Amidst claims of a new "post-truth" era, documentary filmmaking has experienced a golden age. Today, more documentaries are made and widely viewed than ever before, illuminating our increasingly fraught relationship with what's true in politics and culture. For most of our history, Americans have depended on motion pictures to bring the realities of the world into view. And yet the richly complex, ever-evolving relationship between nonfiction movies and American history is virtually unexplored.
Screening Reality is a widescreen view of how American "truth" has been discovered, defined, projected, televised, and streamed during more than one hundred years of dramatic change, through World Wars I and II, the dawn of mass media, the social and political turmoil of the sixties and seventies, and the communications revolution that led to a twenty-first century of empowered yet divided Americans. In the telling, professional filmmaker Jon Wilkman draws on his own experience, as well as the stories of inventors, adventurers, journalists, entrepreneurs, artists, and activists who framed and filtered the world to inform, persuade, awe, and entertain. Interweaving American and motion picture history, and an inquiry into the nature of truth on screen, Screening Reality is essential and fascinating reading for anyone looking to expand an understanding of the American experience and today's truth-challenged times. (Bloomsbury Publishing)
Jon Wilkman has worked for CBS, PBS, HBO, ABC, among others. He worked with Walter Cronkite on the award winning "Twentieth Century" and "21st Century" series, as well as the "Of Black America" six-part historical documentary special. In 1971, Jon formed Wilkman Productions, Inc. He received Emmys for two public television series, "Turning Points" and "The Los Angeles History Project," developed in association with KCET. Jon is co-author of two books with his late wife Nancy: Picturing Los Angeles and Los Angeles: A Pictorial Celebration. On his own, he wrote Floodpath: The Deadliest Man-Made Disaster of 20th Century America and the Making of Modern Los Angeles. In addition to an active career as a nonfiction producer, director and writer, Jon has lectured on film history and the production of documentaries at Fordham University, taught nonfiction writing at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, and classes about the history of Los Angeles for UCLA Extension. As part of his interest and involvement in local history, he is an emeritus member of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Southern California, founded in 1883.
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