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Selling Democracy

After World War II, the European Recovery Program (ERP), commonly known as the Marshall Plan, was put into motion to help rebuild certain war-torn European countries. In light of contemporary concerns of “selling” global democracy, the Marshall Plan offered a clear and humanizing approach to persuade whole societies to lay down their weapons, transcend the bitterness of war, and work together. These films challenged audiences to realize that, as one title put it: It’s Up to You! Though more than 200 movies were made, most were forgotten over time. Resurfacing today, they offer a fascinating glimpse of a time when the U.S. government used the medium of film to sway public opinion and promote social change. Sandra Schulberg, Selling Democracy project director, introduces each evening and leads the post-screening discussions. Founder and former president of the Independent Feature Project (IFP) and the Independent Feature Film Market (IFFM) and cofounder of First Run Features, Schulberg has been active in supporting independent cinema for more than 25 years. Joining her are scholars from the University of Minnesota’s Center for German & European Studies and a special guest.