From 1941-1945, the educational filmmaker and travel-film lecturer Julien Bryan (1899-1974) produced 23 documentary shorts on Latin American ‘Good Neighbors’ for Nelson Rockefeller’s Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs, which distributed them widely across US sites of formal and informal learning during World War II. Although cultural historians in the past twenty years have provided considerable insight into the production mandates of Julien Bryan’s films and their alignment with soft power discourse, the distribution and exhibition history of these shorts remains underexamined. This essay describes my research on this history in its intersection with the longer US history of US non-commercial, and specifically educational, film. Looking at digital governmental and local newspaper archives, non-commercial trade and amateur film magazines, educational film journals and curricula and Julien Bryan’s personal archive at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, I trace the travels of these shorts along the circuits of wartime 16mm, examining their appropriation by social studies teachers, Spanish language instructors, art historians, and African American and Latinx activists at universities as sources of Latin American knowledge along a spectrum of ideological perspectives on Pan-Hemispheric relations and ‘Good Neighbor’ understanding.

New Cinema History, Film Studies, Julien Bryan, CIAA Motion Picture Division, New Cinema History, educational film history, the travel lecture film circuit
Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision
Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License (CC BY-SA 4.0) that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).
TMG Journal for Media History; Vol 23, No 1-2 (2020): Comparative Histories of Moviegoing; 1-34

Rabin, Lisa M. (2020). Screening ‘Good Neighbors’: The Educational Uses of Julien Bryan’s Latin American Shorts Along the US Circuits of 16mm, 1940-1947. Tijdschrift voor Mediageschiedenis, 23(1-2), 1–34. doi:10.18146/tmg.589