Flaherty is a media arts organization that brings together diverse, curious minds to foster an in-depth discourse on film and the creative process.
We build a dynamic film community through provocative interactive programming, passionate dialogue, and industry expertise.
We believe in the transformative power of the moving image and its ability to change how we think about film, and the world we live in.
We are dedicated to the proposition that independent media can illuminate the human spirit. Its mission is to foster exploration, dialogue, and introspection about the art and craft of all forms of the moving image. The Flaherty was chartered (as International Film Seminars, Inc.) in the state of Vermont but is based in New York City. It was established in 1960 to present the annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, which was started five years earlier by the Robert Flaherty Foundation. The Seminar remains the central and defining activity of The Flaherty.
Through its unique annual Robert Flaherty Film Seminar, The Flaherty provides media makers, users, teachers and students an unparalleled opportunity to confront the core of the creative process, reaffirm the freedom of the independent artist to explore beyond known limits and renew the challenge to discover, reveal and illuminate the ways of life of peoples and cultures throughout the world.
The Robert Flaherty Film Seminar is named after Robert Flaherty (1884-1951), who is considered by many to be the father of the American documentary. Flaherty's groundbreaking documentary of Eskimo life, Nanook of the North is among the most noted films of the silent era. He was also the creator of such classic poetic films as Moana, Man of Aran, and Louisiana Story. The Seminar began in 1955-before the era of film schools-when Flaherty's widow, Frances, convened a group of filmmakers, critics, curators, musicians, and other film enthusiasts at the Flaherty farm in Vermont. For more than sixty years the Flaherty Seminar has been firmly established as a one-of-a-kind institution that seeks to encourage filmmakers and other artists to explore the potential of the moving image. The films of such directors as Louis Malle, the Maysles brothers, Mira Nair, Satyajit Ray, Agnés Varda, John Cassavetes, Yasujiro Ozu, Pedro Costa and Joris Ivens were shown at the Seminar before they were known generally in the American film community. New cinematic techniques and approaches first presented at the Seminar have routinely made their way into mainstream film.
The Flaherty endeavors to:
Nurture the production, distribution, exhibition, and preservation of humanistic works
Position itself at the cutting edge of contemporary discourse through various forums of interchange and appreciation of media makers and their art from established, current, and emerging forms and technologies
Stimulate interest, understanding, and support for media makers to work with creators in all art forms and humanistic disciplines
Share an enlarged vision of media art that helps us cherish and communicate the humanity common to all peoples
Over the years, The Flaherty has evolved from a small, informal gathering of filmmakers and students into a respected, established media arts institution, recognized as a leader in its support of the documentary and other independent film and video.
Code of Conduct
The Flaherty Film Seminar provides a safe and open forum for an international community of filmmakers, participants, and audience members. The Flaherty is committed to encouraging a robust conversation, and ensuring a positive experience for all, free of harassment, discrimination, sexism, and threatening or disrespectful language or behavior regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, race, ethnicity, or religion. The Flaherty reserves the right to condemn such behavior and revoke access, without notice or refund, to seminar events and venues for those who engage in such conduct. We expect all seminar staff, contractors, event volunteers, and attendees to cooperate with this code of conduct. Anyone who witnesses behavior that is in opposition to this code of conduct should immediately notify a seminar staff member, call 212-448-0457, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.