Witness the birth of documentary filmmaking, with the March of Time newsreel.

Premiering in American movie theatres in 1935, The March of Time short-subject film series addressed controversial issues never before touched upon in American cinema. Always provocative, often amusing and sometimes outrageous, the series covered news and cultural subjects ranging from religious cults and race relations in America to lighter topics like the comedy industry and teenage girls in wartime. Each 20-minute film engaged audiences, sparked debate and challenged the tenets of conventional filmmaking.

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Illuminating the twilight zone between journalism and propaganda, The March Of Time was consistently anti-totalitarian at a time when film industry leaders eschewed controversial subject matter. Banned in Germany, Italy, Japan and the Soviet Union and censored widely even in democratic societies, the series managed to survive in the United States for 16 years—from 1935 through 1951. In addition to theatrical newsreels, the series also featured public service announcements, government program productions, television specials and corporate films.

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The March of Time newsreel travelled the globe to find and tell the era’s most compelling stories, while other news houses kept their stories confined to the US. The series pioneered the documentary film movement, winning an Academy Award in 1937 for revolutionizing documentary storytelling. The March of Time changed American perspectives and made both broadcast and movie history through the end of its run in the 1960s.

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