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Grant number: TR-255914-17

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TR-255914-17

Filmmakers Collaborative, Inc. (Melrose, MA 02176-3933)
Sharon Naomi Grimberg (Project Director: January 2017 to present)

The Circus

Production of a four-hour documentary film series chronicling the history of the traveling circus, an American institution, from the late 18th century to the middle of the 20th century.

The Circus is the first in-depth look at one of the most influential forms of entertainment in American history. The two-part mini-series tells the story of the American circus from the first one-ring show at the end of the eighteenth century, through the creation of gigantic, three-ring tented railroad circuses at the end of the nineteenth century, ending in 1956 with the decision to pull down the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey big top for the very last time. The film demonstrates that the railroad circus was a uniquely American entertainment created by a rapidly expanding and industrializing nation; that it embraced and was made possible by Western imperialism; that its history was shaped by a tension between its unconventional entertainments and prevailing standards of respectability; that its promise for ordinary people was the possibility for personal reinvention; and that over the course of its history it reflected the limits imposed on African Americans and other minorities.

Project fields:
Cultural History

Program:
Media Projects Production

Division:
Public Programs

Total amounts:
$200,000 (approved)
$200,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
7/1/2017 – 4/30/2018