28th Ji.hlava International Documentary Film Festival

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Native Life in the Philippines
Native Life in the Philippines

Native Life in the Philippines

director: Dean C. Worcester
original title: Native Life in the Philippines
country: United States, Philippines
year: 1913
running time: 75 min.


The latest discovery from the Filipino archives, an ethnographic documentary from 1913, rewrites the history of cinema. It was created nine years before the Robert Flaherty film, Nanook of the North, which, thus, makes it the world’s first-ever, feature-length documentary film. In a series of five scenes, the film depicts various aspects of the lives of indigenous peoples. It presents one of the few positive effects of colonization, which brought cinema to the Philippines. The owner of the film was the Secretary of Interior Affairs for the Philippines, Dean C. Worcester. He shot the film at the end of his political career before embarking on a lucrative lecture tour across the United States.


Dean Conant Worcester (1866–1924) was an American zoologist, politician, and anthropologist. He formerly held the position of Secretary of Interior Affairs for the Philippine Islands and, from 1913, was engaged in trade and agriculture. His approach towards indigenous peoples was controversial, as was his abuse of politics to serve his personal business interests.

more about film

director: Dean C. Worcester
Ministerstvo kultury
Fond kinematografie
Creative Europe Media
Město Jihlava
Kraj Vysočina
Česká televize
Český rozhlas