The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh will present a special screening of the Pare Lorentz documentary “The River” to mark the 75th anniversary of this landmark film. The event will be in the theater at the Reeve Memorial Union, room 307 at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, October 30.
“The River” was written and directed by Lorentz for the Farm Security Administration and won the World Prize for Best Documentary Picture at the Venice Festival in 1938, the same year that President Franklin Roosevelt appointed him chief of the U.S. Film Service. “The River” pioneered the application of a variety of audiovisual techniques and the presentation of a social message in the documentary format. It was named to the National Registry of the Library of Congress in 1990. Lorentz produced other notable films during his career, was a newspaper film critic, magazine editor, author and a special correspondent for the Washington Post.
The screening of “The River” will be introduced by Dr. Robert J. Snyder of UW-Platteville, the son of Dr. Robert L. Snyder, who was Lorentz’s biographer and the founder of the Radio-TV-Film program at UW Oshkosh. Lorentz’s work was the subject of the elder Snyder’s doctoral dissertation and their long friendship resulted in Lorentz donating much of his professional output to UW Oshkosh. Lorentz also was a guest artist in residence at the Oshkosh campus in 1966. In November 1971, Lorentz was honored with the first-ever honorary professorship from UW Oshkosh for his contribution to the film industry and his leadership in that field.