Explore the History of Propaganda in Film

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Is It Fake News or Is It Propaganda?

…and is there really a difference?

Since its invention, the film medium has been used by different societies to promote cultural ideas, inspire national solidarity, educate about its goals, and more.

In a new partnership with SIFF and Scarecrow Video, Seattle Central is excited to offer you the opportunity to delve into the history of propaganda in film, as demonstrated by four historical films designed specifically to influence the societies in which they were created.

Filmmaker and instructor Richie Meyer shared with us more about his inspiration for this class, why you’ll want to take it, and what you’ll walk away with.

What is your background?

I have been making films and teaching about films for 40 years.

My degrees are from Stanford University and NYU.

How long have you been teaching this class?

This is a new class at Seattle Central but I have taught similar courses at other universities.

What inspired you to teach this class?

The recent presidential election had many elements of propaganda in its use of the media.

How is this class different from others that you teach?

I will use real life situations — not theories — about the way different nations used film to influence people.

Who would benefit from taking this class?

Anyone who has an interest in the present political situation, and film in general.

What has been an inspirational moment that has occurred during this class?

After the courses were over, I have met former students who told me that the way they look at movies changed because of my classes.

Recommended Resources

In addition to the films that will be screened as part of this program, we recommend watching the following complementary films (all of which will be on hold and available for students at Scarecrow Video):

Week One

  • The Axe of Wandsbek
  • Bismarck
  • The Rothschild’s Shares in Waterloo
  • Hitler Youth Quex

Week Two

  • Battleship Potemkin
  • Ten Days that Shook the World
  • Strike

Week Three

  • Beast of Berlin
  • God is My Co-Pilot
  • 30 Seconds Over Tokyo

Week Four

  • Siberian Express
  • Attack at Dawn
  • Army

Key Takeaways

  1. An appreciation of the ways film and media propaganda manipulate facts
  2. Understand the film medium and its power
  3. Screen the great films of propaganda and learning how they were used
  4. Understand how the modern uses of propaganda in film build on those of the past
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