Academic Film Archive (AFANA)

The Genre

According to Academic Films for the Classroom, "over 100,000 16mm films were distributed for educational purposes to North American schools" between 1920 and 1987. In contrast to guidance films which sought to change viewers' behavior, academic films "were designed to enhance the learning experience in the humanities and sciences" by "disseminating knowledge" (Alexander 5).

In the US, the educational film genre was championed by  Western Electric's subsidiary, Electrical Research Products, Incorporated starting in 1928 and gained major headway through their eventual partnership with the University of Chicago and the creation of Encyclopaedia Britannica Films in 1932 (Alexander 20). Canada's major contributions to the genre followed the National Film Board of Canada's partnership with John Grierson in 1938 (Alexander 33). 

Paul Ivester provides brief descriptions of the major producers of Educational Film here.  

Oxford Bibliography