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Film As Public Diplomacy: The USIA's Cold War At Twenty-Four Frames Per Second

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Chapter Summary

There is a memorable moment in the Australian comedy film The Dish (2000) in which a small New South Wales town with a big role to play as a relay point for Apollo moon shot transmissions welcomes the U.S. ambassador. This chapter engages one-neglected-section of that story, the career of the U.S. government as a film maker in its own right, and specifically the work of the United States Information Agency as a creator and distributor of documentary films. It presents a narrative of the development of film at USIA. The chapter locates film within the wider taxonomy of public diplomacy activity. USIA films remain as a visceral and immediate resource for teachers seeking to give their students an immediate taste of America's Cold War, and USIA's attempt to win it at 24 frames per second.

Keywords: Cold War; film; public diplomacy; The Dish; United States; USIA



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