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Now on bookshelves!

"C. Francis Jenkins: Pioneer of Film and Television", by Donald G. Godfrey


This is the first biography of the important but long-forgotten American inventor Charles Francis Jenkins (1867-1934). Historian Donald G. Godfrey documents the life of Jenkins from his childhood in Indiana and early life in the West to his work as a prolific inventor whose productivity was cut short by an early death. Jenkins was an inventor who made a difference. As one of America's greatest independent inventors, Jenkins's passion was to meet the needs of his day and the future. He produced the first film projector able to show a motion picture on a large screen, coincidentally igniting the first film boycott among his Quaker viewers when the film he screened showed a woman's ankle. Jenkins produced the first American television pictures in 1923, and developed the only fully operating broadcast television station in Washington, D.C. transmitting to ham operators from coast to coast as well as programming for his local audience. Godfrey's biography raises the profile of C. Francis Jenkins from his former place in the footnotes to his rightful position as a true pioneer of today's film and television. Along the way, it provides a window into the earliest days of both motion pictures and television as well as the now-vanished world of the independent inventor.

April 2014 Q&A with Jenkins' Biographer Donald G. Godfrey, author of "C. Francis Jenkins: Pioneer of Film and Television". Courtesy of University of Illinois Press.

Starring Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmaga, Billy Bob Thornton

This 2014 movie about a big city lawyer who comes home to Indiana to defend his estranged father on murder charges, references Charles Francis Jenkins as being the inventor of the motion picture projector. Included in the screenplay, watch and listen for the line about Jenkins when the family is waiting out a storm in the basement. Now available for rental and free on cable/satellite movie channels.

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Movies In The Glen

  • •Every Saturday in August

  • •Family activities begin at 8:30pm, Movies at dusk

  • •Free

  • •Roosevelt Hill, Glen Miller Park, Richmond, IN

  • •Bring blankets-lawn chairs. Handicap parking is available.

Presented by Richmond Parks & Recreation (765) 983-7275

Annual Phantoscope High School Film Festival

Sponsored by: Richmond Art Museum
  • •2021 Best Film: "Ilea", Group Project directed by Samuel Correa, West Broward HS, Pembroke Pine FL.

  • •Highlights of the event at Phantoscope.org

  • •15th Annual, 2022 event date to be announced. Short films are judged and numerous prizes awarded. Best Film wins $1,000! Films screened in front of a live audience on a big screen & discussion.

  • •Open to USA & Canada High School (9th-12th grade, public, private or home schooled) students involved in film making.

  • •Admission is free.

•The Richmond Art Museum sponsors the annual Phantoscope High School Film Festival, featuring short films made by high school filmmakers. Student filmmakers from across the U.S. and Canada may have their films shown. It all depends on who makes the Finalists List! Phantoscope is a juried short film competition for high school age students named after Richmond, IN inventor, C. Francis Jenkins, who created the first projection device which he called a Phantoscope. A panel of experts evaluates the submitted films and awards prizes based on merit. Students get the opportunity to ask questions and listen to film experts talk about getting started in film. Finalists get their short films shown on a big screen in front of a live audience! The featured short films run for approximately an hour and a half. After the festival screening, one talented young filmmaker will win a $1000 cash prize for Best Film. Additionally, prizes for Best Performance, Best Cinematography, Best Screenplay, Best Editing and Best Documentary will be given. Phantoscope is open to the public, and anyone interested in film or who wants to watch a lineup of creative and interesting short films is encouraged to attend!

•For More information and an entry form contact: Lance Crow, Educations Director, RAM (765) 966-0256

We welcome and encourage the copying of or linking to this page. Stage One- - -The Jenkins Project