Shortcut Navigation:

Films A-Z

George Stoney Tribute: How the Myth Was Made

Man of Aran begins at 1 pm
How the Myth was Made begins 2:45 pm
Panel discussion led by Judith Helfand and Faye Ginsburg following the screenings

The beloved documentarian and educator George Stoney, who passed away in July of this year, made more than 50 films in his lifetime and inspired multiple generations of anthropological filmmakers. This tribute features a screening of one of his best known works—among the finest examples of a film about a film ever made—a screening of the film it was about, and a panel discussion about its impact and Stoney’s enduring legacy. 

Man of Aran
Robert J. Flaherty
1934 | 76 mins | Ireland

Robert J. Flaherty’s classic 1934 depiction of life on the Aran Islands off the western coast of Ireland shows characters living a pre-modern lifestyle where daily routines include fishing off high sea cliffs, potato farming in sparse soil, and hunting for the massive basking sharks whose liver provides the oil that lights their lamps. This engrossing film features actual islanders, but the characters and situations are both real and contrived; its captivating picture of existence on this bleak outcropping of land retains an undeniable power and drama, making it a paradigmatic work of ethnofiction.

Courtesy of the Reserve Film and Video Collection of The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

How the Myth was Made
George Stoney
1978 | 58 mins | Ireland

Stoney’s response to Robert Flaherty's classic 1934 Man of Aran revisits the Aran Islands four decades later and interviews surviving locals about their memories of the original film and their reactions to making this one. Examining the work of one of his intellectual forebears and its lasting effects on a community where he himself had roots—Stoney’s grandfather was the doctor on the island where Faherty made his film—the director creates a persuasive and multi-faceted illustration of his belief that a filmmaker always leaves a mark on the people and places he films. Includes excerpts from the original documentary. 

Co-presented by Center for Media, Culture, and History, NYU

George Stoney Tribute: How the Myth Was Made is a Mead Dialogue

American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024-5192
Phone: 212-769-5100

Open daily from 10 am - 5:45 pm
except on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Maps and Directions

Enlighten Your Inbox

Stay informed about Museum news and research, events, and more!