Fresno State emeritus history professor Ephraim Smith’s documentary “Power for the Parkinsons” will receive its local premiere in a free screening at 6 p.m. today at the Forum Hall at the Willow International campus of the State Center Community College District. A description of the film:
It is the story of the making in 1939-1940 of the Rural Electrictification Administration film “Power and the Land,” featuring members of the Bill and Hazel Parkinson family of Warnock, Ohio. Produced initially by Pare Lorentz (and then taken over by the REA), directed by Dutch filmmaker Joris Ivens, photographed by Arthur Ornitz and Floyd Crosby, edited by Helen van Dongen and Lora Hays (under Ivens supervision) with a script written by Stephen Vincent Benet, and with a score composed by Douglas Moore, this largely forgotten 1940 film is a classic American documentary. Shown to millions of American farmers, it is also the film that helped electrify the American farm. This heartwarming and dramatic story of the making of Power and the Land is now revealed in “Power for the Parkinsons.”
The film was financed by a $300,000 grant and was narrated by Walter Cronkite. It was broadcast by 11 PBS stations in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Smith’s production company has lined up 79 PBS stations (including local station KVPT) representing 75 per cent of the television market with another 13 “maybes” representing an additional 17% of the market for future broadcasts, he says.