The work of Michael Maglaras & Terri Templeton

New documentary on Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Mezzotint portrait.


Announcing 217 Films’ New Documentary “Ralph Waldo Emerson: Give All to Love” 

ASHFORD, CONNECTICUT (June 9, 2022) – Connecticut-based independent filmmakers Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton of 217 Films announce that their new film project will be a new full-length documentary on America’s greatest philosopher and thinker, Ralph Waldo Emerson. “Ralph Waldo Emerson: Give All to Love” will be their ninth film in 18 years and the eighth “essay in film” by writer/director Michael Maglaras.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Mezzotint portrait.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882). Mezzotint portrait.

“Ralph Waldo Emerson is undoubtedly not only the father of American literature and the guiding spirit of that flinty idea called ‘Transcendentalism,’” commented Michael Maglaras, “but he is also the father of our American conscience.” 

Emerson (1803–1882), through his journals, essays, lectures, and poetry, guided the development of American thought, spiritual expansion, and adherence to moral principles. Emerson’s approach to living and to life was dynamic, forceful, and radical in its conception and fulfillment. 

“Without Emerson’s legacy,” said Maglaras, “it would be difficult to imagine American cultural life and impossible to imagine the development of America as a society. Emerson is the spiritual father of the poetry of Walt Whitman, the music of Charles Ives, the teachings of Martin Luther King, Jr.”

Currently being shot on location in and around Concord, MA, “Ralph Waldo Emerson: Give All to Love” will have as its focal point and backdrop “Bush”: the wonderful Emerson home where the poet and his wife Lidian reared their children and where Emerson, the great “Sage of Concord,” resided as a simple but revered citizen of America until his death.

The noted Emerson scholar and writer James Marcus will be featured in the film: “I’m delighted to be collaborating with director Michael Maglaras on this important project that will bring Ralph Waldo Emerson to life.” Marcus added, “Emerson speaks to our time with tremendous urgency…touching on the entirety of the American experience.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson house. Courtesy Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association.
Ralph Waldo Emerson house. Courtesy Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association.

Bay Emerson Bancroft, President of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Memorial Association, has said of this new Emerson film project, “We are so pleased to endorse this new documentary film on Emerson…really the first of its kind…and to cooperate with filmmakers Michael Maglaras and Terri Templeton on its production. As we approach the 220thanniversary of Emerson’s birth, this film will introduce him to an entirely new audience.”

Terri Templeton, Executive Producer, has singled out the great assistance 217 Films has received from supportive institutions, vital to the telling of the Emerson story. “Our special thanks to David Wood and Jessica Desany Ganong of the Concord Museum for giving us permission to film within Emerson’s study,” said Templeton. “We’ve also been given complete access to the Emerson collection within the Concord Free Public Library through the kind auspices of Anke Voss.” 

The production team is grateful to have access to the rich resources of the Emerson Collection at the Houghton Library at Harvard with the assistance of Leslie Morris, Gore Vidal Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts.

“What’s important for me as a filmmaker is not only what Emerson wrote and said,” added Michael Maglaras, “but also that he surrounded himself with people of brilliance, such as Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, and Louisa May and Bronson Alcott. To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment… wrote Emerson. This film will capture the essence of Emerson as the deeply original and radical thinker he was.”

Filming will continue through the summer and fall of 2022, with post-production scheduled for January and February of 2023. This film will be released in May 2023.



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