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Hartley Films

Hartley Films was started in 1971 by founder Elda E. Hartley. Elda and Irving Hartley made newsreels and travel films from the 1930s through the 1960s. Some of the images that now illustrate American history were shot by Irving Hartley, including the explosion of the Hindenburg zeppelin in 1937. He and Elda also produced a series of Pan Am travelogues, a prototype for travel shows on television today.

Elda worked as North Carolina State’s Director of Visual Education and in the 1930s she helped found the Documentary Film Association, which exhibited at the first New York World's Fair.

Elda's vision of the future foundation began in 1965, while on a vacation tour to Japan with Alan Watts. She decided to make a film on Zen, and Alan Watts volunteered to narrate the film. At the age of fifty-six, Elda Hartley was on her way to producing documentary films on world religions and spirituality–the beginning of her third career.  

She completed films about the world's spiritual and religious traditions, including documentaries such as Requiem for a Faith and The Sufi Way, and collaborated with Margaret Mead, Joseph Campbell, Edgar Mitchell, Jean Houston, Ram Dass, Alan Watts, Huston Smith and Larry Dossey, among others.

Hartley often said that the goal of her work was greater than simply making films. She died on her 90th birthday, March 6, 2001. After her death, Hartley Films returned the video masters and copyrights to the Smith Family, who allowed them to be viewed on these official Huston Smith websites.

The Way Things Are 


Requiem for a Faith with Huston Smith on the Tibetan Culture and Religion

Islamic Mysticism: the Sufi Way

India and the Infinite

Contact Us: Jon Monnday   jon@mondaymedia.org