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Charles Sharp Collection, 1958-1966

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Collection Identifier: C.2009-07
Extent of collection
5 reels of 16mm film totaling 2,724 feet
Inclusive Dates
1958 - 1966
Bulk Dates
1958 - 1966
The Charles Dee Sharp collection consists of five 16mm films, including a short Christmas themed narrative film, two promotional films for the Illinois Institute of Technology and two short documentary films, one about a Kibbutz in Israel titled The Kibbutz, and another about Russia after Stalin, titled The Iron Curtain Lands: The Post-Stalin Period. All films are Cameras International productions. All films are written and directed by Charles Dee Sharp, except for Symbolic Control, which is written and directed by David A. Tapper for the IIT.
Sharp, Charles Dee (created by)
Charles Dee Sharp was born in 1928, the son of an Indiana farmer. At the end of World War Two, his father's health failing, the family moved to Arizona where Sharp graduated from high school. Determined not to go to college, he found a job as cub reporter on Anna Roosevelt Boettiger's Arizona Times.

Aware at last that he was woefully uneducated, he enrolled at the University of Arizona. Disillusioned, he dropped out, hitch-hiked to Madison, Wisconsin where, studying on his own, he took advantage of the University of Wisconsin's facilities without actually enrolling.

He was on a student bicycle tour in Europe when the Korean War broke out. During his two-year tour in the army he decided he wanted to be a documentary filmmaker, teaching himself the rudiments by shooting, across the Rio Grande from Fort Bliss, Texas, the Sunday afternoon bullfights in Juarez, Mexico.

Discharged and hoping to make a documentary film of the Mississippi river, he made photographic forays up and down the mythic river. Broke, he headed for Chicago where he was hired as assignment editor and producer in the midwest bureau of CBS TV News. He later quit to form his own film company, shooting films in the Soviet Union; in the Middle East retracing the Biblical Exodus; the missionary journeys of St. Paul; University of Chicago Egyptian archeological digs; and Israeli kibbutzim. In South America he shot films for the Peace Corps.

He was associate professor of film in the Institute of Design at Illinois Institute of Technology until sidelined by multiple sclerosis. Slowly regaining his health, he turned to writing. He has a daughter, two grandchildren and lives in Chicago with his wife, Judy.
Custodial History
In july 2009, Charles Sharp called CFA to see if a couple of his films in the CPL collection could be transferred to dVD for himself. Eventually he met with Watrous and donated some of his film prints to CFA in exchange for transfers.
Language of Materials
Access Restrictions
This collection is open to on-site access. Appointments must be made with Chicago Film Archives. Due to the fragile nature of the films, only video copies will be provided for on-site viewing.
Use Restrictions
Copyrights lie with the various production companies that Charles worked for. CFA does not hold any rights to these films
Collection Item
Big Downtown Christmas, The
Iron Curtain Lands: Post-Stalin Period, The
Kibbutz, The
Symbolic Control