IndiePix, Celebrating Independent Film

D.A. Pennebaker Collection

One of the pioneers of the modern documentary, Pennebaker (along with fellow docu-luminaries, Albert and David Maysles and Richard Leacock) was a founding member of Drew Associates, which in 1960 developed one of the first synch-sound camera systems, allowing filmmakers to record film and audio separately. The development of synch-sound technology allowed camera and microphone to maneuver separately from one another and granted them unprecedented access to their subjects, following them into spaces they could never reach before. For instance, in his most widely recognized film, Don't Look Back about Bob Dylan's tour of the U.K. in 1965, Pennebaker follows the folk/rock icon into his hotel rooms, films him in a taxi or a hallway. None of these places would have been accessible without his ultra-portable equipment.

Another hallmark of Pennebaker's films are the almost total lack of commentary. Traditionally, documentarians were left to explain their subjects through voice-over narration. Pennebaker chose to simply follow his subjects around and let the events he witnessed speak for themselves. Known as "Cinema Vérité" or "Direct Cinema," this fly-on-the-wall style of filmmaking, often achieved with handheld camera work is what makes Pennebaker's films so effective. In an interview in 1971, Pennebaker explained: "It's possible to go to a situation and simply film what you see there, what happens there, what goes on, and let everybody decide whether it tells them about any of these things. But you don't have to label them, you don't have to have the narration to instruct you so you can be sure and understand that it's good for you to learn."

Pennebaker's subjects of choice were music and politics. His concert films, much like his political films aim to capture the experience of being there rather than the narrative of events. His simple, yet groundbreaking approach should be required viewing for anyone with an interest in film, documentary or otherwise.

Want the Whole Collection? buy now
Cover art

Bob Dylan: Don't Look Back

$15.95 | 96 minutes

A raucous and intimate road movie of Bob Dylan's 1965 tour of England, DON'T LOOK BACK may be perhaps the most influential rock star documentary of all time. D.A. Pennebaker's trademark cinema verit approach, with its comprehensive perspective, captures the paradoxical Dylan in alternating moments of confrontational&hellip…

buy nowmore info
Cover art

Primary

$19.95 | 53 minutes

In 1960, former Life magazine correspondent Robert Drew changed the face of documentary filmmaking when he introduced the first of his powerful films about President John F. Kennedy. Utilizing a small portable camera and sync sound recorder for the first time ever, Drew and his team of cameramen--nascent documentarians Richard Leacock…

buy nowmore info
Cover art

John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band - Live In Toronto '69

$12.95 | 56 minutes

This 1969 concert brought John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and the Plastic Ono Band to Canada's Sweet Toronto Peace Festival--introducing Yoko to the heroes of her husband's childhood: Bo Diddley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard. Captured on film by legendary rock documentarian D.A. Pennebaker (who had already directed the seminal…

buy nowmore info
Want the Whole Collection? buy now