New Documentary Film Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the U.S. Premiere of the Groundbreaking BBC Television Series Civilisation

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“Civilisation and America: The 50th Anniversary” highlights the impact that Lord Kenneth Clark’s epic thirteen-part BBC television series "Civilisation" had on America and Americans in 1969.

Lord Kenneth Clark, 1968. Courtesy of Alamy.

Lord Kenneth Clark, 1968. Courtesy of Alamy.

Many of us who experienced “Civilisation” when it was first shown on public television have never forgotten its profound influence. - Michael Maglaras, writer and director of this 50th anniversary tribute.

Connecticut-based independent filmmakers Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton of 217 Films announce a new film project – their eighth in 12 years and their seventh “essay in film” – highlighting the impact that Lord Kenneth Clark’s epic thirteen-part television series “Civilisation” had on America and Americans in 1969...as we struggled with our national conscience during the Vietnam War.

The film is titled “Civilisation and America: The 50th Anniversary” and is scheduled for release in March 2019.

“Many of us who experienced “Civilisation” when it was first shown on public television have never forgotten its profound influence,” said Michael Maglaras, writer and director of this 50th anniversary tribute. “What resonated for me was Lord Clark’s perspective on the permanence of Western culture, and how it could serve as an example of a stabilizing force, at a time, in 1969, when I and many in America felt that our country was coming apart at the seams.”

“Civilisation,” produced by the BBC, had its first United States screening at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in the fall of 1969, thanks to the vision of its then director J. Carter Brown, and was quickly taken up as one of the first important television programs of what was then the new Public Broadcasting Service.

Fifty years later, and with an America facing new political and social challenges, Lord Kenneth Clark’s thirteen hours of “Civilisation” reminds us not only of the permanence of art and the permanent value of the human spirit in its creation...but of the value of institutions, and Clark’s belief that society “must be made to work.” Featuring interviews with Americans whose lives were affected by “Civilisation” and by the series’ brilliant writing, camera work, and innovative use of music...and using archival footage of an America struggling with itself during the height of the Vietnam War, “Civilisation and America” reminds us yet again of the value of the arts in American society and in the lives of American citizens.

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TAMI BURKE
217 Films
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