Pare Lorentz   Pare Lorentz   Pare Lorentz

In celebration of the modern evolution of the documentary film, the International Documentary Association (IDA) presents its traveling Pare Lorentz Film Festival in honor of the best of recent documentary film.  These are the films that inspire the best in all of us  -- the films that address issues of social justice, pressing social problems, environmental or "green" themes, and appropriate use of the natural environment. 

The IDA TRAVELLING ROAD SHOW: Pare Lorentz Film Festival is comprised of eight of the best documentaries from the last few years...as well as four films from documentary pioneer Pare Lorentz, whose work can be considered a touchstone for the modern documentary movement.

These are all films that have been recognized as significant contributors in the evolution of the documentary form, and have been named IDA/PARE LORENTZ AWARD winners by the IDA - the leading documentary association in North America. Supported by the New York Community Trust, this traveling documentary film festival is being offered to cinemas, film societies, universities and community groups free of charge for a limited time.

Booking must include the film of Pare Lorentz presented in two programs and a minimum of three programs of Pare Lorentz Award winners. For more information contact Michael Lumpkin at michael@documentary.org.

Download photos from the films of Pare Lorentz here. Download press and marketing materials for the Pare Lorentz Award winning films here

THE FILMS OF PARE LORENTZ

THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS (1936)

THE PLOW THAT BROKE THE PLAINS (1936)

With The Plow ThatBroke the Plains, his first film and the first US Government-sponsoreddocumentary, Pare Lorentz won praise and widerecognition for using sensitive photography, dramatic editing and a beautifulscore by composer Virgil Thomson to illuminate a local problem of nationalimportance – the challenges faced by wheat farmers and cattle ranchers inthe Great Plains. As the film climaxes in a vivid portrait of the record droughtthat produced the dust bowl and the plight of the "blown out, baked andbroke" people who felt its impact, it becomes clear that a new master ofthe documentary form has found his voice. 25minutes

THE RIVER (1938)

THE RIVER (1938)

In The River, PareLorentz deploys powerful images, a poetic PulitzerPrize-nominated script and another score by Virgil Thomson to illustrate theproblems of flood control on the Mississippi River and the efforts to correctit. While arguing that the building of dams would put an end to the destructionof crops and property brought about by the havoc of annual floods, Lorentz reveals the ways the river has been misused, andpresents a stirring paen to America’s naturallandscape, and the proud history with which it is imbued. 31 minutes

THE FIGHT FOR LIFE (1941)

THE FIGHT FOR LIFE (1941)

In this short feature, based on a book by Paul De Kruit, Lorentz presents a stagedre-enactment of an emergency childbirth in an urban hospital. As the story ofthe mother’s difficult delivery and death in spite of valiant efforts by thedoctors to save her unfolds, The FightFor Life reveals the crisis of health and pre-natal care among the urbanpoor of the period, and explores the impoverished lives of the working peopleof the cities, who live in slums and tenements where they are forced to sufferfrom the disabling diseases endemic in such environments. 69 minutes

NUREMBERG - ITS LESSON FOR TODAY (1948)

NUREMBERG (1946)

Nuremberg is agrim, unflinching account of the Nuremberg trials, and of the war crimes thatmade them necessary, told almost entirely without editorial comment. During thetrials, the courtroom was dominated by a large motion picture screen upon whichthe prosecution showed films of Nazi atrocities. Much of this footage wasconfiscated from the private libraries of high Nazi officials and, ironically,proved to be the most damning evidence against them. Working with more than amillion feet of film, and intercutting excerpts from these films with sequencesfrom the trial, Lorentz and his staff created anabsorbing historical narrative showing the rise of Hitler, the subjugation ofmost of Europe--and the systematic murder of millions of innocent people. Writer/Producer/Director Stuart Schulberg, Editor Joseph Zigman, Producer/Executive Producer Pare Lorentz 75 minutes

PARE LORENTZ AWARD WINNING FILMS

GARBAGE WARRIOR
Directed by Oliver Hodge
86 Minutes
Honorable Mention 2008

GARBAGE WARRIOR

What do beer cans, car tires and water bottles have incommon? Not much unless you're renegade architect Michael Reynolds, in whichcase they are tools of choice for producing thermal mass and energy-independenthousing. For 30 years New Mexico-based Reynolds and his green disciples havedevoted their time to advancing the art of "Earthship Biotecture" bybuilding self-sufficient, off-the-grid communities where design and functionconverge in eco-harmony. However, these experimental structures that defy statestandards create conflict between Reynolds and the authorities, who are backedby big business. Frustrated by antiquated legislation, Reynolds lobbies for theright to create a sustainable living test site. While politicians hum and ha,Mother Nature strikes, leaving communities devastated by tsunamis andhurricanes. Reynolds and his crew seize the opportunity to lend theirpioneering skills to those who need it most.

"Charismatic - with a warmsense of humor" - New York Times

OIL ON ICE
Directed by Dale Djerassi & Bo Boudart
56 Minutes
Winner 2004

OIL ON ICE

Oil on Ice explores the dangers and consequences thatsurround opening one of America’s last great wild places – or anyprotected wild place, for that matter – to exploration andexploitation.  Interviews withesteemed arctic biologists and environmental experts deduce that hybrid carsand renewable energy sources are viable short- and long-term solutions to thenation’s dependence on oil for energy. Native Inupiat Eskimos and Gwich’in Indian activists share theirheritage and way of life, and express on camera how their entire way of livingis at risk due to oil drilling. The Gwich’in Indians, for example, describe how they have depended onthe Alaskan caribou for food, clothing, tools and their spirituality forgenerations.  The environmentalimpacts of oil drilling, however, are driving caribou and other wildlife away,changing the way the native people have lived with them for centuries.

“ …debunks any myths that Arctic Alaska is barren…”  - MetroSanta Cruz

AMERICA’S LOST LANDSCAPE: THE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE
Directed by David O’Shields
60 Minutes
Winner 2005

AMERICA’S LOST LANDSCAPE: THE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE

AMERICA'S LOST LANDSCAPE: THE TALLGRASS PRAIRIE tells therich and complex story of one of the most astonishing alterations of nature inhuman history.  Prior to Euro-Americansettlement in the 1820s, one of the major landscape features of North Americawas 240 million acres of tallgrass prairie. But between 1830 and 1900 -- in thespan of a single lifetime -- the prairie was steadily transformed to farmland.This drastic change in the landscape brought about an enormous social changefor Native Americans. In an equally short time their cultural imprint wasreduced in essence to a handful of place-names appearing on maps.  The extraordinary cinematography ofprairie remnants, original score and archival images are all delicatelyinterwoven to create a powerful and moving viewing experience about the naturaland cultural history of America.

plus

ISLAND OUT OF TIME
Directed by Hugh Drescher
30 Minutes
Winner 2001

ISLAND OUT OF TIME

Smith Island in the Chesapeake Bay is home to just over 400people who have made their living from the water for more than a century. Butnow the island and its culture are under assault by rising sea levels, erosion,population loss, and a decline in the oysters and crabs its people depend on.The film shows how islanders are fighting to survive and struggling with changeand loss. It is a story told by a quirky cast of islanders: watermen,preachers, crab-pickers, lawmen and environmentalists. "We're so stubborn,"says one waterman, "they're going to have to drag us off of here kickingand screaming."

“Will immerse you in beauty.” - Dan Nagengast, Farmer andDirector of the Kansas Rural Center 

BERGA: SOLDIERS OF ANOTHER WAR
Directed by Charles Guggenheim
85 Minutes
Winner 2003

BERGA: SOLDIERS OF ANOTHER WAR

Charles Guggenheim dedicated the last six months of his lifeto finishing this film. This is a story about his fellow American infantrymen,who were captured during the Battle of the Bulge, then sent to a Nazi slavelabor camp where many of them died. BERGA: SOLDIERS OF ANOTHER WAR is adocumentary about American Prisoners of War caught in the tragedy of theHolocaust. Until now, their story has remained untold, lost in the trauma ofthe Second World War.

SUGIHARA CONSPIRACY OF KINDNESS
Directed by Rob Kirk
103 Minutes
Winner 2000

SUGIHARA CONSPIRACY OF KINDNESS

In the fall of 1939, Hitler's murderous wave was sweepingthrough Eastern Europe. In the face of the Nazi onslaught, Japanese diplomatChiune Sugihara set about saving thousands of lives. But his struggle was notfought on the battlefields or in war rooms. He used his power as a diplomat torescue fleeing Jewish refugees.

MANDELA: SON OF AFRICA, FATHER OF A NATION
Directed by Jo Menell
118 Minutes
Winner 1997

MANDELA

A captivating view of the indomitable spirit if one of theworld’s most fascinating figures, this full-length documentary follows NelsonMandela from his early days and tribal education to his election as SouthAfrica’s first black president. Providing insights into his early life, thefilm takes us through Mandela’s childhood, adolescence, career in law and firstmarriage. “Mandela” is an absorbing look at the courageous life, tribulationsand fortitude of Mandela the leader, while never forgetting the engaging andcharismatic spirit of Mandela the man, as seen through exclusive interviews andnarration from Mandela himself.

BURNING THE FUTURE: COAL IN AMERICA
Directed by David Novack
89 Minutes
Winner 2008

BURNING THE FUTURE

Burning the Future: Coal in America examines the explosiveconflict between the coal industry and residents of West Virginia. Confrontedby emerging “clean coal” energy policies, local activists watch a world blindto the devastation caused by coal's extraction. Faced with toxic ground waterand the obliteration of 1.4 million acres of mountains, our heroes launch avaliant fight to arouse the nation's help in protecting their mountains, savingtheir families, and preserving their way of life.

“As upsettingas it is informative.”- NEW YORK TIMES