Edgar Anstey, born Harold Macfarlane Anstey, was a student of innovative British documentarian John Grierson, and was a key figure in the British documentary movement of the late 1920s. During the early 1930s, Anstey worked with the Empire Marketing Board Film Unit and went on to organize the Shell Film Unit. He became the production director of the London segments of The March of Time in 1935. This led to his becoming a foreign editor of the popular newsreels in New York. Anstey produced documentaries for the British government during WW II and in 1949 helped organize British Transport Films. In the mid-1950s, Anstey became the head of the British Film Academy and the president of the International Scientific Film Association in 1959. In the mid-1960s, he served as governor of the British Film Institute and was chairman of the Society of Film and Television Arts in 1967. During the 1940s, Anstey was also a noted film critic.