Vladimir “Vlada” Petric (11 March 1928, Prnjavor, Kingdom of Yugoslavia – 13 November 2019, Belgrade) is an eminent film studies scholar, a retired Harvard University professor, and the co-founder of the Harvard Film Archive. He is the first recipient of a PhD in film studies in the United States. Throughout his creative career, Mr. Petric directed for film, television, theater, focusing on producing and directing experimental video essays later in his life. In the field of academic literature, Mr Petric’s scholarly endeavors are marked by seminal works in which he conducted research into American and Soviet cinematography.
Vlada Petric graduated from the English Language and Literature Department of the University of Belgrade in 1956. Prior to this, he had started working as a teaching assistant for acting and directing at the Academy of Theater and Film, where he also received a degree in film and theater directing in 1958. He also served as a director at Radio Television Belgrade since its inception in 1958. After receiving a professorship in film history at the Academy of Theater, Film, Radio and Television in 1960, Mr. Petric spent the period 1965–1966 on a study trip in the Soviet Union at the All-Union State Institute of Cinematography, where he conducted research into Soviet cinematography under the tutelage of Lev Kuleshov and Nikolai Lebedev. In 1970, Mr. Petric went to the United States as a recipient of the Fulbright Scholarship, where he enrolled at New York University and in 1973 became the first person to receive a doctoral degree in film studies at a US institution of higher education. In the period between 1972 and 1974, he was a visiting professor at the College at Purchase (Theater Department), New York and at the English Language and Literature at the State University of New York (SUNY). Mr. Petric received the Henry Luce Chair of Cinema at Harvard University in 1972 and remained in that position until 1997. During this period, he also lectured extensively at universities across the United States and Europe. Together with the documentarian Robert Gardner and the philosopher Stanley Cavell, he founded the Harvard Film Archive and served as its Founding Curator until his retirement in 1997. – International Federation of Film Archives
About the collection
The Vlada Petric Collection at the HFA documents Petric's tenure as the HFA's founding curator. It contains a small set of manuscript material mainly consisting of correspondence, a small set of photographs, and a small amount of audiovisual documentation of program introductions and Petric's own video work. The collection is currently unprocessed, please contact HFA collection staff directly for access.