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November 2000, Week 1


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Peter Rollins <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 6 Nov 2000 15:53:18 EST
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Dear Participants and Friends,

    John Karol has shared this reflection on his film--which is scheduled
for our Presidency in Film and TV conference on Sunday at 10:45am.   Please
take an interest in this provocative effort at historian-filmmaking!

Peter Rollins  has full data on the conference and the program.
        Go there and click on the web site address.

A Film About Calvin Coolidge?

³Things of the Spirit² is the first fully researched film ever made on
Calvin Coolidge and the political and economic issues of the 1920¹s -- a
period of peace, prosperity and unprecedented national growth. Following his
death in 1933, historians and journalists hijacked Coolidge from serious
consideration by the American people. They continue to hold him hostage to
ridicule. As a result, the public seldom questions the prevailing view that
Coolidge was a do-nothing ³capitalist tool² whose presidency served only as
a prelude to disaster. ³Things of the Spirit² invites viewers to give open
minded consideration to the political beliefs, moral character and spiritual
values of perhaps our most misunderstood president. Among other things,
³Things of the Spirit² :

€ Dispels the popular assumption of most American textbooks that Coolidge
was a small-minded materialist ³Babbitt² serving simply as a handmaiden to

€ Establishes clearly and finally that the Coolidge-Mellon tax cuts of the
1920¹s shifted tax incidence to the wealthy, generating dramatic increases
in federal revenue; that Coolidge ran surpluses in all his annual budgets;
and that by the time he left office he had cut the national debt by

€ Challenges the popular opinion of historians that the Coolidge Prosperity
led inevitably to the 1929 stock market crash and the Great Depression of
the 1930¹s.

€ Illustrates America¹s leadership in post World War I European recovery,
and prominence in worldwide economic and cultural development during the

€ Inspires viewers to give open minded consideration to the political
beliefs, moral character and spiritual values of perhaps our most
misunderstood President, Calvin Coolidge.

³Things of the Spirit² reveals how the public issues and private concerns of
the 1920¹s resonate in today¹s world. Times change, but the human condition
and the American political dilemma remain the same.

Preview screenings from ³Things of the Spirit² will take place during The
American Presidency on Film: A National Conference, at Westlake Village,
California, November 10-12, 2000. Preview discussion will center on motives
and methods of representing historical reality in documentary films.The
application of synthetic narrative and dramatic arc to presidential
documentaries will be questioned and explored. Participants will be invited
to consider variations and alternatives to current formulas for historical
documentary films.

Friday¹s seminar session will include the screening of short preview
episodes from ³Things of the Spirit². In addition to the seminar session on
Friday, November 10th, the entire 70 minute preview of ³Things of the
Spirit² will be screened and discussed by the film¹s producer on Sunday
morning, November 12th. The conference presentations will be made by Academy
Award nominated producer / filmmaker John Karol.


John Karol, Producer
Persistence Plus Productions
Main Street / P.O. Box 12
Orford, New Hampshire  03777
Tel.: (603) 353-9067
Fax: (603) 353-4646
e-mail:    [log in to unmask]
Web site:

³ŒThings of the Spirit¹ is masterful and moving -- a rich, vibrant,
supremely cinematic treatment of a remarkable American life... Quite simply,
the finest documentary I¹ve ever seen.²

Michael Medved, Film and Television Critic

³ŒThings of the Spirit¹ is a revelation. It transforms gripping history into
an inspiring work of art... See it. You¹ll never think the same way about
Calvin Coolidge again.²

George Gilder, Writer and Technology Futurist

³Extraordinary film and history making... Calvin Coolidge is probably one of
the most misunderstood figures in the history of American politics...
ŒThings of the Spirit¹ is an important historical happening. I strongly
recommend it.²

Michael S. Dukakis, former Governor of Massachusetts and Democratic Nominee
for President of the United States

³... a compelling picture of Coolidge and his times that makes sense of the
man and incorporates much of what specialists on the period have recently
learned and continue to debate. It was an honor to be associated with the

Prof. Ellis W. Hawley, Historian and Project Advisor commenting on the
completed story edit of ³Things of the Spirit²

Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: