Richard Kaplan’s 60 years of nonfiction filmmaking have taken him around the world and into situations of staggering moral complexity and social ambiguity. Though he started out in the 1950s making films commissioned by clients ranging from the U.S. Air Force to the Indian Handicrafts Commission, Kaplan’s signature documentaries—including The Eleanor Roosevelt Story, which won the 1965 Academy Award for Best Documentary, and King: A Filmed Record...Montgomery to Memphis—were often self-produced, and arose out of his personal enthusiasm for their subjects. In addition to filmmaking, Kaplan has been a respected college professor and a media consultant for organizations such as the Writers’ Guild, the American Museum of the Moving Image, and the United States Information Agency.

Organized by Laurence Kardish, Senior Curator, Department of Film, with thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Paley Center for Media, The Library of Congress—Motion Picture Division, and the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research.