Screening Room

MIPCOM Picks 2009 – Soul of a People

During the American Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration (WPA) incorporated four arts programs as part of the New Deal. One of those programs was the Federal Writers' Project, which would employ over 6,600 people across the 48 states to produce a comprehensive portrait of America through state travel guides.
September 30, 2009


During the American Great Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) incorporated four arts programs as part of the New Deal. One of those programs was the Federal Writers’ Project, which would employ over 6,600 people across the 48 states to produce a comprehensive portrait of America through state travel guides. But the writers – among them, the late Studs Terkel (who is seen here in one of his last interviews), Saul Bellow and Stetson Kennedy – dug too deeply for some in documenting the real America, with some of the histories revealing truths some in power would have preferred to be kept hidden. ‘I could write my whole will on a postage stamp,’ reads one oral history. ‘Why should I sing ‘My country, ’tis of thee?” Narrated by Patricia Clarkson, with archive stills and footage artfully rendered, this is a captivating reminder of how the written word can indeed reflect the soul of a people.
Partners: Spark Media (Washington) for Smithsonian Networks, with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities; distributed through Smithsonian Networks (US) and Off the Fence (International)
Airing: September, 2009, Smithsonian Channel
Length: 2 x 60 minutes
HD
Rights available: All worldwide except North America

About The Author
Meagan Kashty is an associate editor of realscreen, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Meagan is an award-winning business journalist. Prior to joining the realscreen team, Meagan was online editor of Canadian Grocer, named Magazine of the Year at the 2015 Canadian Business Media Awards. She can be reached at mkashty@brunico.com, and you can follow her on Twitter @MegKashty

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