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Films that Work

Industrial Film and the Productivity of Media

Patrick Vonderau Vinzenz Hediger

496 pages
Amsterdam University Press
Only available in hardback: ISBN 978 90 8964 012 3

The history of industrial films – an orphan
genre of twentieth-century cinema
composed of government-produced and
industrially sponsored movies that sought
to achieve the goals of their sponsors,
rather than the creative artists involved –
seems to have left no trace in filmic cultural
discourse. At its height the industrial film
industry employed thousands, produced
several trade journals and festival circuits,
engaged with giants of twentieth-century
industry like Shell and AT & T, and featured
the talents of iconic actors and directors such as Buster Keaton, John Grierson
and Alain Resnais. This is the first
full-length book, anthology, and annotated
bibliography to analyse the industrial film
and its remarkable history. Exploring the
potential of the industrial film to uncover
renewed and unexplored areas of media
studies, this remarkable volume brings
together renowned scholars such as
Rick Prelinger and Thomas Elsaesser in a
discussion of the radical potential and new
possibilities in considering the history of
this unexplored corporate medium.
Author Bio
Patrick Vonderau is Professor of Media and Communication Studies at the University of Halle, Germany. Vinzenz Hediger is professor of cinema studies at Goethe University Frankfurt, where he directs the Graduate Research Training Program Configurations of film (www.konfigrationen-des-films.de). His publications include Films that Work. Industrial Film and the Productivity of Media (Amsterdam University Press 2009, with Patrick Vonderau) and Essays zur Filmphilosophie (Fink 2015, with Lorenz Engell, Oliver Fahle and Christiane Voss). He is a co-founder of NECS – European Network of Cinema and Media Studies (www.necs.org) and the founding editor of Zeitschrift für Medienwissenschaft (www.zfmedienwissenschaft.de)