Ed Schuman was a veteran academic filmmaker, producer, and executive who passed away December 23, 2021 at the age of 89. The following biography was written by Tom Smith.
After graduating with a degree in motion picture production from UCLA, Ed served as a Motion Picture Officer in the U.S. Air Force (1954-1957). Following his Air Force service, Ed Wrote and produced several educational films for Film Associates. John Sutherland Productions then hired him to create an educational film production unit. One of the filmmakers Ed hired was Gary Goldsmith. In 1960 Ed and Gary formed their own production company, Dimension Films. They chose Churchill Films as their distributor. This association launched a succession of successful, award winning, academic films. Ed and Gary wrote, produced and supervised other talented filmmakers. One of the company’s early successes, Rainshower (1964), told its story with images, music and sound but no narration, a revolutionary concept at that time. Dimension produced more breakthrough films without narration: The Cow; Pigs!; Chick Chick Chick; Sheep, Sheep, Sheep; Dogs; and The Perils of Priscilla.
In 1969 Ed wrote, directed and produced the film, A Way of Life, a documentary about life on an Iowa farm and the succession of the younger generation in a farm family. This film was awarded the Silver Award at the San Francisco Film Festival and remains as one of his favorite personal projects. In 1978, University of Southern California hired Ed to teach film production. He pioneered a new concept, a class in which students produced films for non-profit organizations. The projects were high-quality mini-documentaries used for fund raising. Ed continued teaching at USC for five years, sometimes working in conjunction with the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
In 1985, Ed wrote, directed and produced a one-hour television documentary entitled Down for the Count (1980), for Churchill Films. This inside look at boxing was aired by the PBS’s “Frontline” series for two consecutive years. For this, Ed won the prestigious Columbia Du Pont Award. Following that, Ed wrote and directed several educational and television documentaries for PBS, including the award-winning one-hour film based on the book, Diet For A New America (1990). Based on the book by John Robbins, with the author serving as host, the film shows the environmental impact of factory farming and the need of animal rights. It advocated a healthy diet to benefit not only the individual but also for a healthier planet.
In 1993 Ed wrote and produced a series of films designed for prisoner education. These have remained in distribution for more than twenty years in state and federal prisons. This led to his forming, with Deke Simon, a production company to create additional video and print material for prisoner education. In addition to his 45-year film career, for twelve years, Ed served as a volunteer mediator and trainer for a restorative justice organization serving at-risk youth. He also performs on stage. Ed is a graduate of the Second City School in Los Angeles, where he studied comedy improvisation and musical improv. He lives with his wife Ilene in the Los Angles area.
Healthy Families (zoo doctor) 1958 Film Associates
Rockets: Principles and Safety 1959 Film Associates
I Live in Hawaii 1959 Film Associates
Hawaii’s History: Kingdom to Statehood 1959 Film Associates
Exploring Electromagnetic Energy 1959 Film Associates
Visit to the Hospital, A 1961 John Sutherland Productions
Space Flight Around the Earth, A 1962 Dimension Films
Why Explore Space? 1962 Dimension Films
Rainshower 1965 Dimension Films, dir. Michael D. Murphy
Cow, The 1969 Dimension Films, dir. Michael D. Murphy
Tree, The 1963 Dimension Films
Job Interview: Whom Would You Hire? (2 films) 1967 Dimension Films
Way of Life, A 1969 Dimension Films/John Deere
City Awakens, A 1974 Dimension Films
Down for the Count 1980 Churchill Films PBS Frontline
Comebacker: The Bob Welch Story 1981 FMS Productions, dir. Paul Kleiter
Soviet Union: Changing Times 1989 Churchill Films
Garbage Tale - An Environmental Adventure 1990 Churchill Films, dir. Dan Jackson
Garbage: The Movie - An Environmental Crisis 1990 Churchill Films, dir. Dan Jackson
Solving Conflicts Churchill Films
Fat Rap Churchill Films
The Truth About Fat Churchill Films
Pregnant Teens: Taking Care Wexler Films
Diet For A New America 1991 KCET, PBS
Big Brothers, Big Sisters KCET
Sex, Blues and Booze (animated) FMS Productions
Commitment to Change (3 videos) FMS Productions 1993
"Success Stories" series for prisoners (1993) and several other video series, also for prisoners FMS Productions