Granton Trawler follows the small fishing vessel, Isabella Greig, as it carries out its dragnet fishing along the Viking Bank off the Norwegian coast of the North Sea. It was shot during the Empire Marketing Board period and was finished after the unit had been transferred to the GPO.Grierson used the film to teach the other directors how to analyze movement photographically and how to make use of sound for contrapuntal editing. The soundtrack is made up of crude rhythmic noises that represent the thumping of the ships engine and atmospheric sounds congenial to being present on board. There is no commentary. The sounds were all post-recorded, simulated in the studio. (One of the fisherman’s voices is Grierson’s). Although not credited, Alberto Cavalcanti is known to have created the soundtrack as one of his first creative duties after arriving at the Unit.
John Grierson was born in 1898 and he is considered as the father of British and Canadian documentary. In 1926, Grierson coined the term documentary to describe a non-fiction film. In 1924, after graduating from the university in moral philosophy, he went to study in the US to University of Chicago and later at Columbia. His research focus was the psychology of propaganda and the impact of the press, film and other mass media on forming public opinion.
As a director he made only 2 films but he produced a great number of films and he was the one who created the film unit within the Empire Marketing Board (EMB) in U.K. from where the movement of British documentary started.