Global Village


Global Village was founded in 1969 on 2nd Avenue in New York City by John Reilly and Rudy Stern. One of the first independent video groups in the United States, the group became “the center in New York for documentary video.” Ira Schneider, a psychologist who for a few months partnered with Reilly and Stern to found Global Village, told The Boston Globe in 1970 that the goal was to create a gestalt, or total environment. The name Global Village was itself coined by media theorist Marshall McLuhan to convey how modern communications were connecting people across the world. The new availability of Sony’s portable video camera and recorder greatly expanded the capacity of independent video creators from all walks of life to express alternative voices and visions. Later moving to Broome Street in SoHo, Global Village became a hub for counter-cultural art, often showcasing controversial subjects for the time, including a video documenting the lives of trans-identifying individuals that included scenes of a sex-change operation, along with videos on childbirth, climate destruction, women’s sexuality, and material critical of corporatized, profit-driven media.

From the early 1970’s through the late 1980’s, directors John Reilly and Julie Gustafson showcased a weekly video and film series and started the first major documentary festival (first at Global Village and later at Joseph Papp’s Public Theater). Between 1976 and 1981, they also collaborated on “The Independent Producer, Public Television and the New Video Technologies,” a national series of workshops bringing information on new video technologies, as well as networking opportunities to public television programmers and independent producers. Considered a pioneering team in documentary video, Reilly and Gustafson also produced an expansive, experimental, and collaborative body of work, many of which aired on national public television. Using a video-verité approach, their documentaries scrutinized trenchant political and social issues in American society—challenging concepts of subjectivity and innovating literary narrative technique in their documentaries.



John Reilly, Julie Gustafson, Stefan Moore, Melissa Thompson 

Students, Curators and Featured Film/Video Makers

Stefan Moore, Cara DeVito, Dara Birnbaum, Peggy Awesh, Robert Rosenberg, Karen Mooney, Robert Drew, Ann-Sargent Wooster, Ayoka Chenzira, Renne Tajima, Christine Choy, Skip Blumberg, St. Claire Bourne, Emile D’Antonio, Barbara Kopple, Edin Velez, Jaime Barrios, Richard Ellison, Tami Gold, Ilan Ziv


Global Village Annual Documentary Festival: 1974-1989,

The Endangered Documentary Screening Series: 1988,

The Independent Producer, Public Television

New Video Technologies Seminars: 1976 – 1981

Selected Awards

Special Feature Presentations at the American Film Institute Festival

The Berlin Film Festival

The Point of View Series, PBS

Best Documentary at the Chicago Film Festival

Special Judge’s Recognition Award

Selected Grants

The New York State Council on the Arts: multiple awards (1973 – 1993)

The Television Laboratory at W.N.E.T.: 1976 

The National Endowment for the Arts: multiple awards (1974 – 1993)

The New York Council on the Humanities: 1988   

National Endowment for the Humanities: 1982, 1987, 1991, 1993       

Additional Fundraising

Guggenheim Fellowship, Challenge Grant from The National Endowment for the Arts, as well as grants from The Charles D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Annenberg Foundation, The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, HBO, Kodak and The Sony Corporation.

Our complete collection of Global Village’s work can be found here.

Subjects: Guerrilla Television, Video Pioneers, Alternative Media Center, Independent Producers and Public Television, Social Justice Documentaries, Documentary Festival, Video Courses, Julie Gustafson, John Reilly.

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