Projections of America


Wednesday, November 11
Time: 5 pm
Location: National Museum of American Jewish History
Premiere Status: Philadelphia Premiere
Director: Peter Miller
Genre: Documentary
Country: USA
Year: 2014
Running Time: 52 min
Language: English
Special Guest: Director Peter Miller
Sponsored by: National Museum of American Jewish History


During the darkest days of World War II, Academy Award-winning screenwriter Robert Riskin (It Happened One Night, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town) was asked to lead a secret film unit by the U.S. Office of War Information. His mission was to produce short documentary films, not about the war, but about the ideals of America. Riskin’s short films depicting “real” Americans going about their everyday lives – school children, farmers, car manufacturers, window washers, even American cowboys – were featured in the immensely popular series, Projections of America, and screened mainly in Europe’s American-occupied territories. While highly romanticized and Utopian in spirit – these were propaganda films, after all – they present a fascinating look at America and democracy, especially in contrast to the devastation and confusion seizing the vast majority of Europe at the time. After the war, Projections was shuttered, and the films themselves virtually disappeared, languishing unseen in government archives.

Narrated by John Lithgow, PROJECTIONS OF AMERICA is told through extensive use of archival footage, including new clean transfers of the films themselves, and rounded out by commentary from filmmakers, critics, and audience members. It is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a lesser-known facet of America’s all-encompassing war effort.

PROJECTIONS OF AMERICA will follow a screening of the 9-minute short film AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A JEEP, directed by Irving Lerner for the Projections of America series.

Special Guest: Director Peter Miller

Community Partner: National Museum of American Jewish History