Monday, June 22, 2015

Tom Davenport's Pioneer Fairy Tale Films Now Available to Stream Free!

From the Brothers Grimm
Tom Davenport's Pioneer Fairy Tale Films
This is great news! I haven't had the chance to view all the films in the From the Brothers Grimm Davenport collection yet myself, as getting hold of copies has been challenging but I'm so glad Mr. Davenport has decided to share his films so freely so they can be much more widely viewed.

These aren't your average fairy tale films. They're set in a 'pioneer-era America', with a lot of Appalachian flavor, and are beautifully done. (They also show what filmmakers can do without a massive budget if you know what you're doing! I'd love to see what Tom & his wife Mimi could do with the current technology-on-the-go now available like smart phones and Go Pros!) 

I would also like to make special mention that, though the Davenports are kindly making these available for free viewing, please consider a small donation to help with the archive cost of these films so the originals can be preserved. (And it's a nice way to thank the Davenports too.)

Here's what the Davenports have announced:

We made a series of adaptations of folk/fairy tales in the 1980s and 1990s that were popular in schools and libraries. My wife Mimi and I set them in our local rural Virginia community near Delaplane. 
We have made streams and would like to share them freely with you. Donations will help us preserve these films in a climate controlled archive and allow us to connect with you - a gift much appreciated by this old filmmaker. 
Tom Davenport
Suggested donation is $2 for a single film. $10 for the whole series. But any amount will be gratefully received.
There are 11 films and I'm including the synopsis and the trailer for each as a teaser, but encourage you to go to his site, donate what you can and view the whole films there. There's also a bonus MGM Guide (Making Grimm Movies Guide)  for how to make low budget films series you can find HERE, and a teacher's guide to use with high school and college film students as well.

Ashpet (45 mins)
Set in the rural South in the early years of World War II, Ashpet is a version of Cinderella, the world's most popular folk tale.

Bearskin (20 mins)
In a contest with the devil, a Civil War soldier must not wash nor pray for seven years.

Bristlelip (20 mins)
A haughty princess gets her comeuppance in a version of Grimm's King Thrushbeard.

Frog King (15 mins)
A princess breaks her promise to a frog.

Goose Girl (18 mins)

An evil maid forces a princess to change places on their way to her wedding.

Hansel and Gretel (16 mins)
An Appalachian version of the classic story of the courage and loyalty of two children abandoned in the forest.

Jack & the Dentist's Daughter (40 mins)

In this comic variant of the Grimm's story, The Master Thief, a poor laborer's son wants to marry the dentist's daughter.

Mutzmag (50 mins)

With nothing more than her plucky spirit and her pocket knife, a mountain girl outwits a witch and an ogre to save herself and her sisters.

Rapunzel, Rapunzel (15 mins)

Rapunzel imprisoned in a tall wooden tower by a witch, allows a young man to climb her long brown hair to visit her.

Soldier Jack (40 mins)

Jack catches Death in a sack in this Appalachian tale.
Willa (85 mins)
An American version of 'Snow White' where Willa joins a traveling medicine show to escape her evil step-mother.

You can find links to the full films HERE. Enjoy your Summer viewing! And support a 'pioneer' filmmaker while you're at it.
Fairy Tale Bonus of the Day:

There is also a book available about the films and filmmaking process via amazon HERE. Recommended by Jack ZIpes and including a forward by him (which you can read HERE), this is one for the FT library folks!

From the Brothers Grimm: A Contemporary Retelling of American Folktales and Classic Stories

Description: Retells ten fairy tales from the Brothers Grimm, placing them in the Appalachian Mountains and other American settings through the text and photographs from the Tom Davenport film versions."This collection will add a new dimension to any folktale section.  The ten tales have been Americanized and reset in Appalachia.  Imagine Cinderella as a poor, white Southern girl named Ashpet who is helped to romance by a wise black woman. Hansel and Gretel become children of a poor mountain family during the depression. Other stories include “Rapunzel, Rapunzel” and “Jack and the Dentist’s Daughter.” In its simplest form this book will be used with delight by speech students searching for a children’s story to read aloud. The book is also meant to spark interest in the video series that Davenport produced for PBS. B&W photos from the videos will encourage this. With or without the videos, language arts teachers will find many ways to use the tales. An accompanying teacher’s guide gives hints on using the book for kindergartners through senior high students, but it is also bound to be read just for fun. Recommended." (from The Book Report 1993)

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