World Film News By Davis, Thomas S.
World Film News was a publication that advanced the visibility of the documentary film movement and hosted wide-ranging debates over film, politics, and aesthetics. The magazine was preceded by the Edinburgh based journal Cinema Quarterly (1932–1935) and succeeded by Documentary Newsletter (1940–1947). The first issue was funded by Basil Wright and initially took over the audience for Cinema Quarterly. John Grierson, the brash but passionate leader of the British Documentary Film Movement, exercised editorial control over the magazine, but was careful to include articles by distinguished writers, filmmakers, and intellectuals that might lend a certain gravity to the magazine and his own ambitions. Graham Greene, J. B. Priestley, George Bernard Shaw, Sergei Eisenstein, and Vselovod Pudovkin contributed articles and essays; the magazine also listed W. H. Auden and Christopher Isherwood as correspondents. As other prominent film journals such as Sight and Sound had ceased to cover documentary films, World Film News became an important venue for propagating ideas about documentary, asserting its cultural sophistication (which was conveyed most baldly by listing its most prominent subscribers and contributors in each issue), and debating technical issues relating to amateur actors, sound, editing, and funding models as well as covering the burgeoning global film scene.