DER Documentary

Screening Room with Ricky Leacock

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From the Screening Room series
by Robert Gardner
color, 64 min, 1973/2005

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This DVD is also available as part of the Screening Room series Documentary Collection.

From his first film depicting his boyhood life in the Canary Islands, Ricky Leacock has been obsessed with capturing on film the feeling of “being there.” This curiosity led him to technological innovations and breakthrough films that fueled the emerging “direct cinema” movement.

In 1948, he shot Louisiana Story with Robert and Frances Flaherty and he has worked with other cinéma vérité pioneers like Robert Drew and D. A. Pennebaker on films like Primary, A Happy Mother's Day, and Monterey Pop. In the late 1960s, Leacock headed the film department at MIT, and with Ed Pincus, trained many talented direct cinema filmmakers. Currently living in France, Leacock continues to teach and make films such as Les Oeufs A La Coque De Richard Leacock.

Ricky Leacock visited Screening Room on June 15, 1973, with Al Mecklenburg and Jon Rosenfeld. He demonstrates super-8 sync technology and screens excerpts from his films Republicans: The New Breed and Queens of Apollo, as well as rare footage of Indira Ghandi.

“Richard Leacock has an uncanny sense of where to put the camera - where to place it, how to hold it, how to position himself as he holds it - in order to capture some magical aspect of the swirling world of reality that's unfolding before him. He helped liberate the camera, set it free to explore the world.” — Ross McElwee, filmmaker/teacher

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Tribute to Ricky Leacock, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 2005 - Documentary and Ethnographic Film Festival, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil, 2005

Related Films
Richard Leacock & Valerie Lalonde: The Paris Years 1989 to 2009

About the Screening Room series
In the early 1970s a group of idealistic artists, lawyers, doctors and teachers saw an opportunity to change commercial television in Boston and the surrounding area. It would require years of litigation up to and including the Supreme Court, but the case was won and the Channel 5 license was given to WCVB-TV. Screening Room was one of several programs offered in an effort to provide alternative television viewing. The idea behind Screening Room was to give independent filmmakers an opportunity to discuss their work and show it to a large urban audience. Nearly 100 ninety-minute programs were produced and aired between 1973 and 1980.

Screening Room was developed and hosted by filmmaker Robert Gardner, who at the time, was Director of Harvard's Visual Arts Center and Chairman of its Visual and Environmental Studies Department. His own films include Dead Birds (1964), and Forest of Bliss (1986).

Other films from the Screening Room series
Bruce Baillie
Les Blank
Robert Breer
James Broughton
Emile de Antonio
Ed Emshwiller
Hollis Frampton
Robert Fulton
George Griffin
Hillary Harris
John & Faith Hubley
Peter Hutton
Derek Lamb
Standish Lawder & Stanley Cavell
Caroline Leaf & Mary Beams
Jan Lenica
Alan Lomax
Jonas Mekas
Suzan Pitt
Yvonne Rainer
Richard P. Rogers
Jean Rouch
Michael Snow
John Whitney Sr.

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Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts