A documentary exploring the legacy of Jamison Handy and his iconic company the Jam Handy Organization. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on June 6, 2014.
About this project
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.
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.
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.
$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.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (32 days)