Cary Grant: A Class Act – An Audio-Visual Celebration  

The Cary Comes Home Festival, in partnership with The Video Essay Podcast

Episode 34 of the Video Essay Podcast features a conversation with video essayists who participated in “Cary Grant: A Class Act,” a collaboration between the podcast and the Cary Comes Home Festival, directed by Dr. Charlotte Crofts. Video essayists were asked to submit works that deal with class in relation to the life and/or work of Grant, who was born Archibald Leach in Bristol, England. The video essayists who participated are: Lara Callaghan, Kendahl Cruver, Will DiGravio (me), Wickham Flannagan, Dan O’Brien, and Stella Parker. You can watch all of their videos and see the original call for participation below.  Watch our 2020 conversation and videos, “The Journeys of Cary Grant,” here.

The Fifth Cary Comes Home Festival takes its theme as “Class”, celebrating the working-class heritage of Archibald Leach. Born in Bristol, UK in 1904 as the son of a tailor’s presser, Archie went on to become Hollywood legend and style icon, Cary Grant. He returned to the city of his birth regularly and never forgot his roots. Both sides of his family experienced high levels of poverty: from his grandfather shipbuilder William Kingdon on his mother’s side dying in the Poor House and his uncle Charles Llewellyn becoming an inmate on the HMS Formidable, a floating training ship for “wayward” boys; to his father’s family of hat-makers helmed by matriarch Elizabeth Leach. 

Taking class in its broadest sense, we invited video essays which explore social mobility and identity across a range of Cary Grant’s performances from Cockney Cary in films like Sylvia Scarlett and None But the Lonely Heart, to the Sophisticated Cary of To Catch a Thief and Charade. The aim is not to invite “poverty porn”, but videos which probe the tension between being both Archie and Cary and the tremendous psychic effort it must have taken for Cary Grant to navigate this trajectory to stardom where he came to represent suave sophistication of American high-society. This tension between Archie/Cary is one with which Grant battled throughout his life, in front of and behind the camera:

“Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant” (Cary Grant).

Below are the submissions received as part of “Cary Grant: A Class Act.” Be on the lookout for a conversation between all the creators in the near future! Learn more about the call for submissions below. 

Call for Contributions

We are open to all forms of audio-visual criticism, including video essays, fanvids, and any kind of video that reappropriates footage of Cary Grant.

Videos of any length will be accepted but the ideal length will be between 5-6 minutes.

All submitted work will be featured on the Cary Comes Home website and on The Video Essay Podcast website. Some of the best work will be featured on an episode of The Video Essay Podcast which will be recorded live at the virtual festival in November. Creators will be invited to join the conversation. Check out The Journeys of Cary Grant screening to see how it will work.

Please add “For Study Purposes Only” at the end of the video, include a list of the sources of clips used, any references cited and ideally, if you want to use a backing track, please only use copyright-free music for that purpose. If you use copyrighted music, we may not be able to feature your work at the festival.  

You will need to upload to your own Vimeo page. Learn more about uploading in their Video Guidelines, Compression Guidelines, and Help Center.   If you are new to making video essays you might want to check out the series of videographic exercises listeners were assigned as “homework” on The Video Essay Podcast, here.

Rolling Deadline until: Friday 14 October 2022

We’ll begin to post submissions to the website from September as they arrive.

Cary Comes Home is a biennial festival which aims to celebrate Cary Grant’s Bristol roots, develop new audiences for his work and recreate the golden age of cinema-going, directed by Dr Charlotte Crofts (Associate Professor of Filmmaking, UWE Bristol). The festival will take place online this year, 18-20 November 2022. Learn more at

The Video Essay Podcast, hosted by Will DiGravio, features interviews with critics, scholars, filmmakers, and other leading creators of videographic criticism. The show is accompanied by a weekly newsletter, ‘Notes on Videographic Criticism,’ which features original essays, interviews, and links to events and news related to the form. Learn more at


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