Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Now available from the Criterion Collection: THE WAR ROOM

* New, restored high-definition digital transfer from the original 16mm camera negative, approved by directors Chris Hegedus and D. A. Pennebaker, with 2.0 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition

* Return of the War Room, a 2008 Sundance Channel documentary by Hegedus and Pennebaker in which advisers James Carville, George Stephanopoulos, Paul Begala, and others reflect on the effect that the Clinton war room had on the way campaigns are run

* New pieces in which the filmmakers discuss the difficulties of shooting in the campaign’s fast-paced environment

* Panel discussion hosted by the William J. Clinton Foundation, featuring Carville, Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan, journalist Ron Brownstein, and surprise guest Bill Clinton

* Interview with strategist Stanley Greenberg on the evolution of polling

* PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by writer Louis Menand

"The film looks like new thanks to a fantastic high-digital transfer courtesy of The Criterion Collection...great supplements." - Nigel Smith, IndieWire

"The film’s transfer looks about as good as it can look...it’s remarkable that it looks even this good. A terrific series of follow-up bonus material greatly increases the value of the package particularly for fans of the film. Highly recommended!" - Matt Hough, Home Theater Forum

"Hegedus and Pennebaker's film captures the turning of a page in how politics are conducted, and Criterion's excellent edition gives the film its best imaginable presentation, with a slew of fine bonus features." - Jason Bailey, DVDTalk

"Criterion has delivered an excellent edition for the film...the audio was actually quite stunning and the supplements were all incredibly fascinating, offering some context to the film by taking a deeper look at the campaign while also going over the nuances and difficulties in making a documentary of this nature. A great job overall and for those that enjoy the film or are fascinated by politics in general this release comes with a high recommendation." - Chris Galloway, CriterionForum.org

Order the Blu-Ray edition or the standard DVD edition from the Criterion Collection.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

THE FEELING OF BEING THERE: a filmmaker's memoir

"I made my first film, aged 14, in 1935 and I have been at it ever since, striving to give my viewers a sense of 'being there.'

"There have been years of frustration on one level and the joys of achievement on another.

"Writing about film has much in common with writing about wine: you can't taste the wine by reading. Well, I think you have a similar problem when you write about films: you can't see the movies on the printed page. So it occurred to me that if I embed excerpts, and often entire films, within the book, then you, the reader, could actually experience what I am talking about." (excerpt from Introduction)

The Feeling of Being There is a riveting autobiographical epic spanning almost the entire history of cinema as seen through the eyes of one of its leading players.

From Canary Bananas, his first movie in 1935, to a musical production in post Soviet Siberia, Richard Leacock's memoir follows history through the eyes of a man who was present at so many key moments of the 20th century, among them, the battle for Burma, the Japanese surrender at Nanking, John F. Kennedy's primary campaign, the Kenyan leap towards independence, and the enrollment of the first African American students at the University of Alabama.

The Feeling of Being There will be both a bound paper book and a Digital Video Book (or DVB) viewable on computer. In the limited special edition, or "Collector's box," the numbered and signed hardcover book comes with an embedded video player containing close to 100 film clips which intertwine richly with the gripping storyline.

Leacock has worked in documentary since its inception. This book, with its many original photos and films, is a cornerstone in the legacy of cinema.

Order the memoir via PayPal or through Amazon.com

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


For the past month of August, Current TV has been airing a brand-new series "exploring the most powerful, memorable and moving documentary feature films to have hit our cinema screens in recent years," covering documentary films that have been released between 1988 and 2010.

Tonight, they'll be broadcasting segments on their top ten selections, including The War Room, which was ranked at #6.

Congratulations to all and stay tuned for more exciting news on The War Room!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Dessert Professional magazine, the nation's leading publication of the pastry, ice cream and chocolate industries, named the top toques of tuile, cocoa and sugar at a ceremony on Monday, June 6 at The Institute for Culinary Education in New York, and Jacquy Pfeiffer was this year's Hall Of Fame honoree. Congratulations, Jacquy!

Friday, May 20, 2011


The AFI-Discovery Channel Silverdocs Documentary Festival will honor the work of Chris Hegedus and D A Pennebaker at this year’s Charles Guggenheim Symposium, to be held on June 23.

The Symposium, named after four-time Oscar winner Charles Guggenheim, honors filmmakers who are masters of the documentary form.

“With a collective body of work spanning over fifty years, Hegedus and Pennebaker have influenced a generation of filmmakers in direct cinema. Whether it be Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign, the three-day 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, an intimate portrait of Bob Dylan or a behind-the-scenes view of dot com mania, they have captured some of the most important subjects and iconic figures of our time,” said Silverdocs festival director Sky Sitney. “We are thrilled to recognize their vast contribution to cinema in the documentary form.”

Following a screening of excerpts from their work, Hegedus and Pennebaker will be joined by special guests to discuss their filmmaking efforts thus far.

Past Guggenheim honourees include Barbara Kopple, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Spike Lee, Albert Maysles and Frederick Wiseman.

Advance tickets are available from the festival's website.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


D A Pennebaker's classic film, Dont Look Back, is now available in a new high-definition transfer on Blu-Ray with lossless DTS-HD audio.

"The image is reasonably well defined and in the outdoor and brightly lit sequences, it looks rather good, considering its 16mm source elements and its age...Much better is the excellent DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix. What's great about this lossless track is its excellent fidelity in reproducing some wonderful early Dylan performances. There's a rather surprising lack of hiss and tinniness in any of these performances...Dylan's guitar rings out loud and clear and his voice also sounds clear and well defined...it's a really well done lossless reproduction of a vintage track that is most likely going to delight most Dylan fans...4 1/2 out of 5 stars." - Jeffrey Kauffman, Blu-Ray.com

Dont Look Back has "gotten better as a home-video experience, compliments of its new high-def format...4 out of 4 stars." - Mike Scott, The Times-Picayune

"Dont Look Back is beautiful because of its unpolished feel. Blu-ray is exceptionally good at making film look like film, and it definitely does here...The 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio is just as raw, immediate, and impressive." - DVD Verdict

"Seminal. Not only cemented the musician's status as an icon of sixties cool; it's also a crash course in the breathtaking immediacy of vérité filmmaking." – New York magazine

"If the art of being cool could be learned from a film, then the only one you'd ever need to study would be Dont Look Back." – Angela Ashman, The Village Voice

“Evokes the 60s like few other documents; Dylan’s relentless heaping of scorn on the mainstream press, before the coercive tentacles of ‘creative management’ made such things virtually impossible, is especially telling... Memorable for its goofy, syncopated opening sequence alone.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

"An unforgettable all-access pass behind the scenes of Bob Dylan's '65 British tour, D.A. Pennebaker's landmark 1967 rock doc all but invented the form while presaging the music video… The concert footage of the young Dylan in his punky prime is electrifying, but the most fun comes from the privileged glimpses of his sadistic wit." - Jim Ridley, The Village Voice

Now available from Amazon.com