During the darkest hour of World War II, a team of idealistic filmmakers were commissioned by the American government to create 26 short propaganda pieces about life in the United States. The Projections of America series presents stories of cowboys and oilmen, farmers and window washers, immigrants and schoolchildren, capturing both the optimism and the messiness of American democracy. The creation and dissemination of these works is the subject of this documentary, which includes pristine new transfers of the films, as well as interviews with their directors, audience members, and critics.
The Autobiography of a Jeep
Irving Lerner, USA, 1943, Digital projection, 9m
This 1943 propaganda film was produced by the U.S. Office of War Information as part of their series of documentaries released throughout World War II. Told from the perspective of a jeep, the utilitarian military vehicle that exemplified America’s can-do attitude, the film received a particularly enthusiastic response in France, where it had its first screenings soon after D-Day. The Autobiography of a Jeep was directed by documentarian Irving Lerner, a left-leaning filmmaker who would eventually be caught up in the Hollywood blacklist, and written by Newbery Award winner Joseph Krumgold.