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Film & Media Archive Acquires Paradigm Productions Collection

Rick Tejada-Flores and Raymond Telles of Paradigm Productions
Rick Tejada-Flores and Raymond Telles of Paradigm Productions

Washington University Libraries’ Film & Media Archive has acquired materials related to two films produced by independent documentary company Paradigm Productions. The donation of 53 boxes includes original interviews, photographs, b-roll footage, and research files for two of Paradigm’s films, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It (2000) and Race Is the Place (2005).

Co-directed by Judith Ehrlich and Rick Tejada-Flores, The Good War and Those Who Refused to Fight It uncovers the history of American conscientious objectors during World War II, whose nonconformist beliefs resulted in widespread public ridicule, endangerment, and sometimes imprisonment. The PBS-aired film, narrated by actor Ed Asner and featuring interviews with conscientious objectors, received the Organization of American Historians’ Erik Barnouw Award for historical filmmaking and the American Historical Association’s John E. O’Connor Film Award.

Race Is the Place, directed by Raymond Telles and Tejada-Flores, explores the contours of race, creative expression, and presentation via interviews and performances by such significant names as Amiri Baraka, Michael Franti, Faith Ringgold, Culture Clash, and Mayda del Valle. The documentary premiered on the Emmy Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens in November 2005.

Located in Berkeley, California, Paradigm Productions was founded in 1990 by filmmakers Tejada-Flores and Telles. It produces progressive documentary films with a sensitivity to issues of social justice and inclusion.

Tejada-Flores has worked in television since 1969 and has directed documentaries on such diverse topics as lowriding culture, farmworkers’ rights in Honduras, and the life of famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera. He also co-directed The Fight in the Fields (1997), which many consider to be the definitive documentary on civil rights activist and organizer Cesar Chavez. Tejada-Flores also served as a producer for the PBS series The Great Depression (1992), a documentary series that is housed in the Film & Media Archive as part of the Henry Hampton Collection. Tejada-Flores has been the recipient of a CINE Golden Eagle and a James Phelan Award for Video.

Telles has spent 25 years in documentary film and television, during which he has produced and directed for Dateline, Nightline, and PBS. He has produced and directed over 30 documentaries, including The Fight in the Fields, which screened in competition at the Sundance Film Festival in 1997 and aired on PBS. Telles has received many awards, including three Emmy Awards and two CINE Golden Eagles.

All materials in the Paradigm Productions Collection will be available for research to faculty, students, and the public on-site in the Washington University Libraries. Select materials also will be made available online.

About the Film & Media Archive

A unit of Washington University Libraries, the Film & Media Archive collects, preserves, and makes accessible documentary film and other media that chronicle political and social injustice of the 20th century and beyond with an emphasis on the African American experience. The Archive also preserves the documentary filmmaking process in its entirety through the acquisition of production elements and supporting materials, such as original filmed interviews and outtakes, rare stock footage, photographs, producers’ research and notes, treatments, scripts, storyboards, and correspondence.

The Archive holds 6,500,000 feet of film, 1,300 linear feet of manuscripts, nearly 20,000 videotapes, over 10,000 audiotapes and reels, and a significant library of books, CDs and DVDs.

The Archive was established in 2001 after the Libraries acquired the collections of Blackside Inc., the largest African-American-owned film production company of its day. Founded by Washington University alumnus Henry Hampton, Blackside produced films on civil rights, democracy, and the arts, including the award-winning series Eyes on the Prize.