Patricia Zimmermann publishes essay in 2013 Flaherty Film Seminar catalogue


Contributed by Melissa Gattine

Patricia Zimmermann, professor of screen studies and codirector of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival, published an essay, “Frances Flaherty and Non Preconception" for the 2013 Robert Flaherty Film Seminar 2013 Catalog, History is What’s Happening.

Through archival diaries, letters, speeches, and publications, this catalog essay probes how Frances Flaherty developed theories of documentary based on Zen principles of non preconception and the participation mystique, ideas often falsely attributed to her husband, explorer and filmmaker Robert Flaherty.

The essay also analyzes the larger context of the development of independent film and art cinema in the 1950s to situate the emergence of the Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, founded by Frances Flaherty. The essay is an excerpted from a forthcoming book co-authored by Zimmermann and Scott MacDonald, The Flaherty: Sixty Years in the Cause of Independent Cinema.