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The Third Annual Explorers Club Polar Film Festival Friday

Before Nanook: Fact and Fiction in Early Arctic Films

Russell A. Potter, Rhode Island College
This event will be streamed live. Please visit our Live Stream page at 7pm on the evening of the event to view the lecture for free.

Robert Flaherty’s 1922 film Nanook of the North has been hailed as the first, as well as one of the greatest, documentary films of all time. And yet, for a period stretching back at least 20 years before Nanook, the newly-emerging film industry was engaged in a variety of attempts to represent the North and its peoples. Early expedition footage, such as that shot by Anthony Fiala or Donald MacMillan, was shown primarily as documentation, not entertainment, but starting in the ‘teens, a variety of films attempted to blend the two. Some were essentially factual features, such as the Alaskan footage of Frank Kleinschmidt and Beverly Dobbs. Others, though fictional, such as the 1911 Selig Polyscope film The Way of the Eskimo, had elements of actuality; ninety years before Zacharias Kunuk’s rightly-praised Atanarjuat, it was the first film written by, and featuring a cast of, actual Inuit people. Potter will showing excerpts from some of the surviving footage of these films, along with stills and publicity materials.

Russell Potter is an historian and novelist with a particular interest in the history of visual representations of the Arctic. He appeared in the 2005 NOVA episode, Arctic Passage, and his book, Arctic Spectacles: The Frozen North in Visual Culture, 1818-1875, was published in 2007 by the University of Washington Press.

Friday's event is proudly sponsored by Fjällräven & Adventure Canada

Date: 11/21/2014 & 11/22/2014

Time: 5:30 pm Reception, 7:00 pm Presentation

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: Free

Guest Ticket Price: $20

Student Ticket Price:

Free for EC Student Members, $5 w/ valid Student ID

Reservation Notes:

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To secure a place, call us at 212.628.8383 or email us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

The Explorers Club is proud to announce our third annual Polar Film Festival, coming November 21st & 22nd of this year! Friday evening, November 21st, features the above presentation from Russell A. Potter of Rhode Island College, followed by a full day of films on Saturday the 22nd. Click here for a full listing of Saturday’s films and the screening schedule.

For more information please contact Co-Chairs Stefan Kindberg at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or Milbry Polk at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Still from The Way of the Eskimo (1911)

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Background image photography courtesy of members Christoph Baumer, Neil Laughton, Matt Harris and Don Walsh's image of the Bathyscape Trieste