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A documentary exploring the legacy of Jamison Handy and his iconic company the Jam Handy Organization. Read more

Boston, MA Documentary
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$4,431
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Funding Unsuccessful

This project's funding goal was not reached on June 6, 2014.

A documentary exploring the legacy of Jamison Handy and his iconic company the Jam Handy Organization.

Boston, MA Documentary
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About this project

PROJECT OVERVIEW 

Throughout the twentieth century many hardworking men and women have contributed to shaping our American society in a number of different ways. While many of these people are well known and praised for their contributions, many others have been unintentionally forgotten from history. One such individual who unfortunately has fallen into this category is Henry Jamison “Jam” Handy; a man who contributed immensely to the field of audio and visual communications and defined the educational and documentary film. Jamison Handy had a life long ambition to improve communications and education, and did so through his highly respected award winning company the Jam Handy 
Organization. The Detroit based company, which
 lasted from the 1910s through the 1970s, was America’s first motion
 picture studio which specialized in the
 production of educational and industrial films. During its almost 70 years of existence it was the 
leader in the production of industrial, commercial 
and educational motion pictures. Handy produced a
 massive amount of motion pictures and slide films 
for a variety of clients, his two most notable being
 the United States Military and General Motors 
Corporation. The media produced by Handy
 contributed immensely to American culture and
 helped shape American society throughout the 
course of the twentieth century. Some of Handy’s and the Jam Handy Organization’s accomplishments consist of: 

  • Creating the first training films ever to be used by the United States Military during World War I,
  • Developing and pioneering the filmstrip format,
  • Saving the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Corporation through the use of films,
  • Creating the first commercials made exclusively for television, 
  • Defining how to use the motion picture medium as an educational tool.

His films were shown throughout the country and the world on television, in cinemas, schools, factories, military bases, and at the World’s Fairs of 1933, 1939, and 1964. 

1960s Press Photo of Jamison Handy.  From the collection of Jonathan Boschen
1960s Press Photo of Jamison Handy. From the collection of Jonathan Boschen

Jonathan A. Boschen’s history documentary, “The Great Educator” will focus on the life of Jamison Handy and his contributions to American society throughout the twentieth century. It will also look at his company, the Jam Handy Organization, and the contributions it made to the field of audio and visual communications. The film will be the first large scale documentary honoring Jamison Handy’s legacy. The production will be composed of interviews with modern day historians (film historians, military historians, etc.), interviews with former Jam Handy Organization employees, and archival material relating to Mr. Handy, the Jam Handy Organization, and supportive Americana; all of which will be intertwined together with narration and music. “The Great Educator” has three goals it will fulfill to its audience:
 

  • Recognize Jamison Handy and his contributions to American Society.
  • Recognize several of the Studio’s films as cinematic masterpieces and in the same 
class as many Hollywood films of the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s.
  • Recognize many of the talented individuals who worked on the studio’s films. 


These three goals, along with Mr. Boschen’s passion for the subject matter and high standards for production value, will provide an important, fascinating, and missing chapter from American media history. It will be an educational resource for schools and the general public. 

Photo by Joani Jasset
Photo by Joani Jasset

JONATHAN BOSCHEN'S QUALIFICATIONS TO MAKE THE FILM

It is appropriate to say Jonathan A. Boschen has been a life long fan of the Jam Handy Organization. Since first discovering Handy and his company in high school, Mr. Boschen has frequently referenced several Jam Handy films for his own productions. “More Power To You” (1939), “Auto-Lite On Parade” (1940), “Just Imagine” (1948),“Aluminum on the March” (1956), “American Engineer” (1956) and “The Corvair in Action” (1960) are some of the many films Mr. Boschen has cherished for educational and referential purposes. Mr. Boschen’s interest in making “The Great Educator” comes from the unfortunate reality that both Jamison Handy and his company’s impressive contributions to both American society and the world have been largely forgotten. Many of the company’s industrial films, which are pure cinematic masterpieces, are not even recognized in many film history textbooks. However, the few times Mr. Boschen has shared various Jam Handy films with fellow film buffs, history enthusiasts, classmates, and professors he has observed that viewers enjoyed the films and were impressed with Mr. Boschen’s knowledge of the studio. Mr. Boschen believes that there is an interest in both Jamison Handy and the Jam Handy Organization and that a film, if done properly with love and care, could be very effective, memorable, and profitable. 

THE GOAL 

$27,000 may seem like a lot of money, but is necessary for Mr. Boschen to produce a powerful documentary and share his passion for both Handy and his company. This is what your contributions will be funding: 

  • Traveling by car to Detroit, Michigan, other locations around the Midwest, and East Coast to film footage and/or conduct interviews. 
  • Traveling by airplane to San Francisco, California to visit the Prelinger Archives and interview Rick Prelinger. 
  • Staying overnight in a reputable but inexpensive hotel in the locations Boschen travels to. 
  • Meals and healthy snacks. 
  • Renting lighting equipment to use in interviews. 
  • Licensing photographs and archival footage from various archives and collectors for use in the film. 
  • Licensing music to use in the film. 
  • Hiring a professional actor to narrate the film. 
  • Contracting a professional color corrector to properly adjust and balance the color in each scene. 
  • Contracting an audio professional to mix the sound track and balance the audio throughout the film.

Risks and challenges

Mr. Boschen has wanted to share Handy’s legacy and bring awareness of a forgotten pioneer since he was in high school. As Handy was a man who sought out to improve learning with visual aids, mainly utilizing documentary films, Mr. Boschen feels a documentary film is the most appropriate medium to explore Handy’s legacy. However, for what Mr. Boschen wishes to accomplish with the film, there will be a variety of risks and challenges which he may encounter along the way. Bad weather interfering with travel and shooting, historians and other people of interest not able to do interviews at the last moment, automobile trouble, etc. are all issues that Mr. Boschen is aware of possibly happening. He is prepared to deal with such incidents in a professional manner.
Mr. Boschen greatly appreciates your donations to the film, and understands you want him to make this film on Jamison Handy. He also understands that this project is only possible with the generous contributions of your hard earned dollars. Any serious obstacles, which may occur, will be shared with all contributors through e-mail and on the Facebook page for the film.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    $10 reward

    29 backers

    A 'Thank You' e-mail and a free digital download of the film when the DVD is released.

    Estimated delivery:
  • You selected
    $50 reward

    7 backers

    Two Awards: 1). A ‘Thank You’ postcard mailed to you. The image of the postcard will be a 1930's - 1950's era Jam Handy Organization trade ad, selected by Boschen. 2). DVD featuring Jonathan Boschen’s 2011 student thesis film ‘Waltham’s Watch’. Bonus features of the DVD include an introductory video featuring Boschen discussing the film, and three Jam Handy films that were some of the inspiration for the project (The three films are a surprise!).
    You will also receive Award No. 1

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $75 reward

    2 backers

    DVD, Made by Jonathan A. Boschen, featuring a selection of Chevrolet theatrical shorts from the 1930's which were part of the Direct Mass Selling Series films, all produced by the Jam Handy Organization.
    You will also receive Awards No. 1 and 2.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $100 reward

    6 backers

    A die-cast 1/2 inch pin of the Jam Handy Organization logo used on the company's trade ads.
    You will also receive Award No. 1, 2, and 3.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $150 reward

    3 backers

    Special edition DVD of the documentary, with a treasure trove of bonus features. This DVD will be sent after the film has played in several film festivals.
    You will also receive Award No. 1, 2, 3, and 4.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $200 reward

    2 backers

    Two awards:
    1) A coffee mug featuring a logo of the Jam Handy Organization.
    2), A signed 8x10 photograph of Jonathan A. Boschen accompanied by a framed 1960's era press photo of Jamison Handy. There will also be a personal thank you message personally thanking you for your contributions to the picture.
    You will also receive Award No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $500 reward

    1 backer Limited (59 left of 60)

    Special Edition Cat's Meow wooden building of the Jam Handy Sound stages building at 2900 East Grand Blvd. in Detroit. This special edition will feature a thank you message on the back of the piece thanking you for your contributions.
    You will also receive Awards No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $1,000 reward

    0 backers

    Your name will be featured in the special thanks section of the credits. In addition, Mr. Boschen will send you a telephone call or Skype, (your choice) personally thanking you for your contributions.
    You will also receive Awards No. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and (if available) 6.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    $5,000 reward

    0 backers

    Complimentary invitation to the film's grand premiere and dinner with Mr. Jonathan A. Boschen.* In addition you will also receive an associate producer credit on the films main credits.
    You will also receive awards 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and (if available) 6.
    *Note that travel and accommodations are not provided.

    Estimated delivery:

Funding period

- (32 days)