Tag Archives: cinema verite

Tom (1972)

Watch on Archive.org

Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running time: 18m 52s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1972
Director: Peter Schnitzler
Production: State of Georgia Department of Education Film Library; Extension Media Center, UCLA; National Institute of Mental Health
Photography/Camera: Neil Reichline
Editor: Howard Lester
Sound: Alvin Tokunow
Production Manager: Edward Hutner
Production Assistants: Kathy, McGinnis, Gene Kopp


After spending several days as the primary subject of a cinéma vérité documentary — surfing, making pottery, and drinking hallucinogenic tea before a vision quest — is it possible to recede into the background of normal life and just move on? We’re unlikely to ever know what became of the long-haired, mustachioed focus of the 1972 film, Tom — he’d be in his early 70s today — but if his belief system held firm through his golden years, he’s probably somewhere in the hills of northern California, playing the flute in between ruminations on the meaning of life.

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Teddy (1971)

Watch on Archive.org

Institution: Internet Archive
Collection: Prelinger Archives

Running time: 16m 16s
Source film:  16mm; color; sound
Year: 1971
Director: Richard Wells
Production: Gary Schlosser; Peter Schniztler; University of California, Los Angeles – Extension Media Center;  National Institute of Mental Health
Photography/Camera: Robert Grant
Editor: Andrew Stein


The Social Seminar was a program sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and developed by the National Institute of Mental Health in the early 1970s that sought to provide a learning environment in which participants identified and established values and improved communication skills while participating in structured activities. From a cursory review of the resource manual provided to seminar facilitators (see: Related), it appears that much of the program was oriented around one of 19 short documentary films that were used as learning tools. They depicted all sorts of lives, from the acid-dropping California hippie to the television news reporter. At least six of the films were executive produced by Oscar-nominated short subject documentary filmmaker Gary Schlosser, so they had competent editing and camera-work that provided a coherent portrait of each film’s subject. Despite the program’s central aim of the prevention of drug abuse, not all of the films were strictly about drug consumption. 1971’s Teddy was one such film, focusing on a high school student in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles.

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