New Deals for Artists: Seminal Docu Narrated by Orson Welles

IN THE 1930S, FDR’S NEW DEAL AIMED TO PUT AMERICANS
BACK TO WORK FOLLOWING THE GREAT DEPRESSION…
HIS PLAN ALSO INCLUDED AN INNOVATIVE AND LIVELY
PUBLIC ARTS PROGRAM THAT WOULD SUPPORT
AND EMPLOY ARTISTS ACROSS EVERY MEDIUM…
THIS DIGITALLY REMASTERED 1981 DOCUMENTARY,
NARRATED BY ORSON WELLES AND BEING RELEASED
IN CONJUNCTION WITH ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY,
EXPLORES THE PROGRAM’S FASCINATING HISTORY
AND PROFOUND IMPACT
PREMIERING VIA VIRTUAL CINEMA ON MAY 21, 2021
With the failure of President Herbert Hoover’s policies and ensuing Great Depression, Americans were desperate for help. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s pragmatic New Deal Program aimed to put US citizens back on their feet and back to work, and also included an innovative and lively public arts program designed to provide economic relief and jobs for artists of all walks.
Nearly every artist born between 1900-1915 spent their formative years under the aegis of the Works Progress Administration. Unfortunately, with the arrival of Martin Dies’ House Un-American Activities Committee, theatre actors, directors, writers and painters soon found themselves the target of Republicans’ aggressive anti-communist agendas and the W.P.A. was under full-blown political attack.
A look back at W.P.A. and the most ambitious government-supported arts program since the Italian Renaissance, NEW DEAL FOR ARTISTS was originally made for German television as a 90-minute documentary by director/writer/producer Wieland Schulz-Keil. It premiered in the US on PBS in April 1981, and garnered critical acclaim and today, 40 years after its premiere, Corinth Films proudly presents the fascinating documentary digitally remastered from the 16MM negative.
Narrated by the iconic Orson Welles, NEW DEAL FOR ARTISTS, also features a who’s who of 20th Century luminaries including Studs Terkel, John Houseman, Arthur Rothstein, Howard Da Silva, James Brooks, Nelson Algren and more.