Throughout the twentieth century many hardworking men and women have contributed to shaping our American society in a variety of ways. While many of these people are well known and praised for their contributions, many others have been obscured from history and, sadly, remain forgotten. Henry Jamison “Jam” Handy; a pioneer of the educational, industrial and documentary film, who contributed immensely to the field of audio/visual communications is one of those. A young documentarian wants to change that.

Jamison Handy had a lifelong ambition to improve education and communication and did so through his highly respected company the Jam Handy Organization. (Remember “filmstrips” in school?) The Detroit based company, which lasted from the 1910s to the early 1980s, was America’s first motion picture studio that specialized in the production of educational and industrial films. During its almost 70 years of existence it was the leader in the production of these types of films. Handy was responsible for a massive number of motion pictures and slide films for a variety of clients, his two most notable being the United States Military and the Chevrolet Division of General Motors Corporation. The media produced by Handy had a huge impact on American culture and helped shaped American society throughout the twentieth century.

Today the legacy and accomplishments of both Jamison Handy and his company remain relatively unknown to many. Even more so, his name is missing from history text books which focus on American Education, Film/Motion Pictures, and Telecommunications. Jonathan A. Boschen, an industrial filmmaker, documentarian, and historian would like to raise people’s awareness of Handy by making a documentary feature film which will honor the triumphs of this important individual and iconic company.

Mr. Boschen has been a huge fan of Mr. Handy since first discovering the company and man in high school and was inspired by many Jam Handy films for his own productions. “More Power To You” (1939), “Auto-Lite On Parade” (1940), “Just Imagine” (1948), “Aluminum on the March” (1956), “American Engineer” (1956) and “The Corvair in Action” (1960) are some of the many films Mr. Boschen has cherished for educational, entertainment, and referential purposes. In addition, many of Handy’s films were the inspiration for Mr. Boschen’s well received 2011 student film “Waltham’s watch” and have also been the influence for several industrial and promotional videos he has made through his company Boschen Industrial Cinema.

Mr. Boschen would love to share his passion and teach other people about the Jam Handy Organization. However to do so, he needs assistance in raising $27,000 to make this vision possible. This amount of money will allow him to finance several tasks during production and post-production phases of the film. During the production stages, Mr. Boschen will need to travel to various locations around the country to interview historians and former Jam Handy employees and also shoot footage of notable landmarks, buildings, and locations. In addition to traveling he will also need to license archival photos, motion pictures, documents, music, symphonic recordings, etc, necessary for the film. During the post-production stages of the film, Mr. Boschen wishes to have a professional actor narrate the film, an audio engineer to professionally mix and clean up the soundtrack, and an individual who specializes in the area color correction to properly adjust each scene and interview. All of this is necessary for the film to be successful and appealing. All contributors and investors for the documentary will receive an award, or several awards for the amount they donate to the film. Each award will be associated with Boschen’s film and/or the Jam Handy Organization.

If Boschen reaches his goal of $27,000, he will be able to make his documentary and in doing so recognize an iconic and inspiring American. However, if he is unsuccessful in raising the $27,000, all the funds will be returned to the contributors and Mr. Handy’s impressive resume will remain forgotten. So please contribute today.

Please visit his Fundraising Page on Kickstarter, and watch the video describing the project below.

“Don’t worry,” he says in this video, “I will not be seen or heard on the final film.”

Also, WATCH Boschen’s “Waltham’s Watch” student film here.

Leave a Reply