In the Works: RICKY ON LEACOCK

The producer of SILVERLAKE LIFE and JUPITER’S WIFE constructs a decades-long portrait of her influential mentor, one of the legendary architects of Direct Cinema.

Over the course of nearly forty years, Jane Weiner filmed documentary master, Richard Leacock, with a camera that he lent her to encourage her interest in filmmaking. Shooting intermittently over the four decades, Weiner captured moments with her mentor and conversations with his contemporaries reflecting on their lifelong work of documentary storytelling. From this privileged perspective, Weiner constructs a longitudinal portrait of a master filmmaker, helping to preserve his knowledge and legacy.

Weiner has until New Year’s Day to reach her Kickstarter campaign goal of $25,000. With just over a week left, the project has made nearly a third of that, but needs significant traction in order to provide the funds Weiner and her team need for critical post-production costs. To keep updated on the project, check out its Facebook page, and for more on Richard Leacock, visit RichardLeacock.com.

With much present day media and media makers obsessed with capturing what’s happening in the moment, they owe a great deal to pioneers like Leacock, who helped make filmmaking portable. Sadly, because this pre-occupation with the now often also leads to short memories as we move on to the next thing, we seem to always be in danger of forgetting our past, and the impact of individuals like Leacock, or his own mentor, Robert Flaherty, are too quickly lost to each successive generation of filmmakers (or even YouTube uploaders). As a seeming consequence of this long-term memory loss, it’s frankly disheartening that Weiner’s campaign doesn’t have more backers at this point. Sharing Leacock’s body of work, and equally important, his reflections on documentary filmmaking, is vital, especially since he passed away this March, just four months shy of his 90th birthday. Weiner’s project, a true collaborative effort between the filmmaker and her subject, has much to teach documentarians and those who appreciate non-fiction, and I hope both of these groups consider helping her complete it.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, In the Works

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