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America’s First Antifascist Documentary (1931-1935)

This is a newsreel social and political silent documentary, one of the first ever made in the United States, produced by a leftist and communist cinema collective known as The Film and Photo League. Members would film protests and social movements around the country and show the true reality of police brutality and fascist violence against activists that was covered up by commercial newsreels. This film is a linear compilation of the newsreels filmed by The Film and Photo League that covers The Hunger March, the Ford Massacre, antifascist protests, militant socialist organizing, and the labor movement amid The Great Depression. The filmmaking, editing, and overall authorial intent have been preserved and unaltered. Many newsreels from the group have been lost to time, and some of the filmmakers were arrested at protests while filming. During one antifascist film screening by The Film and Photo League, San Diego Police raided the film showing and arrested two of the group’s filmmakers. The newsreel they screened that day has yet to surface online.

Bella Ciao Cinema has compiled this documentary out of their work to ensure the survival of their urgent filmmaking that remains deeply relevant in society today.


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