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Robert J. Flaherty
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Filmmaker
    (February 16, 1884-July 23, 1951)
    Born in Iron Mountain, Michigan
    Directed the films 'Nanook of the North' (1922), 'Moana' (1926), 'Tabu' (co-directed with F. W. Murnau, 1931), 'Man of Aran' (1934), 'Elephant Boy' (1937) and 'Louisiana Story' (1948)
    Although considered the 'father of the documentary,' most of his documentaries feature staged scenes.
    For example, the Inuit of 'Nanook' were asked to hunt with traditional weapons instead of the rifles they actually used and the central family in 'Man of Aran' consisted of unrelated people chosen for their photogenic qualities.
    His first version of the 'Nanook' story was destroyed when he accidentally dropped a cigarette on the flammable silver nitrate film.
    'Louisiana Story,' which emphasizes an oil rig's trouble-free coexistence with the environment, was financed by Standard Oil.
    Although he traveled the world for his films, his home in Vermont had the motto 'Wander No More' carved above the fireplace.
    He explored northern Canada for a railway company, and an island in Hudson Bay is named for him.
    His films are renowned for their lyrical imagery.
    'Moana' was the first film referred to as a documentary.
    Orson Welles called him 'one of the two or three greatest people who ever worked in the medium.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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