John Grierson

Producer, Director, Lecturer
A pioneering figure in nonfiction filmmaking, Grierson was the first to use the term "documentary," in a review of Robert Flaherty's "Moana" (1926). Returing to Britain in 1927 after a stint in the US, he petitioned the ... Read more »
Born: 04/25/1898 in United Kingdom

Filmography

other (5)

Grierson 1971 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)

Seawards the Great Ships 1959 (Movie)

treatment (Other)

Devil on Horseback 1954 (Movie)

(Producer)

Battleship Potemkin 1924 (Movie)

English titles (Titles)

The Oracle (Movie)

(Producer)

Biography

A pioneering figure in nonfiction filmmaking, Grierson was the first to use the term "documentary," in a review of Robert Flaherty's "Moana" (1926). Returing to Britain in 1927 after a stint in the US, he petitioned the Empire Marketing Board to investigate the propaganda potential of film and was commissioned to form a unit within the organization. Inspired by the success of his first effort, "Drifters" (1929), a study of North Sea fishermen, he amassed a talented group of proteges whose work he encouraged and supervised.

When the EMB was dissolved in 1933 Grierson's unit moved to the General Post Office (GPO), where their work included the outstanding "Night Mail" (1936). In 1937 Grierson established the Film Centre consultancy, serving as an advisor on, among other projects, the European editions of the US series, "The March of Time". He also set up supervisory film panels in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Scotland.

Although Grierson would only direct one more film, "The Fishing Banks of Skye" (1935), he remained a driving force behind documentary movements worldwide. He also continued writing influential essays on documentary cinema, which were later collected in the volume "Grierson on Documentary" (1946).

Relationships

Marion Grierson

Sister
died in October 1998

EDUCATION

Glasgow University

Milestones

1968

Taught at McGill University in Canada

1957

Host of weekly British television show "This Wonderful World"

1948

Became Controller of Films at the Central Office of Information in London

1946

Appointed director of Mass Media at UNESCO

1944

Formed The World Today Inc. production company in USA

1939

Founded National Film Board of Canada

1937

Founded Film Centre Advisory Organization for documentary filmmakers

1933

Moved film unit to General Post Office (GPO)

1929

Film directing debut, "Drifters"

1928

Founded film unit at the Empire Marketing Board (EMB)

1928

Returned to Great Britain

1926

First to use the term "documentary" in film review of "Moana"

1924

Received a Rockefeller Research Fellowship to study effects of communication media on public opinion in USA

Appointed Film Commissioner by Canadian Government

SIMILAR ARTICLES