D.A. Pennebaker

Documentarian, Producer, Director of photography
One of the most influential documentary filmmakers of all time, D. A. Pennebaker revolutionized both filmmaking and the rock-n-roll world with his seminal film, "Dont Look Back" (1967), starring Bob Dylan. Using ... Read more »
Born: 07/14/1925 in Evanston, Illinois, USA

Filmography

Director (35)

Six by Sondheim 2013 - 2014 (TV Show)

Director

Jane 2010 (Movie)

(Director)

Kings of Pastry 2010 (Movie)

(Director)

65 Revisited 2007 (Movie)

(Director)

Addiction: The Supplementary Series 2007 (Tv Show)

Director

Monterey 40 2006 - 2007 (TV Show)

Director

The Addiction Project 2007 (Tv Show)

Director

Assume the Position with Mr. Wuhl 2005 - 2006 (TV Show)

Director

Only the Strong Survive 2003 (Movie)

(Co-Director) (Director)

Down From the Mountain 2001 (Movie)

(Director)

Moon Over Broadway 1998 (Movie)

(Director)

The War Room 1993 (Movie)

(Director)

Branford Marsalis: The Music Tells You 1992 (Movie)

(Director)

Daybreak Express 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Depeche Mode 101 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Jimi Hendrix 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Director

Jimi Plays Monterey 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

John Lennon 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Director

Shake (Otis Redding) 1989 (Movie)

(Director)

Dance Black America 1986 (Movie)

(Director)

Town Bloody Hall 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

Elliott Carter 1979 (Movie)

(Director)

Sweet Toronto 1971 (Movie)

(Director)

Original Cast Album: Company 1969 (Movie)

(Director)

Monterey Pop 1968 (Movie)

(Director)

Don't Look Back 1967 (Movie)

(Director)

Primary 1959 (Movie)

(Director)

Company (Movie)

(Director)

DeLorean (Movie)

(Director)

Elaine Stritch at Liberty (TV Show)

Director

Searching For Jimi Hendrix (TV Show)

Director

The Return of the War Room (TV Show)

Director
Camera, Film, & Tape (23)

Kings of Pastry 2010 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

65 Revisited 2007 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Only the Strong Survive 2003 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

Down From the Mountain 2001 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

STARTUP.COM 2001 (Movie)

(Video)

Sessions at West 54th 1997 - 2000 (TV Show)

Camera

Bessie -- Portrait of Bessie Schonberg 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Camera

Moon Over Broadway 1998 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

The War Room 1993 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Branford Marsalis: The Music Tells You 1992 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Otis Redding in Monterey -- 1967 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Photography

Dance Black America 1986 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Town Bloody Hall 1980 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars 1973 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Maidstone 1971 (Movie)

(Photography)

Sweet Toronto 1971 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

One American Movie/1 A.M. 1970 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Original Cast Album: Company 1969 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Beyond the Law 1968 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Monterey Pop 1968 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Wild 90 1968 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Don't Look Back 1967 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)
Editor (11)

Kings of Pastry 2010 (Movie)

(Editor)

65 Revisited 2007 (Movie)

(Editor)

Only the Strong Survive 2003 (Movie)

(Editor)

Down From the Mountain 2001 (Movie)

(Editor)

The War Room 1993 (Movie)

(Editor)

Depeche Mode 101 1989 (Movie)

(Editor)

Dal polo all'equatore 1988 (Movie)

(Editor)

Dance Black America 1986 (Movie)

(Editor)

One American Movie/1 A.M. 1970 (Movie)

(Editor)

Original Cast Album: Company 1969 (Movie)

(Editor)
Producer (7)

Saint Misbehavin': The Wavy Gravy Movie 2010 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Al Franken: God Spoke 2006 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The First Amendment Project 2004 (Tv Show)

Supervising Producer

STARTUP.COM 2001 (Movie)

(Producer)

Town Bloody Hall 1980 (Movie)

(Producer)

One American Movie/1 A.M. 1970 (Movie)

(Producer)

Don't Look Back 1967 (Movie)

(Producer)
Actor (3)

Cinema Verite: Defining the Moment 2000 (Movie)

(Actor)

Before the Nickelodeon: The Early Cinema Of Edwin S. Porter 1981 (Movie)

("Film as a Visual Newspaper") (Voice)

Wild 90 1968 (Movie)

Al (Actor)
Writer (3)

Town Bloody Hall 1980 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

One American Movie/1 A.M. 1970 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Monterey Pop 1968 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Other (5)

The Loving Story 2010 (Movie)

(Advisor)

The 69th Annual Academy Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Archival Footage

The 34th Annual Grammy Awards 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Archival Footage

Dance Black America 1986 (Movie)

commentary (Other)

Children of the Left (TV Show)

Archival Footage

Biography

One of the most influential documentary filmmakers of all time, D. A. Pennebaker revolutionized both filmmaking and the rock-n-roll world with his seminal film, "Dont Look Back" (1967), starring Bob Dylan. Using experimental film techniques, Pennebaker was instrumental in changing the way documentary films were made by using handheld cameras and lighter sound equipment in order to introduce more intimacy with the film's subjects. With "Dont Look Back," which followed Dylan on his 1965 tour of England, he broke new ground with his famed "Subterranean Homesick Blues" sequence, widely considered to rock's first music video. Pennebaker followed with the equally influential "Monterey Pop" (1968), a documentary on the famous Monterey Pop Festival in 1967, featuring Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane and The Who that also contained one of rock's most iconic images - that of Jimi Hendrix setting his guitar on fire. Though he faltered both creatively and financially in the 1970s and 1980s, Pennebaker returned triumphant with "The War Room" (1993), an Oscar-nominated look at Bill Clinton's successful 1992 bid for president as seen from the prospective of campaign gurus James Carville and George Stephanopoulos. With other notable documentaries, "Startup.com" (2001) and "Kings of Pastry" (2009), Pennebaker cemented his status as a pioneering documentarian who almost singlehandedly constructed a style of storytelling that influenced a generation of filmmakers.

Relationships

Lucille Pennebaker

Mother

Sylvia Bell

Wife
mother of Stacy, Frazer and Linley divorced in 1968

Chris Hegedus

Wife
born c. 1952 married in 1982 co-directed and worked as a sound recordist on "The War Room" (1993) and collaborated on other projects as a co-producer and editor mother of Kit and Jane

John Pennebaker

Father
divorced from Pennebaker's mother received custody

Chelsea Pennebaker

Daughter
born c. 1971 mother, Kate Taylor

Jane Pennebaker

Daughter
born c. 1986 mother, Chris Hegedus

Linley Pennebaker

Daughter
born c. 1956 mother, Sylvia Bell

Stacy Pennebaker

Daughter
born c. 1953 mother, Sylvia Bell

Zoe Pennebaker

Daughter
born c. 1974 mother, Kate Taylor

Frazer Pennebaker

Son
born c. 1955 mother, Sylvia Bell helped produce his father's films on the band Depeche Mode and jazz musician co-executive produced "The War Room" (1993) and worked on stepmother's "Startup.com"

John Pennebaker

Son
born c. 1970 mother, Kate Taylor

Kit Pennebaker

Son
born c. 1982 mother, Chris Hegedus

Kate Taylor

Wife
married in 1972 mother of John Paul, Chelsea and Zoe divorced

EDUCATION

Yale University

New Haven , Connecticut 1947
interrupted college to serve as an engineer in the Naval Air Corps during World War II

Milestones

2001

Served as a producer on "Startup.com", co-directed by Chris Hegedus

1998

Undertook a look at the making of a stage play by following the out-of-town tryout of the comedy "Moon Over Buffalo" in the documentary "Moon Over Broadway"

1993

Garnered critical praise for "The War Room", a behind-the-scenes look at the 1992 US Presidential campaign of Bill Clinton

1992

Co-directed "Branford Marsalis: The Music Tells You", a look at the influential jazz musician

1989

Made "Depeche Mode 101", a nonfiction look at the British rock band's US tour

1986

Profiled rock star Jimi Hendrix in "Jimi Plays Monterey"; not released theatrically until 1989

1980

With Hegedus, directed "Elliott Carter", a profile of the influential modern composer

1979

First collaboration with editor, producer, and future wife Chris Hegedus on "Town Bloody Hall", a record of a 1971 debate between Norman Mailer and a group of feminist writers

1973

Shot the strange concert film "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars" featuring David Bowie in his alternative persona

1969

With Leacock, directed "Original Cast Album: Company", a look at the grueling 15-hour marathon recording session of the landmark Stephen Sondheim stage musical

1968

Co-directed (with James Desmond, Barry Feinstein, Albert Maysles, Roger Murphy, Richard Leacock and Nick Proferes) the first major rock concert film, "Monterey Pop"

1967

Produced, shot and directed the landmark feature-length pop artist portrait, "Don't Look Back", about Bob Dylan's 1965 English tour; the film's cardboard-sign sequence for Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues" is often cited as the first rock video

1963

Left Drew Associates and formed Leacock-Pennebaker, Inc. with Richard Leacock

1963

Collaborated on "Crisis", a chronicle of Robert Kennedy's successful battle with Alabama governor George Wallace over school desegregation

1960

Co-directed (with Richard Leacock, Albert Maysles, Robert Drew, and Terence Macartney-Filgate) the landmark political documentary, "Primary", about the 1960 Democratic primary contest between candidates John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey in Wisconsin

1959

Joined Richard Leacock and others in Filmakers, an equipment-sharing film co-operative

1959

Joined Robert Drew's Drew Associates for "Living Camera", the TV documentary series produced by Time-Life

1953

Made first film, "Daybreak Express", a five-minute portrait of NYC's now defunct Third Avenue elevated subway set to Duke Ellington's music

1947

Moved to New York City after graduating from Yale

Sold Electronics Engineering

Began making industrial films

Started Electronics Enginering, the company that developed the first computerized airline reservation system

Served as director of photography on three films directed by Norman Mailer: "Beyond the Law" (1968), "Wild 90" (1969) and "Maidstone" (1970)

Was involved with "Adventures on the New Frontier", an ABC documentary shot in the White House during the early weeks of the Kennedy Administration

Met experimental filmmaker Francis Thompson; was inspired to become a filmmaker

Worked on ten TV documentaries, each intended to chronicle a crucial day, week, or month in the lives of both famous and unknown subjects

Worked as an advertising copy writer

Bonus Trivia

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"Yet today, at 68, D.A. Pennebaker has proved himself to be much more than just "still alive." That night in Little Rock, while Carville watched Bush's convention speech on TV, he permitted Pennebaker to film him and Hegedus to wire him for sound; his beady eyes and alertly cocked head allowed a brief smile when Bush cracked an Elvis joke. Then Carville and communications director George Stephanopoulos continued to grant them sporadic access to Command Central through election day. (Carville remembers Stephanopoulos saying, "If the Kennedys let him into the White House, I don't know why we can't let him in the War Room!) The resulting movie, "The War Room"--selected for the New York Film Festival and opening in several cities beginning the day after election day--is a historical treasure and reasserts Pennebaker's mastery much in the way "The Player" did for Robert Altman." --David Handelman, "In the Line of Fire" in Vogue, November 1993.

.

"Primary" (1960) selected for inclusion in the Library of Congress' National Film Registry in 1990.

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