John Grierson

1898 (Deanston, Scotland) – 1972 (Bath, England)

Grierson is best known for bringing creative individuals productively together, and was a pivotal figure in British and Canadian film culture. He worked as a young cameraman for Huxley. He met Flaherty (a strong influence) in the U.S.; reviewing Flaherty’s ‘Moana’, he was the first in English to employ the term ‘documentary’. McLaren, Lye, Cavalcanti, Jennings, Auden, Lee, Britten all worked for his renowned G.P.O. Film Unit, McLaren following him to Canada. The emigrée Reiniger made some films for him. Eisenstein (another formative influence) attended the première of Grierson’s ‘Drifters’. He said art was not a mirror, but a hammer.

John Grierson knew…