatus, NY. He was a third generation tinsmith and he was filmed in 1973, using his grandfather's patented tinsmithing tools.
Arts & Crafts, Traditional / Northeast / 1973
11 minutes | Read More

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