Guide to the Jorge Prelorán collection
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
HSFA.2007-10
Creators:
Preloran, Jorge, 1933-2009
Dates:
1954-circa 2008
Languages:
Multiple languages
Materials are primarily in English and Spanish. One film is partially in Quichua.
Physical Description:
50 Film reels
50 completed films and 1 film series; 110,600 feet of original film outtakes (51 hours); 412 hours of audiotape; 31 digital books
22 Linear feet
Papers and photographs
Repository:
Documentary filmmaker Jorge Prelorán was best known for his intimate approach to ethnographic film, a style known as "ethnobiography." The majority of Prelorán's films were shot in rural areas of Argentina, particularly the Andean highlands and the Pampas (plains), often in communities of mixed Indian and Spanish heritage. Prelorán documented a wide range of subjects, including art, folk crafts, agriculture, ranching, markets, religious rituals and festivals, and social and cultural change. This collection contains edited films and videos, film outtakes, audio tapes, photographic prints and transparencies, digital books, correspondence, production files, scripts, project files, and press clippings spanning 1954-2008.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
This collection contains edited films and videos, film outtakes, audio tapes, photographic prints and transparencies, digital books, correspondence, production files, scripts, project files, and press clippings spanning 1954-2008.
The majority of Prelorán's films were shot in rural areas of Argentina, particularly the Andean highlands and the Pampas (plains), often in communities of mixed Indian and Spanish heritage. Prelorán documented a wide range of subjects, including art, folk crafts, agriculture, ranching, markets, religious rituals and festivals, and social and cultural change. Several films focus on natural history and science. There are also a number of experimental and fiction films.
Prelorán formed close friendships with many of the subjects of his films and corresponded with them long after the films were completed. This is reflected in the paper records, as is Prelorán's wide circle of colleagues and collaborators, including anthropologists, musicians, animators, historians, painters, writers, photographers, current and former students at UCLA, and fellow filmmakers. The extensive collection of press clippings, screening notices, and festival catalogs documents Prelorán's influence in Argentina, Europe, and the United States.
In the series of digital books, Prelorán presents the personal stories of individuals involved in creative work. Some books feature subjects profiled in the films, updating or expanding on their stories.

Arrangement
Arrangement
This collection is arranged in 11 series: (1) Completed Films and Videos, 1954-circa 2008; (2) Film Outtakes, 1960s-1980s; (3) Audio, 1969-2008; (4) Correspondence, 1954-2005 (bulk 1967-1992); (5) Production Files, 1961-1998; (6) Project Files, 1967-1995; (7) UCLA, 1968-2005 (bulk 1980s); (8) Press Clippings, 1960-2005; (9) Photographs, 1961-2000; (10) Books, 1994-1998, undated; (11) Electronic Files, circa 2000-circa 2006

Biographical Note
Biographical Note
Documentary filmmaker Jorge Prelorán was best known for his intimate approach to ethnographic film, a style known as "ethnobiography." In films such as
Hermógenes Cayo
(
Imaginero
) (1970),
Los Hijos de Zerda
(
Zerda's Children
) (1974), and
Zulay Frente al Siglo XXI
(
Zulay Facing the 21st Century
) (1989), Prelorán's protagonists tell their personal stories, while also revealing the stories of their communities and cultures. Prelorán worked in Latin America and the United States, but primarily in his native country of Argentina. His career spanned from 1954 to 2008, including nearly twenty years as a film professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).
Prelorán was born May 28, 1933 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His father, an engineer, was Argentine and had studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he met his wife, an American. Prelorán grew up speaking both Spanish and English. Initially pursuing a career in architecture, he studied at the Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires. He made his first film,
Venganza
, with neighborhood friends in Buenos Aires in 1954. The film won the Beginner's Festival of Cine Club Argentina that same year. Prelorán was accepted as an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and studied architecture there for one year. In 1956 he withdrew from UC Berkeley and was drafted into the US Army. Prelorán served in West Germany until 1958. Upon his return he changed educational plans and began formal study of filmmaking, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Motion Pictures from UCLA in 1960.
Shortly before the end of his service in the US Army, Prelorán married Elsa Dondi, a former classmate from Buenos Aires. They lived together in Los Angeles until Elsa returned to Argentina for the birth of their daughter, Adriana, in 1961. The couple separated shortly thereafter.
Prelorán's professional career as a filmmaker began in 1961 with a commission from the Tinker Foundation of New York for a series of films on the Argentine gaucho. In the course of shooting for these films, Prelorán traveled extensively throughout Argentina, visiting many locations in Patagonia and in the northwest where he would later return to make many of his films. From 1963-1969, Prelorán was under contract at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán to produce educational films; he also produced a series of short films on Argentine folklife with support from Fondo Nacional de las Artes and under the mentorship of folklorist Augusto Raúl Cortazar, Ph.D.
In the late 1960s, Prelorán became involved with UCLA's Ethnographic Film Program and in 1970 he returned to UCLA as a lecturer for two semesters. Later that year he was a fellow at Harvard University's Film Study Center, where he produced the English-language version of
Imaginero
(
Hermógenes Cayo
). Prelorán was the recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships, in 1971 and 1975, and used those opportunities to produce quite a number of films, including
Damacio Caitruz
(
Araucanians of Ruca Choroy
).
Prelorán remarried in 1972. His wife, Mabel Freddi, became a collaborator on his films. She wrote the screenplay for
Mi Tia Nora
(
My Aunt Nora
) (1983) and co-directed
Zulay Frente al Siglo XXI
(
Zulay Facing the 21st Century
) (1989), among other credited and un-credited roles. After the Argentine military coup of March 1976 and the disappearances of fellow filmmaker Raymundo Gleyzer and Mabel's niece, Haydee, the Preloráns became fearful for their own safety. They fled to the United States, a move that would become permanent. Prelorán accepted a position as associate professor at UCLA's School of Theater, Film and Television. He later joined the faculty as a tenured professor.
During his time at UCLA, Prelorán was twice selected as a Fulbright Scholar, in 1987 and 1994. He continued to produce films, including the Academy Award-nominated documentary short
Luther Metke at 94
(1980) and the 7-hour natural history television series
Patagonia
(1992). After retiring in 1994, Prelorán continued to mentor film students as Professor Emeritus; he also began work in a new medium, creating a series of digital books, "Nos = Otros" ("Sages Amongst Us") (unpublished), featuring individuals engaged in creative and educational pursuits.
Prelorán died at his home in Culver City, CA at the age of 75 on March 28, 2009.
Sources Consulted
UCLA, School of Theater, Film and Television. "Jorge Prelorán 1933 - 2009." Obituary. Last modified March 31, 2009. Accessed April 1, 2009. http://tft.ucla.edu/news/obituary
Jorge Prelorán Collection. Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Rivera, Fermín.
Huellas Y Memoria de Jorge Prelorán
. Documentary film. 2010.
Woo, Elaine."Jorge Prelorán dies at 75; Argentine filmmaker and former UCLA professor."
Los Angeles Times
, April 5, 2009. Web. 29 Apr 2009.
1933
Born May 28 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
1952-1954
Studies at the College of Architecture, Universidad Nacional de Buenos Aires, Argentina
1954
Completes first film,
Venganza
, a fictional short
1955
Studies at the College of Architecture, University of California at Berkeley
1956-1958
Drafted into United States Army, stationed in Schwetzingen, West Germany
1959-1960
Earns Bachelor of Arts in Motion Pictures from UCLA
1961-1963
Produces films on the Argentine gaucho for the Tinker Foundation, New York
1963-1969
Produces films at the Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina
1968
Attends the First International Colloquium on Ethnographic Film at UCLA
1969
Shoots film for
The Warao People
in Venezuela, under a grant from the Ford Foundation to the Ethnographic Film Program at UCLA
1970
Lecturer at UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
Fellow at the Film Study Center, Harvard University
1971
Receives first Guggenheim Fellowship; completes several film projects in Argentina
1975
Receives second Guggenheim Fellowship; continues filming in Argentina
1976
Moves to United States
Associate professor at UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television
1978
Guest of Honor at the 2nd Margaret Mead Ethnographic Film Festival at the American Museum of Natural History, New York
1980
Academy Award nominee for
Luther Metke at 94
1985
Guest at the White House for a State Dinner in honor of Argentine President Raul Alfonsin
1986
Naturalized as a United States citizen
1987
First selection as Fulbright Scholar; begins production of the series
Patagonia, en Busca de su Remoto Pasado
1994
Second selection as Fulbright Scholar; completes pre-production for the narrative feature film "Vairoletto: The Last Gaucho Outlaw"
Retires from UCLA as professor emeritus
2009
Dies on March 28 in Culver City, California

Administration
Processing Information
The titles for published films and videos are written in italics. "Known as" titles for unpublished works are written in quotation marks. Assigned titles are placed within square brackets.
The paper records in this collection were received partially organized. Existing groupings and arrangement were retained, and the paper records were organized into five series. Original folder titles were generally retained, with assigned titles placed within square brackets.
The digital books and ZIP disks are listed according to the order established by the creator. These digital materials have not been fully processed.
Complete processing of this collection would not have been possible without the excellent work of the following interns and volunteers:
Regina Longo - initial processing of the paper records and photographs
Richard Muñiz - processing and description of the Press Clippings series
Samantha Oddi - processing of the audio recordings
Thanks also to Mark White and Pamela Wintle for guidance in processing this collection, and to Daisy Njoku and Lorain Wang for assistance in crafting this guide.
Finally, a very special thanks to Mabel Prelorán for graciously answering innumerable questions, fact-checking the biographical sketch and chronology, and brightening many a day with her kindness and warmth.
Processed by Karma Foley, June 2012
Encoded by Katherine Christensen, May 2020
Author
Karma Foley
Sponsor
Funding for film preservation and finding aid provided by the Latino Center, Smithsonian Institution.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
This collection was donated to the Human Studies Film Archives in two accessions. The first accession, 2007-10, contains the edited films, outtakes, audio recordings, papers, and photographs and was donated by Jorge Prelorán. Materials had been stored at Prelorán's home office and home editing suite before they were packed by the processing archivist and sent to the HSFA. The second accession, 2011-07, contains the digital books and some additional photographs. This accession was donated by Mabel Prelorán. These materials had also been stored at Prelorán's home office and were sent to the HSFA by Mabel Prelorán.

Digital Content

Filmography
Filmography
Prelorán is best known for his intimate approach to ethnographic film, a style known as "ethnobiography". In films such as
Hermogenes Cayo
(
Imaginero
) (1970),
Cochengo Miranda
(1974), and
Zerda's Children
(1978), Prelorán's protagonists tell their personal stories, while also revealing the stories of their communities and cultures. His 1989 film
Zulay, Facing the 21st Century
was considered ground-breaking for its nuanced discussion of immigration and culture change and for its self-reflexive nature (the film was co-directed by Prelorán's wife, anthropologist Mabel Prelorán, and the subject, Zulay Saravino).
Prelorán's filmography also includes several short experimental films and one feature-length fiction film,
My Aunt Nora
(1983) (screenplay by Mabel Prelorán). Prelorán produced and directed more than sixty films and has cinematography and editing credits on many others. He collaborated with anthropologists, writers, musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, and scientists, both in Argentina and the United States.
Please note that not all titles from Prelorán's filmography are held at the Human Studies Film Archives.
Notes
* These titles were produced for the Tinker Foundation (New York, NY). With the exception of
The Argentine Gaucho, Today
(
El Gaucho Argentino, Hoy
), the original film is held at the Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin.
** These titles are not held at the Human Studies Film Archives.
1954
Venganza
1956
At Three O'Clock
1957
The Unvictorious One
1958
Mackinac Island
1959
This Is U.C.L.A.
1960
Delirium Tremens
1961
Death, Be Not Proud
1962
The Llanero
(
El Llanero
)*
1962
Costa Patagónica
1962
Costumbres Neuquinas
1962
La Patagonia Argentina
**
1963
The Gaucho of Corrientes
(
El Gaucho Corriento
)*
1963
The Gaucho of the Pampas
(
El Gaucho de las Pampas
)*
1963
The Gaucho of Salta
(
El Gaucho de Salta
)*
1963
The Argentine Gaucho, Today
(
El Gaucho Argentino, Hoy
)*
1964
Anfibios, Reproduccion y Desarrollo
1964
Potential Dinamico de la Republica Argentina
1965
La Biologia Experimental
1965
Dinosaurs—The Age of Reptiles
1965
El Estudio de los Vegetales
**
1965
Reptiles Fosiles Triasicos de la Argentina
1965
Máximo Rojas, Monturero Criollo
(Re-edited into
Valle Fertil
) **
1965
Trapiches Caseros
(English version,
Primitive Sugar Mills
, published 1978)
1965
Feria en Simoca
1966
Casabindo
1966
Ocurrido en Hualfín
(Co-directed by Raymundo Gleyzer)
1966
Quilino
(English version published in 1977)
1966
Viernes Santo en Yavi
(Re-edited into another film) **
1966
Purmamarca
1966
Claudia y Yo
1967
El Tinkunaco
1967
Salta y Su Fiesta Grande
1967
Un Tejedor de Tilcara
1968
Artesanias Santiagueñas
1968
Chucalezna
(English version published in 1978)
1968
Iruya
1968
Medardo Pantoja, Pintor
(Re-edited version published in 1983)
1969
La Feria de Yavi
1969
Fiestas en Volcan
1969
Señalada en Juella
1970
Hermógenes Cayo, Imaginero
(English version,
Imaginero
)
1971
Damacio Caitruz
(English version,
Araucanians of Ruca Choroy
)
1971
El Grano Dorado
(Re-edited version published ca. 1981)
1971
Manos Pintadas
(Re-edited version and English version,
Painted Hands
, published in 1981)
1971
The Red-Tailed Comet
(Edited by Prelorán; Photography by Francisco Contino)
1971
Remate en Estancia
1972
Claudia
1972
Valle Fertil
1973
The Ona: Life and Death in Tierra del Fuego
(Photography and Editing by Prelorán; Directed by Ann Chapman and Ana Montes de González)
1974
Cochengo Miranda
(English version published in 1979)
1974
Los Hijos de Zerda
(English version,
Zerda's Children
, published in 1978)
1974
The Warao People
(Spanish version,
Los Guarao
)
1977
La Iglesia de Yavi
1978
La Maquina
(English version,
The Pump
)
1979
Luther Metke at 94
(Co-directed by Steve Raymen)
1980
Castelao
1980
Héctor di Mauro, Titeritero
(English version,
Héctor di Mauro, Puppeteer
)
1983
Mi Tia Nora
(English version,
My Aunt Nora
)
1989
Zulay Frente al Siglo XXI
(English version,
Zulay Facing the 21st Century
)
1993
Patagonia, en Busca de su Remoto Pasado
(Seven-part series)
1994
Obsesivo
(English version,
Obsessive
)

Selected Bibliography
Selected Bibliography
By Prelorán
1975. "Documenting the Human Condition." In
Principles of Visual Anthropology
, ed. Paul Hockings, 103-107. The Hague: Mouton Publishers, 1975.
2006.
El Cine Etnobiográfico
. Buenos Aires: Universidad del Cine, 2006.
Selected Bibliography
About Prelorán
1987. José Rossi, Juan, ed.
El Cine Documental Ethnobiografico de Jorge Prelorán
. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Busqueda, 1987.
2010. Rivera, Fermín.
Huellas y Memoria de Jorge Prelorán
. DVD. Buenos Aires, 2010.
2007. Sherman, Sharon. "From Romanticism to Reflexivity in the Films of Jorge Prelorán." In
Memories of the Origins of Ethnographic Film
, edited by Beate Engelbrecht, 279-291. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2007.
1994. Taquini, Graciela.
Los Directors del Cine Argentino, Jorge Prelorán
. Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1994.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
The Jorge Prelorán collection, Human Studies Film Archives, Smithsonian Institution.
Conditions Governing Access
The collection is open for research. Please contact the archives for information on availability of access copies of audiovisual recordings. Original audiovisual material in the Human Studies Film Archives may not be played.
Various copyrights and restrictions on commercial use apply to the reproduction or publication of film, video, audio, photographs, and the digital books.
Access to the Jorge Prelorán collection requires an appointment.
Conditions Governing Use
Contact the repository for terms of use.

Related Materials
The Human Studies Film Archives holds a copy of Fermín Rivera's edited biographical documentary film,
Huellas y Memoria de Jorge Prelorán
(HSFA 2015.1.27), as well as transcripts of interviews conducted with Jorge and Mabel Prelorán for the film (in Spanish).
The Harry Ransom Center, University of Texas at Austin, holds the original film for four titles Prelorán produced for the Tinker Foundation (New York, NY). These are:
The Llanero
;
The Gaucho of Corrientes
;
The Gaucho of the Pampas
; and
The Gaucho of Salta
. The Ransom Center has both English and Spanish versions of these titles. These four films were preserved in 2010 and 2011 with funding from the Tinker Foundation. HSFA holds high quality video masters of all four titles. A fifth film produced for the Tinker Foundation,
El Gaucho Argentino, Hoy
(
The Argentine Gaucho, Today
), is held at the HSFA in its Spanish version only.
The Arthur Hall Collection at Temple University, Phildadelphia, Pennsylvania and Ile Ife Films in Belfast, Maine hold a copy of
The Unvictorious One
that differs from the two versions held at the HSFA.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Ethnology Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Documentary films Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Biography Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Patagonia (Argentina and Chile) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Argentina Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
University of California, Los Angeles Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Human Studies Film Archives
Museum Support Center
4210 Silver Hill Road
Suitland 20746
hsfa@si.edu
http://www.anthropology.si.edu/naa