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Criterion Live! with D. A. Pennebaker, Jill Drew, and Frank Rich

Last week, at the Metrograph, New York City’s newest art-house cinema, we held our inaugural installment of Criterion Live!, in honor of our forthcoming release of The Kennedy Films of Robert Drew & Associates. Hosted by Criterion president Peter Becker and producer Issa Clubb, the event featured a knockout lineup of special guests, including legendary documentarian D. A. Pennebaker (who was one of Drew’s associates, along with such other pioneering vérité filmmakers as Albert Maysles and Richard Leacock), Jill Drew (daughter-in-law of Robert Drew and general manager of Drew Associates), and cultural critic and political columnist Frank Rich.

Before a screening of the landmark Drew documentaries Primary (1960) and Crisis (1963), the five sat down for a discussion of Drew’s contributions to film, and the conversation ranged from how his development of sync-sound recording gave birth to modern documentary filmmaking to the ways in which cinema continues to evolve. In the clip above, Pennebaker, responding to a question from the audience about the state of documentary filmmaking in an Internet-video era, shares his incredible wisdom and passion for film, as it increasingly becomes a feature of our daily lives.

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