217 Films is an independent film company devoted to the American artistic experience.
In 2005, Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton released their first film "Cleophas and His Own" taken from the American Modernist painter Marsden Hartley's epic narrative of love and loss, a private and personal narrative which was first published many years after his death. In "Cleophas and His Own," Maglaras both directed and played the role of Hartley.
In 2008, 217 Films' second release was the first-ever documentary film on the life of Hartley, called "Visible Silence: Marsden Hartley, Painter and Poet".
In 2010, with their film "John Marin: Let the Paint be Paint!" they established, through the first documentary made about this important painter, that John Marin was one of the fathers of American Modernism.
Among other distinctions, these films have been shown to acclaim at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
In 2012, in honor of the re-publication by the Library of America of the six seminal graphic novels of the American master Lynd Ward, they released the film "O Brother Man: The Art and Life of Lynd Ward."
Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the art exhibition that introduced Modernism to America, in September 2013 "The Great Confusion: The 1913 Armory Show" was released and screened to standing room only audiences throughout the United States, including the Smithsonian American Art Museum and the National Gallery of Art.
Their sixth film "Enough to Live On: The Art of the WPA" was released in May 2015 in celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Federal Art Project under Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.
In January 2017, their new film titled "America Rising: The Arts of the Gilded Age." was released. This film highlights the arts of the American renaissance...what Mark Twain described as "The Gilded Age."
In 2019, they will release "Civilisation and America: The 50th Anniversary." This film highlights the impact that Lord Kenneth Clark's epic thirteen-part BBC television series Civilisation had on America and Americans in 1969.
The Sacramento Bee called Michael Maglaras a film maker of "Bergman-like gravitas." His films have been described as "virtuoso filmmaking" (National Gallery of Art) "alive and fresh" (Art New England) "elegiac and insightful" (Naples Daily News) "unforgettable" (Journal of American History) and "comparable to that of the widely acclaimed Ken Burns" (New Britain Herald). David Berona, author of Wordless Books, said of O Brother Man "This film is stunning." Judith Regan of Sirius XM called it "magnificent." The Dartmouth's review of The Great Confusion noted "Michael Maglaras brought the drama of the original show back to life." Library Journal called it "An excellent analysis of an event that changed the art world." The Blue Paper called Maglaras's film on the arts of the WPA "a wonderful celebration of America, her people, and her possibilities." Matt Hinrichs wrote "The only thing better than this documentary would be for the WPA itself to come back." Maglaras was recently featured in a full-length interview on Conversations from Penn State on Public Television.
If you'd like to learn more about the spoken word, jazz, and alternative rock recording projects of 217 Records, the sister company of 217 Films, click here.